When you play the game of thrones you win, or you die.
Things haven't been going too well for Cersei this season. Her last remaining child has defected to the High Sparrow, her brother-lover is away at war, and it appears she's lost all but two of her allies in the game of thrones. With Cersei's trial pending, it would appear she has finally lost. But in her own words: Losing isn't an option. So, can Cersei defeat the odds? Or more importantly, how far will she now be willing to go to do so? This is the trial of Cersei Lannister for crimes she may commit in next week's episode of, well, the trial of Cersei Lannister.
Remember all those flashbacks Bran had at the beginning of the season? Well one of them included a flask of wildfire The Mad King once planned to use to burn down King's Landing (pictured above). His plan was ultimately curtailed after Jamie "The Kingslayer" Lannister quite literally slayed the King — but no one really knows what happened to all that wildfire.
At the end of the last episode, Cersei is told that "the rumors are true." Could this be referring to the rumor that The Mad King had planted and hidden all this wildfire across the city, ready to be ignited at a moment's notice? Is it still there? Having control over such armaments would severely level the playing field for Cersei, and put the odds back in her favor.
However, there's a reason why The Mad King was called The Mad King — because causing so much pain and travesty would have been unspeakable even among the greediest of players. To cause so much devastation just to win the game of thrones would be an act of lunacy, an act only the most evil and desperate could commit — an act of madness.
As specified earlier, Cersei has a lot of reason to execute such a horrid plan. She's grown up in a world where she's been encouraged to feel entitled her entire life.
In her mind there are no shades of grey, compromises or middle ground.
That was apparent as early on as Season 1 where she decided to kill her own husband in order to maintain her and her children's social status and standing. She was also utterly humiliated and shamed last season. This season has seen Cersei well and truly trapped in a corner she's desperate to get out of. With the wildly protective Mother having her last remaining child taken away from her, there would be no better (or worse) time to commit such an atrocious act.
Conveniently, all of Cersei's enemies will all be conglomerated together under one roof at her trial. As the perceived vultures take a seat to witness the apparent final nail in the coffin of King's Landing's most despised aristocrat, she has an opportunity to eradicate them all.
We know that the vast bulk of next week's episode will be committed to Cersei's trial, so watching to see just how far she would go to get back at her foes could make for riveting television. What would she give up to win? Her own life? Her child's life? It'll be a must-see regardless of whether this theory is true or not, but boy would it guarantee that the show is the gossip of the water-cooler once again the following morning!
Cersei's had a pretty unprecedented run in King's Landing, outlasting many of her male predecessors including: two kings, her father and countless others. A large part of this survival can be attributable to her ruthlessness.
It has also been this characteristic that has led to her demise.
Cersei grew up in a world where morals took a backseat over pragmatism, but that time has passed. The Mad Kings and Ramsay Boltons of the world have disappeared and been replaced by the Daenerys Targaryens and Jon Snows instead. Cersei is not made to live in such a world. Whereas Jaimie Lannister could still be adaptable enough to change, Cersei becomes more villainous and more malicious as change comes. They say the night is darkest before the dawn, so with light approaching from across the narrow sea the true Mad Queen may be ready to commit her most atrocious act yet.
Tune in for the season finale to see how the game plays out. What are your predictions?