The first season of House of the Dragon is now over – and that means we’ve entered that period when online fans focus all their detective skills on coming up with fascinating new theories about Westeros. This particular theory, however, has been around for quite a while on the web. Some fans have been speculating about Cersei and Jaime Lannister’s “real” lineage for a while in A Song of Ice and Fire blogs and forums. The Targaryen name is usually found all over the noble families of Westeros, and some fans believe that Jaime and Cersei might be direct descendants of the Mad King himself.
The idea that a well-established character might secretly be a Targaryen is nothing new for the franchise. This is a pivotal plot point in the final seasons of Game of Thrones, where it’s revealed that Jon Snow is the last descendant of the true Targaryen lineage. However, the clues about Jon’s bloodline are a bit more obvious than the ones linking the Lannister twins (Jaime and Cersei) to the Targaryens, leaving much of the theory’s basis up to speculation.
Most of the fan theory has to do with the characters as they are in the books; there are essentially no direct ties between the Targaryens and Jaime and Cersei in the Game of Thrones show that could hint at some form of kinship. In the books, however, some clues seem to indicate that there might be more to Cersei and Jaime’s history than meets the eye.
One of the very first clues that fans notice about the Lannisters is that the family has a tradition of naming their firstborn son with a name that begins with a “Ty.” Tywin Lannister is the son of Tytos, who is the son of Tybolt Lannister. A tradition spanning more than three generations should not be taken lightly by one of the most powerful noble families in Westeros, so why did Tywin name his firstborn – his pride and joy – Jaime?
The only one of Tywin’s sons that has the “Ty” in his name is Tyrion, which some fans believe is proof that Tyrion is Tywin’s only natural child. Sure, there are some other firstborn Lannisters whose names don’t begin with “Ty,” but they at least contain the syllable in their names somewhere – like one of Kevan Lannister’s sons, Martyn Lannister.
If what we’ve mentioned so far is true, and Jaime and Cersei aren’t Tywin’s natural children, then who was their Targaryen father? The answer could only be the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen.
In the books, it’s rumored that Cersei and Jaime’s mother, Joanna Lannister, had an affair with Aerys before she married Tywin. Some other rumors also suggest that the Mad King took some “liberties” with her on the day of Tywin and Joanna’s wedding, which some fans believe could mean that the King invoked his Prima Nocta rights. Although the tradition was already banned in King’s Landing by the time of Joanna’s wedding, that wouldn’t have stopped someone like the Mad King from having his way.
Since the books are still being published, we have no way of knowing whether these rumors might be true or mere speculation. However, it would explain why the Lannister twins have such a predisposition for incest – a fairly infamous Targaryen tradition – and also why Cersei had such a deranged obsession with fire.
On the other hand, it’s also entirely possible that Tyrion is the bastard son of the Mad King – which would then explain why Tywin held him in such contempt. We’ll have to wait until George R.R. Martin finishes writing the books to find out!