I recently read the Buzzfeed article about S01E05 of Game of Thrones and one of the bullets on the list said:

Cersei mentioning losing their first boy to Robert confirms that she wasn’t making up that story she told Cat in Episode 2.

I was confused by this, so I read the recap for S01E02 on the Game of Thrones Wikia, which stated:

Cersei visits Catelyn Stark, sitting by her son's side, and tells her that her first child, a beautiful, black-haired boy, died of a fever. She and Robert were grief-stricken and her prayers and tears were for naught.

In S05E01, When the young Cersei visits Maggy the Frog, Maggy only mentions Cersei having three children:

Cersei: Will the king and I have children?
Maggy the Frog: The king will have 20 children, and you will have three.
Cersei: That doesn't make sense.
Maggy the Frog: Gold will be their crowns. Gold, their shrouds.

Why doesn't Maggy the Frog mention Cersei and Robert's child in her prophecy? Does this omission prove the prophecy false? Alternatively, could this just be a giant plot hole?

  • 2
    also, no matter what the explanation is... not a plot hole. At best a continuity error.
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 3, 2016 at 15:58
  • I struggle with the idea that a seer that is wrong about the future as a plot hole OR a continuity error, no matter the explanation. The future is notoriously hard to predict, and nothing Maggy the Frog said was particularly difficult nor specific: a typical cold reading.
    – Yorik
    Aug 3, 2016 at 21:18
  • 2
    @Yorik Her prediction that Cersei would marry the king (but not the prince), and have three blonde children (crowns of gold), who would all die, is very specific, and not the sort of thing that a fraud could manage through cold readings.
    – Liesmith
    Aug 4, 2016 at 10:43
  • She was blonde, she was a Lannister daughter and every lord's daughter wanted to marry the king (see: Disney princess), and before the 20th century, the majority of children died before adulthood.
    – Yorik
    Aug 4, 2016 at 13:55
  • 4
    Lest not forget this lovely line... "Ten thousand of your children perished in my palm, Your Grace. Whilst you snored, I would lick your sons off my face and fingers one by one, all pale sticky princes. You claimed your rights, my lord, but in the darkness I would eat your heirs."
    – Skooba
    Aug 8, 2016 at 18:50

4 Answers 4


It's probably an oversight by the writers, because they deviated from the novels in season 1, but used the prophecy pretty much intact from the novels in season 5.

In the books, Cersei's aborts her first child with Robert before it is born. She has no intention of having children with him, and makes sure she never does. So in that case, Maggy's prophecy is true, Cersei only had three children.

In the show, Cersei did technically have four children. However, if we want to give Maggy some benefit of the doubt, we can assume she meant three surviving children. Cersei's first child, with Robert, died basically in childbirth (not uncommon in medieval times, by the way). Maggy may have simply considered that child "didn't count."

It's also possible that Maggy was seeing into Cersei's future from her perspective; Cersei considered her three children with Jaime to be her "real" children, and the one with Robert at best a "duty". Perhaps Maggy merely meant Cersei would have three children that she considered her true children.

  • 8
    It's probably relevant to point out the Wildlings' belief about not naming their children until they're older (in some sense not being a "real" child until then). A similar sort of belief (about when a child "counts") may also exist south of the Wall. IIRC, various ancient cultures in the real world had similar beliefs about children not "counting" until well after birth, due to the high infant mortality rate.
    – R.M.
    Aug 3, 2016 at 18:51

This is most likely due to the fact that in the books Cersei never has a black haired child like she mentions in the show. This was an addition to the show probably just for the sake of that scene. In S05E01 the flashback is taking very closely from the books and therefore comes down to a continuity error. Source here.

I doubt that this is the only time that such an error happens because of direct book adaptation vs show addition.

  • 1
    Probably that conversation was just to have the "dark-haired" reference to set up the idea of that kid being Roberts, and the later reference of that dominant characteristic in all of Robert's kids, which her other three kids all lacked. Aug 5, 2016 at 15:49
  • There is a theory, albeit not with strong evidence, but more in the way that season goes about it's execution of "mother-related" scenes in relation to the following, but some speculate that TV version of Gendry is Cersei's and Robert's son. He mentions to Ned that he remembers little of his mother, except she sang to him and had golden hair. Sep 6, 2017 at 10:51

IMO I think it has to do with how the TV series goes about stating the prophecy and/or what it may be saying about prophecies in general, as it takes some departures from the book counter-parts.

Wars to Come - Transcript:

MAGGY: Three questions you get. You won’t like the answers. > CERSEI: I’ve been promised to the prince. When will we marry?

MAGGY: You’ll never wed the prince. You’ll wed the king.

CERSEI: But I will be queen?

MAGGY: Oh yes, you’ll be queen. For a time. In comes another. Younger, more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear.

CERSEI: Will the king and I have children?

MAGGY: No. The king will have 20 children, and you will have 3.

CERSEI: That doesn’t make sense.

MAGGY: Gold will be their crowns. Gold their shrouds.

So my interpretation of this has two points:

"Prophecies are DANGERIOUS things." - Melisandre

  • It specifically is referring her children with Jaime. They are the only children of hers we know of to not only begin to grow-up, but grow-up within her care. She raises them. And Jaime has been central in Cersei's idealism.
  • Just because Maggie the Frog only mentions these three children, doesn't necessarily mean she told Cersei the whole truth--the books better clarify, through it's version of Melisandre for instance, the idea that things like visions or prophecies can be easily misinterpreted or are not always clear, but we doe get a hint about that in terms of the TV show too. (see Melsandre quote above). Also Cersei, being a child/teenager, is also not very specific in her questions, and that prompts for less specific answers.

The TV Series, because of it's variation on her stillborn child to Robert, which does not exist in the books, gives more freedom to speculate or theorize that she may have had/could have other children. I'm personally on board with the Gendry is Cersie's child-theory, because I think it could benifit the TV show version of the story in terms of the dynamics between Cersei,Arya, and himself.


It might also be that Cersei never thought about this baby as her own as he was Robert's and she hated him. Cersei even mentioned to Catelyn that she never visited the crypt.

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