Things are pretty rough House Lannister in Season 8 of Game of Thrones. Cersei holds the Iron Throne, but she’s paid dearly for it–her three children have died in her pursuit of power, and she’s been at war for pretty much her entire reign. Through it all, though, she’s had her twin brother Jaime at her side, and their relationship justified many of her sacrifices and most ruthless instincts.
That changed at the end of Season 7. After Jaime and Cersei met with Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion, the Lannisters pledged to help with the war against the White Walkers. But once everyone had left King’s Landing, Cersei revealed that she planned to double-cross everybody else and leave them to get wiped out by the White Walkers. Jaime wasn’t happy about Cersei forcing him to break his promise, so at the end of the season, he struck off north alone, leaving his sister behind.
Cersei had already threatened Jaime about betraying her, and it’s well known that she hates her other brother, Tyrion. In the premiere of Season 8, we see how Cersei plans to deal with Jaime and Tyrion–she’s sending Bronn to kill both of them with a crossbow. Cersei likes to make a statement with her murders, though–which is why the weapon Qyburn gave to Bronn to use on the traitorous Lannisters is a significant one.
It’s the same crossbow Tyrion wielded way back in Season 4, and used to kill his father, Tywin Lannister. That was after Tyrion was tried and convicted of poisoning King Joffrey, and Tywin sentenced Tyrion to death, even though he was innocent. Jaime helped Tyrion escape, but before he did, Tyrion went to Tywin’s room. There, Tyrion found Shae, his former lover who testified against him, and killed her. After that, Tyrion found Tywin on the toilet, and finished him off with a crossbow decorated with gold. (There’s even more Lannister history with the crossbow–it’s the one Joffrey used to cradle while torturing women, and eventually used to kill Varys’ spy, Ros.)
Cersei sending Bronn with that same crossbow is a reminder of Tyrion’s betrayal of the Lannister family. She blames Tyrion for the deaths of her children–since Joffrey’s death, she’s maintained that Tyrion was responsible, but even learning from Jaime that Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) poisoned her son hasn’t changed her mind. She also blames him for the deaths of Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) and Tommen–as Cersei said in Season 7, when Tyrion killed Tywin, it left the Lannisters exposed.
“Do you have any idea what you did when you fired that crossbow?” Cersei asks Tyrion. “You left us open. You laid us bare for the vultures and the vultures came and tore us apart. You may not have killed Joffrey, but you killed Myrcella, you killed Tommen. No one would have touched them if Father was here–no one would have dared.”
Making sure that the same crossbow Tyrion used to kill Tywin is used against him is exactly the kind of poetic message-sending Cersei loves. Like playing “The Rains of Castamere,” it’s a power move that builds her reputation, shows her spite for her enemies, and strikes fear in others. The question now is whether Bronn will actually try to kill his two former employers.
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