Home » Books » In defense of Cersei Lannister ( I add a break when spoilers start, so feel free to read until then if you hate spoilers)

In defense of Cersei Lannister ( I add a break when spoilers start, so feel free to read until then if you hate spoilers)

The other day I was having this e-mail discussion with an Italian online friend. We were talking about ‘grey’ characters, and how G.R.R Martin is so very good at creating them. In my list of ‘grey’ characters, I included the name of Cersei Lannister to which he said ” Cersei isn’t a sort of a very selfish evil character?”, which lead me to defend Cersei as just that, a grey character. This is the second time I have done this, so I have decided to share my thoughts here.

A fellow blogger has also led me to post this, he has loads of interesting “in defenses of” in his blog. Here is his link :

http://patricksponaugle.com/

This post in no way intends to make Cersei anything else than what she really is: a paranoid, cold, manipulative woman. The post does however intend to lessen the darkness surrounding this character by explaining why she is the way she is, by explaining that she was not simply born this way, but instead molded to become this way.

I’ll list the events in her life I feel have molded her into the character she is today in a more or less chronological order, and I will also mention the emotional result of these events.

Cersei’s mother dies – fear, sadness, abandonment
Cersei being a child, blames Tyrion for her mother’s death – hatred
Cersei is treated differently from her brother – sadness, hatred, injustice
Cersei falls in love with her brother Jaime – fear, shame
Cersei is found redhanded with her brother – fear, shame
Cersei is seperated from her brother – fear, shame, injustice (the Targaryens did it all the time!)
Cersei has her prophecy read to her – fear, hatred, suspicion, mortality
Cersei loses a friend, just as prophecy said – fear, vulnerability, suspicion, mortality
Promise to wed Rhaegar is broken, she is said to not be good enough – humiliation, hatred, loss of power
Father is distant, cold – abandonment, hatred
Father sees her as a prized horse, who’s duty is to breed with whoever is most powerful or useful to her father – fear, hatred, powerlessness
Robert Baratheon calls her “Lyanna” on their wedding night – humiliation, hatred
Robert Baratheon is a whoremonger – humiliation, hatred, powerlessness
Robert Baratheon fathers several bastards – humiliation, hatred, powerlessness
Bran Stark catches her and Jaime in the tower at Winterfell – fear, shame, regret (I imagine the regret part)
Ned Starks threatens to reveal her incestuous relationship with her brother – fear, hatred, powerlessness, mortality
Cersei is surrounded by masters of whispers – fear, paranoia, powerlessness
Joffrey undermines her authority – fear, powerlessness
Tyrion undermines her authority – fear, hatred, powerlessness
Tyrion separates her from her daughter – fear, hatred, powerlessness
Father undermines her authority, does it in public – humiliation, fear, hatred
Joffrey is to wed a younger and more loved queen – fear, powerlessness
Jaime loses his hand – powerlessness, mortality

SPOILER BREAK (stop reading here if you don’t want spoilers)

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Joffrey is killed – sadness, loss, hatred, fear
Tyrion is blamed – hatred
Tommen ascends to the throne – fear (for Tommen)
Tommen is betrothed to Margaery – powerlessness, fear
Tywin is killed – fear, loss, hatred
Tyrion escapes –hatred, powerlessness
Cersei is accused of fornication and treated as any other – humiliation, fear, mortality
Jaime abandons Cersei- abandonment, fear

Overall, not a very pleasant way to live and certainly not a very good recipe for a well rounded, balanced individual. Is she a bitch? Yes. Is it any wonder? For me, no. Could she be better? Yes, but then I could also be a better cook, or more patient, or calm, or this or that. Her brain is wired as it is from birth, she was given those tools at birth, and then this list of events ensued. She responded to these events the only way she could. Note that nobody was there to guide her, nobody supported her, held her hand, or tried to point her in the right direction. She spent her life in a gilded cage, nothing to envy, and certainly nothing that would make her a better human.

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5 thoughts on “In defense of Cersei Lannister ( I add a break when spoilers start, so feel free to read until then if you hate spoilers)

  1. Great post! There must be something in the air, because this is the second In Defense of Cersei post that I’ve seen recently.
    I really like her chapters in A Feast For Crows, where we see the roots of her motivations that go way, way back. She has one of those Greek tragedy type of background stories that I really like.
    And thanks for the shout out in my blog, much much appreciated!

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