Warning: This post is dark and full of Game of Thrones spoilers.
Out with the old and in with the new. There was plenty that felt outright unsatisfying about Game of Thrones‘ latest episode “The Bells,” but the moment that will probably leave fans with mixed emotions is the way it chose to kill two of the series’ most blatant villains. As the Battle of King’s Landing raged and Daenerys unleashed literal hellfire onto the city, we watched as the Red Keep crumbled and Cersei tried to escape with her life. But that was never meant to be. Cersei did, in fact, die on Game of Thrones but her death wasn’t entirely how fans might have imagined it.
Cersei Lannister is dead. Jaime Lannister is also dead. The twins and lovers left the world as they came into it, together. As much as we saw their deaths coming from a mile away, we never thought it would happen like this. In the final moments of the episode, Cersei and Jaime meet for the last time in the courtyard showing the map of Westeros. Jaime is badly wounded after fighting and killing Euron, but all he wants to do is escape with Cersei. As the castle crumbles around them thanks to Dany and Drogon burning it down, the pair make it to the crypts. Seeing all the exits blocked by rubble, Cersei panics, telling Jaime she doesn’t want it to end like this.
“Nothing else matters,” Jaime tells her, trying to comfort her as the walls collapse around them and they are crushed.
The couple’s love and death was deeply romanticized, with the Lannister song “The Rains of Castamere” playing slowly in their final moments. For the first time, they could mourn the death of a child out in the open, with no one to judge them. They were literally crushed by rocks, yes, but it also felt like everything they had done in their lives, good or bad, also crashed on their heads at that moment. The weight of their choices was the way they had to die.
While Cersei and Jaime’s deaths felt satisfying in that sense, it also felt wholly unsatisfying because GoT fans had always expected the valonqar prophecy to be proven true for Cersei. We thought Cersei would die at the hands of her younger brother, like Jaime or Tyrion. Over the course of the series, we considered other valonqar candidates: Arya, Sansa, The Hound, Dany. All were younger siblings with a reason to kill her. But no, no gruesome death at the hands of someone else. Instead, GoT half-confirms the valonqar prophecy, with Cersei in tears and Jaime wrapping his hands around her face and neck not to kill her, but to comfort her in the face of imminent death.
It wasn’t the most satisfying end for these two, but I’m glad that it happened. There was no way either of them would ever survive Dany’s wrath or escape the comeuppance for their crimes over the years. The writing was on the wall for Cersei and Jaime a long time ago, and now it’s finally come to pass.