With the premiere of Season Five of Game of Thrones only a few months away, recent casting news has provided us with new things to look forward to. While the new season will afford viewers the ability to see familiar characters once again, it will also offer us the ability to see some fan-favorites as never before. According to current updates in the show’s IMBD information, an actress (Nell Williams) has been cast to play the role of a younger Cersei than the one we are acquainted with in the show. This information is tantalizing for two reasons. It confirms the rumors that Season Five will be the first Game of Thrones season to use flashbacks as a mode of storytelling. But even more exciting, as readers of A Song of Ice and Fire will know, is Cersei’s particular past story which could reveal important clues as to the future of the storyline and who will ultimately win and die in the game of thrones.
By now, Cersei Lannister has earned a reputation for herself as the ruthlessly driven wife of one king, mother of another, and lover of her twin-brother. However, beneath Cersei’s carefully constructed visage of calculation and power lies some secrets greater than her love for Jaime or her involvement in the death of Robert Baratheon. One of these is revealed in A Feast For Crows, by way of a flashback in which Cersei recalls visiting a fortune teller as a young girl. The fortune teller is an old woman, known as Maggy the Frog, who is initially reluctant to tell Cersei her fortune until the girl threatens her. Maggy the Frog then relents, giving Cersei several prophecies foretelling her future.
Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead
Maggy the Frog’s prophecies for Cersei are ominous. First, the fortune-teller tells Cersei that she shall not marry the Targaryan prince whom she is infatuated with– rather that she will marry a king. This prophecy later comes true when Cersei marries Robert Baratheon. Maggy then tells Cersei that she will indeed be queen…until she is replaced by someone younger and more beautiful than she is. Thirdly, Maggy correctly predicts the number of children Cersei will have and the bastards Robert will sire. She then informs Cersei that all of her children will die before her. This prophecy is a dark foreshadowing not only of Joffrey’s death but also of the deaths of Cersei’s other two children, Tommen (the current king) and Myrcella. However, the most frightening prophecy for Cersei is the last. Maggy foretells that Cersei will die at the hands of a valonquar who shall choke her to death. We later learn that valonquar means “little brother.”
The prophecies that Cersei is given as a young girl offer insight not only into the future of the plot but also into Cersei’s character. As Cersei watches each prophecy come true, one can see how she is shaped by her fear of losing her children and even her own life. Perhaps her deep-rooted hatred towards Tyrion is rationalized by her fear of the valonquar and how he will kill her. Moreover, her animosity towards Margaery Tyrell is understandable when one knows of the prophecy that someone younger and more beautiful than Cersei will replace her. For Cersei, those around her are tangible threats, and so she reacts defensibly to those she sees as enemies that could destroy her.
The confirmation that Cersei’s flashbacks will be in Season Five sets an exciting precedent for the evolution of the show. In the struggle to translate a sprawling and complex story into a TV-show format, often character’s back-stories get left behind if they do not directly relate to the story at hand (a pertinent example of this is Tyrion’s history with Tysha which many felt was left unaddressed in the show despite it’s great affect on Tyrion). As evidenced by Cersei’s plotline alone, flashbacks offer a way to enrich the world of Game of Thrones by embellishing storylines in a way not explored before. As we look forward to Season Five, we should anticipate looking backward into the lives of characters as the season unfolds.