It’s time for a Tyrell/Lannister throwdown in the capitol.
The Lannisters and the Tyrells are at each others throats, Littlefinger is back in King’s Landing and the Faith Militant poses a serious threat to the crown. Margaery isn’t the only one in trouble. There will be trouble in the capital come Season 6…
Trials by Combat
What Will Happen to Cersei?
Cersei is out of the Sparrow’s clutches after her now-famous walk of shame through the streets of King’s Landing, but her power and standing is seriously diminished. She isn’t beaten yet, but in addition to any sort of political maneuvering she wants (or needs) to do, she has to prepare for her trial. Her Walk got her out of prison, but she is still charged with some heinous crimes, and let’s remember, she committed all of them.
In true Game of Thrones style she has a Trial by Combat coming. It could even be a Trial by Seven, where both sides select seven warriors each to fight in a melee. Book readers got to see this in the first Dunk and Egg story, “The Hedge Knight.” But as we haven’t seen, or even heard of this in Game of Thrones, it seems unlikely. But while on the subject of crazy Trial by Combat theories here’s a pretty famous one; Clegane bowl.
As a member of the royal family, if Cersei has a Trial by Combat she must choose a member of the King’s Guard to champion her, and the most likely champion she has (since Jaime is not in the capital) is Ser Robert Strong.
It is heavily implied that Ser Robert Strong is the zombie version of the Mountain, who was poisoned by Prince Oberyn’s spear duing Tyrion’s Trial by Combat in “The Mountain and the Viper.” Qyburn, beside the Mountain and Cersei above, raised him from the dead using unknown means, but most likely the faith would not approve if they find out. The Mountain’s real name is Ser Gregor Clegane. If you’ll recall, the Hound is the Mountain’s brother, Sandor Clegane, who appeared to die after he fought Brienne in the final episode of season 4.
But there’s a theory – The Clegane Bowl theory – that says the Hound didn’t die after Arya left him. Instead he was nursed to health and is now a changed man in the Faith of the Seven. The short version of the theory is that the Faith Militant will choose Sandor as their champion in Cersei’s trial to face off against the Zombie Mountain (which is way more fun to say than “Ser Robert Strong”).
Is this going to happen? Probably not, but it would be a cool bit of craziness to see in the capital, and also the show has to top “The Mountain and the Viper,” when they do another Trial by Combat.
What Will Happen to Margaery in Season 6?
We have to remember, even though Cersei is out, Margeary and Loras aren’t. But Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns, is in King’s Landing and she is unlikely to be leaving without getting them out. She and Littlefinger had a meeting in the ruins of his brothel in “The Gift,” and if he decides to help her, Margeary and Loras will likely be out soon enough. The pair (Littlefinger and Olenna) killed Joffrey after all.
Even if Margeary and Loras are out right away next year, Margeary is not one to forgive her imprisonment. Olenna will likely have a few tricks to throw at the Lannisters going forward. But likely Margeary and Loras will have trials after getting out. And they may be Trials by Combat, because let’s face it, the facts aren’t exactly on their side. . Cersei could bring evidence against Margeary. In A Feast for Crows she accused Margery of sleeping with a whole bunch of people, which, since she is married to the King, amounts to treason. She basically Anne Boleyn-ed Margeary. In the book, this is what got her into the Sparrow’s prison in the first place, but on the show she could bring this out at the trial. Cersei could also bring out any of Loras’s lovers as well. But let’s face it, neither of those could beat Clegeane Bowl.
The Faith Militant Curbed
Even after all the trials by combat that might be coming, the Faith Militant is still a problem. Cersei rearming them was a huge mistake (she’s all too aware of that now) and they will have to be dealt with. Cersei wanted to use them as a pawn last season, but the High Sparrow proved he is a player in the game of thrones. They’ve already caused bloodshed, shut down Littlefinger’s brothel, barred the King entry to the prison, and killed a bunch of innocent people.
It’s really looking like there’s no way around the Faith Militant except for slaughtering the whole lot of them. The Faith Militant versus the City Watch and the Lannister army could be coming. Or it could be the Tyrell army to get Margeary and Loras out. Either way it seems likely the Faith would lose the confrontation. They are basically priests after all, and they would be facing an army, or multiple armies. They could do serious damage to either the Tyrell or the Lannister forces, however, giving an advantage to whichever house fares better. There will likely be a bloodbath in the streets of King’s Landing in Season 6.
The Wild Cards
However Cersei, the Lannisters, Margaery, the Tyrells, or some combination thereof eventually wrest back control of the city, it seems like the second half of season 6 is gearing up for a big ‘ol showdown between the Lannisters and Tyrells for control of King’s Landing and the Iron Throne.
And really, they’re pretty evenly matched. It’s easy to forget that Tommen is actually the king right now, so technically he’s the one through whom the power flows. But on one hand you have mommy Cersei and the Lannisters, while on the other is wifey Margaery and the Tyrells, so influence over Tommen is pretty evenly split. We all know the famous phrase, “A Lannister always pays his debts,” but if there’s any house in the Seven Kingdoms with as much money as the Lannisters, it’s the Tyrells. And both geographically and militarily, there’s not much separating the sides on paper.
So what will affect this looming conflict? Glad you asked.
Like it or not we aren’t done with Dorne for next year. The Sand Snakes and Ellaria Sand declared war by killing Princess Marcella. We don’t know what the consequences for this will be since she is alive in the books, minus an ear, and no one in King’s Landing knows about her death/mutilation yet. But it would be bad story telling to murder an heir to the throne not have consequences. So you can kind of throw in the Dornish as allies to the Tyrells in an “enemy of my enemy” sort of arrangement.
Jamie is going to have to come to King’s Landing and tell Cersei that their daughter is dead and it is sort of his fault. Cersei is going to be screaming for blood when she finds out. Lannister troops might be sent to Dorne, or else the Dornish might march on King’s Landing. Unlikely, but possible.
Slightly more likely is that Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes show up in the capitol for some more personal revenge for Prince Oberyn’s death. Really, the most damage Elleria could likely do would be to expose Ser Robert Strong as the zombie Mountain. If this happens at the proper moment, it could get Cersei killed for lack of a proper champion at her trial. The Faith Militant are pretty opposed to zombies.
But what we can be most certain about is that all this will drive the wedge further between Jamie and Cersei. There are a lot of fan theories that Jamie will kill Cersei. This began from the full Maggie the Frog prophecy. We saw part of that scene in the opening of Season 5. In A Feast for Crows, Cersei is basically told that she will be killed by her younger brother, which she thinks means Tyrion, but could refer to Jamie. If Jamie is to kill Cersei then this could be another event that drives them there.
Which Side will Littlefinger be on?
We got a pretty good idea of who Littlefinger was when he held a knife to Ned Stark’s throat in Season 1. Since then he’s deftly played all sides against each other. He basically started the war. He helped Olenna Tyrell poison Joffrey, he pushed Lysa out the Moon Door, he gave Sansa to the Boltons, made himself a lord, got Harrenhal, and can travel faster than any other character on the show. By magic? No, no, no, that’s crazy.
Littlefinger has always manipulated everyone. Whichever side he chooses to actually act on behalf of will have a distinct advantage in the conflict to come. It could be the Tyrells; he and Olenna have worked together before. But he’s also been very cozy with the Lannisters of late. But there is a greater danger to Littlefinger than ever before.
The forces he’s going to be playing against each other are very close together. They can actually talk to each other and realize what he is saying doesn’t match up. To use a literary reference, Littlefinger is playing Iago, and if the Tyrells or the Lannisters realize what Littlefinger is up to it could easily be game over for him. He’s been slipping a bit. Giving Sansa to the Boltons seemed to gain him no political advantage, and leaving her alone with them essentially ensured her wedding night rape and eventual escape with Theon. There’s no way she would trust Littlefinger again.
At these close quarters every move could mean disaster. Even if this season does spell Littlefinger’s doom, he could still do some damage along the way.
Season 5 almost caught up with the books completely. One of the scenes they didn’t yet adapt was the Epilogue scene from A Dance with Dragons, where one of the major characters murders two other characters. This double murder could still happen, but the murderer is nowhere near King’s Landing right now, so if it does happen it will likely be done by another character, possibly Littlefinger. Or it could be someone acting on behalf of the murderer in the book. This double murder would sow confusion in King’s Landing and will likely be a major plot line in Season 6. But there’s another character who could just as easily be assassinated: King Tommen Baratheon.
Tommen is a pawn at this point, but if Tommen dies, the Lannisters have no claim on the throne. All of Cersei’s children would be dead. So if Littlefinger sides with the Tyrells he could have Tommen killed and effectively end Lannister rule. Even the people that are on the Lannisters’ side would probably question their loyalty without a “Baratheon” king on the Iron Throne. Also think about this: a King of Westeros has died every year on Game of Thrones. Season One, Robert Baratheon; Season 2, Renly Baratheon; Season 3, Robb Stark; Season 4, Joffrey “Baratheon,”; Season 5, Stannis Baratheon; Season 6 could be Tommen Baratheon.
There Will Be Blood
All we can say for certain is there is going to be a lot of conflict and likely a lot of people will die in King’s Landing. Much of the plot of Season 6 in King’s Landing will likely be political intrigue between the Lannisters and the Tyrells. We have at least one trial by combat coming, likely a second and third trial that could be sabotaged, and likely a double murder.
The tensions will have to finally explode between these groups, and it could be at the end of this season. There aren’t that many main characters left in King’s Landing, but these characters are all at each others throats and could easily end up killing one another. Any of them could die. If a bunch of the people ruling Westeros die at the end of Season 6 it could pave the way for a certain Khalessi to make her way to the capital.
Depending on how bad things get between the Lannisters and the Tyrells it could also end up as Dany’s vision in the House of the Undying where the ceiling of the Red Keep was collapsed in and snow was falling through. We’ll just have to wait and see…