The Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale was truly a showcase for the might and the tragic grandeur of Cersei Lannister. She never looked more beautiful or more dangerous, clad in armor-plated shoulder pads, awaiting destruction and the crown she's always longed for.
In the earlier seasons, Cersei is actually more bitchy than evil, even being fairly civil to those around her — but only to protect her self interest. She tries to stop Joffrey beheading Ned Stark to avoid war. She orders that Joffrey's public beating of Sansa Stark be stopped. She is wracked with guilt about Joffrey's evil, claiming that his madness is the direct cause of her incest with her brother. Even Bran's fall was Jaime's choice, not hers. The worst act committed by Cersei directly was pushing her friend Melara down a well as a teenager.
All the rules changed in the Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale, "The Winds of Winter," and it was this scene that changed it:
Dany may never go full Aerys, but Cersei was not afraid to go there. In one lone sweeping act of violence, Cersei single-handedly killed hundreds of people, doing something so terrible even the Mad King never managed — and she did it because it felt good.
''I killed your High Sparrow and all his little sparrows, all his septons, all his septas, all his filthy soldiers, because it felt good to watch them burn. It felt good to imagine their shock and their pain. No thought has ever given me greater joy.''
Now, Cersei's decision was obviously morally reprehensible, but it was the right thing to do for the show. The dwindling number of major characters was worrying, but Cersei's own Red Wedding — The Green Trial, perhaps — proved that the show is still capable of slaughtering tons of major players all at once.
If the shock factor of the wildfire massacre was diminished by some rather heavy-handed exposition in earlier episodes, the execution made up for it threefold. Cersei, armored and ready, watched the destruction of all who'd wronged her with a nice glass of red wine before boldly declaring herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Cersei's desperate, ruthless act in the Game of Thrones Season 6 echo her father's massacre before her, when Tywin crushed the rebels of House Reyne. Backed into a corner, Cersei proves that ''a lion still has claws'': she kills the Faith Militant and completely wipes out the future of House Tyrell, and the words of "The Rains of Castamere" have never felt more appropriate:
''But now the rains weep o'er his hall / with no one there to hear.''
Of course, Lady Olenna may be the last of her house, but House Lannister is reduced to just Cersei and Jaime. Cersei's brutal seizing of power has come at a terrible price. In a show rich in characters who rise to greatness from so little, Cersei can hold her head high beside Dany and Jon Snow. She never had to eat a horse's heart or live as a bastard, but who has suffered like Cersei? All of her children are dead, and her walk of atonement was one of the most disturbing scenes ever shown on TV. From naked, friendless and splattered with excrement in the streets, she sits the Iron Throne.
Can Cersei keep the Iron Throne?
There are a bunch of contenders for the Iron Throne now that Season 6 has achieved hot, shuddering climax. Will the Mother of Dragons scorch her path into King's Landing with ease or will an outside contender like Littlefinger or Euron worm their way into a viable position? It's unclear how many people are left to support Cersei's reign — that's the problem with killing everyone who doesn't like you — but those remaining will unquestionably do so through fear rather than love or loyalty. In a scene that raised the hairs on the back of fans' necks all over the world, kickass Lady Mormont and the Northerners heralded Jon Snow as King in the North, and Cersei will never inspire such devotion in her followers. Still, look at where that adoration got Robb Stark.
Will Cersei and Jaime finally DO IT?
Cersei and Jaime have only truly loved each other, and Jaime has never bedded another woman. Cersei has argued that they could marry each other — and who is going to stop them now? Jaime is quite patently afraid of his sister after her burning of the Great Sept, and according to one reading of Cersei's prophecy, he could even end up killing her. In the meantime, however, the Lannister twins marrying would be a beautiful Fuck You to the Seven Kingdoms — the entire war started because of Ned's allegations of their incest, and to publicly proclaim their relationship would be the ultimate gesture of defiance and their insurmountable power. Roll on Season 7!