After writing last week’s theory article, I set out a number of other options I could write about but narrowing them down is tough. After this week’s episode however, it became much easier to choose which one to write about. This one isn’t quite as inconsequential as the last one but does seem much less likely, though very interesting. It is also a show only one, sorry book readers.
***There are spoilers ahead, big ones from the most recent episodes, so continue at you own peril***
Bastards have been a huge part of the series so far but this year they seem to be getting even more focus than before, with the show slapping us in the face with Missandei’s speech about the concept of bastards and Gilly’s sort of reveal about a certain bastard, down to Gendry introducing himself as a bastard. I have never used the word bastard so much in my life. Today’s subject is one of those bastards. The rowing machine that is Gendry.
Gendry doesn’t get a second name but we all know Robert was his father, his mother was low-born and died when he was very young. All he remembers is that she had golden hair. There was no denying he was Robert’s son with characters saying that he was the double of young Robert and now he’s swinging a big war hammer that comparison will not go away. So, golden hair? Just what are we getting at? ￼ Gendry is the legitimate eldest/only son of Robert and Cersei! I know, it’s crazy but let me try to explain.
Early in season one, back before she was heartlessly torching entire churches full of people, we get a number of scenes between Catelyn and Cersei and each time Cersei shows her sympathies and her strong maternal feelings. One thing that she cannot be accused of is not caring for children. She is a literal lioness, doing anything to protect her children and she respects other women do the same. During these exchanges she talks of the firstborn she lost: a “black-haired beauty” who died shortly after his birth. This boy with black hair could not have been Jamie’s as the “seed is strong”. Cersei mentions that the baby looked like Robert. The teenaged Gendry we meet also looks like Robert — when Ned Stark met him, he immediately deduces that Gendry is Robert’s son. The same thing happens when Stannis meets him. Of course, children look like their parents, so that doesn’t prove anything.
She also recalls that she never visited her child in his crypt, which is odd given what a passionate mother she is. Is this because he wasn’t there? Also, she never mentions the child’s name. Could this have been a deliberate ploy by the writers trying to keep his identity a secret? Cersei had a complicated relationship with Robert. She does admit to him that she “felt something for you once, even after we lost our first boy. For quite a while, actually.” but of course he didn’t feel quite the same and she grew to resent him, even so, I have a hard time believing that she, someone who’s proved time and again to be a passionate mother despite her cruel streak, would kill one of her own, at least not after she’s held it in her arms. Cersei herself explains it best when talking to Sansa: “Love no one but your children. On that front a mother has no choice.” Curious!
While she may have been willing to carry the baby to term, that doesn’t mean she’d want to raise it, particularly with her jealous (though he’s a changed man now) brother and lover around. She would have been faced with two choices: keep the baby and raise him as Robert’s heir, or send the child away and await the birth of his replacement.
Assuming that Cersei wanted to hide Robert’s child from him, how could it be done? During a conversation with Catelyn Stark she mentions that Robert Baratheon was present when their son’s body was taken away: “They came to take his body away, and Robert held me…A little bundle.” So how could Cersei have sent her living child away without Robert finding out? We look to a conversation between Sansa and Cersei: “Whenever my time was near, my royal husband would flee to the trees with his huntsmen and his hounds. And when he returned, he would present me with some pelts or a stag’s head, and I would present him with a baby.” With Robert away hunting and the simpering Maester Pycelle — once her loyal servant — at her disposal, it would have been easy for Cersei to exchange her healthy, living son for a dying one. This is something that’s been mentioned a couple of times and one huge book plot hinges on just such a switch, but that’s a story for another day. She could present this child to Robert when he returned from the hunt. In the meantime, Cersei’s son would grow up close to the Red Keep where, although Cersei would not be in his life, she could keep an eye on him.
Gendry grew up as a Fleabottom peasant, yet he managed to land a job with the most prestigious armorer in King’s Landing, how would he have even had the opportunity to learn to smith, let alone excel at it without some help? How did he come to be noticed by Master Mott?
In the first book, we learn that Mott took Gendry on as an apprentice after a mysterious man paid him double the customary apprentice fee. The man concealed his identity, which sounds like something Varys would do. In any case, it’s clear that someone high up was helping Gendry. The question is who. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that Cersei, through Varys or one of her many agents, was able to install Gendry as Mott’s apprentice.
The final set of circumstances that we’re going through are around Gendry’s escape from the kill squad that was sent after Robert’s bastards. Prior to his arrest, Ned Stark visits Cersei to tell her that he knows the truth of her children’s parentage. After Ned’s death, Stannis spreads that information across the Seven Kingdoms, as a result Joffrey sends the Gold Cloaks to murder all of his father’s bastards. Cersei confirms this in a conversation with Tyrion. In between these events, Gendry is sent to join the Night’s Watch for no apparent reason. During their travels Gendry tells Arya that his master got sick of him and sent him away, which is utterly ridiculous. We know that he is a very talented blacksmith, so why would his master send him away?
It’s possible that a third-party, someone who’d be aware of an imminent purge of Robert’s bastards, arranged for Gendry’s departure, but who? Ned, Robert and Jon Arryn were all dead. But Cersei, more than anyone, knew what Joffrey was capable of. If she is Gendry’s mother, she could have tried to protect him by instructing Master Mott to send him away. We know that she doesn’t consider the Wall to be a dangerous place and that her attitude towards the Night’s Watch is dismissive. It may well have seemed like a safe destination for her secret son.
Jumping to when Davos freed Gendry from Stannis Baratheon’s dungeons on Dragonstone. Before Gendry rowed away, Davos instructed him to return to King’s Landing. We don’t know when Gendry got back, but it’s been made clear that nothing happens in King’s Landing without Cersei learning of it and yet she seems to allow it, possibly distracted with Joffrey’s death. And in any case, it would suit her just fine to know that her secret child was alive and well, but harboring no intentions to claim his right to the throne.
The major counter argument to this theory involves the prophecy made by Maggy the Frog in the flashback. Maggy tells Cersei that the king will have twenty children, and she will have three, which she does: Joffrey, Mrycella, and Tommen. Of course, a cornerstone of prophecies is that they are mutable, depending on the actions of the people they concern. Cersei’s three children may simply refer to the three children that she acknowledged. Whether Gendry is her son or not, he is not her child in name. Her decisions may have fulfilled the terms of the prophecy.
Melisandre is not a stranger to prophecies and she herself has said “Prophecies are dangerous things.” and she would know. She’s given a number of prophetic visions and, while some have come to pass, few have come true to the letter.
So what do you guys think? If this is true, Gendry is in fact the rightful heir to the throne. Thanks for reading, let us know what you think and be sure to check out some of our other articles!