King’s Landing is officially screwed, and it’s all pretty much thanks to one woman: Cersei Lannister, the newly crowned Mad Queen.
This whoooole mess all largely started because of her successful plot to kill her husband, Robert Baratheon, and enthrone her own psychopathic lovechild, Joffrey. When her last son and heir is made king and he starts to appear too influenced by Margaery Tyrell, Cersei does not retire to her family home. No, she wants in on all the action, so she arms a fanatic sect and squanders every last bit of her political capital. When that inevitably backfires and she is up against the wall—well, not THE Wall—she has Maester Pycelle pecked to death by Qyburn‘s little birds and destroys a whole slew of courtiers, her uncle, her cousin, most of the Tyrells and the Sparrows by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor with Wildfire.
You know who else thought of doing that?
The Mad King.
You know who stopped him by killing him?
Viewing the carnage from his chambers, King Tommen knows who is behind it, but more importantly he knows that his rule is a sham. Every move that he has made has been countered or manipulated by his mother. And now one of the “twin pillars” of his theocratic vision (at least the vision implanted in him by The High Sparrow) has been destroyed, along with his wife, whom he indeed adored.
He knows it’s all downhill from there, so rather than watch it all slowly fall apart, he calmly removes his crown and dives out the window. The king’s landing, indeed.
I’d like to think that sweet, naive, oblivious Tommen had a moment of clarity and also knew that his suicide would be his greatest revenge against his mother, the architect of all this madness. Cersei has always tried fiercely to protect her children, despite the prophecy that they would all die before her. She has tried to protect them, but it can never be said that she made real sacrifices for them. It was always someone else who had to pay. And so she loses her final child and heir, and gets the throne, and I wonder if that was in fact her heart’s true desire was all along.
Jaime, watching in the wings as Cersei sits in the gloomiest coronation ceremony ever, seems to be wondering about it. He has to be blaming her for Tommen’s death (who was his son, too, though he cannot claim it). But beyond all this, he now must feel utterly duped. By killing the Mad King to spare the city from a full Wildfire holocaust, Jaime earned his ignominious nicknames, Kingslayer and Oathbreaker. He has had to carry that shame and now, the person he loves and has fought for so completely, has proved she is perhaps worse than the Mad King himself.
After all, the Mad King was truly insane and paranoid. He believed that by burning the city down, he would be reborn as a true dragon. It was one part delusion, one part desperate impulse. But Cersei…Cersei’s atrocity is completely pre-meditated, an act of cold, murderous arrogance. There has been speculation that the whole Jaime/Cersei narrative arc must culminate in him killing her. She has become so twisted by hate at this point, there really is no redeeming her. She even has Ser Strong acting as Septa Unella‘s personal torturer.
As the monk Ray noted, violence is a disease…a highly contagious one, in this case. Cersei’s hatred is matched by another heirless matriarch now. Olenna Tyrell mourns not just the loss of her son and grandchildren, but the end of the Tyrell line. Speaking with Ellaria Sand in Dorne, Olenna makes clear that her remaining purpose in life is to see Cersei and her own legacy utterly destroyed.
It was great to see the Queen of Thorns school those nasty Sand Snakes when they spoke out of line and out of turn. Sadly, I think it may be the last time we really get to see her in action. Now that Dorne and Highgarden are supplying naval power to Daenerys Targaryen, with no other Tyrells in the picture it seems unlikely Olenna will get much screen time.
I’m pretty crushed about that. The Tyrells were probably my favorite family to watch on the show, but in the final two seasons, it’s probably going to be all about the Starks and Targaryens (and the one figure who unites both families, Jon Snow).
The Starks will have their hands full with the war to come at the Wall. Daenerys is heading straight for the Iron Throne. Looks like Bran’s vision of a dragon’s shadow over King’s Landing is soon to come true. Cersei may live to see that day, but not long after, I think.
Read my take on the antics of those Starks up north and the coming family reunion.
Read my take on Daenerys’ big naval push, which probably won’t go as smoothly as expected.