In Which Cersei Protects Her Children

Remember Episode 1 of this season? Remember meeting Maggy the Frog, and hearing her prophecy? We heard the parts concerning Cersei’s children, but not the last part, which pertained to Cersei herself?

A lot happened in Episode 7 last night; some of it serious, some of it silly. The part with Bronn was silly, but I still want to understand just what the fuck is going on. I think Tyene Sand’s message was not about her vanity (if her sisters’ eye-rolling was any indication), but about her ability to threaten and intimidate. What she was really saying to Bronn was: You have no idea who you’re dealing with. I own you.

That out of the way, though, plenty of other storylines are about to come to a head. Sansa is trying to reach Theon, but obviously he’ll need more time. He said it himself: it can always get worse. As long as Ramsay frightens him more than Sansa needs him, he’ll keep on playing the part of Loyal Reek, Rhymes With Freak. Now that the kindly old servant woman’s been flayed, Sansa might be thinking she’s on her own. I’m interested in that metal object she picks up off the wall while Ramsay’s talking to her. Is that a key? A tool? A weapon? Anything can be a weapon if you know how to use it as such, but Sansa has no training in combat. What exactly is that thing?

I see a metal perpendicular object. Maybe a key?

I see a metal perpendicular object. Maybe a key?

She’s not all alone, though; now we have confirmation that Brienne was the one who sent the message about lighting the candle in the broken tower. Of course Ramsay’s getting in the way, but Brienne is still keeping a watchful eye on Winterfell. I’m interested to know whether it was Catelyn or Jaime who told her about the broken tower. If Ramsay knows about the instructions that Sansa received about getting help (and it appears that he knows), then he’ll keep on blocking her access to the broken tower, and so Brienne will most likely wait until Stannis’s army invades and shit gets real enough to keep the Boltons occupied. Which will lead her to the choice of whether to prioritize killing Stannis or looking after Sansa.

We also have confirmation that Melisandre intends to burn Shireen Baratheon. What surprised me was how much restraint Stannis showed in his response. He’s caught between the need to protect his child and his dependence on the Red Woman. Eventually that conflict will make the situation untenable, and Stannis will have to figure out which option destroys him the least.

Stannis suggests leeches. Melisandre insists there's only one option.

Stannis suggests leeches. Melisandre insists there’s only one option.

If my most urgent matter of curiosity is what the hell Sansa picked up from the snow, my second biggest question for the episode has to do with the Lannister twins and their remaining children. We see what Queen Motherfucker is doing to King’s Landing in her quest to destroy the Tyrells, and we see her lying her ass off to Tommen about her role in Loras and Margaery’s arrests. Oh yes. Oh fucking yes, she is a shameless, manipulative piece of work.

The thing is with Cersei, though, she’s not lying about all that much. Most of what she says to Tommen, she really believes. She genuinely, truly thinks that her quest to destroy the Tyrells is protecting her children from harm; she thinks she’s defeating the prophecy. Her idea of what harms her children is different from what most parents would see as danger; she thinks that separating Tommen from his new wife is in his best interests, and she thinks she’s acting in Myrcella’s best interests by sending Jaime to separate their daughter from the Martells. And perhaps the Sand Snakes really do pose a serious threat to Myrcella’s safety! There are good ways and bad ways to respond to threats on a defenseless person’s life, though, and neither of the twins are known for their thoughtful, sensitive approach to conflict resolution. In fact, Cersei may be the only Lannister who’s more reckless than Jaime.

We cut straight from Cersei and Tommen to Jaime and Myrcella, and through the latter encounter, Jaime is nothing but confusion. He seems to have spent the whole journey thinking Myrcella would respond to his arrival by jumping into his arms and calling him Daddy, and he’s genuinely thrown to see her doing the opposite. “You don’t know me,” she says. She’s staying in Dorne with Trystane, she says, and Jaime is bewildered. He spends that entire scene without the slightest clue of how to deal with Myrcella and her adopted family.

Jaime: "I don't understand." Myrcella: "Of course you don't."

Jaime: “I don’t understand.” Myrcella: “Of course you don’t.”

Let’s rewind a few minutes, though, and go back to Cersei with Tommen. Let’s look at this one thing, among many things that Cersei says to her remaining son. At the end of the fourth season, we saw Cersei telling Tywin that she would “burn our House to the ground” before she let her father separate her from her son. Now she’s promising Tommen that she’s willing to burn cities to the ground to keep him and his sister from harm.

Cersei: "I would burn cities to the ground."

Cersei: “I would burn cities to the ground.”

When was the last time a ruler of the Seven Kingdoms threatened to burn a city to the ground? Not even plural cities, just one. What city was it, who was the ruler threatening to burn it, and what happened to them, I ask?