Cersei, Melara, and Maggy. Artwork by Cris Urdiales, used with permission.
|Born||In 265 AL|
|Died||In 276 AL|
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)|
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)
Melara Hetherspoon was a member of House Hetherspoon.
Appearance and Character
Cersei describes Melara as a girl older than Jeyne Farman. She is contrasted to the "fat" Jeyne, implying she was slender or outright skinny. Melara was pretty, though she had freckles. The girl was "healthy as a little horse".  Cersei has troubles recalling what Melara looked like, as the memories faded as the years went by. 
Cersei thinks of her as bold, certainly bolder than Jeyne and possibly bolder than Cersei herself. 
Relationship with Cersei
Melara was a bedmaid and childhood friend of Cersei Lannister. They lived together within Casterly Rock.   An adult Cersei thinks that she enjoyed her friendship to Melara, and that she never enjoyed such a friendship afterwards. Not before meeting Taena of Myr.  Cersei considers Melara a close friend. Someone close in age to herself. During her childhood only Jaime and Melara were able to keep her company. She contrasts this experience of having companions to her son Joffrey Baratheon who was "always alone" and whose only companion was Sandor Clegane. She also compares her relationship with Melara to that of Robert Baratheon and "loyal fool" Eddard Stark. 
When Cersei was "ten"-years-old, Tywin Lannister organized a Tourney at Lannisport. Supposedly to welcome Aerys II Targaryen to the Westerlands, though it served as a spotlight for the recently-knighted Rhaegar Targaryen. He was only "seventeen" but won distinction in the jousting, unseating two Lannister men, and a dozen of the finest jousters serving Tywin. Genna Lannister informed Cersei that she would be betrothed to Rhaegar at the final feast of the tourney. 
During the Tourney, Melara (then aged eleven) heard the serving girls whisper about Maggy. Hearing tales of Maggy able to curse a man, or make him fall in love, able to summon demons and foretell the future. She apparently passed the tales on to Cersei and Jeyne Farman. At night the three girls stole from their beds, crossing the tourney grounds to seek out the sorceress. They were disguised in roughspun, brown cloaks with their hoods pooled up. Hiding their features. They were excited and afraid. Cersei was scared, but unwilling to show fear while the girls were watching her. By the time they located the tent of Maggy, "all torches were guttering out". Jeyne fled when Maggy opened her eyes to greet the visitors, but Melara and Cersei stayed and insisted on hearing her future.  
Maggy tried to get the two remaining girls to leave. But Cersei insisted on getting a foretelling, and Melara clarified that they wanted to know what men were they going to marry. Cersei threatened Maggy to give them a foretelling, Melara begged the sorceress to tell them their futures. Maggy warned that "some are here who have no futures", but agreed to grant their wish. But first she had to taste the blood of the two girls. Melara paled upon hearing that term.  Both Cersei and Melara allowed Maggy to taste their blood.  Maggy offered them a dagger. Cersei took the offered dagger and ran its blade across the ball of her thumb. Providing the blood needed of her. Then she repeated the act on the thumb of Melara. 
Maggy first sucked the blood from Cersei's hand. Allowing Cersei to ask three questions, while Melara waited for her turn. She was there to listen to the replies of Maggy. First that Cersei would never marry the prince (Rhaegar), she would instead marry the king (Robert). Second, that Cersei would become queen. Only to be cast down by another, younger and more beautiful than herself. Third that Cersei and the king will have children. But the king will have sixteen children, and Cersei only three. The answer to the third question included a prophecy that "the valonqar" would wrap his hands around the throat of Cersei, choking the life of her. A prediction of Cersei's death. Cersei took that as an insult and wanted to leave, asking Melara to follow her out of the tent. 
Melara insisted it was her turn to get three questions. Refusing to leave. Cersei tugged upon her arm, but Melara wriggled free of her grip. Melara first asked if she would one day marry Jaime. Maggy replied that she would never marry Jaime, nor any other man. Worms would get Melara's maidenhead. She warned the "little one" that her death was there tonight. That "she" (Melara's death) is very close, and that Melara could even smell "her breath".  Melara didn't have time to ask her remaining two questions. Cersei snatched a potion and threw it into the eyes of Maggy. The two girls fled the tent as Maggy screamed at them. She screamed in a "foreign tongue" that Cersei could not understand, though the young Lannister assumed that Maggy was cursing them. 
Melara convinced Cersei that they should never speak of the prophecies. Then they would be able to forget them, and a forgotten prophecy could not be fulfilled. Many years later, Cersei thinks that she never informed Tywin and Jaime about the prophecy.  Melara insisted that the memory of the prophecy would eventually fade away like a bad dream (nightmare), and that bad dreams never came true. Her words had sounded almost wise to the young Cersei, though the adult Cersei doubts that wisdom. 
Shortly after their encounter with Maggy, at the final feast of the Tourney, Cersei learned that the first part of the prophecy came true. She would not marry Rhaegar. Tywin had proposed the match, but Aerys refused. During the feast there were "cold silences" and "chilly looks" between the King and his Hand. 
Death and memory
Many years later, Cersei told Qyburn that Maggy's prophecy had come true: Melara drowned in a well. And that the event happened "soon" after the prophecy.  Cersei has also told the same tale to Taena.  For all her insistence on silence, Melara was not silent in the well. Cersei remembers how Melara "screamed and shouted" before drowning.  After Melara drowned, Cersei decided to find out what was the meaning of "valonqar". Septa Saranella told her that "valonqar" was High Valyrian for "little brother". The meaning convinced Cersei that her valonqar was Tyrion Lannister. 
After thinking of Melara as a friend, the adult Cersei corrects herself. Thinking that Melara had turned out to be "a greedy little schemer with ideas above her station". She also thinks of Melara as the person who taught her never to trust anyone. Anyone except Jaime.  On another occasion, Cersei thinks that Melara was only the first person to repay Cersei's kindness with betrayal. Blaming her and Jeyne Farman for taking her to Maggy in the first place. Cersei thinks of the other women who betrayed her in similar ways: Senelle and Sansa Stark. She fears that Taena could also betray her trust. Like Melara, like Jeyne, like Senelle, and like Sansa. 
When Cersei is forced to walk naked from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep, she starts seeing "familiar faces" in the crowd around her. In other words, several persons in the crowd remind Cersei of persons she used to know, both living and dead. She notices a young girl, seating beneath a fountain. A girl drenched in water. Cersei sees the girl as Melara, staring back at her with "accusing eyes".  
The text leaves unclear whether the death of Melara was an accident. Cersei recalling the dying screams of Melara, implies that Cersei was herself near the well. Or at least near enough to listen to the screams. The possibility exists that Cersei herself pushed Melara down the well. She had two reasons to do so. First because of anger that Melara aspired to marry Jaime.  The adult Cersei notes that she was "angry even now". Angry after all these years that the "stupid girl" didn't know that Jaime lived "only for swords and dogs and horses... and for her, his twin." The second reason would be Melara's own insistence that the prophecy had to be kept secret. Cersei may have decided against trusting Melara. Feeling that the only way for two people to keep a secret, is for one of them to die and remain silent. 
Additionaly, the wording of Maggy's prophecy to Melara is somewhat suspect. 
"Your death is here tonight, little one. Can you smell her breath? She is very close."
Maggy speaks of this death as feminine. A "death" which breaths and stands close to Melara. She may be speaking of a personification of death, or of an actual person involved in the death. And there are two breathing feminine persons standing close to Melara at the time these words were said. One an old woman, the other a young girl, In other words Maggy herself and Cersei. 
References and Notes
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
- Other "familiar faces" in the crowd include a frowning Tywin Lannister, Eddard Stark, Sansa Stark, Lady the direwolf, a jeering Tyrion Lannister, and a smiling Joffrey Baratheon.
- "The Citadel: Prophecies- Maggy the Frog's Prophecy" (2006) "As we learn from Cersei, Melara Hetherspoon "fell" down a well and drowned soon after (IV: 413). This piece of language suggests it was an accident. However, other details, such as Cersei's recollection of how she "screamed and shouted" in the well (IV: 583-584) and Maggy's uncanny accuracy, make it seem much likelier that Cersei pushed her down the well herself. The reason as to why she would do such a thing is clearly anger over her pretensions to Jaime's hand, made clear from the middle paragraph, and from an earlier remark in which she claims Melara proved to be a "greedy little schemer..." (IV: 356) Also, it may relate to Cersei's recollection that Melara had convinced her that if neither of them spoke of the prophecy, it wouldn't come to pass (IV: 544). Cersei may have decided that she could not trust Melara to hold her tongue."
- Conversation topic: Did Cersei murder Melara? on Westeros Forum