Summer is already officially here. Now it’s time to brace ourselves and prepare because winter is coming less than a month later on July 16 when HBO’s Game of Thrones returns with its second to last season. Stories diverged and began converging once again as we have Cersei sitting on the Iron Throne, Daenerys is crossing the Narrow Sea with her armies of Dothraki and Unsullied as well as her three dragons with the armies of Dorn joining her, and Jon Snow – bastard of Rhaegar Targaryen – preparing an army to fight the White Walkers in the north.
With this coming, allow me to leave my normal realm of political writing and share four of my own theories of what we will see in the final two seasons of this series – which has four spinoffs in the works. There is no guarantee that anything here is what actually will happen – so it’s not technically spoilers – but I may just convince you to expect this.
Theory 1: The Identity of the Valonquar
In season 5 of the television show, we get a glimpse of Maggy the Frog, a blood tasting fortuneteller who gives some predictions for a young Cersei and her friend – whom the books tell us fell down a well and died later that night as predicted by Maggy. We didn’t get her full predictions that episode – we are familiar with the first parts of the predictions, however.
Cersei: When will I wed the prince?
Maggy: Never. You will wed the king.
Cersei: I will be queen, though?
Maggy: Aye. Queen you shall be… until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.
Cersei: Will the king and I have children?
Maggy: Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds.
Grabbed from A Wiki of Ice and Fire
While this may be more clear to us now than when it was predicted, this particular part of Maggy’s predictions seems to explain some of Cersei’s obsession with destroying Margaery, the younger, more beautiful woman who seemed to supercede her as the previous queen. None of her children were truly Robert’s and had any claim to the throne, so perhaps some young mother of one of these bastards could displace her. However, we now, of course, realize that Danaerys is the younger woman destined to cast Cersei down – her children all have their golden shrouds. The missing line from this episode, which Maggy spoke the next breath without laughter in the book:
And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.
Season 6 finished with Tommen having committed suicide following the death of his wife, Margaery, and with her last child dead, Cersei was certainly drowning in tears even as Jaime watched over her coronation. The term, “valonquar,” is actually high Valyrian for little brother – the little brother shall wrap his hands about her pale, white throat and choke the life from her.
Naturally, Cersei, the eldest child of Tywin Lannister and his wife, Joanna, seems to have assumed that Tyrion would be the little brother foretold to kill her. After all, he did come into this world killing her mother; surely he would one day kill her as well. This would be the origin of her hostility toward Tyrion.
Certainly, Cersei has a hatred for Tyrion that supersedes all others, even Tywin, who alleges he considered drowning Tyrion after his birth, to his face. The little brother murdered her mother and one day would murder her – certainly a theme that must have flared in her mind as he took her daughter and married her off to a prince of Dorn. She cited Tyrion’s own words in this regard:
I will hurt you for this. I don’t know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.
Yet, Tyrion is not quite so cruel, and we also have seen him choking someone to death: Shae, the love of his life. Whether or not a little person could manage the strength to choke a woman like Cersei to death with their hands, it seems that George R. R. Martin is working on the assumption that they could not, or at least would find it unnecessarily uncomfortable, as Tyrion used a necklace to choke her to death, aided by his weight. It would be hard to see Tyrion ultimately choking Cersei to death with his bare hands, as was prophesized.
She has another younger brother in Jaime, not much younger, and missing his strong hand outright. He loves Cersei, not like a sister, but as his lover with a deeper love than I would imagine he had for any of his children. It is not unthinkable that he could want Cersei dead: her machinations led to Tommen’s suicide – but it is still unlikely. However much the twist may be for Jaime to be the one to kill her, it is unlikely, especially since he cannot wrap his hands, plural, around her neck.
Cersei’s two known younger brothers eliminated, and not suspecting another to miraculously arise, I suggest a different younger brother entirely. To be sure that the Mountain, Sir Gregor Clegane, did not die from Tyrion’s trial by combat, he was transformed by the dark arts of a discredited Maester. Certainly, Gregor is animated, but it may be up for debate whether he is alive or not – being more of a zombie than a living human.
Gregor also has a little brother of his own – a brother who we all thought dead before suddenly reappearing alive and well in Season 6. He was found by Septon Ray, who I struggle to not simply call Swearingen after the character he played in Deadwood. Septon was certain of something that Sandor Clegane, the Hound, was dismissive of: the gods or God still have a purpose for him. I am suggesting that this purpose is to avenge his brother.
Sandor and Gregor have a strained relationship – Sandor disfigured by his older brother holding his face in a fire for playing with his toy as a child. I am not sure why he will be driven to take such offense to his brother being transformed into this dark beast of burden – but I imagine there is a story not yet revealed that will tie this in nicely. The younger brother of her undead slave will wrap his hands around Cersei’s pale, white neck and choke the life from her. That is why he has not yet died and that is his redemption.
Theory 2: Targaryens Must Inbreed
We know that, much like Cersei and Jaime, the Targaryen dynasty inbred – always marrying and breeding within the family. As it is said, the gods rolled the dice every time a Targaryen was born due to this inbreeding. Perhaps they had to inbreed. I base this theory upon the base of another: A+J=T: Tyrion is the bastard child of Aerys Tyrion, the Mad King, and Joanna Lannister, the wife of Tywin.
As mentioned in the linked article, the birth of a Targaryen doesn’t necessitate the mother’s death, but perhaps it necessitates the mother’s death if she isn’t a Targaryen – they are said to have dragon’s blood and I suggest they may even have begun with a pair of twins being born to a normal human and a dragon, the mother dying in the birthing. The Targaryens, as demonstrated by Danaerys, are supposed to actually be immune to fire and the like – though her last remaining full-blooded brother was not, and it is not outside the realm of this fantasy world that they may actually be half dragon. This has not been revealed, but that doesn’t mean that it will not be revealed in this series or a spin-off.
A half-dragon mother may very well be able to handle the birth of a half-dragon child, but that doesn’t mean a fully human mother can handle the birth of a half-dragon child. We are introduced to two Targaryen bastards if the A+J=T theory is true: Jon Snow (still a bastard and thus still a Snow) and Tyrion Lannister (perhaps better named Tyrion Flowers, being a bastard in the south). Both of their mothers, Lyanna Stark and Joanna Lannister, died birthing these bastards. Robert had many bastards; we do not hear tales of wanting mothers of Targaryen bastards being paid off.
If this is true, then Targaryens may have learned early on that they had to inbreed – you cannot breed with non-Targaryens and have the mother live – at least not Targaryen men. There would be few diplomatic marriages – though we know that the Baratheon brothers had a Targaryen grandmother – perhaps explaining the relative autonomy of the seven kingdoms, as most Targaryen women would be needed to create more Targaryen heirs. Inbreeding would not be just an odd quirk of Targaryens, but rather a biological necessity of the dynasty. The few marriages that do exist, however, may explain the unique effects of royal blood as a trait handed down.
Theory 3: Who Will Sit on the Iron Throne and the Marriage
With Cersei’s fate sealed in prophecy, we have Jon Snow as King in the North and Danaerys sealed in prophecy to cast Cersei down and take the Iron Throne. Jon Snow’s army could not stand up to Danaerys’ and Jon Snow, despite likely being the Azor Ahai, or Prince that was Promised, has no desire to rule. He wants to stop the White Walkers and so rules out of necessity, but not out of desire. It is unlikely that he would pose any challenge at all to the ascendency of Danaerys so long as she aided in the campaign against the White Walkers.
There is no real reason to doubt that Danaerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, and Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea will also become Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.
However, there is quite some discussion of who will be her King, even if her King does not rule. Her previous romantic interest, Daario, was left behind because she would have to marry someone in Westeros, so who would be the proper individual to marry? Theoretically, she should be drawn to marry another Targaryen, the pure-blooded of which are all dead save for her. Any with royal blood, a distant Targaryen ancestry, may meet the requirements, but there are only one or two who stand out: Tyrion (if A+J=T is true) and Jon Snow (whereas L+R=J has been proven true).
Tyrion isn’t in Westeros when she claims it and his remaining ally from Westeros seems to be Varys, who is of course also in Danaerys’ camp already – being the person who recruited Tyrion in the first place. Jon Snow may like him – but he is the other contender. Tyrion seems turned off of love anyway, preferring the comfort of whores, despite marrying one after being tricked by Jaime and then once again falling in love with Shae who betrayed him. I don’t foresee him as getting married in the future.
Jon Snow, however, has unified the North and so has many allies, for the time being. The Stark ties to the Vale may not be strong through Jon himself, Catelyn Stark hated Jon – he was a living reminder of infidelity that never actually happened – and Robin Arryn could only have a negative view of Jon given from his mother via Catelyn, but Sansa’s loyalty could be the bridge to that alliance. Jon’s lack of ambition to rule beyond commanding the military against the White Walkers may also be appealing to Danaerys who is driven to rule.
Therefore, I foresee Jon being the spouse of Danaerys, a public face to solidify the kingdoms but in the background when it comes to actually ruling. Besides, marrying a bastard would be highly symbolic for a realm to be ruled by the Breaker of Chains – another reach toward those who are not born into power. While, perhaps what would be expected to be the end of the theories, it provides important imagery for my last theory.
Theory 4: Bran Made the Mad King Mad
In Season 6, we were shown the power of Bran Stark, viewing the times in the past and even altering them. Ned Stark – whom I dislike by the way as he is clearly a Lawful Neutral character – turned his head after hearing Bran call out to him. Later, as the Night King invaded the sacred grounds and Bran’s group had to flee, the voice of Meera penetrated through Bran to pollute the past, telling Hodor to hold the door. Willis, as he was once known, could hear her through Bran and fell to the ground as if in a seizure, repeating “hold the door” over and over again, eventually contracting to Hodor – the only utterance he could ever make again – and thus he was renamed.
Yes, they answered the question that we all had since Season 1, and which Gary Coleman had since 1978: “Whatcha talkin’ bout Willis?”
I cannot imagine better poetry than if this was also the fate of the Mad King. We have an alliance between Jon Snow and Danaerys Targaryen which must be formed to fight the Night King and his armies. Winter is coming, and we will see pure dark in the north with snows that make the North seem tropical by comparison – the Dothraki and Unsullied, used to fighting unencumbered by heavy armor and, more importantly, thick coverings to brace them from the cold, will have to change up their fighting style. Weapons will be fashioned from dragon glass which of course will be manufactured by Danaerys’ dragons. The armies of the North, and perhaps even the other seven kingdoms, will assemble.
I imagine Bran and Daenerys will be kept in the back, at the battle but not near the frontlines against the armies of the dead. Protecting them will be a small detachment, likely led by Ser Jorah who will have returned having cured himself of grayscale. Jon Snow will lead the battle but the dragons will only listen to Danaerys.
There will be need to search King’s Landing during the reign of the Mad King, perhaps there was a document detailing the location of the flaming blade of Azor Ahai – if that wasn’t the sword that Jon Snow already found – and it will be necessary to find this weapon. Perhaps it is another item. Perhaps Samwell Tarly researched it and learned that the document was lost at King’s Landing that day – perhaps Jaime is a prisoner – being the Kingslayer who killed Danaerys’ father, after all, perhaps alive for killing Cersei though I still favor the Hound who has two hands, and recalls Aerys reading over it or one of his maesters. But there will be need to find this item.
Who can read a document that is lost or perhaps destroyed in the wildfire? Bran Stark. Bran will find the book as the battle rages on in the current time. Aerys will be there reading it or he will wander in by chance, but he will come by the document that Bran is trying to read. Perhaps it is instructions to burn their own dead, or perhaps orders to the dragons to burn the white walkers, but the voice of Danaerys, tied to the Mad King, will ring out in the past.
“Burn them! Burn them all!” As Hodor succumbed to the repeated instructions of Meera to hold the door, the Mad King will hear the repeated shouts of his yet unborn daughter ringing out across time: “Burn them! Burn them all!”
It is a coincidence that the Lannisters have turned on the Targaryens, perhaps as Tywin’s idea of repaying the debt of his late wife’s death, and when asked what to do, his response is to burn them – still focused on the words of Danaerys, not a rightful order to use the wildfire. Jaime Lannister kills the Mad King, who still repeats “Burn them! Burn them all!” as he dies, much like how Hodor kept repeating what he had heard. Bran will see it all unfold and relay the events, perhaps leading to a reconciliation between Jaime and Daenerys, allowing another Kingdom to be secured.
Aerys II was not fully mentally stable, just as Willis wasn’t fully mentally stable. However, neither of the two had been ranting mad. Willis was somewhat cognitively disabled, but not psychologically disabled, and thus was able to still operate a bit afterward. Aerys II was paranoid and was losing his conception of the world outside of his immediate desires, so he became more paralyzed by such words, ranting even into death. Had he survived, he perhaps would have been known as King Bernmall, first of his name.
This work is unpaid because this is not a for-profit site. If you want to help support this work and more like it in the future, please consider becoming a patron of mine on Patreon on my page. Funds will not only help me transition to writing full-time but will allow me to purchase professional images for the articles.
Featured Image via HBO.
Categories: Arts & Culture