Image Source: HBO
So I have been debating writing this post for quite a while now; mainly because Cersei Lannister is probably one of the most unpopular characters to have as your favorite. But because of recent events happening on the show, I figured I should write this post now possibly before I could ever write it again. When it comes to women on the show, most fans find themselves rooting for Daenerys or Margarey. Though I know that’s the practical way to go, I find myself time and time again rooting for Cersei and cheering whenever she manipulates a situation just to her liking. So why am I so pro-Cersei? I wasn’t so sure I wanted to write this post because I feared I would learn some things about myself I would rather not learn. Why is it that I’m rooting for the bad guy? Well, here we go….
I honestly don’t really know where to start. I feel like I have so many points to go through but I guess I should maybe start where Cersei starts. And no, I am not talking about her becoming Queen or having an incestual relationship with Jaime. But I am starting with the first scene in the fifth season where we got a glimpse into Cersei’s past. She seemed to have just as much sass back then as she does now and she decided to meet with a woods witch to tell her fortune. Unlike almost every other character in Game of Thrones, Cersei went into her adult life knowing that she would have to fight and claw her way in order to save herself and her family. She was first told that she wouldn’t marry the prince but she would marry the king. She was also told that she would have three children who will bare golden crowns as well as golden shrouds. She was also told that she would be cast down by a younger and more beautiful woman. Once the war started and Robert took the throne….Cersei must’ve known that this woods witch may have known what she was talking about putting Cersei on guard for the rest of the show. She is convinced it is her duty to protect her children from what she knows is almost certain death. She has already lost her first born child and she is doing everything to protect her other two children.
Joffrey is dead. Myrcella has been sold like livestock and now you want to ship me off to Highgarden and steal my boy. My last boy. Margarey will dig her claws and you will dig your claws in and you will fight over him like beasts until you rip him apart. I will burn our house to the ground before I let that happen!
These were some of the last words Cersei spoke to her father before Tyrion murdered him. Her love for her children goes so far that she doesn’t even trust her father (someone she does actually show a huge amount of respect for in the entire show) with them. Cersei has spent the entire season plotting and scheming her way to ensure control and safety for her son in the city. Did it backfire? Yes. Who knows what will happen to little Tommen now that Cersei isn’t there to protect him? And let’s take a moment to discuss Myrcella. If you think Myrcella is save, you obviously haven’t been paying much attention to what is actually going on in Dorne. Ellaria will set up an ambush on the trip to King’s Landing. I’m almost sure of it and I can’t really imagine Myrcella is going to survive the whole ordeal and if she does, she might wish she hadn’t. No matter how much Cersei tries….people will come and try to kill her children and she has spent almost the entirety of the show trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. She has stated before that she would throw herself from the highest window of the Red Keep if she no longer had her children with her. I don’t necessarily believe that. If she does lose all of her children, I do not believe suicide is completely the way she’d choose to go. I believe that Cersei has made it very known to everyone that she loves her children (even Joffrey) and if you hurt her children in any way, she is coming for you. You think she’s bad when she has her children to keep her sane? Wait until they’re all dead. Just one of the few reasons I’m rooting for her.
Okay so my first point is probably the point everyone reading this expected me to make. Most fans do believe that her love for her children is Cersei’s one redeeming quality but again they would rather see Cersei die and watch Margarey or Daenerys climb the steps to the Iron Throne. So why do I prefer Cersei to both of these women? (And I apologize in advance if either of these women are your favorite character because I’m about to probably say not very nice things about them).
I would like to start by saying that in Season One; Daenerys was my favorite and Cersei was pretty high on my not-so-favorite list. So what changed over time? Daenerys still needs to learn things and she’s still growing up. Of course she’s young and has a lot of things to experience before she is going to completely become who she is meant to be. So, why on earth are we rooting for her to get on the Iron Throne if we have no idea who she will actually become? Also, Tyrion did make quite a good point about why on earth we’re rooting for someone who’s never really been to Westeros to rule Westeros? Another excellent point brought to you by a Lannister. The main reason I prefer Cersei to Daenerys is that she doesn’t flip flop. Cersei knows who she is and she knows what her goal is. She knows who to trust and she knows how to rule. She rules completely by fear. Daenerys wants to rule by fear and by love and it’s so damn confusing. She can never make up her mind. Sometimes she’s pinning people to crosses across the desert and sometimes she is being called “Mhysa” after liberating the slaves. Her decisions are almost always completely driven by emotion. She makes snap judgements and burns random citizens alive to prove her point. What a mess.
On the other hand, Margarey is not like Daenerys at all. Actually, she’s almost identical to Cersei. She manipulates and plots in order to claw her way into power….except Margarey believes that ruling with love is better than ruling with fear. She believes that having the common people love her is more important than being feared and yes, that may come in handy someday. But I can’t tell how sick I am of hearing people say she’s so much different than Cersei and saying that she’s such a good person. She wants exactly what Cersei wants….power. And she doesn’t really have that whole love for her children thing down like Cersei because well she doesn’t have any children. But man did she have chances. Um, how many times has she been married and completely nauseatingly acts like she is madly in love with all of them. She was soooo in love with Renly and then completely in love with Joffrey and then here comes little Tommen. Yuck. Cersei never pretended to be madly in love with Robert but she was completely confident in her own power that she didn’t have to. I know we’re supposed to be disgusted with Jaime and Cersei but the Margarey and Tommen scenes make my stomach churn. But no one’s saying anything about that. Nope. Why? Cuz Margarey acts nice sometimes. I like Cersei because she doesn’t pretend to be what she’s not. She’s a tough, ruthless woman who will do anything for her children and right now, Margarey is a huge threat to her son. She doesn’t trust Maragarey will have the best interest for her son and she’s kind of right. It’s clear that Margarey just wants that throne and Tommen really doesn’t matter to her.
The whole fifth season scenario between Cersei and Margarey brings me back to one point; Cersei (and all of the Lannisters) are very smart. That’s honestly what has endeared me to them all this time. Now, I will put a little disclaimer in this. I thought it was insanely stupid of Cersei to put the Faith Militant in charge when she was guilty of incestual relations with various members of her family but for the longest run of this show, Cersei was making smart moves and I absolutely love smart characters. The way she completely played Loras and Margarey was simply wonderful and I take comfort in knowing that it wasn’t Margarey who got the best of Cersei in the end that led her to her downfall……I really didn’t want her to get that sort of credit. Plus I also take a little bit of comfort in knowing that she did that to the family that killed her first born son. She may never know it was the Tyrells who poisoned Joffrey but as a Cersei fan, I like that she got some sort of revenge on the people who caused her so much pain.
Nonetheless, over the seasons…Cersei has continuously made very smart moves. She always advised Joffrey to work with the North as opposed to invading them. She also told him he needed to be smarter if he was to continue on being a good king. She was able to get to Baelish before Ned could seize the capital from the Lannisters. Throughout the entire second season, fans feared that Cersei was hunting Arya in order to kill her but she made it very clear that she wanted her alive to broker a prisoner exchange to get Jaime back even though Tywin and Joffrey weren’t hearing it. She knew the value of keeping people alive and not just hacking off the heads of their enemies (unfortunately her son didn’t get the memo). And once Tyrion was on trial…..she got to Bronn before anyone and promised him money and fame in exchange for not becoming Tyrion’s champion. Sure, most fans hate her but you have to admit she knows what she’s doing and she’s has a pretty level head even in the most devastating times. After Joffrey was killed, she didn’t make a snap judgement and was overcome with emotion. She was pretty damn positive it was Tyrion that killed him and wouldn’t you be? Tyrion has threatened him many times before and had every reason to kill him. She didn’t sit around and cry….she did what Cersei does best and made sure there was no way Tyrion would get away with it.
I realize that there are so many reasons to dislike Cersei. She’s done some pretty awful things. To recap; she’s had a not-so-appropriate relationship with Jaime, she was the one who suggested killing Lady, she found and beat Ros thinking that she was the one Tyrion was having relations with and the big one, she didn’t really complain when Jaime threw little Bran out of the window paralyzing him. But it was Jaime who did that right? But everyone likes him! Jaime also massacred all of Ned’s men in front of him in King’s Landing. There’s a certain amount of forgiveness that the fans have towards Jaime and Tyrion for the awful things they’ve done because well…they’re charming and funny. Tyrion sold off Myrcella to the Lannisters number one enemy and his first moves in the capital were getting rid of (killing or otherwise) people who were loyal to Cersei just because. I’m not trying to say that Cersei is innocent or even a good character in this show, I’m just saying some fans leave a little more wiggle room on the favorites list if you can make a witty joke.
Here’s the point of this post where I really defend Cersei and all of the things many fans still think she is guilty of. Right off the bat, the show completely insinuates that it was Cersei and Jaime who killed Jon Arryn branding them as the big meanies of the show. Ned Stark so valiantly headed down to King’s Landing in order to get rid of those awful Lannisters who killed his friend. Good for you Ned! Except it wasn’t them who killed Jon Arryn. It was Petyr Baelish and your super crazy sister-in-law. But no one ever said the Starks were smart. Next on the list is directly related to the first one….Ned’s death. People associate Cersei with the brave main character biting the dust in Season One even though she pleaded with Joffrey not to do it. She knew it would start a war and she even drafted an escape clause to send Ned to the Night’s Watch. Another huge misconception is that she ordered the deaths of all of Robert’s bastards. Everyone remembers that horrific scene where babies got killed in their mother’s arms while screaming “Damn you Cersei!” Most of those fans have complete amnesia when it comes to scene where it comes out she had no idea that was taking place and it was Joffrey all along. And finally, she did not try to have Tyrion killed at the blackwater. When a gold cloak came at Tyrion, again we all assumed Cersei had enough of her brother but again we found out….she had nothing to do with it leading Tyrion’s drastic attacks on Cersei to be a little unprovoked. I say “a little” because there’s always something going on between those two isn’t there?
So now we can move on to one of the main reasons why I love Cersei so much; her insanely complicated relationship with Tyrion. In the second, third and fourth season; both Cersei and Tyrion skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. They’re both so brilliant and their chemistry was some of the best the show has ever seen. They were always trying to one-up the other but every so often, they had some of the genuine scenes ever on the show. The scene where Cersei truly became someone I was rooting for and my favorite character on the show was the infamous scene where she is finally honest with Tyrion. She confides in him that she knows Joffrey is a monster and she is sure that the gods are punishing her for her sins. In a rare vulnerable moment, she cries about not knowing what to do when her first born son has turned into such a terrible and horrific king. It was so nice to see that all this time, Cersei was not blind to what an awful person her son turned out to be and that she has a clear head about the situation at hand. We finally get to see Cersei’s true pain exposed and that she feels alone in the war of trying to protect her children but also trying to reign in her children. What do you do when your son who you love with all your heart turns into a villain? That’s what I like to call a little case of Norma Bates syndrome. Cersei’s number one fault was the fact that she did try to ensure Joffrey’s claim to the throne and Joffrey was just the worst. In that moment, Tyrion comforts her (a sight we’re sure to never see again) and we actually see Cersei with no walls up at all.
Of course now they both want to kill each other but I will say…..I truly believe Cersei thinks Tyrion killed Joffrey. There’s very little evidence to support anything else. We all know it was a bunch of lies but how on earth would Cersei know that? Now she views Tyrion as the man who killed her mother, the man who killed her son and the man who killed her father. Of course she wants him dead. None of us want to see that happen but it’s not like her rage against Tyrion is completely unfounded.
But all in all, the main reason why Cersei is my favorite? She is insanely tough and she’s not as cruel in comparison to some other people in Westeros. Let’s all be clear about that. But that bitch is tough. You can see her frustration every day that she was not born a man. She makes difficult decisions and doesn’t cry about them later, she stands tall no matter what horrible things may be happening to her and the combination of her ambition and loyalty to her children are all things that would be completely applauded if she were a man. But she is not a man so she does everything to help her family claim their power. Her marriage to Robert was the only reason why the Lannisters ever got on that throne. And at the end of the Battle of Blackwater, she was prepared to “whore herself” out to Stannis in order to ensure her family’s strength in the capital……a task no one should be asked to do.
When Cersei looks at Jaime on the surface, she isn’t in love with him….which makes most of us just feel really bad for Jaime. There has to be some sort of emotion there and I think deep down there is actual love but she envies him more than anything else. She envies his gender. She knows if she were a man she would do a far better job and she only thinks of Jaime as a suitable match when he is ruthless and does what a man needs to do in order to save her family. She’s done what a woman’s needed to do to protect their family plus some. And she feels completely alone and betrayed when he decides to speak fondly of the Starks or worse; release their son’s murderer just to have him murder their father. Jaime left Cersei to deal with people coming at her with everything they’ve got and now she must really deal with it alone. I’m telling you if Cersei survives this whole ordeal and Jaime doesn’t bring Myrcella home safely? That guy is as good as dead.
And all of this brings me to what may happen in the next episode….most fans will be hoping and praying that Cersei finally gets hers but me? I’m hoping that she remains the tough woman we know her to be and to let the world know that it is not so damn easy to break a Lannister. She will most definitely be put on trial for her relationship with Lancel…..and the conspiracy to kill Robert. It is quite possible that she killed the man that never loved her and forced Jaime to watch him screw other women after Ned Stark threatened the lives of everyone in her family. To be honest, I’m almost positive she did it but that alone endears me more to her. Again, she is doing what others may not want to do and putting the burden all on herself to save the family…..again. I know these next few episodes will not be pleasant for her and she will definitely be made to pay for all of her sins. And I’m not a fan of Cersei that will completely ignore all of the horrible things she’s done. I’m just saying other characters do worse things. Some characters light their own children on fire. I’m writing this now because I may not get a chance to defend her after this finale. I think there is a very strong possibility that Cersei Lannister may meet her end very soon.
In the beginning of the show she speaks the most famous words the show has ever had:
In the game of thrones, you win or you die.
Well, she certainly isn’t winning right now so by that logic there’s only one thing left. I really don’t want to see her die. I would love to see her fight another day and to remind everyone in Westeros that Lannisters do always pay their debts……yes random lady with the spoon…..I’m talking to you.
PS. Cersei is also one of two characters that have ever slapped Joffrey. That has to count for something right?