[Editor’s Note: With Euron having fetched Harry Strickland and The Golden Company for Cersei as her new fighting force, we’re bringing back our explainer on what, exactly, the company is all about.]
It’s almost hard to remember now what can feel like a throwaway line in the midst of the explosive Game of Thrones’ Season 7 finale, “The Dragon and The Wolf,” but there was an important reference Cersei makes to Jaime about the Golden Company. Though Jon’s “Operation Zombie Drop” did seemingly convince Cersei to uphold a truce while they all go and battle the Night King, if you believed that for even one second then you don’t know Cersei. The queen of lies assured everyone she would not only go along with their plan for a truce, but she would help them — the rubes!
As Jaime points out soon afterwards, though, the Lannister army (and what’s left of the Highgarden troops) are no match for dragons, Dothraki, and the Unsullied. But it appears that Cersei has other plans in place. In one of the few plot lines this season that seems leftover from George R. R. Martin’s books (as far as subtle machinations go), we’ve seen Cersei meeting with a representative from the Iron Bank (Tycho Nestoris), and assuring him that (as Lannisters) debts will be paid. The Lannister power has come squarely from their amassed fortune, and as cunning a tactician as Tywin Lannister was, it was his gold that truly gave him power. It wins wars, and it secures kingdoms.
Cersei, learning from this, has put paying her debts at the forefront of her schemes. It was important that we clocked Jaime assuring her several episodes ago that the gold they moved from Casterly Rock made it to King’s Landing. That was a hint to us that it mattered, and in “The Dragon and The Wolf” we were told why. Cersei, knowing the limitations of her Westerosi army, is buying the help of The Golden Company, currently stationed in Essos. And she’s sent Euron (in a fake-out that didn’t make a lot of sense as far as his reasoning at the time, if it was pre-planned) and his Greyjoy fleet to fetch them. Why is this so important?