Now that Game of Thrones’ Battle of Winterfell has been won, the biggest question heading into the second half of season eight is which characters have green eyes?
Melisandre set the green-eyed goose chase into motion in episode three, “The Long Night,” when she gave Arya Stark a much-needed pep talk during the undead’s siege. The Red Witch referenced their season three encounter, when she saw Arya’s future and declared, “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.”
Arya confirmed to Melisandre that since they last met, she did indeed shut some people’s eyes forever (translation: yes, she killed people). Specifically, she nodded to having killed a character with brown eyes — likely Walder Frey, whom she killed in the season six episode “The Winds of Winter.” But at the time of Arya and Melisandre’s mid-episode chat, she hadn’t dispatched any notable green- or blue-eyed beings that she could recall.
Of course, that changed by episode’s end, when Arya killed the blue-eyed Night King, destroying his army of the dead and saving the forces of the living.
So now it seems that Arya — who already has some of Game of Thrones’ most vaunted kills under her belt — has at least one more to pull off. She’s theoretically destined to ensure the demise of a character with green eyes. And it just so happens that Cersei Lannister, a villain on this series and the current occupant of the Iron Throne, happens to have a pair of sparkling emerald green eyes, both in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and on TV.
The “green eyes” theory that Arya will kill Cersei, explained
Fans’ sudden interest Arya killing someone with green eyes stems from a new interpretation of Melisandre’s previous revelation.
Before “The Long Night,” when Melisandre told Arya in season three that she would go on to shut brown eyes, blue eyes, and green eyes “forever,” fans wouldn’t have been wrong to interpret Melisandre’s statement as a reference to Arya’s then-future training to become a face-stealing assassin. It was certainly plausible that the different color eyes she referenced were just a general nod to the many people Arya would eventually kill.
But in the context of “The Long Night” and the Battle of Winterfell, the “blue eyes” that Melisandre mentioned could just as plausibly refer to those of the White Walkers and the Night King himself.
Arya’s dispatching of the Night King now makes it seem that instead of a more general “Arya will be responsible for many deaths” foretelling, Melisandre’s season three vision corresponds to the deaths of three specific people with different eye colors.
Arya’s two biggest kills to date have been the brown-eyed Walder Frey, the man behind season three’s Red Wedding, which brought about the deaths of Arya’s brother and mother; and the blue-eyed Night King. And when you take into account that there’s a startling lack of villainous main characters left on Game of Thrones (Cersei’s brothers Tyrion and Jaime have allied with the forces of the North for now), and how Arya and her sister Sansa have vowed to exact revenge on those who’ve betrayed her family, green-eyed Cersei Lannister seems ripe for Arya’s last big kill of the series.
But there’s another prophecy about Cersei’s death
Since Game of Thrones’ first season, Cersei Lannister and her family have inflicted so much pain on the Starks. A combination of Cersei’s plotting and the behavior of her terrible son Joffrey resulted in the death of Ned Stark and the exile of Arya and Sansa (which led to Sansa’s abuse at the hands of Ramsay Bolton). Cersei’s father Tywin orchestrated the Red Wedding. It was her brother Jaime who pushed Bran out of a tower window in the very first episode, an accident that left him paralyzed.
Arya killing Cersei would bring satisfaction and symmetry to the series, as Cersei and the Lannisters haven’t really met proper payback from the Starks. But it would also interfere with another prophecy.
Martin’s novels and Game of Thrones have both introduced a grim prophecy from a witch named Maggy the Frog. During the show’s fifth season, Maggy tells Cersei that she will have three children with gold “crowns” and “shrouds,” which has been interpreted by many to mean three blond children with her brother Jaime, and three golden burial shrouds since they would be of royal blood, as the assumed offspring of Cersei and the late King Robert Baratheon. Viewers of the show will recognize that part of this prophecy has already come true onscreen with the deaths of Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen.
But the deaths of Cersei’s children aren’t all that Maggy foretold. Maggy also explained how Cersei would be ousted from power.
“You’ll be queen, for a time. Then comes another — younger, more beautiful — to cast you down and take all you hold dear,” Maggy said.
Maggy’s prophecy can be interpreted in all kinds of ways, but usually the description of “younger and more beautiful” has been associated with Sansa or Daenerys Targaryen (or even Margaery Tyrell before her death) rather than Arya, who has been routinely depicted as the Stark family’s kid sister turned tomboy turned adept killer.
There’s also the matter of “all you hold dear,” which, when we’re talking about Cersei, seems to be either the Iron Throne or her one true love, her twin brother Jaime Lannister. And now that Jaime has deserted her and sided with her enemies, power is all she has left.
That leads us to one final suspect in the “younger and more beautiful” category: Jaime himself. Though Jaime and Cersei are twins, he’s younger than her, considered pretty hunky, and is pretty angry with her for not sending troops to the North. Is he possibly mad enough to kill her? (Additionally, in the books, Maggy actually tells Cersei she will die at the hands of “the valonqar,” which is Valyrian for “little brother,” lending some credence that Jaime or even Tyrion could kill her, but Maggy did not say this in her scene on the show.)
None of the details from Maggy’s prophecy align with what we know of Arya, with one exception: Arya can steal faces.
Though we haven’t seen her do it in a while, Arya could kill Jaime, steal his face, and then kill Cersei — which would be totally wild and require Arya turning on Jaime. But it’s something I would absolutely be here for. And in a roundabout way, it would fulfill both prophecies.
But we might be getting ahead of ourselves.
For starters, Daenerys Targaryen might have green eyes too, at least on TV (in Martin’s books, they’re violet). And who’s to say there won’t be a falling-out between Dany and the Starks as more people learn of Jon Snow’s true parentage? Further, Game of Thrones’ final season has already shown that prophecies may not always come to fruition, as Melisandre believed in season seven that Dany or Jon, not Arya, would be the one to kill the Night King.
However, she also acknowledged this precise uncertainty. “Prophecies are dangerous things,” Melisandre said at the time, warning that they aren’t always clear or what we believe them to be. And if I were Cersei, I would hope that Melisandre was right about that, and not about her green eyes being shut forever.