A battle at Winterfell, dragons in the north, Jon and Daenerys leading the charge. There is so much to be excited about. But there’s also a tragedy laced through this first extended peek at the season. And a lot of that comes from our resident evil queen, Cersei Lannister. There have been theories for years now that history would repeat itself in the form of another mad ruler, like Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, Daenerys’s foolish father who nearly burned King’s Landing to the ground with wildfire. Would Dany, imbued with her own fiery ancestral rage, go bad, too? There have been times throughout the series where it seemed she could turn that way, but now that we’re close to the finish line and she’s got Jon Snow – who, unbeknownst to her, also has the blood of the Mad King in his veins – by her side, it seems she’s fully centered in the light. But what if she was never the Mad Queen apparent, and it was Cersei all along?
This is also an old theory, but the trailer for season 8 definitely points in that direction. We see two very choice shots of the Lannister queen, who had her grim coronation after the death of her son in season six. In the first, we see her in King’s Landing, wearing her trademark black velvet dress with gold armor. Her hair has grown out a bit, and she appears quite smug. This is the Cersei we’ve always known, comforted by her own power, surrounded by evil-doing men – The Mountain and Qyburn – to do her bidding.
But the next shot is where things get interesting. In a voiceover, we hear Jon say, “Our enemy doesn’t tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel.” He’s referring, of course, to the White Walkers and their army of wights. But the final part – “doesn’t feel” – plays directly before a shot of a melancholy Cersei, sipping from a chalice of red wine as tears form in her eyes and her lips quiver.
If you recall, Cersei claimed to be pregnant in season seven, and turned down wine when Tyrion offered it to her. A lot of fans assumed Cersei was lying about her pregnancy to Tyrion and Jaime, the father, a way of garnering sympathy or keeping them on her side. But does that logic actually track for Cersei? She’s duplicitous, cruel, selfish, and manipulative, but is she a liar? And moreover, would she actually tell a fib that big to Jaime, the brother she adores and has devoted her life to?
I’ve always personally believed that she was indeed pregnant, something seemingly confirmed in the scripts for season 7. As Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair uncovered when reading the scripts at the Writers Guild of America West in Los Angeles – which is open to the public – when Cersei first tells Jaime about her pregnancy, the script reads: “She nods, it’s true. [. . .] Her happiness is contagious. They get another chance at family. This time with no one standing in their way.” Why wouldn’t the script admit she was lying if we are getting her internal thoughts? There would be no reason to hide it if it was intended as direction for the actors, or it could at least play it coy were it meant to be ambiguous.
Later, when Cersei refuses wine from Tyrion, the script reads: “Tyrion sees what he sees and knows what it means. He can hardly believe it, but knows it to be true. [. . .] She stays silent for too long, long enough to tell him that he’s right. And once she knows he knows, she can think of nothing else to say.” Again, this seems to confirm that Cersei is indeed pregnant in season seven.
So why is she drinking wine in the season eight trailer? It’s possible that after Jaime abandoned her in the season seven finale, she stopped caring about the baby. But it’s even more likely that she suffers a miscarriage, either due to her aging, incestuous womb finally catching up with her, or out of grief or some yet-to-be-seen trauma. Perhaps she even gives herself an abortion.
Without a baby on the way, and without Jaime on her side, what does Cersei have to fight for anymore? The rest of her children are dead, her kingdom despises her, and aside from her childless brothers, the Lannister bloodline is all but wiped out. After her sept-burning in season six, her disinterest in dragons in season seven, and her growing isolation, will Jaime once again have to kill a mad ruler before they can reign terror on Westeros?