Who goes back to King’s Landing?

Additional thoughts on my new theory of the valonqar prophecy:

Now that I’ve developed my idea of Loras as Cersei’s killer, I actually like this theory better than my previous default of Valonqar Jaime.

I liked the idea of Jaime for a long time because there was a little thrill in extending the definition of “little brother” to Cersei’s tall handsome twin. (Younger by just a few minutes, but it still counts!) It would be the most savage irony if Jaime killed her! She was thinking Tyrion would be her killer all this time, and she basically made it a self-fulfilling prophecy by abusing Tyrion mercilessly all his life, but then he doesn’t even fulfill the prophecy! No, it turns out to be her lover and other half, the one she thought would always be on her side, who finally does her in! I liked that.

However, I like the idea even more of Jaime staying with Brienne in the northern provinces, and abandoning his army to help the Starks, and having a long, happy life to live after the war is over. I really love the idea of Jaime having that honest family life he could never have with Cersei. All that is not mutually exclusive with him being Cersei’s killer, but it is an awkward fit.

There were some logistical concerns that I never really ironed out in my version of the Valonqar Jaime idea. Such as: what brings him back to King’s Landing? I figured he’d go back because he heard Cersei was about to blow the place up, but really, even if someone knew of Cersei’s plans and sent him a raven, how would he manage to travel that far before she succeeded in blowing the place up? Really, why would he go back to King’s Landing? And how would that fit into his role in the last two books?

Then there’s the aspect of him walking away from having killed his sister. I don’t think he needs to do a murder-suicide, and I don’t think throttling his sister would ruin his life, but it would be an experience he could do without. No matter how much she needed to be killed, it would be traumatic for him to do so, and I think that whatever he and Brienne do to resolve the Lady Stoneheart conflict will basically top off his quota of emotional trauma for the last two books. I realize this is ASOIAF, but at some point any further punishment to a given character just becomes shock value, and I honestly don’t think GRRM is fucking with us where Jaime is concerned. He loves Jaime too much for that.

Whereas, with Loras, those questions are much easier to answer. He goes back to King’s Landing because that’s where his job is, that’s where much of his family is, and he needs to show them all he didn’t die on Dragonstone. There’s not much of a psychological struggle for him in killing Cersei because she’s always been an asshole to him. There’s still a struggle, in that she’s, just a little bit, one of the people the Kingsguard are supposed to protect, so Loras is breaking his oaths by strangling her, but it’s not like he’s killing someone he thought was the love of his life up until recently.

Also with Loras, I don’t mind if he dies soon after. Not that I don’t like Loras, but I’m not optimistic about the Tyrells surviving the series. I’m not sure they’ll ever recover from the mistake of attaching themselves to the Lannisters.

Finally, I’m much more open to discussing the possibility of King’s Landing getting destroyed if Jaime isn’t among the body count. I’m still highly skeptical of the Chekhov’s Wildfire idea, and I’m extremely ambivalent about the idea of KL not being there at the end, but if it’s a separate issue from certain characters’ life expectancies, then I’m more willing to entertain the possibility.