by Daley Wilhelm and Nolan Leahy
This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones holds a significant place in our current culture. With the yawning depth of its lore, the cinematic mastery of the production itself, and the unforeseeable twists and turns the show takes, it’s no wonder why the show dominates Sunday night conversation. The surprise factor that Game of Thrones supplies has been one of its most ensnaring aspects, and HBO has proved willing to protect those secrets the show has yet to reveal no matter the cost.
But what if we already know the end of Game of Thrones?
At this point, it is technically unknowable considering that George R.R. Martin has yet to pen the final book in the series, but he and the show writers have hinted at a few possible outcomes. Visions and prophecies have swayed the series’ characters toward one side or the other, and fans have looked to them as a glimpse of what might be on the horizon as the show draws towards its final season.
Perhaps what has yet to be filmed was somewhere among those dreamlike sequences dipped in magic. Or in the words given by witches in episodes long forgotten.
Back in season two, when Daenerys’s dragons were just little lizards, they were taken and hidden in The House of the Undying, a kind of sorcerer’s den. Dany walked through an illusion as she searched for them. She found herself in a place she’d never been: the Red Keep’s throne room. The castle’s roof was destroyed, open to the winter sky, and white flakes dusted the Iron Throne as she reached for it. But she hesitated—hearing a cry call out to her.
She left, finding Khal Drogo and her unborn son Rheago waiting for her beyond the Wall, tucked away in the tent she had lived in with her late husband. She left them too, pushing forward to find her dragons.
Some fans point to this as indicative of her eventual defeat. Snow sat on the throne, while she turned away from it in pursuit of other things. Semiotics dictate that this suggests that Jon Snow will rule the Seven Kingdoms rather than Dany. Or perhaps that the march of the White Walkers will reach that far south, and the whole kingdom will be lost to the Long Night. Others have asserted that this is just a reflection of what could come under Cersei’s rule—she’ll blow up the Red Keep and the Night King will win.Other visions have been mostly centered around the past, via Bran who now stylizes himself as the Three-Eyed Raven. It’s not precisely clear whether or not he also has the power to see into the future, thought it’s clear his visiting of the past can effect it. Currently, it’s not really clear what role Bran is going to play in the coming season: his powers have mostly just been used to confirm a long-held theory, check in on the Night King, and terrorize his sister.
Game of Thrones has established itself as a master of sleight of hand when it comes to foreshadowing, even when it comes to clunky things like prophecies. Prophecies literally state precisely what is going to happen—which is something the show never gives away easily, but nevertheless features one prominent prophecy that the show seems to be following.
The Prince Who Was Promised is the Lord of Light’s chosen, meant to appear in the dread hour and chase away the darkness with his burning sword. The pronouns aren’t clear in High Valyrian, mind you, so gender is immaterial. What’s important is that Azor Ahai reborn “shall be born against amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.”
There’s a lot that can be interpreted there: Dany could be her, since she hatched her dragons from stone eggs amid her husband’s funeral pyre. Or it could be the Hound, born from his traumatic past with his brother and a hot hearth. What fans see as more likely is Jon Snow, with his having been brought back from the dead and because the second half of that prophecy involves him stabbing someone that he loves—cue the scene of him and “Dany” on a literal ship making eyes at each other.
Whether or not the Azor Ahai theory will be confirmed, there is one smaller prophecy that holds a significant sway on current events and it looks like it’s much more likely to be validated. Handed down by a witch rather than old wisdom and priests, this might solve half the issues the King in the North and the Dragon Queen currently face.
Cersei saw the death of all her children coming. She said as much during the season six premiere after Myrcella’s death in reference to her asking a witch to tell her fortune when she was just a girl. A less jaded, but nevertheless sassy Cersei bullied her friend into following her to Maggy the Frog’s hut on her father’s land. She was allowed three questions.
At the time she was promised to the prince, Rhaegar Targaryen–whether or not this was true or just an eventuality her father wanted—and she wanted to know when they would marry.
The witch replied that she wouldn’t marry the prince. She would marry the king. She would be queen, for a time, until another one would come along, younger and more beautiful. She would cast her down and take everything she loved.
Cersei asked her second question, “Will the king and I have children?”
“The king will have twenty children, you will have three.”
While this didn’t make sense to Cersei at the time, she certainly got the message when Maggy continued saying that her children’s crowns will be gold… along with their shrouds.
All of Maggy’s prophecy came true: Cersei married Robert when he was crowned king after his coup against the Targaryens. He sired countless, maybe twenty even, bastards while Cersei only had three children. Those three royal children died before her—gold their crowns, and gold their funeral shrouds.
What’s important here is that if Cersei is really pregnant again as she claims to be, then this breaks the prophecy. What seems more likely is that she’s merely manipulating Jaime back to her side once more with the promise of fatherhood again.
What’s still left out is that third question—like a third wish. In the show, the scene ends as Cersei stares at the cackling witch, but she hadn’t yet left. In the books, the witch has one more thing to say:
“And when your tears have drowned you, the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Valonqar is “the little brother” in Valyrian for those of you who haven’t brushed up. Should the show flash back again to the witch’s hut, perhaps she’ll deliver this final message to foreshadow Cersei’s fate. She’s got two brothers at the moment—one in the opposition, and one who has a history of murdering pyromaniac rulers. Unless “the little brother” is meant in a more general sense.
Whatever prophecy is fulfilled in the coming season, this one hangs over Cersei heavily.