Why Jaime Is The Little Brother Who Will Kill Cersei?

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Answer by Kelsey L. Hayes, Most Viewed Writer in Game of Thrones on Quora.

I would be surprised at this point if it were anyone other than Jaime. I won’t go so far as to say it will definitely be Jaime, but Jaime is where all the clues are pointing.

Cersei interprets the valonqar prophecy to mean Tyrion, and using GRRM’s methodology, we can reasonably conclude that it isn’t him. It’s the double whammy of someone’s explicit “guess” being wrong, and of someone being denied his desired revenge. So it will not be Tyrion.

On that note, though, I don’t read valonqar as broadly as many people do. Some say it’s Tommen, despite the prophecy also hinting that all of Cersei’s kids will predecease her. Some say it’s Arya, despite the wording of the prophecy using a masculine possessive pronoun. Some say it’s Sandor, and some interpret it to potentially mean any younger male sibling of anyone else. I don’t think it needs to be any more complicated than: “Cersei has two brothers, and picked the wrong one.”

There are a few hinges here that make me think it will ultimately come down to Jaime.

  1. Cersei is older. So Jaime still qualifies as a “little” brother, if “little” need only mean “younger.” It would not matter for, say, inheritance purposes if Cersei were older or younger than Jaime. Presumably then there is narrative rationale for her being older.
  2. It is a repeated notion in the story that the Lannister twins will go out together the way they came in. Cersei even romanticizes it, using it as justification to call Jaime, whom she knows is unable to fight to his full potential, to be her champion in her trial by combat. The subtext is sinister: If she has to die, she’s taking him down with her. But it may flip around in the end. If Jaime kills Cersei before dying himself in some way, it fulfills the prophecy while also closing the “loop” of the twins. It’s symmetry.
  3. The focus on Jaime’s golden hand. One of the biggest knocks on the Jaime theory is that he has only one hand and the prophecy uses the word “hands.” But Jaime also has a dream in the books where his gold hand works just like his real one, perhaps a clue that to GRRM, a hand is a hand, gold or flesh. It also parallels Tyrion strangling Shae with the chain of office (more gold hands) and calls back to the “hands of gold are always cold” lyric.
  4. Cersei’s deteriorating mental state. Jaime killed Aerys rather than let him burn down King’s Landing with wildfire. We know there are still stockpiles of wildfire in the city, and we also know that Cersei had a decidedly rapturous reaction to witnessing wildfire destroy the Tower of the Hand. Jaime may find himself in a similar position with Cersei, where he has to choose between killing her or letting her destroy the city.

The motivation for Jaime to kill Cersei could be anything. It could be the scenario in #4. The Brotherhood might demand that he kill her in exchange for Brienne’s life. He might do it if she ends up killing Tommen. There are multiple possibilities for it to be set up.

This question originally appeared on Quora, a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users.