The much-anticipated final season of “Game of Thrones” was a bit of a letdown. Let’s face it: It was bigger than a bit of a letdown. The writing was weak and the stories were rushed, leaving simplified character arcs and uneventful deaths in the show’s wake.
But a deleted scene could’ve impacted Season 8, including a much-talked-about moment from the series’ penultimate episode: Cersei Lannister’s death.
At German Comic Con in Munich over the weekend, Lena Headey, who played Cersei, revealed that she filmed a “traumatic” scene for Season 7, in which Cersei has a miscarriage. A credible leak on this made its way onto Reddit in 2017, but had yet to be confirmed until now.
“We shot a scene that never made it into Season 7, which was where I lose the baby,” Headey said. “And it was a really kind of traumatic, great moment for Cersei and it never made it in and I kind of loved doing that because I thought it would’ve served her differently.”
If Cersei did lose her unborn child before the events of the final season, perhaps her shift from fearless adversary to weepy, defeated queen would’ve connected more with the audience.
To many fans’ dismay, Cersei was greatly underutilized in Season 8. As masterfully portrayed by Headey for almost a decade, she was the ultimate living enemy ― a person who would go to whatever lengths to protect her family’s claim to the throne and defeat any opposing force in her path. She was deceitful, relentless, wicked. Cersei was the kind of ruler who would chain and poison a young girl, only to shackle her mother in the same cell so she could watch her child die and rot for months on end.
Her unrelenting hatefulness was only featured in a handful of Season 8 scenes over the course of four episodes, and in most of those moments she’s, sadly, with Jack Sparrow-impersonator Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) or silently staring out over King’s Landing. Then, in possibly the least climactic death of the show, a pregnant Cersei dies in the arms of her brother and baby daddy Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) after being crushed in the rubble of the Red Keep as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) viciously rains down fire on the capital of Westeros in Episode 5, “The Bells.”
Yes Cersei, the most conniving player in the game of thrones, the schemer of schemes, the lover of wildfire, dies by rocks. She also dies in a way that makes viewers feel sorry for her as she sobs and tells Jaime, “I want our baby to live. I want our baby to live. Don’t let me die, Jaime. Please don’t let me die. Please, don’t let me die. I don’t want to die.”
The thing is, we didn’t want to feel sorry for Cersei when her time came. We wanted to watch Arya (Maisie Williams) cross Cersei’s name off her list or Jaime fulfill the long-held fan theory that he’d be the one to do her in.
And when considering that aforementioned deleted scene, maybe we would’ve gotten the death scene we craved.
As we learned over the course of the show, Cersei’s children ― Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), Myrcella (Nell Tiger ) and Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) ― meant everything to her, and each of their deaths only motivated her to move forward with the goal of taking down all threats in Westeros. So if she did face yet another tragedy, her villainous side would’ve been at its peak. Cersei’s Season 8 storyline could’ve been completely different.
First off, her somber mood after sleeping with Euron would’ve made more sense ― of course she’d be upset if he was talking about a future pregnancy and heir to the throne.
Secondly, with no baby to live for, she would’ve risked everything to protect her place on the throne when it came to Dany’s invasion, including possibly keeping her miscarriage a secret from Tyrion as a war tactic. When it came to that Episode 4 parley, the ruthless Cersei probably could’ve done even more than just execute Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) ― like take out a few Unsullied or even try to hit Drogon with a scorpion spear or two.
Could that Season 7 scene really have made a huge difference to Cersei’s storyline, though? We’ll never know for sure, but even Headey agrees that her character’s ultimate end was disappointing.
“I will say I wanted a better death,” the actress told The Guardian in an interview published Sunday. “Obviously you dream of your death. You could go in any way on that show. So I was kind of gutted. But I just think they couldn’t have pleased everyone. No matter what they did, I think there was going to be some big comedown from the climb.”
It’s fine to say that whatever showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss came up with for the final season could in no way have pleased everyone. But, in moving past author George R.R. Martin’s source material, they fell short in delivering scripts that were reminiscent of the gripping earlier seasons. That is what burns the most when considering all the possible conclusions for “The Song of Ice and Fire.”
And as for Headey, well, she’s just grateful to have played Cersei ― even if her beloved character’s end was lackluster.
“Nobody wants to play a character who’s really fucking dull and has no history,” Headey told HuffPost earlier this year. “It’s always more interesting for me whether it’s a history that you create for a fictional character or one you look into while researching real people. Everyone has a story. You have to bring that story with you.”