After almost two long years of waiting, Game of Thrones Season 8 has finally premiered on HBO. Our review of the premiere episode is here, but we have plenty more GoT goodness beyond that. For more theorizing, check out why the crossbow Qyburn gave Bronn matters, what weapon Arya asked Gendry to make for her, and 17 other Easter eggs, references, and callbacks to earlier episodes you might have missed. And for a deep dive into each episode of Season 8, check out GameSpot of Thrones with Westeros superfans Lucy, Ryan, Tamoor, and Dave each week as we count down the final six episodes of Game of Thrones.
Cersei's pregnancy is one of the most unpredictable plotlines in the final season of Game of Thrones. Is the Lannister queen really pregnant? There's plenty of evidence to go either way. But one theory has emerged as our favorite overall, and it involves a real pregnancy, a treacherous turn from Tyrion, and a bargain that Daenerys is not going to be happy about, should she ever find out about it.
First, let's get this out of the way: It's highly likely that Cersei is lying about her pregnancy. Besides her generally duplicitous nature and the fact that she manipulates everyone around her seemingly by default, there's also the fact that Maggy the Frog, the woods witch Cersei visited as a kid, predicted that Cersei would have three kids (while King Robert would have 20). Every other part of her prophecy came true, so we have no reason to doubt that seemingly crucial detail.
One way this has been interpreted requires reading a little deeper into the source material than the show bothered with. In the books version of that flashback, which Cersei recalls during book 4 (A Feast for Crows), Maggy also tells the future queen that she'll ultimately be killed by someone or something called the "valonqar"--which is High Valyrian for "little brother." That fueled her mistrust of Tyrion, but it's been speculated that the prophecy could also apply to Jaime, since although they are twins, he was technically born slightly after her, making Jaime also Cersei's little brother.
On the other other hand, if this pregnancy is real, the hypothetical son growing inside of Cersei would be a little brother to her other children. And if she and the child both die during childbirth, the prophecy will be fulfilled.
Of course, Cersei probably isn't planning for that particular eventuality. In fact, she may have made other plans with Tyrion--plans that haven't been revealed yet. Here's where the real speculation starts--Entertainment Tonight's Leanne Aguilera actually came up with this theory in the middle of our live Game of Thrones recap show, Theories and Thrones, the morning after the Season 8 premiere aired (watch it below, and skip to around 8 minutes for the moment of inspiration).
Here goes: Tyrion and Cersei had quite a heated chat when they reunited in the Season 7 finale. The end result was that they apparently struck some kind of bargain, as Cersei promised to send her troops north to help in the war against the dead. (She was lying, but we'll get to that.)
Perhaps crucially, we didn't see the end of that conversation. What did Tyrion promise Cersei to get her to agree? As Sansa stated during the Season 8 premiere, she used to think Tyrion was one of the most clever people in the world, but he's acting supremely stupid about this. Or maybe he has some reason for believing Cersei will keep her word, and maybe that reason involves her unborn child.
This also relates back to multiple scenes from Season 7 in which Tyrion awkwardly brought up the succession of Daenerys's rule. Dany believes she can't have kids, and Tyrion seems way too concerned about it, considering they haven't even won the Iron Throne yet. But maybe those conversations, and the dark look he sent toward Jon and Dany as the lovers retreated into her cabin at the end of the Season 7 finale, were foreshadowing for an upcoming reveal: that Tyrion promised Cersei he'd persuade Dany to adopt Cersei's child as her heir.
Think about it: If Cersei really does care about the child she's allegedly carrying, she would want to concoct a contingency plan in case she loses the inevitable war with Dany/the Starks. Tyrion repeatedly emphasized his love for Tommen and Myrcella in that Season 7 scene, insisting that deep down Cersei knows he loved her children. And Tyrion also believes that Dany isn't capable of producing an heir, which will create quite a mess should something happen to her.
This plot gives both characters what they want: Cersei knows that her child will be safe, because she does believe that Tyrion loved his niece and nephew (and she knows, at this point, that it was Olenna Tyrell who poisoned Joffrey, not Tyrion). And she places yet another Lannister on the throne, even should she lose the impending battles. At the same time, Tyrion clinches his sister's help in the fight with the White Walkers (or so he thinks), finds a solution to the problem of Dany's succession, and maybe even redeems himself as a kinslayer by saving the youngest Lannister's life.
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Of course, this leaves the massive problem of convincing Dany, who isn't known for being reasonable, to adopt her worst enemy's son as her own heir. If this theory is true, that's probably why Tyrion hasn't brought it up yet--he needs to wait until Dany actually wins the war. If Cersei wins, it won't matter, and if Dany triumphs--well, he can cross that bridge when he has to.
The fact that Cersei isn't actually sticking to her side of the bargain won't even matter, because of what we know about Tyrion: He really does love his family. Even despite Cersei's betrayal, he would do his best to ensure his House's survival, even if it means honoring a deal that his sister immediately broke. And if Cersei has finally realized that, it would actually be a huge moment in both characters' long, tortured arcs.
To me, this all makes way too much sense. It would fulfill multiple characters' arcs, while also just skirting by the prophecy about Cersei's kids--especially if the Lannister queen also dies in childbirth. She'd be done in by the little brother, while the child himself would become Dany's heir--and thus not really be Cersei's at all, keeping her kid count at three. It would explain why Tyrion is so weirdly trusting of his treacherous sister lately, and it would be another interesting wrinkle in the question of the series' aftermath. After all, the big battle with the White Walkers seems to be happening in Episode 3--after which there will still be three more episodes in which who-knows-what might happen.
What do you think of this theory? Is Cersei even pregnant in the first place? Why does Tyrion believe her? And how is he going to react to Jaime's news that the Lannister queen is as terrible as ever? Let us know in the comments below.
For more theorizing, check out why the crossbow Qyburn gave Bronn matters, what weapon Arya asked Gendry to make for her, and 17 other Easter eggs, references, and callbacks to earlier episodes you might have missed. And for a deep dive into each episode of Season 8, check out GameSpot of Thrones with Westeros superfans Lucy, Ryan, Tamoor, and Dave each week as we count down the final six episodes of Game of Thrones.