May 15, 2019
Jaime reaches out to Cersei.
EXT. KING'S LANDING LANDSCAPE - DAY
Far to the south, King's Landing sits peacefully by the sea, oblivious as yet to the horror marching its way.
INT. RED KEEP CORRIDORS - DAY
Jaime and THE HOUND are walking through the Red Keep, escorted by four non-Mountain members of Cersei's QUEENSGUARD -- one leading, one following, and two on their flanks.
Jaime looks around at the eerily deserted castle.
(to a Queensguard)
Where have all the people gone?
The knight thoroughly ignores him, as though he did not even hear the question. Jaime eyes him uneasily, unable to read the man's face beneath his big black helmet.
Fled the castle, most likely. Which makes them smarter than us.
Jaime absorbs this grim observation. He continues gazing around the empty corridors as they walk on.
INT. MAIN ENTRANCE, RED KEEP THRONE ROOM - CONTINUOUS
They arrive at the main entranceway to the throne room. Two more Queensguard open the tall doors for them--
INT. RED KEEP THRONE ROOM - CONTINUOUS
--revealing CERSEI LANNISTER, first of her name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men. She sits upon the Iron Throne, staring down the empty audience chamber at them. THE MOUNTAIN stands protectively at her side. Qyburn's crystal vial hangs from her throat on its golden chain. QYBURN himself stands at her other side.
Behind the throne, twenty or so barrels are stacked up against the wall. It's not visually obvious what's in them, but it's an ominous thing to see.
The Queensguard escort Jaime and the Hound down the length of the silent hall. It's a long walk. Jaime and Cersei stare each other down as the distance shrinks, their faces revealing a subtle storm of complex and conflicting emotions.
The Hound is not looking at Cersei. He's looking at his brother. The Mountain looms atop the dais, face hidden except for his cadaverous eyes.
Finally they halt, standing a short distance from the foot of the dais -- close enough to speak, far enough to convey the tension and mistrust that is inherent here. The Queensguard stand alert, hands ready upon their swords.
Jaime gazes up at Cersei, the most murderous woman in the world, a woman who has variously been his sister, his lover, his queen, and his enemy. He waits for her to speak the first word.
(re: Queensguard and Qyburn)
I'd like to speak with you alone.
My Queensguard stays with me.
They leave. Or I do.
Cersei glares down at him, the man she had loved and trusted more than anyone.
You dare to come back here, after betraying me to that whore and her pet bastard, (and now you--)
If you're going to execute me for it, do it now, and we can both save our breath. But if you want to hear what I've come to say, you will send them all away.
The Mountain turns and looks to Cersei, awaiting her signal. Qyburn looks at them both, watchfully.
Cersei holds Jaime's gaze, her face full of pride and anger, shot through with a tiny hint of lonely vulnerability.
Her eyes shift to the Mountain's. She gives a single nod.
The Mountain begins walking down the dais steps.
The Hound tenses. It's unclear what that nod meant, and the Mountain could very well be coming to kill him and Jaime both. He's almost upon them. The Hound reaches for his sword--
--and the Mountain walks right past, coming within feet of his little brother as he does. The Hound follows him with his eyes, his hand still white-knuckling Heartsbane's hilt, the Valyrian blade hovering eight inches clear of its scabbard.
The Mountain keeps walking, down the length of the hall toward the exit. The rest of the Queensguard follow suit, and Qyburn as well. The Hound slowly releases his grip, and the blade slides back home, the schnick! clearly audible in the deep quiet.
Leave me with her.
The Hound looks at Jaime, then starts to turn away. Jaime puts a hand on his arm, stopping him. He speaks quietly, so that only the Hound can hear.
Watch your back. And get as far from here as you can.
The Hound takes that in, eyeing Jaime for what may be the last time, silently wishing him good luck. He pulls away and heads for the doors.
Jaime and Cersei look at each other as the Hound's footsteps retreat away. Finally, the doors swing shut, the sound echoing through the chamber. The twins are alone together at last.
Did you have fun in the North? Enjoying your new friends?
They want to offer you a deal.
Cersei makes a face, a sarcastic: oh do they really?
Is it better than the one they offered in the Dragonpit?
They didn't owe you anything in the Dragonpit, you were losing. And they certainly don't owe you anything now.
He begins walking toward her as he continues.
Jon Snow has turned out to be the secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen. He's tamed Daenerys' second dragon, married her, and brought the rest of the kingdoms to their cause on her behalf. He's flying here now with an army at his back.
A version of this story had already reached Cersei's attention, but hearing it like this from Jaime is much worse.
Daenerys, meanwhile, has helped Yara Greyjoy seize the throne of the Iron Islands. Euron Greyjoy is dead, and his thousand ships belong to your enemies now. Tyrion has swayed the Golden Company to their side as well. They're sailing here now, to join the fight against the dead. And against you, if need be.
Jaime has reached the top of the dais by now. He looks down at Cersei as she sits upon her meaningless throne.
It's over, Cersei. You've lost.
Even faced with this harsh reality, Cersei clings to her regal bearing. She refuses to break down in despair, refuses to avert her defiant gaze from Jaime's face.
Why did you come here?
Jaime hesitates. He kneels down at Cersei's side and looks earnestly up into her face.
I came to help you.
Rather late for that.
It's not. There's a way.
Cersei is listening, hopeful in spite of everything, hating herself for it.
They're going to win no matter what you do. But they'd rather do it quickly and without bloodshed.
Of course they do.
Listen to me. The dead are coming south. If the Night King takes King's Landing, it's over, for everyone. Daenerys is willing to let you escape to Essos, if you yield the city peacefully.
You believe that.
I know it, I know them.
No. Not here, not in my hearing--
The moment I board my ship, they'll torch it from the sky, or are you so stupid (as to believe that they'll--)
Do you remember Jon Snow in the Dragonpit? Do you really think he would start lying now? They don't need to be clever with you, they've already won. They're telling the truth.
For all her pride, Cersei realizes that he's right. Uncertainty and self-doubt play openly on her face now.
Please, Cersei. We'll go together, we'll leave it all behind. We'll be together like we always wanted -- nobody will say a word.
Part of Cersei wants that so badly that it hurts. She hesitates.
Please. They'll even let our child reclaim Casterly Rock. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for them. Give our child a chance to live.
A change comes over Cersei's face. Tears begin welling in her eyes despite her fierce efforts to hold them back. Her walls begin to crumble before Jaime's eyes.
I lost the child.
Jaime is sincerely shocked. Cersei collapses into her grief.
Everything was going well. We were so healthy, both of us. Then one night I woke up, and I was bleeding, and...
She starts to cry in earnest -- ugly wracking sobs. Jaime moves up and wraps his arms around her. She cries helplessly into his shoulder. In this moment, they are two bereaved parents. Everything else has fallen away.
The empty throne room echoes with the sound of Cersei's grief. Jaime rocks her, murmuring indistinctly to her.
Finally, at long last, Cersei pulls herself back together. She pushes Jaime away, fighting her way out of his embrace. Jaime looks stricken.
You should leave.
There's nothing left for you here.
Cersei is silent.
Cersei, you have to surrender. You have no choice.
I always have a choice.
Jaime cannot believe it. He stares at her, hardly able to comprehend what he sees in Cersei's face: she's refusing the terms. She's refusing to surrender.
What will you do?
Cersei is silent.
Jaime is trapped in a nightmare. He backs away from her, casting his gaze helplessly around the throne room. It lands upon the barrels stacked up behind the throne.
What's in these barrels?
He says it like it's a question, even though he knows the answer. Cersei's silence only confirms it.
What are you planning to do with this?
(starting to panic)
What. Are you going. To do?
You should leave this city.
She'd meant it as a threat, but it comes out sounding almost like a plea. A flicker of frightened humanity shows itself in her eyes, just for a moment.
Jaime stares at her.
I can't leave.
You think I'll let you take me prisoner? Drag me before my enemies? You think you'll make it (out of this--)
I love you.
A long beat. She looks like she's trying to come up with something acidic to say. But what finally comes out is:
Even after all I've done?
Even after all you've done.
He moves back toward her.
You're mine, and I'm yours. I followed you into this world. I will follow you out of it.
He touches her cheek with his good hand.
I will never leave you again.
She stares at him, fighting herself, but finally she's unable to hold it in. A look of exquisite vulnerability and love comes over her face. She pulls him in. They kiss each other tenderly, passionately. It lingers on and on.
Then, with a sudden violent motion, Jaime grabs her by the neck and slams her back against the throne. Cersei thrashes reflexively, her hands flying to her throat. She claws frantically at his hand. Her eyes are wide and horrified, staring at him in disbelief.
Around her neck, beneath Jaime's strangling grip, Qyburn's vial hangs useless -- its seal unbroken, its contents undrunk.
I love you. I love you. I'm sorry. I love you.
He repeats this until he is crying too hard to speak anymore. Cersei kicks and writhes, her body taken over by an uncontrollable animal survival instinct. Her eyes roll back as she heaves futilely for air, then return to stare at him, terrified and pleading. The terrible moment seems to go on forever.
Then -- finally -- the life fades from Cersei's eyes as her scrabbling hands slow in their movements, then stop, then fall limp to her sides. Her eyes gaze out, frozen in a look of helpless heartbreak.
Jaime slowly releases his hold, shaking and weeping. Cersei's body slumps forward against his shoulder. He kisses her temple and gently closes her eyes. He gathers her limp body into his arms, picks her up from the Iron Throne, and lays her gently down upon the dais.
He walks to a candle burning on the wall, draws his sword, and slices off the tip. It falls to the floor, extinguishing as it lands. He walks over to the barrels and pierces one of them. Bright green liquid spills out and begins to pool on the floor.
He lets his sword fall to the ground with a careless clatter -- Widow's Wail, the sword that his dead son had named, a sword that had been reforged from Ice to be an heirloom for their soon-to-be-extinct family.
He picks up the candle nub and re-lights it from another wall-mounted candle. He sets the burning nub down in the gathering puddle of wildfire.
Then he returns to Cersei and lays down next to her, gathering her body tenderly into his arms. He gazes into her face, and kisses her gently, lovingly -- on her forehead, on her closed eyes, on her lips. Then squeezes her tight and closes his eyes.
END OF EPISODE 809
Annotated S08E09 commentary available on Patreon <3