The penultimate season of HBO’s Game of Thrones begins Sunday, and if you’re one of the many, many fans of the show, you’re probably as eager to return to King’s Landing as Queen Cersei Lannister is to keep it.
Cersei’s path to the Iron Throne was paved with blood — and too often, it was one of her loved ones who paid the price for her ambition. Her monstrous eldest son, Joffrey, met his end by a poison plot largely orchestrated by House Tyrell. Her innocent daughter, Myrcella, died because of a literal kiss of death, delivered from Cersei’s enemies in Dorne. Her youngest, Tommen, committed suicide after his mother murdered hundreds of her enemies at once — including Tommen’s wife and spiritual leader.
Now that the Iron Throne is finally hers, she’ll have to keep her wits about her if she wants to defend it from her long list of rivals.
Whether she realizes it or not, the deck is stacked against Cersei getting a happy ending — here are the three key reasons why.
The saying goes “a Lannister always pays his debts.” Unfortunately for the queen (and de facto head of house), the family coffer has been running on empty for quite some time. It’s the reason why the house sought a strategic alliance with House Tyrell, and for multiple seasons, the Lannister rule in King’s Landing has been made possible in large part because of the Tyrells’ coin and soldiers.
But now that Queen Cersei has murdered the two grandchildren of the house, it’s quite likely she’ll no longer be able to rely on Tyrell coin.
And with Olenna Tyrell, the head of the house, seeking company with the Sands in Dorne, Cersei can count on the fact that her most worthy adversary will use her deep pockets to ensure the Lannisters’ enemies spare no expense on their road to revenge.
Her brother has no tolerance for mad despots
Jaime Lannister, Cersei’s brother and lover, earned the pejorative title of Kingslayer because he murdered Aerys Targaryen, the so-called “Mad King” of Westerns, to prevent him from using his stores of wildfire to burn innocent people to death.
That’s exactly the weapon Cersei used when she murdered the High Sparrow, his followers, the Tyrell children and countless more innocents in the season six finale.
Of course, Aerys was not the love of Jaime’s life, but the most misunderstood member of House Lannister may again have to choose between his happiness and the welfare of the realm.
Will the Kingslayer become Queenslayer next? Only time will tell.
Her city hates her
When Cersei marched her iconic walk of shame naked through the streets of King’s Landing in order to atone for sleeping with her family members, there didn’t seem to be a single Lannister supporter in sight.
That’s due in large part to the popularity of the High Sparrow, whose canny mix of populism and religious zealotry made him a true danger to Cersei. She’s never really made an effort to appeal to the people over whom her family has ruled.
Now that she’s murdered the beloved spiritual leader and many of his followers, it stands to reason that her approval rating among her subjects has never been lower.
Those people, filled with rage over their loathed queen’s murderous rampage, may roll out the red carpet for anyone they believe will liberate King’s Landing from Lannister rule.
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