Game of Thrones has never been about giving readers or viewers what they most want. Its author and screenwriters prefer to build fan expectations, then overturn them for narrative impact — and sometimes for pure shock value. And yet fans maintain hope that at least a few of the characters will reach a satisfying, well-deserved ending. That’s why there’s Game of Thrones Hope Chest, a new weekly poll where we put all our hopes together in one place. We aren’t asking what you think is going to happen on Game of Thrones, we’re asking: what do you most hope to see happen?
This week, we’re considering some astonishing news from season 7, episode 5, “Eastwatch.” Cersei Lannister, the current occupant of the Iron Throne, has informed her brother Jaime that she’s pregnant again, he’s the father again, and she’s planning to let Westeros know both things, because she DGAF anymore. After spending her whole life hiding her incestuous relationship with her brother, and hiding the three resulting children by claiming their father was her husband King Robert Baratheon, she’s decided that she’s queen now, and she’s gonna do what she wants. This is clearly a terrible idea: she’s been dogged by incest rumors for years, and they’ve turned both the people and the nobility against her. Now that she’s an embattled queen, with the North in rebellion, an army of undead about to invade, and a foreign claimant to the throne torching her men and her supplies with a full-on firebreathing battle-dragon, this is not really the time to risk losing support by trying to push a social agenda based on brother-banging.
Cersei’s been making some excellent tactical decisions this season. She’s whipped the people of King’s Landing into a xenophobic fear of Daenerys Targaryen, the supposedly foreign-born (gasp!) daughter of the Mad King, come to enslave them all under a tyrannical dragon-backed rule. Cersei’s wiped out her enemies in one explosive move by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor and everyone in it. She’s allied with Euron Greyjoy, who has an unbeatable magical teleporting fleet that blinks all over Westeros’ coast, destroying her enemies. She’s out-plotted her little brother, supposed tactical genius Tyrion Lannister, by abandoning the family home of Casterly Rock as comparatively indefensible, and committing her forces to wiping out Olenna Tyrell and her people instead. She’s paid off her debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which has pretty much offered her an unlimited credit line in response.
But now suddenly she’s turning into a sexualized version of a villain from a 1980s Saturday-morning cartoon. She’s planning to ally with Daenerys and Jon Snow in the North, then betray them when they least expect it. She seems to be banking on Euron just kind of not noticing that she hasn’t married him yet as a reward for his service, and not minding that she’s pregnant with her brother’s baby. By publicizing her pregnancy, she’s clearly set to lose the hearts and minds of her people, and go back to the days when just being a Lannister was enough to get her stoned in the streets. And of course she already has enemies like super-assassin Arya Stark on her trail. She seems to have laid all the grounds for her own downfall. A previous poll here makes it clear that readers of The Verge, at least, want to see her go down, likely at Jaime’s hands. But after “Eastwatch,” we have some further morbid curiosity about which terrible decision exactly is going to come back to bite her, or burn her, in the end. Granted, the likely answer here is “a combination of many of the above,” but as always with Game of Thrones Hope Chest, it’s not about what you expect to happen or predict will happen, it’s about what you would find most satisfying in this story.
What’s going to be the main cause of Cersei Lannister’s eventual downfall?
This poll is closed
The people turning against her over her proud incest proclamation
Euron turning against her because she isn’t marrying him
"Make an alliance, then betray my allies" plan backfiring
Underestimating the undead threat
Previous decision boomerangs (e.g., revenge by Arya, remaining Tyrells, or the Sparrow cult)
Tyrion finally comes up with a tactical plan she doesn’t anticipate
Qyburn seizes his chance for power and turns on her
Ellaria escapes from prison, avenges Tyene
Takes a ruinous loan from the Iron Bank, killed by excessive interest payments
Something else entirely (discuss in comments)