In the first episode of Game of Thrones season six, Cersei revealed to Jaime that she’d received a prophecy about her children dying. She insisted that everything in the prophecy was coming true. What was that prophecy? If you recall, the premiere of season five opened with a scene where a very young Cersei and her friend visit a witch to have their fortunes read. The book version of this adventure is much longer and a little bit different. Keep reading to find out more about this part of Cersei’s back story, a sequence that book readers call “The Valonqar Prophecy.”
There will be book spoilers in this article, which could lead to possible spoilers in the show, too, if the theories are right.
Here’s what you need to know.
Explaining the Valonqar Prophecy
According to the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” when Cersei was a little girl, she and her friend Melara Hetherspoon decided to pay the local fortune teller, Maggy the Frog, a visit. There was actually a third friend with them who chickened out at the last second, but that friend’s story is being left out of this post for the sake of brevity.
Maggy the Frog is an old woman who lives in a tent. She tells the young Cersei three times to leave her be. But when Cersei, ever the spoiled little brat, threatens to have her whipped, Maggy reluctantly agrees to tell them their fortunes.
In the show, Cersei threatened to pluck Maggy’s eyes out instead. Same difference, I suppose.
Maggy has Cersei prick her finger so that she can taste Cersei’s blood. Once she’s had her taste, Maggy tells Cersei that she’s allowed to ask three questions.
Cersei, expecting to be married to Prince Rhaegar, asks “When will I wed the prince?” (In the show, Cersei said that she was already promised to Prince Rhaegar.)
“Never.” Maggy replies. “You will wed the king.”
That statement seemed to accurately predict the overthrow of the Targaryens, years before Robert’s rebellion.
“I will be queen though?” Cersei asks in the book.
“Aye.” Maggy continued. “Queen you shall be… until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”
Fans are divided on this point. Has this been fulfilled by Margery? She is younger, it could be argued that she is more beautiful, and she does take power from Cersei when she marries Tommen. This could be part of the reason that Cersei hates her so much. But many fans think there could be a surprise fulfillment that simply hasn’t happened yet. Some even think it could be a reference to Brienne, who is decidedly less attractive than Cersei in the books. A kind of joke within the prophecy.
In the book, young Cersei, still fixated on her future in the “White House” of Westeros, asks her third and final question: “Will the king and I have children?”
“Oh, aye.” Maggy replies. “Six-and-ten for him, and three for you.” (In the show, Maggy said the King would have 20 children rather than 16.)
Maggy’s prediction is very interesting. Robert is known to have fathered many bastard children, but they’re never actually counted. Maybe he does have 16 (or 20) of them. The readers really don’t know. Maggy also correctly predicts that their children will not be theirs together, but separate. As it turns out, none of the children that Cersei bears are Robert’s. So this seems strangely accurate.
But Maggy doesn’t stop there. She continues:
“Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
This last part was completely left out of the show. This line it is the reason book readers call it the Valonqar Prophecy. It’s the source of a great amount of theorizing, some of which you can find here and here.
So what does “valonqar” mean? It’s a Valyrian word meaning “little brother.”
And who exactly is the little brother? Well, it seems likely that Cersei herself believes it to be Tyrion, her youngest brother. But although they are twins, Jaime is still technically her younger brother as well.
The Connection to Clegane Bowl
You’ll notice that Maggy said THE valonqar, not YOUR valonqar. So it could really be the younger brother of anyone. This is key to the popular Clegane Bowl theory, which guesses (and hopes) that if Cersei demands a trial by combat and chooses the now-living Mountain (aka Gregor Clegane, aka Sir Robert Strong) as her champion, the Faith will choose Gregor’s little brother as his challenger. Who is this little brother? None other than Sandor Clegane, the Hound – the beloved character Arya left for dead. We never actually saw him die, and the book even seems to hint that he might not truly be dead.
That would be quite poetic, now, wouldn’t it? Two characters who “died,” coming back to settle their unfinished business. A surprise fulfillment of the valonqar prophecy, and sweet sweet revenge for Sandor against the man who permanently disfigured him so many years ago.
Clegane Bowl fans rejoice (or rather #gethype ) – Ian McShane, a new cast member, gave fans hope that Sandor Clegane could be coming back. Check it out:
One last note. Before leaving Maggy the Frog’s humble tent, in typical Cersei fashion, Cersei throws a potion into Maggy’s eyes. Later that day, Cersei’s friend Melara dies by falling down a well – another prediction that Maggy had made. It is subtly implied that Cersei was the one who pushed her. Sounds like Cersei was already up to her “old tricks,” even as a child. Stay classy, Cersei.
To read more theories, please see our story about Jon Snow predictions: