Spoilers ahead for this week’s Game of Thrones. Obviously.
In Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister dropped a major revelation on her brother-lover Jaime: She tells him that she’s pregnant with their fourth child. In theory, she could actually be telling the truth. She and Jaime recently rekindled their between-the-sheets relations, and yes, that technically could have resulted in a pregnancy.
But what if she’s lying? Here are three reasons why Cersei’s breaking news might actually be fake.
1. She clearly wants to cement Jaime’s allegiance to her.
Earlier in the episode, Jaime makes it clear to Cersei that he doesn’t think their army has a chance against Daenerys and her dragons. He also contradicts Cersei’s long-believed theory that Tyrion was responsible for Joffrey’s death, revealing that it was Olenna who poisoned their devil-boy, and then disappoints her by not killing Olenna with as much ruthlessness as she would have liked. On top of everything else, Cersei knows that Jaime secretly met with Tyrion in King’s Landing and now seems inclined to meet Team Dany’s demands for a truce.
At this point, Cersei has all kinds of reasons to doubt that Jaime would maintain an allegiance to her. He’s become a wild card. But she knows that if she says they have another baby on the way — especially when they’ve lost all of their other children — Jaime wouldn’t have the heart to go against her. “Whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it,” she tells him. “For ourselves, for our house, for this.” That’s when she gestures toward her belly. Everything about Cersei’s choice of language emphasizes that they’re in this together and have a responsibility to keep it that way. Her words are fine-tuned to induce guilt if Jaime strays from her on any level.
2. She also says she’ll go public with the fact that Jaime is the father, but, come on, Cersei would never do that.
Pretty much everyone in the Seven Kingdoms knows that Jaime and Cersei are siblings with benefits, but it has never been publicly confirmed. If Cersei were to declare that she’s pregnant and Jaime is the father, her subjects would be horrified. “People will not like that,” Jaime rightly notes. Cersei counters by asking him to remember what their father used to say about how lions don’t concern themselves with the opinion of the sheep.
But Cersei — a woman who was forced to walk through the streets naked, with “shame” chanted in her face as people spat on her — knows full well that she cannot ignore the opinions of “the sheep,” especially if her power is threatened by the mother of dragons. (It’s interesting that Game of Thrones has made a twisted maternal nature so central to Cersei, a queen who may be using a pretend-pregnancy to her advantage, and to Daenerys, a queen who considers massive fire-breathing monsters to be her children.) Quite simply, Cersei is too calculating to let her affair with Jaime become public knowledge. Doing that would be political suicide and she knows it.
3. That whole thing she says about betrayal.
After Cersei confirms that she’ll tell everyone Jaime is the baby’s father, they passionately kiss and embrace, at which point she whispers, “Never betray me again.” That’s the clincher: She’s just trying to keep her brother and baby daddy on a tight leash by whatever means necessary.
The look on Jaime’s face after she issues that command suggests he’s also having doubts about whether she’s really telling him the truth. As he should. Because she’s totally lying.