By Katherine J Igoe published
Spoilers for Game of Thrones episode 3. Well, now we know—the Night King is dead, as are his thousands upon thousands of undead minions, so now we're off to battle Cersei Lannister in "the last war," as Dany calls it. Our main characters are readying themselves to fight the actual villain of season 8—Cersei, who's already shown just how crafty and evil she can be.
So sneaky, Game of Thrones—it's just like the show creators and author George R.R. Martin to give us a huge misdirect like that. The more we focus on the Night King and his stupid undead face, the more we miss that he's not actually the true antagonist. And the conflict with Cersei is getting three episodes, whereas the Night King got only one—so the showrunners are giving us a big hint that the Mad Queen is going to be very tough to kill.
Initially, I was a bit surprised that more key people didn't die in the big battle: ALL the Dothraki die, but somehow Samwell Tarly, who can't fight for sh*t, lives?? But now I think I understand that they all have "plot armor" (a.k.a. they have to live in order for them to advance to their ultimate destinies). In other words, I think we're far from mourning the last main character death on the show.
More importantly, I think Cersei has something up her sleeve. Just look at how smug she looks in the episode four trailer:
Now, this could simply be Cersei feeling pretty proud of herself for hiring mercenaries the Golden Company, having a fleet of ships thanks to lover Euron Greyjoy, keeping her extra Lannister soldiers she didn't send North, readying those two scorpion weapon things that injured one of Dany's dragons in last season, and sending Bronn off to kill her two brothers (and shaking off that pesky prophecy that her little brother might kill her).
But I also suspect that she's thinking ahead. Everyone who's just fought off the dead is probably napping right now, and absolutely is weakened from an insane and seemingly unwinnable battle. I also think that she's probably going to rely on an old trick that's worked for her in the past: That's right, I'm totally calling that Cersei's been creating some extra wildfyre she can use on all her enemies, just like in the Sept of Baelor. Only this time, she's counting that it'll finally be the thing to burn Dany and her dragons. Regular fire vs. wildfyre: Which one is stronger?? I know which one Cersei is banking on.
The original theory of Cersei-as-true-villain (with alllllll her potential weapons) was initially posited by YouTuber Emergency Awesome, which reminded us that Cersei basically knows how to out-evil literally everyone else on the show. She's willing to do anything, and yes I mean anything, to stay in power.
The show has telegraphed pretty clearly that Tyrion's brilliant mind is going to help in the big conflict against his sister—only a Lannister can defeat another, super-evil Lannister. So he and Jaime may be the only hope against the Mad Queen. I highly doubt that Bronn will kill them both, given his loyalty to the Lannister brothers, so I predict it's going to be a dirty, dragged-out, family battle to conclude Game of Thrones.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributing editor at Marie Claire online who covers celebrity, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. She also edits the Couples + Money series, so she’s always looking for volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego".
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