SPOILER ALERT: This article includes spoilers for Game of Thrones - up to and including Season 8, Episode 4. Do not read any further unless you consent to read spoilers. Alright, let’s carry on!
Every year, the Sunday before Mother’s Day becomes a tender day of remembrance. Known officially as “Bereaved Mother’s Day”, the day is dedicated to mothers who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Many mothers who have lost older children - even adult children - spend the day visiting their children’s gravesites. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom myself, but I couldn’t help but notice the way Bereaved Mother’s Day lined up so perfectly with the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.
The two most significant women still in “The Game” at this point are at odds with one another. Cersei Lannister, who claims to have the right to sit on the Iron Throne, is a mother. Daenerys Targaryen is also a mother (of dragons, natch) and is in hot pursuit of the Iron Throne. Both women want to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Both women are bereaved mothers. In a cruel revelation, woods witch Maggy the Frog informed Cersei she would bear three children and all three would die untimely deaths. Can you imagine the agony of anticipating your own child’s death? I hope you have never known that agony.
But this goes much deeper than a shared experience of child loss. The children of Westeros royalty are little more than pawns in this political game. Maggy the Frog prophesied each of Cersei’s children would die - but did she realize each of them would be a death tied to Cersei’s political pursuits? Joffrey was killed because he would have taken the throne and (let’s be real) destroyed Margaery Tyrell. While few other characters were as hated (ahem, Ramsay Bolton), Joffrey’s death was only a celebration for those watching. For Cersei, it was horrific. She watched her own son die from poison! In that moment, she knew someone had betrayed him and her. The whole Lannister family was unsafe and under attack.
When Ellaria Sand planted the literal kiss of death on Myrcella, Cersei’s only daughter, she knew that Cersei would be unbelievably angry. True to form, Cersei was livid. She revenge-killed Ellaria’s daughter in front of her - and banished Ellaria herself to a slow death from dehydration and starvation in prison. While Tommen’s death might have been a suicide, it was directly linked to the explosion at the Great Sept of Baelor. Which, as you might remember, was set by Cersei herself in yet another political maneuvering.
Cersei is not just any bereaved mother. Her children were killed specifically to hurt her, to destroy her lineage and destabilize her claim to the throne. She’s made it clear that she will destroy anyone who does harm to her children; she’s a bereaved mother on a mission.
Daenerys was also a mother of three - dragons, that is. While it’s easy for me to forget that the Targaryen dragons are not just pets, Dany has never wavered. The dragons are her children and she is their mother. She cares for them and they protect her.
This special bond made it all the more painful to watch the Night King kill Viserion with an ice spear. In that instant, Dany knew her dragon was gone. He wasn’t just dead - he was going to become an undead dragon, a weapon used against her in her pursuit of the Iron Throne.
In the most recent Game of Thrones episode, Cersei and Daenerys finally meet in person. As Dany flies to King’s Landing, she and her dragons are ambushed by Cersei’s navy. Rhaegal, one of Dany’s two remaining dragon-children, is mortally wounded and falls from the sky, sinking beneath the waves. This second awful death happens right in front of her eyes as she is powerless to help her dying child. It’s an especially vengeful attack that twists the knife into the wound of losing a baby.
It’s the clash we’ve all been waiting for. Since Daenerys decided to rule the Seven Kingdoms, the battle between Cersei and Dany has been inevitable. Really, we knew it was just a matter of time before the powerhouse women of Westeros went toe-to-toe.
And in the opening foray of the fateful battle, Cersei strikes Daenerys in the heart. She kills one of the dragons with a ruthless pleasure that makes your skin crawl.
It’s Bereaved Mother’s Day, and the mourning mothers of Westeros are calling the shots. They are pulling no punches. This war was already personal since the two are attacking one another’s family lineage. With child loss at the forefront, two bereaved mothers at odds, and a potential Lannister pregnancy in the mix, it’s hard to imagine the production team didn’t consider the timing. Bereaved Mother’s Day has officially invaded Westeros, and in turn, each of our homes.
Did you notice the connection to Bereaved Mother’s Day in the most recent episode? Do you think it was intentional or just a coincidence? Tell me more on Twitter @BabyGaga!
All Images Via HBO