Regarding the valonqar prophecy, perhaps I need to explore some alternatives. I seem to be the only one who thinks Jaime will be the valonqar, but then get on with his life. My fellow Jaime/Brienne enthusiasts sneer up an unholy storm at the idea of Jaime being the one to kill Cersei, possibly because they’ve spent a bit too much time “debating” with Twincest advocates who insist on a murder/suicide. (“Because, sure, that’d be so very romantic,” said the Monster with a strenuous eye-roll.) Meanwhile, people outside of the shipping divide seem to think Jaime will be the valonqar, and his killing Cersei will lead straight to his own death. Probably not by suicide, but by his presence in King’s Landing when the wildfire all explodes (and I’m not convinced there is even any wildfire still there following the Blackwater battle), or by some other apocalyptic event befalling the city, or some shit happening to Jaime that he would’ve avoided if he’d been somewhere else.
For example, Queen Regent NFriel of Wars and Politics of ASOIAF handles the question thus, today:
Ultimately, though, I don’t see how anyone other than Jaime would really deliver that narrative punch for Cersei. Tyrion is the brother she always despised and distrusted, the one she now believes murdered her beloved firstborn and is looking to kill her too. Jaime, by contrast – Jaime is her other half, her twin in every way imaginable, her lover, the father of her children, the person she has been closest to literally from before birth. Even after their falling out in AFFC, what does Cersei write to Jaime? “Come at once. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.” They came into this world together, they will go out together, as Cersei once mused.
So what would destroy Cersei the most? Her beloved twin being her downfall and death. Anyone else – well sure, they could kill her children, even kill her, but what would any of them mean to Cersei? Most if not all of them are her enemies anyway, and those who are not she simply doesn’t know (people like Bran or Rickon – Rickon, who, by the way, is all of maybe 5 right now). Like Arryk and Erryk Cargyll, I think these twins will be each others’ deaths, and like those historical brothers they will die with tears on their cheeks.
I agree with everything she says up to the part where Jaime dies soon after. I think what’ll happen is Jaime high-tails it back to the capital to keep his sister from blowing the place up (and Cersei is assuredly being set up as a Mad King-type figure), and he kills her because it needs to be done, and then…he’ll ultimately get on with his life. Maybe he’ll have to cry on Brienne’s shoulder for a while, but he will live long enough to hold their babies, and probably even grow old with her. I see Jaime living a long and surprisingly normal life following the transition to whatever the new regime is in Westeros.
Am I the only person who sees it happening this way?
Maybe I need some other candidates for the valonqar. (The idea of “wrap his hands around your pale white throat” is complicated as Jaime no longer has plural hands, so if that part could be open to interpretation, then the “little brother” aspect is, too.) I am still, really really really, not feeling the idea of, say, Undead Tommen being the one who kills her. The person who wrote to the Queen Regent suggests Tommen as a wight after the Others descend on the city, and I guess that’s logistically feasible, but then if Tommen’s been turned by the White Walkers, then…where’s the emotional impact? Where’s the savage irony? If Tommen was reanimated by Qyburn in similar fashion to what was done with Gregor Clegane, okay, that’d be plenty fucked up, but then what would ever possess Qyburn to do that with Tommen? And I really can’t see Cersei asking Qyburn to reanimate her son the way he did with the Mountain. If Tommen dies, I think Cersei, batshit as she is, would recognize that there’s no bringing back her beloved son. What they did with the Mountain is not what she’d want for any of her children. I just can’t think of a good way for Tommen to be the one who fills the valonqar role.
Arya, maybe? She’s defined as “little brother” by the Faceless Men, and Cersei’s probably assuming Arya’s been dead all this time so it’d be a shock if she suddenly popped up and wrung Cersei’s neck. Still doesn’t fill the same emotional space as Jaime killing her, but it would be entertaining, and Cersei’s been on Arya’s list for a while.
I have another idea, though, that I suggested just once on Twitter and only fleshed out a tiny bit. Maybe now’s a good time to bat it around some more.
The idea is Loras Tyrell as the valonqar.
On the show, there are just the two Tyrell siblings, so Loras isn’t anyone’s little brother, but in the books, Loras is the family’s third son, not the first, so nobody cares if Loras never marries, and he joins the Kingsguard following the Blackwater battle.
First things out of the way, of course we know Loras is someone Cersei’s seen as an enemy for a long time now, so him being the killer also doesn’t fill the same emotional space as Valonqar Jaime, but it could be effective for different reasons.
This is another of those areas where the show leaves out some material from the books, but GRRM is the one who decides who kills Cersei, so here we go: the Tyrells are basically a younger, less pathological version of the Lannisters. Even on the show, we see the image of Margaery becoming a sort of echo of Cersei (look at her costuming in Season 5).
The parallels are, briefly, thus: we start with Tywin Lannister, a high lord and the head of the wealthiest family in Westeros, who serves as Hand of the King and is determined to make his daughter the next queen. That daughter is Cersei. He also has a son, Jaime, who has weird sexual proclivities and joins the Kingsguard. The son and daughter have an unusually close relationship. That much speaks for itself.
Then we have Mace Tyrell, a high lord and the head of the second wealthiest family in Westeros. He serves as Hand of the King following Tywin’s death, and he makes sure his daughter, Margaery, becomes the new queen. He has a son, Loras, who has weird sexual proclivities and joins the Kingsguard.
Already, we see important differences. The Lannisters have no equivalent of Lady Olenna, and the Tyrells don’t have a Tyrion. It’s not quite a 1:1 correlation. Also of note is that Mace Tyrell is not a fearsome battle commander (or a vicious war criminal) like Tywin. However, it should be noted that Book!Mace is nowhere near as ridiculous as TV!Mace. He’s highly ambitious, perhaps a bit full of himself, but he’s not comic relief.
Meanwhile, Margaery is a healthy, reasonable young lady who’s doing an excellent job of bonding with her little king, whereas Cersei is a walking nightmare who never forgave Robert for whispering Lyanna’s name in her ear. Loras is merely gay rather than incestuous, but even there, I get a vibe that if Loras preferred the ladies, he’d totally be fucking Margaery. They just seem a bit too into each other, for a brother and sister. They’re very close in age and extremely similar in appearance; Cersei looks at Loras dancing with Margaery and is annoyed that they look even more alike than she and Jaime. They could be twins, she thinks!
The similarities between Jaime and Loras, as individuals, are even more striking. Loras is a nearly-unmatched jouster whereas Jaime was a near-unbeatable swordsman, but still: legendary fighters. (Although they both know how it feels to lose a fight to Brienne!) Jaime became Lord Commander of Joffrey’s Kingsguard following Barristan Selmy’s dismissal, while Loras was the Lord Commander of Renly’s Rainbow Guard for the short time such a thing existed. And now they’re together in Tommen’s Kingsguard, and Jaime even thinks to himself, almost in as many words, that Loras is basically a younger version of him. We don’t get that idea on the show, but it’s clear in the text. (Also, it’s just occurred to me that the Kingsguard is also known as a brotherhood, which means Loras’s role as a new KG knight makes him a sort of “little brother” to Jaime and the older KG knights.) In A Feast for Crows, Jaime is trying to be more present for Tommen, and he thinks it’s totally fine for Loras to teach him how to joust, which Cersei doesn’t like. Jaime thinks Loras would be a perfectly acceptable influence in Tommen’s life.
Last we heard about Loras in the books, he’d supposedly been severely burned with boiling oil on Dragonstone and wasn’t expected to live much longer, but so far he’s holding on longer than was expected of him. He may yet pull through.
If Loras ends up being the one to kill Cersei, that kills two birds: it allows Martin to follow his Mad King/Cersei foreshadowing to its conclusion, and it completes the parallel between Loras and Jaime. Loras becomes the young Kingsguard knight who kills his ruler to stop her from destroying the city. She thought he was dead or dying by that point, so it’s a shock when he comes back and wraps his hands around her pale white throat.
Meanwhile, it allows Jaime to keep on ignoring his sister while he rides around the Riverlands/Vale/North with Brienne, helping the Starks get back to power.
Yeah. There’s my alternative to Valonqar Jaime.
ETA, 9/26/17: Clearly, this theory didn’t hold up. With the addition of Season 7, and a re-reading of certain chapters from AFFC, I have chosen a new, better Valonqar candidate. Still isn’t Jaime.