WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones' latest episode, "The Bells."
Unless you've been scouring Reddit and/or Twitter in search of plot leaks throughout Game of Thrones' final season, Sunday night's penultimate episode, "The Bells," probably offered quite a few surprises, not the least of which was the last stand of Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey).
Near the end of the episode, as the city was being reduced to ash by a suddenly full-on Mad Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and the queensguard had been vanquished, Cersei and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) managed to reconnect in the cellars beneath the Red Keep. Although they might have hoped to take Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) up on his secret escape plan by way of the dinghy he'd stored on the shore, the passageway was blocked by fallen rubble, and the two were doomed to die in each other's arms as the rest of the castle fell on top of them.
For anyone who'd paid attention to the prophecies in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, that final moment might not exactly ring true to what had been presaged for the queen's end. In the text, Cersei visited Maggy the Frog, and the witch warned her, "When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." Of course, that line never made it into the show -- only the part about her bearing three children who would end up in gold shrouds was revealed onscreen -- but many fans believed that it would still foretell her fate on the show as well.
"Valonqar" is a High Valyrian term for "little brother," which seemed to indicate that either Tyrion would exact revenge upon Cersei for a lifetime of vitriol (after all, he did kill her personality doppelganger Tywin) or Jaime would decide she was a terrible person and end his twin's life himself. Since we were reminded a few times that Jaime was born second, he still counted as a "little brother." There was also a widely circulating theory that Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) would revive her Faceless Man trick and cosplay as Jaime to cross that big name off her list.
Alas, it was Daenerys and Drogon who did the deed by blasting King's Landing with fire until rubble rained down upon Cersei's head. The only nod to that prophetic vision came by way of the placement of Jaime's hands upon her neck as the collapse set in.
Some fans recognized the show's subtle homage to the prophecy's words, even though they'd never become canon for Game of Thrones and the choking part certainly didn't happen.
For the most part, though, the valonqar prophecy was yet another dud. Game of Thrones hasn't been too keen on addressing textual prophesying lately. As a comfort for anyone disappointed by all the failed theories, however, Cersei's death by rock smush has produced some hilarious memes.
Perhaps we've been misunderstanding the translation of "valonqar" this whole time and it actually meant "little boulder."
Game of Thrones' final episode airs on Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.