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Game of Thrones season 7: why “Eastwatch” might have just spelled tragedy for Cersei

Hint: It has to do with Maggy the Frog’s prophecy.

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Major spoilers follow for Game of Thrones season seven, episode five, “Eastwatch.”

In Game of Thrones’ seventh season, we’ve seen Cersei take major steps toward asserting her power and tightening her grip on the Iron Throne.

She sent her army to Highgarden and had her brother Jaime dispatch her longtime foe Olenna Tyrell. She personally ordered and oversaw the death of the last living Sand Snake and holds the Snakes’ mother, Ellaria Sand, captive.

She’s also forged an alliance with Euron Greyjoy, and thus commands a powerful navy.

And now, as a result of all the unapologetic sibling sex she’s been having with Jaime, she’s expecting a child — an heir to carry on her legacy. In “Eastwatch,” Cersei reveals her pregnancy to Jaime (it’s the reason Qyburn keeps examining her), something they both take as happy news.

But despite Cersei’s good fortune, it’s unlikely things are going to end well.

In season seven’s fourth episode, “The Spoils of War” (which marked the halfway point of the season), the tide against Cersei began to shift. Her army suffered a massive loss as Dany turned them into ash. And Jaime, having seen the full force of dragon wrath, isn’t happy with her.

If Cersei is indeed with child, a prophecy that was introduced on the show in season five — one that appears to be slowly coming true — all but guarantees a tragic finale for the queen.

In season five, Maggy the frog correctly predicted the death of Cersei’s children

When people speculate about Cersei’s future on Game of Thrones, the discussion often turns to an interaction she had with Maggy the Frog in season five. Maggy is a fortune-telling witch who appeared in the very first episode of that season, in a flashback: A much younger Cersei and one of her friends from Casterly Rock were out in the woods, muddying up their dresses in search of a witch. Cersei had heard that the witch, Maggy the Frog, could tell the future.

When Cersei and her friend found Maggy, Cersei demanded that Maggy tell her her future. Maggy obliged: “Three questions, you get,” she told Cersei. “You won’t like the answers.”

First, Cersei asked about her future prospects as a queen.

“You’ll be queen, for a time. Then comes another — younger, more beautiful — to cast you down and take all you hold dear,” Maggy told Cersei.

The “younger, more beautiful” queen could be Daenerys Targaryen. It’s what Game of Thrones has been building up to. But it’s hardly seems like a coincidence that Cersei has eliminated, or tried to eliminate, Margaery Tyrell and Sansa Stark: two younger, beautiful women who were set to marry her sons.

Next, Cersei asked about her future children.

“The king will have 20 children, and you will have three. Gold will be their crowns. Gold, their shrouds,” Maggy said.

The king’s 20 children could be Robert Baratheon’s bastards, and Cersei’s three children are interpreted as Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. Further, what Maggy said about gold shrouds could mean that Cersei’s kids would be royalty, and thus buried in royal funeral shrouds when they died.

The wrinkle here is that Maggy also said they’d have gold “crowns” — which could be literal, or could be a reference to the having golden hair. Myrcella never assumed the throne like her brothers Joffrey and Tommen did, so she never had a literal gold crown. But all three were blonde. And as you may recall from Game of Thrones’ very first season, Joffrey having blonde hair was what made Ned Stark realize that Joffrey wasn’t Robert Baratheon’s kid.

If you interpret gold crowns to mean blonde hair, what Maggy said checks out: Cersei had three kids with blonde hair, and all of them have died. Plus, Maggy said Cersei would have three kids, not four. So if Cersei’s pregnant, it could be a sign that something bad is in store for her pregnancy.

In George R.R. Martin’s books, Maggy’s prophecy includes the detail that Cersei will outlive and bury her children. That’s been true on Game of Thrones so far, but Maggy didn’t actually say it on the show. And because Game of Thrones has now diverged from its source material, there’s no hard rule that it will make Maggy’s prophecy come true.

But given what we’ve seen on the show so far, with the deaths of Cersei’s three children and multiple “younger, more beautiful” candidates challenging Cersei for the Iron Throne, the show’s writers seem to want to keep Maggy’s sinister prophecy intact.

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