Warning: This article contains spoilers for the seventh season of Game of Thrones.
The drama in Game of Thrones is heating up faster than we can say “dracarys” – and, in the most recent episode, we learned a lot about the show’s surviving characters.
We learned that Jon Snow, for example, is almost definitely the true-born heir to the Iron Throne. Or, y’know, we would have done, had Samwell Tarly not manterrupted all over Gilly’s big reveal. We also found out that Cersei Lannister is pregnant – by her brother Jaime, obviously. And, better still, the devastatingly handsome Gendry is alive and well and more than ready to fight some White Walkers beyond The Wall.
But, as we all know, nothing ever “just happens” in Game of Thrones. And it seems unlikely that show bosses have asked Joe Dempsie to reprise his character for just one or two episodes. There must be more to Robert Baratheon’s bastard than meets the eye.
And now a lot of people have decided that he is, in fact, Cersei’s secret son.
Popular fansite winteriscoming.net has come up with plenty of evidence to support the theory, pointing out that way back in season one’s The Kingsroad, Cersei speaks of her first-born son – a “black-haired beauty” who died shortly after birth.
“This scene marks a rare moment of tenderness for Cersei,” the site explains. “She displays all the appearances of grief and gives us no reason to doubt that she had a son with King Robert, and that he died.”
They go on to point out that Cersei’s first-born son looked exactly like his father, Robert – and Gendry has repeatedly been told the same thing, by both Ned Stark and Jon Snow.
But… her son died, right? So how can he have grown up into the oil painting that is Gendry?
Well, Cersei does tell us herself that she never once visited the baby’s crypt, and rarely spoke about the child at all, in fact. And, as we all know, her subsequent three children, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, were all fathered by her brother Jaime, and all possessed the fair and gold features of Lannisters.
The Queen and Robert had a volatile relationship and this fan theory suggests that she wouldn’t want to raise one of Robert’s legitimate children. And, as her royal husband would always “flee to the trees with his huntsmen and his hounds” whenever her due date approached, he was never actually present for the birthing ceremony.
Which means that, yes, it would have been very easy for Cersei and her loyal servant, the Maester Pycelle, to exchange her healthy, living son for a dying one. Her living child, then, could be raised in King’s Landing – where she could keep an eye on him, if she so wished.
It’s also worth pointing out that Gendry’s apprenticeship with Tobho Mott, a specialty blacksmith, came at a cost, but one that was paid double by unknown nobility — Cersei or one of her proxies, maybe?
And, when Joffrey made it his mission to kill every single one of King Robert’s surviving bastards, someone had Gendry sent away from King’s Landing – and he makes it out alive. Could this be down to Cersei’s intervention?
There is, of course, one hole in this theory – and that is Maggy the Frog’s prophecy.
As we learned in George R R Martin’s books, a young Cersei sought out fortune-teller Maggy and asked her to look into her future for her. And the future that Maggy saw for her was grim indeed: she revealed that Cersei’s husband, Robert, would become a father 20 times over by bedding a number of mistresses – but that she would only have three.
“Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds,” she said, implying that Cersei would only ever give birth to her brother’s children.
But winteriscoming.net responds to this prophecy with their own compelling interpretation, pointing out that “Cersei’s three children may simply refer to the three children that she acknowledged.
“Whether Gendry is her son or not, he is not her child in name, nor has she made any overtures of acceptance towards him. Her decisions may have fulfilled the terms of the prophecy.”
It all ties in very neatly with another theory, which suggests that Cersei and Jaime Lannister are actually of Targaryen birth.
After all, we know Daenerys and Jon Snow are most likely the heirs who will ride two of the dragons – but we need a third. And Robert Baratheon himself was descended from Targaryens, which means that Gendry already has some watered-down dragon’s blood coursing through his veins.
If Cersei were to be revealed as his mother – and her true lineage exposed – then we’d have another Targaryen to throw into the mix, and another contender for the Iron Throne.
Make sure you read the theory in full here – it’s definitely given us food for thought.