Game of Thrones is a show that doesn't shy away from utilising parallels, foreshadowing, and flashbacks to drop hints about upcoming storylines. This often sends fans into a tizzy of elaborate theories — including one about Daenerys potentially following in the footsteps of her crazed father. However, it may not be Daenerys who goes mad. Instead, Cersei could become the Mad Queen.
The popular Mad Queen theory suggests that Cersei will tumble down a path similar to that of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. After a descent into madness, she'll attempt to burn down King's Landing with wildfire — a dangerous and explosive substance that burns with flames that only sand, not water, can extinguish. Reddit user redough proposed the theory last year, claiming that Cersei could destroy the city due to the deaths of her two children, Tommen losing control of the city, and losing her trial. Many fans agree and have been posting their own versions and thoughts on the theory.
- One of the first things we've seen potentially hinting toward a destroyed King's Landing comes in season two. In the House of the Undying, among Daenerys's visions is a damaged throne room. Though this could be calling back to her father's own plans to burn down King's Landing or the Mad Khaleesi theory, it very well could be foreshadowing Cersei's breakdown.
- Also in season two, Cersei recruits a pyromancer from the Alchemists' Guild to concoct large quantities of wildfire. She had planned to use it to defend King's Landing against Stannis Baratheon, but Tyrion commands the pyromancer to produce wildfire for him instead. He uses it in the Battle of Blackwater to destroy Stannis's fleet, resulting in a huge explosion of green flames and smoke. Where have we seen that distinct fire recently? In one of Bran's visions this season, he sees pyromancers working on wildfire and and green flames engulfing a room. Could this be somewhere in King's Landing? It's possible that Cersei still has stashes of wildfire hidden, as Qyburn possibly hints at in season six, episode eight. Additionally, in season three, her brother Jaime reveals that the Mad King had hidden his caches of wildfire all over the city, and Bran also sees Aerys in his vision.
- Cersei has been confident that she'll be able to rise above the Faith through winning a trial by combat. However, thanks to the High Sparrow and Tommen's alliance, Tommen officially bans all trial by combat. Cersei will instead stand trial before the seven septons, and her chances of being deemed innocent seem slim. Tommen's newfound dedication to the Faith and distance from her appears to be wearing down on her sanity.
- The possibility of Tommen's death has also been affecting Cersei greatly. Back in a season five flashback, a witch tells a young Cersei about her future. Among her predictions are that she will have three children, and they will all die. Since Joffrey and Myrcella have already died, Cersei's just playing the waiting game until the prophecy becomes fully realised.
What It Means
Despite the Mad King's destructive plans, King's Landing ultimately survives because Jaime intervenes and kills him. The act earns Jaime the nickname Kingslayer. This could very well happen again — except he'll be called Queenslayer.
In addition to the witch's prophecy about Cersei's children, she made other predictions that also came true: Cersei marries a king rather than a prince (King Robert Baratheon rather than her betrothed, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen), and she was queen until a "younger, more beautiful" queen took her place and what she held dear (Margaery, who first wed Joffrey, then Tommen).
While those predictions can also be found in the books, the show excluded something major. The witch also tells young Cersei that after she's stricken with grief due to her children's deaths, "the valonqar shall wrap his hands about [her] pale white throat and choke the life from [her]." "Valonqar" is High Valyrian for "little brother" — and Jaime is the younger of the twins. If Tommen's death is imminent like the prophecy suggests, Cersei may choose to burn down King's Landing in the wake of it, and Jaime may have to stop her like he did the Mad King.
Given Daenerys's and Bran's visions of a destroyed throne room and a wildfire explosion, respectively, there's also a chance that Jaime or anyone else won't kill Cersei in time to stop her. If this is the case, King's Landing will be no more. Some fans think this is a great possibility, as HBO has elected to film less in Croatia, where the city's scenes are shot.
Regardless of whether or not the Mad Queen theory is true or how it may unfold, one thing's for sure — Cersei is definitely up to something.