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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Cersei Lannister: A Complex Villain

Beautiful. Manipulative. Narcissistic. Paranoid. Maternal. Incestuous. Hateful. Distrusting.
Cersei Lannister is one of the most interesting characters (for me) on Game of Thrones. Cersei is a bad, selfish person; no doubt about that. But had George R R. Martin simply made her a cruel, menacing woman that had no humanity, she would have been quite boring.

In the early seasons of the show I sympathised a lot with Cersei. I've never liked her per se, but she has been through a lot. She lost her mother at a young age; her true love is a taboo one, her children as of now are all dead, she was married off to someone she didn't want to be with, and she isn't taken seriously because she is quite literally a woman in a man's world. In both the books and show she refers several times to the fact that she resents not being born a man, and that despite she and Jaime looking so similar, she was treated very differently from him growing up.

In the first season, it's clear that Robert Baratheon mistreated Cersei. I liked Robert but it was obvious he made her very unhappy; he often shushed her and said 'quiet woman!' and he would force himself on her in bed whenever he was drunk. She was made to be a lady; a smiling, pretty girl who would follow orders dutifully and bare her husband children. But that wasn't Cersei's dream; she wanted power, a chance to rule. She also says several times that she took the family legacy more seriously than her brothers, and that Tywin should have groomed her as next in line for the throne. Had she been born in Dorne, she would have been, being the eldest sibling, but such didn't work like that in the rest of Westeros. (Haha, Resteros. No?)

Moreover, if Cersei had been born a Targaryen then her relationship with Jaime would be publicly accepted, cos we all know Targaryens love their incest. (There are some theories that Cersei and Jaime are Targaryens and Tyrion is Tywin's only trueborn son, which is why he despises him so. I personally believe the opposite; that Tyrion is a Targaryen and the Lannister twins are just horny for one another, as both possess the Lannister looks and I think Tyrion being a Targaryen would further clarify Tywin's hatred for him and constant disowning of him. It would also make Tyrion a contender for the third head of the dragon, along with Jon and Dany.)

So Cersei has never truly been allowed to be herself. She grew up with few friends; she had no mother to guide her into womanhood, her father is kind of a prick, she lives in fear that her little brother will kill her like he 'killed' her mum, (although I believe, as do many, that the valonquar will be Jaime - either that or Arya disguised as Jaime) and she can't openly be with the one person who truly loves and cares for her (although by the end of Season 7 he's realised what a nutcase his sister is and that she brings out the worst in him).

Cersei's only redeeming quality for me, besides her cheekbones (and that gorgeous obviously fake hair) is the love she has for her children. In both the books and the show there is no denying that Cersei's love for her children is probably the only true, pure love that she feels. Yes, she does love Jaime, but their love is twisted and messed up and when he arrives back in King's Landing after being the Stark's captive, she doesn't quite welcome him back with open arms. Their relationship has changed; Jaime wants to be free of his sister/lover's cruel nature, and she starts seeing him as weak due to his loss of hand and gaining of a moral conscience.

But Cersei loves her children unconditionally, even Joffrey. She is no fool; in the show her facial expressions evidently express her shock whenever Joffrey belittles her or says something awful. Joffrey disrespects this woman who gave birth to him and loves him - probably the only person in Westeros who wept at his death - and yet she never stops loving him. This horrible, evil, sadistic psychopath who is nasty to everyone, even his mother. I think that really makes Cersei more human and touching as a character. Most mothers will love their children despite what their kids do. A child could be a murderer, rapist, drug addict, Ramsay Bolton - most mothers will not stop loving their kids until their last dying breath.

Catelyn Stark is very different to Cersei; much more caring and likeable, but both women fiercely love and protect their children and reluctantly watch as their sons make decisions that go against their wishes. If Cersei was simply a cruel bitch, her character would be far less compelling and realistic. But she is a cruel bitch who does contain a bit of love and empathy within her. There are moments (kudos to Lena Headey's acting) where you can see Cersei's awareness of her flaws, such as in Season 2 where she asks Tyrion if she thinks Joffrey's cruelty is 'punishment for her sins' (i.e. incest).

She doesn't seem like someone who is ever truly happy, and her sadness is often mirrored on her face, which later translates to pure hatred/paranoia of everything. I also thought the walk of atonement was stupid and unnecessary; once again showing the hypocrisy and irrational absurdity of religious extremism. One of the best moments for Cersei and in the whole show, for me, was seeing her blow up that stupid faith militant and their crazy leader. (It was pretty sad that Margarey and Loras died, but no surprise within the world of ice and fire).

What is your opinion on Cersei? Love her? Hate her? Sympathise with her? What do you think her fate will be? I think she most certainly dies as plenty of people want her dead, and it will either be Jaime that kills her or Arya that does it, wearing the face of Jaime or Tyrion to fulfil the valonquar prophecy.

To see more of my blog posts on Game of Thrones, click the 'Game of Thrones' tab above. 

Related character posts:

Tyrion -

Dany -


  1. nice article !!
    game of thrones

    1. Haha cheers; I've read this :) I don't actually believe Tyrion is 'in love' with Dany - deffo think he loves her but more in that he admires and respects her and believes she's the best hope for the iron throne. He's almost fatherly to her (that's my interpretation anyway). But yeah deffo got that he is worried that Dany and Jon Snow having a relationship will affect their greater goal, and that it will create awful problems in the long run. Can't wait for Season 8!


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