Cersei Lannister has been strangely calm this season on Game of Thrones, which probably means the people of King's Landing should be scared.
While the High Sparrow and his religious fanatics have felt like the biggest threat facing the political capital ever since Cersei's unenviable walk of shame, those who've been watching the queen regent with a close eye might have noticed a few clues that suggest she's about to unleash all hell.
My theory is that Cersei will become the "Mad Queen," and might even be responsible for the death of her last living child. Let's take a look at some of the evidence.
In the most recent episode, "The Broken Man," Olenna Tyrell has a conversation with Cersei prior to leaving the city, in which she tells the queen regent something that might turn out to be quite prophetic:
"You're surrounded by enemies. Thousands of them. Are you going to kill them all by yourself?"
While that might seem like an innocent line, it could also be taken as heavy foreshadowing, and Cersei has made some pretty murderous threats in the past — like her promise to "burn cities to the ground" if Myrcella was harmed at Dorne, or this similar vow she made to protect Tommen.
"I would do anything for you. Anything to keep you from harm. I would burn cities to the ground."
The motif of fire — or, more precisely, wildfire — is frequently used in the books to describe Cersei's temperament. In A Clash of Kings, "candlelight gleams green as wildfire in Cersei's eyes." In A Feast For Crows, Cersei is captivated by the pretty green flames.
There's plenty more to suggest that Tommen's mother has an unnatural fascination with wildfire, and the stores of the Alchemists' Guild in the dungeons of King's Landing contain a significant supply of wildfire — enough to wreak havoc on the whole city.
Now cast your mind back to Bran's vision in the previous episode, during which we caught a glimpse of wildfire being unleashed by three members of the Guild.
You can probably see where I'm going with this...
It's basically beyond doubt at this point that the Hound is headed for King's Landing where he'll take on the Mountain, who'll be Cersei's champion in her trial by combat. The popular belief is that one of the Clegane brothers will die.
My belief is that a great many more will die, because Cersei will devise a plan to unleash that store of wildfire while the city is distracted by the trial, making sure the High Sparrow and all of his men perish, and possibly Ser Loras and Margaery with them. In doing so, she would earn herself the title of the Mad Queen, drawing a parallel with the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, who also attempted to "burn them all" with wildfire, only to be thwarted by Jaime the Kingslayer.
Cersei herself ordered Jaime to leave the city, which feels like more heavy foreshadowing of her plan (and her descent into insanity). The irony is that if Jaime were there, he'd probably be able to put a stop to everything.
So where will the Lannisters be at the end of Season 6? I see it playing out like a kind of Shakespearean tragedy: Cersei will give the command to the Guild, and wildfire will claim hundreds of lives in the city. Ellaria Sand will be invited to the trial, and she will perish, Cersei having avenged Myrcella as promised and putting the Dorne saga to bed. The High Sparrow, Ser Loras and Margaery will all burn to death — as will Tommen.
Brienne will be responsible for Jaime's death in battle at Riverrun, leaving Cersei the sole remaining Lannister on Westeros (presuming Kevan is among the dead — and Tyrion's bloodline could be in doubt anyway...), tortured by grief and most likely sentenced to death, in turn clearing the way for Daenerys's triumphant return to Westeros on the back of her dragons.
The prophecy told to the young Cersei by the Lannisport fortune teller (see above) stated that she would die at the hand of her little brother — and if Cersei is responsible for a massacre in King's Landing, there's a pretty good chance that Tyrion would take the opportunity to strangle her to death. He does have form.
I'm almost entirely convinced that some variation on this theory will play out in this year's season finale, and it would be beautifully poetic if Cersei, driven insane by vengeance, sent the last scraps of her family's legacy up in flames. And Olenna potentially losing both of her grandchildren would also represent the High Sparrow's promised punishment for her "unrepentant sin."
Do you buy into the theory? Check out the above promo for Episode 8, then tell me...
Will Cersei's insanity be the death of the House Lannister?