Words Have Meaning: Spoilers, Speculation and What-Not

You guys keep waiting for me to write about something other than Game of Thrones, but…no, that’s not happening. I rather enjoy being obsessed with Game of Thrones. I seem to function best when I’m obsessed with something.

We’ve heard who’s playing Sam Tarly’s family members. Of course we found out well before now that Ian McShane was not playing Randyll Tarly, but some people seem to have missed that and now everyone’s discussing, yet again, what Ian McShane’s role may be. I like the Elder Meribald role, but I don’t have a good argument against Howland Reed. Mostly, I just want to hear less about casting and more about what happens.

Which brings us to my latest annoyance, which is that Razor Harris at Winter is Coming calls his poorly argued speculation a SPOILER on Tommen. As a grammarian, I take offense at this flagrant abuse of the word SPOILER. It’s not a spoiler. It’s an idea that a fan has decided to share.

What does this mean? Has Tommen undergone a religious awakening? Could we have a mini-Baelor the Blessed on our hands? At this point in the story, anything’s possible. Book readers have no idea what Tommen will do, as we have nothing from the books to base our theories on. However, I will leave you with one of my favorite theories: that Cersei will be killed by her own son—Tommen—thus fulfilling the Prophecy of the Valonqar.

According to that prophecy, which we learn about in A Feast for Crows, the Valonqar (Valyrian for younger brother) would be the one to kill Cersei.

 And when your tears have drowned you,the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.

If you remember, Game of Thrones Season 5 opened up with the very first flashback in the show’s history, when Maggy the Frog delivered part of this prophecy to a young Cersei. She left out the bit about the Valonqur [sic], but there’s still time. Could we be seeing the makings of a pious Tommen who will be a puppet of the High Sparrow? A puppet who then sentences his own mother to death for her crimes against the Faith of the Seven? Ah, it’s fun being a Game of Thrones fan, yeah?

Oh, Seven Hells and gods be good.

This is not a spoiler. Showing pictures of what they’re filming in Girona maaaaay be considered a spoiler, depending on one’s threshold for defining spoilers, but sharing your pet theory of what certain characters will do is NOT A SPOILER. If I tell you about stuff that’s already happened in the books but not shown on HBO, that’s a spoiler. If I tell you my predictions for what will happen in the last two books, that’s not a spoiler. Words have meaning. That’s why we bother communicating with words at all.

The prophecy from Maggy the Frog is a topic of much speculation among fans, your blogger included. Cersei has spent all her life since that day assuming Tyrion is the valonqar, but many of us fans think Jaime is the valonqar. I’ll tell you why we think Jaime is the best candidate for the one who kills Cersei.

The first reason is structural. Cersei is assuming that Margaery Tyrell is the younger and more beautiful queen who’ll ruin everything, and she’s fucking everyone’s shit up according to the belief that Margaery needs to be destroyed, but I think we can all see Dany is the real threat to her reign, yes? It would be even more ironic, for even more powerful reasons, if she spent all this time attacking Tyrion only to have Jaime be the one who kills her.

(And before anyone starts quibbling over birth order: twins are not a tie in metaphysical and legal questions concerning which siblings. Cersei came out first. She’s the older twin. That means, for the purposes of the prophecy, that she has two younger brothers, not one.)

Cersei looks up at Tommen and says:  "I would burn cities to the ground."

Cersei looks up at Tommen and says: “I would burn cities to the ground.”

Another reason is emotional: Cersei is starting to remind Jaime of Aerys. We’ve seen a little bit of foreshadowing on the show of Cersei wanting to burn everything to the ground, but in A Feast for Crows, we see a number of times where Jaime mentally (or verbally!) compares his sister to the king he killed. Yeah, he goes there. Repeatedly. If he thinks she’s a threat to the people the way Aerys was, then who’s to say he won’t kill her? He’s already fed up with her for fucking other men. He’s all done trying to be her lover and loyal twin. If he thinks she’s about to do what Aerys tried to do, and nobody else is about to stop her, then he very well may wring her neck just like he slit Aerys’s throat.

And of all the people who could fill the role of the valonqar, Tommen is among the least appropriate. For one, the prophecy suggests that all of Cersei’s children will die before her. “Gold will be the crowns, and gold, their shrouds.” We’re pretty sure Cersei will see them all in their gold shrouds. Tommen can’t very well kill his mother if he’s already dead. Second, the valonqar will be someone defined by his role as little brother, according to Cersei. She doesn’t see Tommen as Joffrey’s little brother, she sees him as her baby boy.

Oh and also, Tommen in the books is a sweet, innocent little boy who loves his mommy and enjoys her company. He doesn’t appreciate when she threatens Margaery, but she’s still his mommy and he still needs her love. He’s not a killer in the making. I really think that Cersei’s death will be a sufficiently important event in the books that D&D will have the same person kill her on the show. TV!Tommen isn’t exactly a developing matricide, either. He was really upset when Cersei was arrested! He may want to slap her, but he’s not ready to throw his mother away.

I also see a lot of people predicting that Jaime will commit a murder-suicide. I disagree with that, too. I think Jaime will kill his sister, and then he’ll live a very long time. But in order to show you all why I think so, I’ll need to finish my essay.

UPDATE: I’ve struck out the above paragraphs because I’ve changed my mind about the Valonqar prophecy. I no longer think it’s Jaime. That puts me in the minority in fandom, but honestly: I don’t think it’s Jaime. I’m not exactly sure who’ll kill Cersei, but whoever it is will have his own reasons for killing her, and those reasons will be more important than Cersei’s reaction to meeting her killer. Jaime has other things to do with his time.