Just assume from here on out that every Vulture article about Game of Thrones contains at least one spoiler. The end is almost nigh! In the HBO show’s penultimate episode on Sunday, Cersei Lannister, portrayed by actress Lena Headey, meets a fate befitting an iron-hearted sovereign who is also in love with her own brother: killed alongside her twin, Jaime Lannister, as the Red Keep collapsed on top of them during Daenerys’s attack on King’s Landing. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Headey offers her thoughts on her character’s demise, a scene that initially elicited a “mixed” reaction from her.
“She starts off in this final season trapped in a web of her own making, as is usual with Cersei,” says Headey of Cersei. “She’s desperately unhappy and everything that’s happened becomes more real than it ever has for her. She starts to lose control of the situation. She’s destroyed every good alliance, connection, love in her life — she was always destined to be alone. And until the very, very last minute, she is, as ever, in denial of what’s actually happening.”
When the actress first learned Cersei would be one of many casualties of Dany’s mass destruction, Headey wasn’t completely thrilled. “I wanted her to have some big piece or fight with somebody,” she says. However, after discussing the scene with co-star–on-screen sibling Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actress warmed to the idea of Cersei dying in her brothers’ arms. “The more we talked about it, the more it seemed like the perfect end for her,” says Headey. “They came into the world together and now they leave together.” In fact, the actress explains, “It’s maybe the first time that Cersei has been at peace.”