We Met A Young Cersei Lannister Last Night On Game Of Thrones

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Since the revelation in January that an actress was cast to play a young Cersei Lannister in season 5, fans have been speculating about how this portrayal would effect story lines onGame of Thrones. The show hasn't presented a proper flashback scene until now. But, even those who haven't read the books may know from scanning fan boards over the past four seasons that, as a child, Cersei was scarred by the prophecy of a witch in the woods. Because, what would a true fantasy drama be without a witch in the woods?

Spoilers ahead! Stop reading if you haven’t watched last night’s episode!

The cold open of the season 5 premiere shows two young girls walking through the woods. The confident blonde berates her dark-haired friend for wanting to turn back, and as they approach a hut hidden by the brush, the brunette is clearly spooked. The blonde forces her friend to enter the hut, and when the witch awakes and tells them to leave, the blonde sizes her up. "They said that you were terrifying, with cats' teeth and three eyes," the girl says to the actually quite beautiful, if dirty, woman. "You're not terrifying. You're boring!" Oh yes, this girl is definitely Cersei.

In A Feast for Crows, the fourth book of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, a preteen Cersei seeks out Maggy the Frog, a witch who performs blood magic — the darkest and most powerful type of sorcery (we've seen what Melisandre could do with her blood magic!). The witch warns her that no one wants to know their future once they've heard it, but the headstrong Cersei wants to hear her fortune, anyway. 

As in last night's scene, the witch grants her three questions.

"I've been promised to the prince. When will we marry?"
"You will never wed the prince. You will wed the king."
"But, I will be queen?"
"Oh yes, you'll be queen. For a time. Then comes another — younger, more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear."
"Will the king and I have children?"
"The king will have 20 children. You will have three. Gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds."
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
This flashback not only provides clues as to Cersei's future (and the future of the Seven Kingdoms), it also helps to explain the more paranoid aspects of her personality. The last two answers from the witch seem to have fed Cersei's insecurities for nearly 30 years — that a younger, more powerful royal would take her place, and that her children would die (presumably before her).

Thus far, the witch's predictions have been slowly panning out, even if you read them from a couple different angles. Cersei did not marry Prince Rhaegar Targaryen as she expected to as a child; she was married off to King Robert Baratheon. And, though we don't know the exact number of the late king's bastard children, thus far we've met quite a few. Cersei, meanwhile, had three children borne of her incestuous relationship with her twin brother, Jaime. "Gold will be their crowns" could refer to their blonde heads (which indicate they're not true Baratheons). But, we've also seen her eldest son, Joffrey, wear the golden crown as king and then fall to his death. Could Tommen be next? He's now the reigning king, but is his demise inevitable as well? And, what about Cersei's daughter, Myrcella? Might she also be crowned queen at some point?

And, what about the younger, more beautiful person the witch foresaw casting Cersei aside? Margaery Tyrell, Cersei's daughter-in-law, looks like the obvious candidate in waiting. But, Daenerys appears even more likely to succeed, as the one with dragons and an army at her back. And, let's not overlook the revenge-seeking Starks: Sansa seems like a dark-horse contender slowly learning how to play the game. But, the witch's prophesy notably did not specify gender — could Cersei's usurper be a man?

Whatever lies ahead, this flashback helps us better understand Cersei's character. Uneasy is the queen regent whose son wears the crown — but even more uneasy still when she knows her downfall is imminent. 

Who do you think stands the best chance of making the witch's prophesy for Cersei come true? Tell us in the comments — but please, no actual spoilers! Only speculation!    
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