Do you think there was a point where Cersei suspected Ned of being the Valonquar? He was Brandon's little brother, his daughter was slated to be Joffrey's queen, his possible future grandchildren and investigations could potentially motivate him to wipe out her and her children, he was Jon Arryn's protege, like a brother to Robert, there was bad blood between the Starks and Lannisters beforehand which only got worse, and one of the wolves DID bite Joffrey.
I don’t think so. It’s my impression that Cersei has always believed the valonqar to be Tyrion. The first time we’re introduced to that word in the text it’s Cersei referring to my valonqar, like, “my twisted little brother Tyrion”
Her dwarf brother was down in the black cells, condemned to die this very day. […] I will be the one laughing, come dusk. My children will be safe, Tommen’s throne will be secure, and my twisted little valonqar will be short a head and rotting.” (AFFC)
I think it’s interesting how GRRM uses dramatic irony in this passage, like, Cersei believes Tyrion is still imprisoned and awaiting execution, while readers had known for years that Tyrion escaped at the end of ASOS. Which is the same thing I think GRRM is doing with the valonqar prophecy, where Cersei believes the valonqar is Tyrion, while readers know it’s Jaime.
Anyways, from the moment Cersei heard the prophecy, she associated the valonqar with a monster:
“What is a valonqar? Some monster?” The golden girl did not like that foretelling.
And Tyrion has repeatedly been referred to as a monster since he was born:
“The gods cannot abide such arrogance. They have plucked a fair flower from [Tywin’s] hand and given him a monster in her place, to teach him some humility at last.”
And on another level, like … if a witch tells you a prophecy like “Uncle will kill you on your 21st birthday” … it seems a little strange to me to start suspecting everyone in the world who could be an uncle. How it works is you start looking askance at your own uncles, because you are the subject of the prophecy, and it’s about your own familial relationships.
So when Maggy tells Cersei, like, Little brother will murder you, I believe Cersei only ever thought of Tyrion, forgetting that Jaime is also her younger brother, because “she taught me never to trust anyone but Jaime.” Given how large family sizes typically are in Westeros, the prophecy sort of becomes meaningless if Cersei believes it could be anyone’s little brother, even Ned. Cersei didn’t seem paranoid in AGOT that the whole world was out to murder her.
I do believe that the YMBQ is an evolving concept in Cersei’s mind, from Sansa to Margaery, and then in TWOW I believe she’ll suspect Arianne (who may actually be crowned Aegon’s queen), until finally Dany arrives, “The younger queen whose coming [Maggy]’d foretold”. (I don’t believe Arianne carries as much narrative weight as Daenerys, and the way the prophecy is referred to makes me associate it with the other messianic prophecies fortelling Dany’s arrival. What sets it apart is that Maggy’s prophecy is a messianic prophecy heard by a villain instead of a hero, predicting the villain’s downfall.)
But I think Cersei has always believed the valonqar was Tyrion. Perhaps other people believe differently though?