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"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
―Cersei Lannister to Eddard Stark.[src]

Queen Cersei I Lannister is a major character in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh seasons. She is portrayed by starring cast member Lena Headey and debuts in the series premiere. Cersei is the widow of King Robert Baratheon and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She is the daughter of Lord Tywin Lannister, twin sister of Jaime Lannister and elder sister of Tyrion Lannister. She has an incestuous sexual relationship with Jaime, who is secretly the father of her three children, Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen.

After the assassinations of Joffrey and Myrcella and Tommen's suicide in the wake of the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei assumed the throne under the name of Cersei of the House Lannister, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms

Biography

Background

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Cersei as a young girl in Casterly Rock.

Cersei is the only daughter and eldest child of Lord Tywin Lannister and his wife Joanna Lannister, who was also his cousin. Tywin is the head of House Lannister, the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms and Lord Paramount of the Westerlands. The Westerlands are one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Lannister is one of the Great Houses of the realm. Cersei is the elder twin of Ser Jaime Lannister and the elder sister of Tyrion Lannister. She was raised in privilege in the family seat of Casterly Rock.[2] She is noted for her great beauty.

Cersei's mother died when she was four years old, after giving birth to her younger brother Tyrion. Like her father, Cersei has always blamed Tyrion for her mother's death and deeply resents that her mother died so that Tyrion would be brought into the world.[3][4] Cersei's father Tywin was constantly away from home during her childhood and teenage years, serving as Hand of the King at the capital, with only infrequent visits back to his seat at Casterly Rock. Coupled with the death of her mother, this meant that Cersei and her two brothers were primarily raised by servants attached to House Lannister. She began an incestuous relationship with Jaime in her youth which has continued despite her marriage.[2] Cersei has had other partners but Jaime has always been faithful to her.[5]

When she was about fifteen, Cersei and her friend Melara visited Maggy, a woods witch and reputed fortune teller dwelling in a hut deep in a forest close to Casterly Rock. Melara was reluctant, but Cersei convinced her to go. After rudely awakening her and insisting on having her future foretold, Maggy tasted a drop of her blood and revealed to Cersei she wouldn't marry "the Prince" but "the King", and while the king would have twenty sons, she would bear only three children who will wear golden crowns as well as golden shrouds. Finally, she revealed to Cersei that although she would indeed be Queen, she would be cast down by another, younger and more beautiful queen.[6]

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Cersei marries Robert Baratheon.

After the end of the civil war which ended the reign of House Targaryen, Cersei was married to King Robert Baratheon, a political marriage Robert agreed to in thanks for her father's last-minute alliance. She was only 19 when she married Robert and became Queen.[7] At first, Cersei was infatuated with the handsome Robert, but their love begun to wane when he called her "Lyanna" on their wedding night.[8] She nevertheless bore Robert a son who died shortly after his birth. Cersei was devastated by her son's loss and refused to have the body taken from her, forcing Robert to hold her while they took her son from her.[9] In time, Cersei's feelings for Robert turned to hatred and she returned to her brother as a result. Her three children, Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, are officially Robert's, but in reality are the products of her incestuous relationship with Jaime.

Season 1

In King's Landing, Queen Cersei watches the silent sisters preparing the body of Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, for burial. She and her twin brother, Jaime, discuss the situation and wonder if Jon told anyone else about what he had discovered. Jaime tells her not to worry, since if the King knew the truth they'd be dead already. She suggests that Jaime could be the next Hand, but Jaime refuses, citing the position as too much responsibility and danger.[10]

King Robert decides to travel to Winterfell and ask his best friend, Lord Eddard Stark, to become the new Hand, as well as proposing that his son Joffrey marry Eddard's eldest daughter, Sansa.

Cersei at Winterfell feast

Cersei at the feast in Winterfell.

Cersei, Jaime, and a retinue of courtiers accompany him. When the royal party arrives at Winterfell (the seat of House Stark) a month later, Lord Eddard presents his household to Robert and Cersei. After initial greetings, Robert demands to see the crypts and pay his respects to his former betrothed, Lyanna Stark, stoking Cersei's impatience. After Robert and Eddard depart, Cersei sends Jaime to find their younger brother Tyrion, who has become distracted at the local brothel.[10]

That evening, a great feast is held and Cersei and Catelyn Stark exchange cordial words. Cersei seems impressed by Sansa, thinking that she will be a great hit at court. The next morning, Eddard and Robert go hunting, leaving the castle largely empty. Cersei and Jaime liaise in derelict tower. Bran Stark climbs the tower and finds them engaged in sexual intercourse. He is caught watching by Cersei, and Jaime grabs him. He asks how old Bran is. When Bran replies "ten", Jaime sighs and pushes him out of the window, musing "the things I do for love."[10]

A month later, at breakfast, Tyrion tells his family that Bran is expected to live and notes his sibling's guarded reactions to the news. Cersei visits Catelyn, who is sitting vigil for Bran. Cersei tells Catelyn that her first child, a beautiful, black-haired boy, died because of a fever.

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Cersei and her son.

She and Robert were grief-stricken and her prayers and tears were for naught. She offers to pray for Bran's survival, hoping that this time the gods will listen. The royal party sets out for King's Landing, now joined by Eddard, Sansa and Arya. However, an incident between Arya's direwolf and Joffrey on the Kingsroad escalates into an argument between Cersei and Eddard. Robert defuses the situation by agreeing that he and Eddard will attend to their own discipline. Cersei insists that the direwolf must be killed. When Nymeria cannot be found (Arya having driven her off to protect her), Cersei has Sansa's wolf, Lady, killed instead. A furious Eddard attends to the matter himself to spare Lady a much more grisly death at the hands of Ilyn Payne.[9]

Arriving back at court, Cersei talks to Joffrey about the incident on the Kingsroad. She tells him that when he is king, the truth will be whatever he decides it will be. Joffrey tells her that he thinks there will be trouble with the Starks, and that when he is king he'll double their taxes, force them to contribute to a standing army and, if they should object, he'd crush them. Cersei elucidates that the North is too vast and wild to be militarily conquered by outsiders. She cautions Joffrey that he will need to be cleverer as king. She also advises him to be kind to Sansa to avoid causing trouble for later, and concludes that "anyone who isn't us is an enemy." A raven arrives in King's Landing with news of Bran's recovery. Cersei fears he will expose their secret, but Jaime comforts her.[11]

Cersei and Robert share a drink and discuss the threat from the Dothraki now that Daenerys Targaryen is married and pregnant. Cersei also tells Robert that at the start of their marriage she truly loved him, even after their first boy died, for quite a while. He says he knows, but could never love her back due to his feelings for Lyanna Stark.[12]

Cersei and Robert

Cersei and Robert visit Ned.

Cersei and King Robert visit Eddard as he recovers from wounds sustained fighting Jaime and his guards. Cersei is furious with Eddard for having her brother Tyrion arrested and for fighting with Jaime, but Eddard is unrepentant.[13]

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Cersei reveals the truth to Ned Stark.

Eddard confronts Cersei and tells her he knows her children are fathered by Jaime. She does not deny it, instead saying that she and her brother belong together, always. Cersei says she did love Robert at first, but on their wedding night he whispered Lyanna's name, which soured their relationship afterwards. Eddard advises her to leave King's Landing before Robert returns from a hunt, as he will then tell Robert the truth. Cersei instead warns him that "In the game of thrones, you win or you die."[8]

Robert is mortally wounded on the hunt. Cersei is concerned that Eddard will tell Robert the truth, but Ned chooses to spare his friend further pain. Robert names Eddard Protector of the Realm and regent. Upon Robert's death Cersei quickly installs Joffrey on the throne. Eddard tries to reveal the truth with the help of Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish, but Baelish betrays him and sides with Cersei. Eddard is arrested and imprisoned, while his guards are killed.[8]

Cersei persuades Sansa to write a letter asking her brother Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey in return for her father's life. Sansa agrees, but the plan backfires, as the letter merely encourages Robb to raise an army and march into the Riverlands to confront the Lannister armies directly. In open court, Cersei encourages Sansa to make a new plea to Joffrey for her father's life. Joffrey agrees to spare him and let him join the Night's Watch, if Eddard recants the claims he has made about Joffrey not being the true king.

Ned's execution

Cersei, Joffrey, and Sansa watch as Ned is executed.

Sansa is sure he will.[14] Cersei is present at the Sept of Baelor when Eddard Stark 'confesses' his crimes, in accordance with the arrangement brokered by Sansa and Varys. She is visibly horrified when Joffrey arrogantly flouts the arrangement and instead demands Eddard's decapitation. Knowing that this will only lead to another war, she frantically tries to persuade her son to reconsider, but the order is nonetheless carried out by Ser Ilyn Payne, the royal executioner.[15]

Sure enough, war erupts between the Lannister and Stark armies in the Riverlands and Cersei attempts to secure her son's hold on the Iron Throne. She takes a new lover, her cousin Lancel who was King Robert's squire and gave him the wine that made him too drunk to slay the boar that killed him. She also receives a letter informing her of Jaime's capture by Robb Stark.[16]

Season 2

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Cersei sits in the small council.

Cersei continues to govern from King's Landing as the Queen Regent to Joffrey. She is driven to defend Joffrey's claim in the face of several challengers in the War of the Five Kings. Facing imminent winter, she orders the city gates barred to prevent further refugees from entering the city. She is perturbed by the arrival of her brother Tyrion, who has been named acting Hand of the King by their father Tywin Lannister. She fears that Tyrion schemes to usurp her power and is frustrated when he tells her that since she failed to prevent the death of Eddard Stark, she has been viewed as the disappointing child by Tywin. Tyrion wins her temporary acceptance when he pledges to free Jaime from captivity, but insists that they need to find the fugitive Arya Stark in order to facilitate a prisoner exchange.[17]

Stannis Baratheon sends copies of a letter detailing Cersei's incestuous relationship with Jaime and the illegitimacy of her children to high lords throughout the seven kingdoms, fueling widespread rumors. Cersei tasks Petyr Baelish with recovering Arya and is enraged when Baelish dares to reference the rumors. She asks Joffrey to enlist the aid of Tywin in the search, but he refuses to involve his grandfather. He provokes an argument with Cersei about the rumors and threatens her life when she slaps him. He then orders a citywide massacre of Robert Baratheon's bastard children so that he will have no rival claimants in case his true parentage is revealed.[17]

Cersei rejects King Robb Stark's peace terms and refuses a request for aid from the Night's Watch, ignoring news of wights attacking the Lord Commander Mormont. Tyrion ousts Lord Janos Slynt as commander of the City Watch for his part in the massacre as well as his betrayal of Ned Stark. Cersei angrily confronts him for displacing her loyal servant.

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Cersei and Lancel - secret lovers.

He warns her to consider the importance of the support of her subjects; she is dismissive of his concerns but becomes upset at the weight of responsibility she has born. Tyrion mocks her relationship with Jaime. She ends the discussion by saying that Tyrion's finest joke was killing their mother when he was born.[3]

Tyrion tests the loyalty of the remaining small council members by feeding each of them a different marriage plan for Myrcella. Pycelle dutifully informs Cersei of Tyrion's plans to marry Myrcella into House Martell of Dorne despite his promise to keep them secret. Cersei confronts Tyrion who insists that the alliance is necessary and that Myrcella will be safer in Dorne. He then has Pycelle arrested for breaking his confidence. Tyrion sends Petyr Baelish to negotiate with Catelyn Stark, leaving Varys as the last active member of Cersei's small council in the city.[18]

Robb Stark wins a major victory at the Battle of Oxcross. Joffrey responds by having Sansa Stark publicly beaten, sparing her only because of Cersei's orders, that if Sansa is killed the Starks will exact vengeance on his uncle Jaime. Tyrion intervenes and halts the ordeal, causing further deterioration in his relationship with Joffrey.[19]

Cersei issues a warrant demanding the release of Pycelle. She tasks her lover and cousin Lancel Lannister with delivering it to Tyrion. Lancel arrives in the middle of the night, and Tyrion asks why he waited so long to deliver the message. When Lancel says he just came from Cersei, Tyrion notices Lancel smells of Cersei's favorite perfume, and threatens to expose their relationship to Joffrey unless Lancel agrees to become his double agent, reporting everything Cersei does.[19]

Cersei refuses to share her plans

Cersei keeps her secrets.

Cersei is pleased when she learns of King Renly Baratheon's death. Tyrion considers it a sign of an imminent attack by his brother King Stannis Baratheon, who has assumed control of Renly's army. Cersei refuses to discuss measures for the defense of the city and remains irate about the marriage pact with Dorne. Tyrion learns from Lancel that Cersei is relying on the Alchemists' Guild to supply Wildfire to defend the city and supplants her relationship with the Guild.[20]

Cersei and the court assemble at the shore of the Blackwater Bay for the departure of Princess Myrcella. Cersei remains livid about Tyrion's arrangements for her daughter. She threatens to one day deprive him of someone he loves. As they move through the city to return to the Red Keep they are confronted by angry crowds of starving smallfolk. Joffrey is hit by thrown excrement and triggers a riot by demanding that his guards kill everyone in the crowd. Tyrion marshals the Lannister guards to lead them to safety.[21]

Upon learning that Sansa has flowered for the first time, Cersei summons Sansa and offers her advice on motherhood. Cersei tells her to love only her children, since love makes you weak, although it is a mother's obligation to love her children. Sansa asks if she should love Joffrey; Cersei replies that she is welcome to try.[5]

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Cersei and Sansa have a "girls" chat following Sansa's first "flowering".

Cersei meets with Tyrion to discuss the imminent attack of King's Landing by King Stannis Baratheon. She admits her struggles controlling Joffrey and openly references her relationship with Jaime. She confides her fear that Joffrey's madness is the price for her sins, including her incestuous relationship. Tyrion tries to comfort her by telling her that Tommen and Myrcella are good, decent children.[5]

Joffrey is keen to fight in defense of the city. Cersei is furious and suspects Tyrion of trying to kill her son. She mistakenly identifies Ros as his lover because of the Lannister necklace Tyrion gave her and seizes the opportunity to deliver on the threat she made when Myrcella left. Cersei has the prostitute kidnapped as insurance against Tyrion placing Joffrey in harms way. She reveals her ploy over dinner and Tyrion vows to free Ros and take revenge when Cersei least suspects it.[7]

Cersei provides refuge for the women of the court in Maegor's Holdfast during the battle. She prepares for the worst by having Ser Ilyn Payne present and obtaining deadly Essence of Nightshade poison from the reinstated Pycelle. She drinks heavily during the siege and torments Sansa Stark when she tries to keep up the morale of the women by praying. She tells Sansa that the gods have no mercy and that Ser Ilyn is there to kill them should the Red Keep be breached.

Lancel is wounded and returns from the walls to report that Stannis has reached the Mud Gate, despite Tyrion's ingenious use of Wildfire to destroy a large portion of his fleet. Cersei sends Lancel to bring Joffrey back to the Red Keep, ignoring his protests that it will damage morale. Joffrey willingly leaves the field but his exit is a blow to the men.

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Cersei and Tommen during the Battle of Blackwater, their future uncertain.

Lancel begs Cersei to let him return Joffrey to the front, believing the battle is lost otherwise. Cersei pushes him into a stone pillar, aggravating his injury, and storms out. Convinced the battle is lost, and not wanting her children to die by Stannis's hand, she takes Tommen to the Iron Throne room and prepares to poison him. She is stopped just in time by the unexpected arrival of Tywin, who reports that they have won the battle. Tyrion is betrayed and wounded by Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard during the fighting.[22] Tyrion's role in defending the city is not acknowledged and he is left to recover from his wounds, stripped of his power. Rumors circulate that Cersei ordered the attack on Tyrion. No longer considering Tyrion a threat, Cersei releases Ros.[23]

Cersei orchestrates a public ceremony rewarding those who aided the city in the battle. Tywin is officially recognized as Hand of the King, Petyr Baelish is named Lord of Harrenhal for brokering the alliance with House Tyrell and Ser Loras is offered a favor of his choosing. He asks Joffrey to marry his sister, Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey says that he is constrained by his betrothal to Sansa but Cersei intervenes to insist that the treachery of House Stark frees him from any obligation. The court welcome the decision with a round of applause.[23]

Season 3

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Cersei and Littlefinger

Some weeks after the Battle of Blackwater, Cersei pays Tyrion a visit accompanied by two of her son's Kingsguard. She only gains entrance to Tyrion's chambers after agreeing to leave her guards outside. Once inside Cersei demands to know how he will "slander" her to their father now that he is here. Tyrion asks when he has ever slandered her before, and she reminds him of a time at Casterly Rock that he got her in serious trouble with their father: when she was nine years old, Cersei discovered that a servant girl (also nine years old) had stolen a necklace, so she had her guards beat the girl, who ended up losing an eye. Tyrion told their father what Cersei had done and he was angered, but Cersei notes that the servant girl never stole a necklace again. Tyrion quips that it isn't "slander" if it's true, and he only told Tywin what she really did. The queen admits that Tyrion is a clever man but not as clever as he might believe. Tyrion merely retorts that this still makes him a great deal more clever that her. Cersei then leaves abruptly and just in time to prevent Meryn Trant and Bronn from exchanging blows.

At night, Cersei and Joffrey are hosting a private dinner party for Loras and Margaery Tyrell. Cersei is surprised that Margaery has been handing out food aid to the smallfolk of the city and visiting orphanages. Unlike Cersei, who only knows how to rule through fear, Margaery is skilled at winning the hearts and minds of the common people, and this concerns Cersei. After trading veiled insults with both her son and future daughter-in-law, it becomes clear that Cersei doesn't trust Margaery and fears that the younger woman has come to usurp her as queen.[24]

Margaery and Cersei Second Sons

Cersei threatens to have Margaery Tyrell strangled in her sleep.

While speaking with Joffrey about his upcoming wedding, Cersei begins to criticize Margaery, saying that she is only charitable to the poor to build up her own reputation and that she dresses like a harlot for a reason. Joffrey, however, dismissively tells Cersei off. [25] While Joffrey is giving Margaery a tour of the Sept of Baelor, Cersei speaks with Lady Olenna, exchanging stories about their deceased husbands. When Margaery takes Joffrey with her to greet the common people, Cersei realizes that she has lost control of Joffrey to the Tyrells. Later, Cersei meets with Tywin to discuss the Tyrells and informs him how Margaery has begun to manipulate Joffrey. Tywin is satisfied, as Cersei has only let Joffrey do whatever he pleased. He also tells her that she is not as smart as she thinks she is and that undermining the Tyrells would be irrational considering how they helped defeat Stannis. [26]

Cersei encounters Lord Baelish and informs him that she fears the Tyrells do not have the Lannisters' best interest at heart. Littlefinger agrees that he will use his spies to uncover their plans, one of which turns out to be marrying Loras to Sansa. Initially, Cersei is delighted when her father decides to "kill this union in its crib" by instead having Tyrion marry Sansa to secure the North. However, her smug attitude towards Tyrion when this is revealed to him quickly evaporates when Tywin reveals that he intends to have her marry Loras to secure the Reach.

Cersei protests against this, saying she is Queen Regent and not some broodmare, but Tywin angrily asserts that she is his daughter and she will do what he tells her and put an end to the "rumors" about her. Cersei begs her father not to make her enter another loveless marriage but Tywin refuses to hear another word from either of his children, saying they have disgraced the family name for far too long. As Tywin leaves the room, Cersei hesitantly looks toward Tyrion to see if he is smiling at her distress but finds he is too glum about his own awkward predicament.[27]

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Cersei awaits her brother's return.

As the court gathers for Tyrion's wedding, Cersei finally snaps when Margaery says she looks radiant. Cersei reminds the queen-in-waiting of the lyrics of The Rains of Castamere and to take a lesson of what happened to House Reyne. Cersei threatens to have Margaery strangled in her sleep if she ever refers to her as "sister" again. Cersei maintains a cool expression during the ceremony, and does not laugh when Joffrey ridicules Tyrion by removing his footstool. During the wedding feast, Joffrey heads off to torment Sansa some more. Fed up with him, Cersei tells him to speak with Margaery instead, but he ignores her. Cersei later retreats to an upper gallery and stares despondently out over Blackwater Bay. Loras sees her and tries to make small talk, but Cersei rudely brushes him off.[28]

Cersei is present at the meeting where Tyrion learns of Robb and Catelyn's deaths. Joffrey comments that he wants to present Robb's head to Sansa at his wedding feast as promised, though Varys reminds him that Sansa is now his aunt-by-marriage. Cersei brushes it off as a joke, though Joffrey denies this. She also reassures Joffrey when he is threatned by Tyrion. At the end of the meeting, she leads Joffrey to bed after he calls out Tywin's cowardice during the Rebellion.[29]

Later, Cersei visits Tyrion and rudely dismisses Podrick. She tells Tyrion that he should give Sansa a son if he truly wants to make her happy, though Tyrion responds by asking her if she is happy as she has children. Cersei admits that she is not happy, but would've thrown herself "from the highest window in the Red Keep" without them, even Joffrey. She recounts of how he was all she had before Myrcella was born and how she would spend hours looking at him, and acknowledges that he is one of the "terrible ones". Tyrion asks her when this will end, and Cersei replies when they have dealt with all their enemies. Tyrion mentions how dealing with one enemy creates two more, and she just says that they will be in this position for a long time.[29]

When Jaime returns to King's Landing, he immediately goes to Cersei's chambers and calls her name. She turns around, shocked and sickened at finding him maimed.[29]

Season 4

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Jaime and Cersei reunited in season 4 premiere "Two Swords".

Cersei is present while Qyburn is attaching Jaime's golden prosthetic hand that she commissioned for him because she's so disgusted by his stump. After Qyburn departs from Cersei's chambers, Jaime asks why she drinks more than she used to. Cersei replies that she drinks more because Jaime left the capital, Robert was killed, Myrcella was shipped off to Dorne, they suffered through a siege, and her son Joffrey is being married to Margaery whom she despises. When Jaime tries to make love to her, she refuses him and says that everything has changed and that he took too long to return.[30]

Cersei is present at the breakfast of Joffrey and Margaery and tells Tywin about Shae being seen leaving Tyrion's chambers. During the wedding feast, Cersei sits with the rest of the royal family. When Brienne of Tarth approaches the king and Margaery, she bows and congratulates them on their marriage.

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Cersei reacts to Joffrey's death.

Cersei quickly points out that she bowed instead of performing a curtsy. She then thanks Brienne for bringing her brother back and asks her if she loves Jaime. Brienne responds by walking off.[31]

After Margaery says that the leftovers are going to the poor, Cersei kisses her on the cheek and says she is an inspiration to them all. Shortly after, she goes over to Pycelle, who is harassing a young woman. Cersei tells Pycelle to leave her alone and says that she should get Qyburn to examine her. Pycelle mocks Qyburn, but Cersei responds by ordering Pycelle to go to the kitchens and order the cooks to give the leftovers to the dogs instead. Pycelle is reluctant to do so, but Cersei threatens to have him killed if he does not. Cersei and Tywin meet Oberyn and Ellaria and the four get into a heated discussion when Cersei hypocritically mocks Ellaria's baseborn origins despite the fact that her own children are also bastards (and born out of incest no less). When Joffrey is dying, Cersei rushes over to her son and is in tears when he dies. In a blind rage, she accuses Tyrion and has him arrested. Upon noticing that Sansa has vanished, she immediately begins to suspect her too and petulantly demands to know her whereabouts.[31]

Cersei is mourning Joffrey while Tywin arrives and immediately begins instructing Tommen on the qualities of a good king, much to her annoyance. After the two leave, Jaime arrives to comfort Cersei. She breaks down into tears and asks Jaime to avenge their son by killing Tyrion. Jaime is not convinced that Tyrion was behind the murder and tells Cersei that there will be a trial, but she does not care. He tries to comfort her through his affections. Cersei refuses initially, but Jaime is aggressive. Cersei insists that the sept during a private viewing of their son's corpse is a highly inappropriate place for sex, and asks Jaime to stop, saying "It isn't right, it isn't right..." and Jaime refuses to stop, saying, "I don't care, I don't care...". They proceed to embrace and have rough, angry sex on the floor next to Joffrey's corpse.[32] 

Jaime and Cersei - Breaker of Chains

Jaime tempts Cersei within the Great Sept of Baelor.

See main article: "The Jaime/Cersei sex scene in "Breaker of Chains".

Cersei calls Jaime to his chambers, but only to know about Kingsguard formations for protecting Tommen. She then asks why Catelyn Stark released him from his captivity. Jaime replies that he swore by all the gods that he would bring back Catelyn Stark's daughters to her. Cersei questions his loyalty to their enemies, but Jaime states that he only did it so he could return to her. She then asks if he could track down and kill Sansa Stark, believing that she schemed with Tyrion to murder Joffrey. Jaime remains silent. He then tries to convince Cersei that Tyrion is innocent, but she refutes that he has always pitied their little brother and firmly believes that Tyrion is the monster that killed their son. Cersei tells Jaime that she wants four men at Tommen's door and abruptly dismisses him, referring to him only as "Lord Commander", showing that their relationship has almost completely deteriorated.[33]

Cersei is present at the coronation of her son, Tommen. Seeing Margaery at the coronation, Cersei tells her that she understands that Joffrey was a monster, but as her first child, Cersei still loved him.

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Cersei testifies against Tyrion during his court trial.

She also believes the newly crowned Tommen will make a good and decent king, but he needs guidance. Cersei asks Margaery if she is still interested in being queen. Margaery says she will need to speak to her father about the matter.[34]

Cersei is present at a small council that discusses the threat of Daenerys Targaryen, who they learn has recently conquered Meereen. Cersei doubts that Daenerys is a credible threat to the Iron Throne, a view not shared by the rest of the council. When Varys mentions that Sandor Clegane has been spotted in the Riverlands, Cersei recounts him as being both a coward and a traitor to the crown.[35]

At Tyrion's trial, Cersei is verbally confronted by Tyrion, who angrily declares his innocence, but tells her how he wishes he could have been the one to murder Joffrey and that he felt the boy deserved it.[35]

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Cersei presides over Tyrion's trial by combat.

Cersei bribes Bronn to sway him from being Tyrion's champion in his trial by combat by arranging for him to marry Lollys Stokeworth, and later she approaches Gregor Clegane and enlists him as her champion.[36] She watches proudly as he defeats Tyrion's champion, Oberyn Martell, and smiles as their father sentences Tyrion to death.[37] She later sees to the treatment of Ser Gregor's wounds.[38]

Cersei confronts her father and defiantly asserts once again that she will not consent to marry Loras Tyrell. When Tywin insists, she shocks him further by confirming for the first time to his face that the rumors about her relationship with her twin brother are in fact true. Disgusted, she leaves Tywin's quarters and proceeds to find Jaime. Though they still disagree on the fate of their younger brother, she approaches Jaime and kisses him passionately. She reaffirms her love for him and her wishes to continue their relationship regardless of what others may say. She kisses his gold hand as a symbol of her acceptance, and he makes love to her.[38]

Season 5

501 Tywin funeral Cersei kiss

Cersei kisses her father goodbye.

Escorted by Ser Meryn, Cersei walks to the Great Sept of Baelor for Tywin's funeral, surrounded by numerous lords and ladies, including Margaery, who she glances at suspiciously. Cersei is stopped by the High Septon, who suggests to her that they start soon, since lords and ladies have come from all over Westeros, but she says they will wait a little longer while she has a moment alone with Jaime and their father's corpse. Inside, Jaime warns that all the power and prestige their father built for House Lannister belongs to them now, and that once everyone sees that Tywin is truly dead, their enemies will do everything they can to take it away from them. Cersei bluntly states that their true enemy is Tyrion and that Jaime is partly responsible for Tywin's death since he was the one who released their father's murderer, and then she leaves him. Later, during Tywin's wake, Cersei is approached by Loras, who babbles on and on, but she ignores him, as she is intently watching Tommen and Margaery sharing a few words and holding hands. Pycelle offers his condolences, yet she completely ignores him as well. She is then approached by Lancel, who has recovered from his wounds at the Blackwater and become extremely pious and joined the Sparrows. Kevan apologizes for the appearance of his son, but Cersei comforts him by saying Lancel will grow out of this phase. While she is having a private moment, Lancel approaches her again and asks for her forgiveness for their "unnatural" relationship, and for serving Robert the wine that led to his death. Cersei brushes off Lancel's request, and his prayers for Tywin's soul.[6]

Cersei Season 5

Cersei speaks with Jaime about retrieving Myrcella from Dorne.

Cersei summons Jaime to show him a box she's received. Inside, a stuffed Red Viper holds Myrcella's necklace in its jaws. Cersei is both unnerved and unsurprised by the threat as Dorne blames the Lannisters for the deaths of Oberyn and Elia Martell. Acknowledging Cersei's distress, Jaime makes a promise: "I'm going to Dorne. And I'm bringing our daughter home." When Jaime asks Bronn to join him in this quest, he reveals that Cersei has arranged for Willas Bracken to wed Lollys Stokeworth instead of Bronn, breaking their agreement.

Later, two men bring Cersei the head of a dwarf. She's disappointed it's not her brother, but donates the head to Qyburn's lab. Cersei presides over the Small Council and doles out new titles on Tommen's behalf: Qyburn is named Master of Whisperers, and Mace Tyrell takes on the additional title of Master of Coin. When Cersei appoints her uncle Kevan as Master of War, he rejects the offer. "I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet," he says, emphasizing that Tommen should attend the meetings himself. Kevan reminds Cersei she's nothing more than Queen Mother, and he decides to return to Casterly Rock. Cersei is left dissatisfied with Kevan's departure.[39]

On the way to the Sept of Baelor, Cersei is incensed to find the crowd cheering Margaery's name. She remains stone-faced throughout the ceremony. The following morning, Cersei walks with Tommen along the battlements and tries to subtly turn him against his wife, but Tommen scares her by asking her if she'd prefer to go back to Casterly Rock. Cersei goes to confront Margaery, finding her bragging about Tommen's libido to her handmaidens. Cersei tries to verbally spar with Margaery as she used to, but the younger queen is in her prime, and assaults Cersei with backhanded compliments and subtle barbs. Realizing that she is losing, Cersei departs.

The Gift 04

Cersei counsels her son King Tommen.

Later on, Cersei and the Small Council are visited by the High Septon, who has recently been abducted from Littlefinger's brothel and forced to walk naked through the streets of King's Landing. Cersei is mildly amused and not particularly sympathetic to the man's plight. She later pays a visit to the so-called High Sparrow. Assuming a much more conciliatory and humble tone than she ever has before, Cersei talks with him about the relationship between the Faith and the Crown, and also mentions that she's had the High Septon thrown in the Black Cells.[40]

Cersei meets with the High Sparrow again and names him as the new High Septon, allowing him to reinstate the Faith Militant, a military order dedicated to defending the Faith of the Seven which was abolished two centuries ago. Loras Tyrell is arrested during the ensuing rampage for his homosexuality, which Margaery believes is part of Cersei's plan to divide her and Tommen. Tommen confronts his mother and demands that Loras be released, but she calmly tells him that she didn't order his arrest, although her tone of voice seems to imply that she knew beforehand that Loras would be arrested and allowed it to happen in order to interfere with Margaery and Tommen's relationship.[41]

During her meetings with Littlefinger, Cersei again feigns ignorance about Loras' arrest and seems unconcerned about what repercussions this might have. The Queen Regent is about to dismiss Baelish when he admits that even though he lost track of Arya, he has discovered Sansa Stark's whereabouts.

Game-of-thrones-unbowed-unbent-unbroken-tommen-cersei

Cersei sits next to Tommen during Loras' trial.

She's finally back at Winterfell 'allying' herself with House Bolton. Cersei is naturally livid that the Boltons have betrayed her and vows that they'll end up being flayed for their crimes. Petyr then suggests that Cersei could just wait a while until Stannis has dealt with the Boltons or vice versa. The Vale army (under his command) could later easily mop up the remains. The only boon Littlefinger wants for his service is to be named Warden of the North. Cersei readily agrees on the condition that Baelish brings her Sansa's head.

After a brief but tense meeting with Olenna in which mutual insults are exchanged, Cersei takes part in the trial of Loras Tyrell. Though she appears incredulous towards the accusations, it is clear that she has played a part in engineering the entire process. She plays the same trump card that she once did with Tyrion and Shae by making a deal with Olyvar, Loras's lover, to testify against Loras in exchange for being spared from persecution. As a result of her schemes, Loras is to be put on trial, and Margaery is imprisoned for giving false testimony.[42]

When Tommen loses his appetite over his wife's arrest, Cersei attempts to calm him down, and gives him a long speech about how as King, he will be faced with many circumstantial situations in which he will be powerless to act, as Robert Baratheon sometimes was, though she proclaims her love for him by claiming that she will do anything it takes to protect him, even if it means burning down entire cities, and weeps as she cuddles her son. She later visits Margaery in her cell, bringing her food and trying to convince her that she will do her utmost to get her out, but Margaery angrily counters that she knows Cersei engineered both her arrest and Loras's in order to retain control over her son, and shouts at her to get out, throwing the bowl of stew at her and calling her a "hateful bitch". Cersei leaves and finds the High Sparrow beneath the Sept of Baelor, who tells her that both Loras and Margaery will be put on trial, and certain septons, including himself, will stand as judges.

TheGiftUnellaCersei

Cersei is arrested by the Faith Militant for her crimes.

Cersei thanks the High Sparrow for his actions, and he proceeds to give her a speech about the history of the Sept. He tells her that the Tyrells' falsehoods will be revealed for all the world to see, as in the case of everyone, including Cersei herself. The High Sparrow reveals that Lancel confessed his adulterous affair with Cersei following Jaime's capture by Robb Stark, and orders Cersei arrested, to her horror. She is taken to a cell by a group of septas, but threatens them that her face is the last thing they will see before they die for what they are doing to her.[43]

Cersei remains in custody for the next few days, visited only by Septa Unella, who offers her water in return for a confession, but she repeatedly refuses. She is later visited by Qyburn, who informs her that the charges against her are treason, incest and regicide, which she dismisses as lies, though Qyburn reminds her that the Faith will not depend on physical proof as much as the Crown does in her upcoming trial. She asks about Jaime, but Qyburn claims there has been no response, and further tells her that Pycelle has summoned Kevan back to the capital and Tommen has fallen into a depression.

WalkOfAtonement

Cersei endures her walk of atonement.

Qyburn, however, tells Cersei that she can still confess, but she refuses. Before he leaves, Qyburn tells her that his work is progressing. Later, when Unella visits her again, Cersei offers to make her a Lady of the capital or have her killed, depending on whether or not she will help her. Unella pours her water on the floor and leaves. Cersei finally abandons her pride and licks the water from the dungeon floor, breaking into tears.[44]

Sometime later, Cersei is brought before the High Sparrow to confess her sins. She confesses of adultery with Ser Lancel Lannister, but denies her incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime. She begs to be allowed to go to the Red Keep to see her son Tommen. The High Sparrow accepts but states that she has to stand trial. Cersei is brought to a cell where she is stripped naked and washed before her hair is cut short. She is brought outside were she has to walk naked through the streets of Kings Landing from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep as punishment. She is escorted through an angry mob who hurl filth and vicious insults at her, including "brotherfucker."

Mountainstein

Cersei, with vengeance in her eyes, is carried by the Mountain.

With bloody feet she makes it to the Red Keep. Upon entering the gates, Cersei finds her uncle Kevan Lannister, Grand Maester Pycelle and Qyburn waiting for her. Qyburn attempts to comfort her by covering her body with a cloak. Heavy footsteps are heard, and Qyburn introduces Cersei to the newest member of the Kingsguard: a 7-8 foot tall man in golden armor. Qyburn suggests Cersei to go inside to have a look at her feet, which are badly injured, when the huge knight lifts her up and carries her away.[45]

Season 6

Once again residing in the Red Keep, Cersei is alerted to Jaime's return and runs excitedly to the port to meet him, but her worst fears are realized when she sees a despondent Jaime standing alone on the boat, with a corpse behind him she immediately realizes is Myrcella's.

Game-of-thrones-season-6-image-lena-headey

Cersei mourns Myrcella

Later, Cersei is comforted by Jaime in her quarters. Cersei finally admits to Jaime that she believes their children's deaths truly are destined according to Maggy's prophecy, since both Joffrey and Myrcella are gone and the only one left is Tommen. Jaime scoffs it off and promises Cersei revenge for all that their enemies have taken from them.[46]

A man in King's Landing brags about revealing himself to Cersei during her walk of shame. When the man leaves the crowd to urinate, the gigantic Kingsguard knight walks up behind him and brutally kills him by smashing his head against the wall before reporting back to Cersei. When Cersei attempts to leave for Myrcella's funeral with the Kingsguard knight in tow, a squad of guards blocks her path; their leader informs her that by order of the King, she is prohibited from leaving the castle, in the interest of her own protection. Cersei demands that they move, but the guards do not budge, even when Cersei's Kingsguard places a hand on his sword. Eventually, Cersei acquiesces and retreats to her chambers. Tommen later visits his mother to apologize for doing nothing when she was arrested and forced to walk through the streets naked, then asks her to teach him to rule. Moved, Cersei tearfully embraces her son.[47]

Cersei and Jaime later visit Qyburn in his lab, where he has swayed some of Varys's little birds into his service, to Cersei's amusement. When Jaime asks Qyburn to order Gregor Clegane to slaughter the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant, Cersei claims it will not be necessary, since she has opted for a trial by combat and again named Gregor as her champion.

Home 25

Cersei speaks with Tommen

She then orders Qyburn to place his spies all over Westeros to prevent any other Great Houses from benefiting from the Lannisters' disgrace. Cersei, Jaime and Gregor attend a Small Council meeting, but Kevan, Pycelle, Olenna and Mace Tyrell refuse to accept them, with Olenna coldly reminding Cersei that she is no longer Queen. When they defy the council and sit down, Kevan leads the council out, leaving Cersei alone with Jaime and Gregor.[48]

A few days later, Cersei goes to speak to Tommen, only to find he is already being counseled by Pycelle. Despite the Grand Maester's claim that he is simply offering his wisdom to the King, Cersei coldly orders him to leave. Once alone, Cersei wishes to speak with Tommen in private, having missed the past several Small Council meetings. Tommen is anxious to fight the High Sparrow, since Margaery is still a prisoner, though Cersei reminds him of what the Sparrow forced her to do. Although Tommen knows his mother has always hated Margaery, Cersei claims the rivalry is unimportant, explaining that kings and queens must command respect, and the High Sparrow is little more than an idealistic anarchist using the Faith to achieve his goals. After Tommen reveals his conversation with the High Sparrow and knowledge of something important, Cersei presses him for information.[49]

Cersei and Jaime attend another Small Council meeting, this time presided over by Kevan and Olenna. Though Olenna reminds Cersei she is not welcome, adding her repeated humiliations, Jaime defends his sister, revealing that Tommen has been talking to the High Sparrow about Margaery and Loras. Cersei points out the High Sparrow was expecting them to fight among each other, and before the trial, Margaery will perform her own walk of atonement, which Olenna agrees must not happen. Although Cersei promises to destroy the Sparrows for corrupting Lancel, Kevan warns them the High Sparrow has many supporters, and more lives could be lost in the ensuing battle.[49]

Blood of my blood JC

Cersei advises Jaime to follow Tommen's orders.

After his failure at the Sept of Baelor and forced removal from the Kingsguard, Jaime informs Cersei he is being sent to Riverrun to help the Freys deal with Brynden Tully. Despite her brother's protests and anger over Tommen's decision to join the High Sparrow, Cersei advises him to lead the Lannister army as their father intended, confident that the Mountain will win her trial by combat. She kisses Jaime goodbye, reminding him they are the only ones who matter.[50] Cersei visits Olenna Tyrell in an attempt to convince her to stay in King's Landing. She uses Margaery and Loras as an excuse for Olenna to stay, but Olenna angrily reminds Cersei that all this is happening because of Cersei herself. Olenna reminds her of the smug look she gave her when Loras and Margaery were being dragged away by the Faith Militant. She tells Cersei that the universally hated Queen Mother has no support in King's Landing, and has lost. [51] Qyburn enters Cersei's chamber to inform her that the Faith Militant have entered the Red Keep. Accompanied by Qyburn and the Mountain, Cersei confronts the group. Lancel tells her that the High Sparrow wishes to speak with her at the Sept of Baelor. When she refuses, Lancel tells her that it is not a request.

Gregor Cersei Qyburn

Cersei listens as King Tommen outlaws trial by combat.

Cersei retorts that the High Sparrow promised that she could stay in the Red Keep until her trial, which Lancel replies that no such promise was made. When Ser Gregor Clegane threatens the Faith Militant, Lancel tells Cersei to order him aside or there would be violence. Cersei says that she chooses violence. One of the Faith Militant attacks the Kingsguard but his weapon does not penetrate the armor. In response, the Mountain rips the man's head off and tosses it aside and Lancel and his men back down.

Later, Cersei, Qyburn and Ser Gregor enter the Great Hall to find a large crowd gathered for a royal announcement. The ladies in court look at the Queen Mother in detest. Cersei asks Kevan Lannister why she was not informed.  Kevan bars her from standing beside her son and tells her that her place was in the gallery "with the other ladies of the court". Cersei reluctantly takes her place there while the other women stand aside, not wanting to be near her or Gregor.

The Winds of Winter 14

After watching the destruction of the Sept., Cersei begins her torture on Unella.

King Tommen Baratheon starts by saying that the Crown and the Faith are the two pillars that hold up this world, and should one collapse, so does the other. He also says that The Father judges them all, and if they break his laws, they shall be punished. He announces that Loras Tyrell and Cersei's trial will be held in the Sept of Baelor on the first day of the festival of The Mother. After much prayer and reflection, he also announces that trial by combat will be forbidden in the Seven Kingdoms, stating that it is a scheme made by those who wants to escape true judgement from the Gods, and that Loras and Cersei would stand trial before seven septons as it was in the earlier days of the Faith.

As the King leaves, Qyburn tells a shocked Cersei, who had been planning on calling a trial by combat with Gregor as her champion, that his little birds have been investigating an old rumor that she had told him about, and that the rumor was found to be much more than a rumor.

On the day of her trial, Cersei dresses incredibly ornately. She is adorned with fine clothes and all manners of jewelry. However, she does not show up at the Great Sept for her trial, instead viewing the city in the distance from the Red Keep. Unknown to those present at the trial, there is a large cache of wildfire underneath the Sept, placed there by Aerys II at the height of his insanity. Cersei has Qyburn ignite the cache, and shortly before, has Pycelle assassinated, so as to consolidate all power to her.

The Winds of Winter 30

Cersei becomes the new Queen of the Seven Kingdoms

In the explosion, all the Sparrows, including the High Sparrow, Margaery, Mace Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, Loras Tyrell and a number of Kings Landing citizens are killed. Cersei watches amused and the goes on to "confess her sins" including her incestious relationship with her brother, the murder of her husband and the explosion of the Great Sept to captured Septa Unella. Later she gives her as prisoner to the Mountain, so she can be tortured.

Following the destruction of the Sept, Tommen commits suicide by jumping out a window. Cersei orders that his body be burned and the ashes buried at the ruins of the Sept before crowning herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. During the coronation, she sees Jaime from afar, who gives her a grim look.[52]

Personality

Cersei is ruthless, willful, cold, ambitious, and cunning in the sense that she is utterly willing to betray anyone who trusts her, or do anything to protect her own. However, she is also arrogant and self-centered to a fault. While she certainly believes herself to be a master strategist, she is extremely impatient, short-sighted, and prone to displays of poor judgment and poor leadership, resulting in her both being unskilled at manipulating enemies who openly distrust her and to think about the long-term consequences of her actions. Cersei's own father Tywin stated to her that he distrusts her because she isn't nearly as intelligent as she believes herself to be.[26]" This makes for a dangerous combination, as not only is Cersei not as intelligent as she thinks, but she does not even realize her own limitations.

A mistake outsiders often make when dealing with Cersei is assuming that she has the emotional maturity and wisdom of a queen, or at least an adult, when her real personality is closer to a petulant child inhabiting an adult's body (indeed, Lena Headey has stated that she plays Cersei as having the mind of a wayward 15 year old who never had any real parenting).[53] With her mother dead at a young age and her father away at court (and a cold disciplinarian anyway), Cersei was functionally raised by servants. In public, Cersei often tries to exude a sense of calm and regal control over her surroundings. When things do not go her own way, however, Cersei's usual response is to become childishly flippant, even when the assembled Small Council is trying to give her advice which would genuinely serve her own interests. She also has a tendency to irrationally blame other people for problems she actually started herself though her ego won't let her admit otherwise.[39]

Cersei's behavior is very mercurial, capable of switching between seemingly true affection for someone to extreme loathing over trifles. She is very petty about even small slights, both real and imagined, which ended up being her undoing, for she tried to use the Faith Militant to undermine House Tyrell due to her dislike of Margaery and the fact she replaced her as Queen, only to lose House Tyrell as an ally and find a powerful enemy in the Faith Militant. As Tyrion noted, Cersei often uses her honest feelings to dishonestly manipulate other people. For example, her fear for the safety of her children is actually genuine, but she will shamelessly use this to play on the sympathy of other people, to sway them into supporting her.[36]

Cersei despises the restraints placed on her because she is a woman and is jealous of the freedoms that men have in her society. Several of the noble Houses in the Seven Kingdoms have more liberal attitudes when it comes to involving female members of their family in politics. The women of House Tyrell, for example, are expected to be involved in politics and have thus been trained from a young age in the skills of ruling. Unfortunately, Cersei's father Tywin is a staunch conservative, and never envisioned Cersei playing an active role in politics. Instead, her duty was to cement a marriage alliance and raise royal children, nothing more. It is also possible that instead of her gender being the object, Tywin believes she is simply too impatient and rash. Either way, the practical result is that, right or wrong, Tywin didn't raise Cersei to be skilled in ruling or in political intrigue. While confronted with these shortfalls, Cersei often blames her father or society in general for not giving her the years of training needed to rule, but complaining about it doesn't change the fact that she simply doesn't possess these skills. Cersei hates being a woman in Westerosi society, and scorns other women in general for what she perceives as their weakness: Cersei isn't so much angry at men for mistreating women, as angry that she isn't a man. When she was drunk during the Battle of the Blackwater she even openly said she wished she was born a man.[22]

Cersei's lack of a parental relationship growing up is reflected in how poorly she has served as a mother to her own children, for whom she is unable to act as a stable moral instructor. While she certainly dotes on them, she doesn't genuinely "love" them so much as she treats them as extensions of herself. She is convinced that she is obsessed with their welfare, but when events threaten to take any of them away from her she is not so much worried about their happiness and well-being as angered that something she feels belongs to her is being taken away.[5]

Tyrion once observed that Cersei's love for her children is her one obvious redeeming quality - but she even managed to twist this into a negative.[54] Cersei doesn't really "love" her children so much as she is obsessed with her mental constructs of them. She spent Joffrey's entire childhood convinced that he was going to grow up to be the best king ever, wise and brave - to the point that she blinded herself to his obviously psychopathic behaviour. However in spite of her obvious favouritism and far from realistic conception of her son, she at least acknowledged that Joffrey was indeed a monster after his death, implying she wasn't as deluded as she appeared. Her overindulgence of Joffrey also spoiled him rotten, filling him with an insatiable sense of entitlement - nor did he particularly give her much respect in return. Meanwhile, Cersei seems oblivious to the fact that she ignored her two younger children, Myrcella and Tommen. While Cersei is constantly upset that her own father Tywin played favorites with his children and focused all of his attention on her brother Jaime, she hypocritically visited the same treatment on her own children. She fixated on Joffrey so much that she barely knew Myrcella and Tommen, rarely engaging them in conversation except when she needed to manipulate them.[43] After Myrcella was sent away to Dorne in a marriage-alliance, Cersei assumed she was suffering away from her family, not suspecting that Myrcella would actually find happiness once she was free from Cersei's control and not even want to come back to her.[55] After spending some years in Dorne away from her, Myrcella outright said that Cersei doesn't even know her.[43] Finally, after the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei tells a captured Unella, she was motivated by protecting her last living child, Tommen. However, Cersei once again proves what a poor parent she is by not going to Tommen after his wife is killed in the explosion and preventing his suicide as she was too preoccupied with paying back Unella for imprisoning and humiliating her.[52]

After she was humiliated by the Faith Militant, the megalomania and vengefulness Cersei possessed all her life reached its peak. Combined with the rage she felt for her Uncle Kevan and the fact that Olenna Tyrell and Grand Maester Pycelle deprived her of power, Cersei began plotting with Qyburn to avoid her trial, simultaneously destroy her enemies, including the High Sparrow and Queen Margaery. This ended up destroying the alliance with the Tyrells, the only effective ally to King's Landing and a bloody revolt is to be expected by a vindictive Olenna. Cersei, however, does not seem concerned regarding this, displaying much more recklessness and slight mental imbalance on her part. Despite declaring herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, the title is effectively meaningless as currently the only major houses supporting her are her own and the Freys, although with the death of Walder Frey as well as the Freys' apparent military incompetence, they are unlikely to be useful allies. Along with the Lannisters now pitted against the rest of the great houses of Westeros, there is also the matter of the Crown's debt to the Iron Bank which has still not been resolved. So while Cersei might have achieved her ultimate ambition of being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, she is still in an incredibly precarious situation. However, this appears lost on her, further demonstrating her inability to see the far-reaching consequences of her actions.

Beforehand, Cersei was known to have an extremely thinly-veiled sense of morality, which can be attributed to her love for her own children, no matter how twisted it was. Now that Tommen, Joffrey and Myrcella are all dead, however, Cersei has begun displaying more ruthlessness and depravity in her convictions. Her use of wildfire to destroy the Great Sept of Baelor can be considered somewhat of a symbolic envoi to her own descent into the same level of tyranny as the the Mad King. This act also destroyed the area surrounding the Great Sept for half a mile, effectively murdering hundreds of innocent people. Ironically, this may serve to drive a wedge between her and Jaime; Jaime outright said that the only thing he cares about is Cersei and that he was willing to kill even children if it reunited them, but Cersei has committed an act similar to the one he had to kill the Mad King for. Jaime's grim look upon returning to King's Landing and witnessing her coronation means that he understands that she is becoming exactly like him.

Regarding her own crimes, Cersei appears to have become shamelessly sadistic. She outwardly admits that all her actions from having Robert killed to having an incestuous relationship with Jaime was solely because she enjoyed doing so. This, she "confesses" to a helpless Unella while vengefully playing with her, even quietly chanting "shame" (in a similar sense that Unella did during her walk of atonement) before leaving her to be tortured by Gregor Clegane.

Appearances

TV series

Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
Season Five appearances
The Wars to Come The House of Black and White High Sparrow Sons of the Harpy Kill the Boy
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken The Gift Hardhome The Dance of Dragons Mother’s Mercy
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter

Video game

Telltale Game Series appearances
Iron From Ice The Lost Lords The Sword in the Darkness Sons of Winter A Nest of Vipers The Ice Dragon

Image Gallery

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tytos tree
Tytos Lannister

Deceased
 
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Jeyne Lannister
née Marbrand
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Tywin fam tree
Tywin Lannister
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Joanna Lannister
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Kevan fam tree
Kevan Lannister
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Dorna Lannister
née Swyft
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robert tree
Robert Baratheon House-Baratheon-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Cersei family tree
Cersei Lannister
 
Jaime family tree
Jaime Lannister
 
Unknown tree
Tysha
 
Tyrion family tree
Tyrion Lannister
 
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark House-Stark-Main-Shield
 
Lancel tree
Lancel Lannister Faith-Militant-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Martyn Lannister tree
Martyn Lannister
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Willem Lannister tree
Willem Lannister
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House-Baratheon-of-Kings-Landing-heraldry
Unnamed son
Died in infancy
 
Joffrey tree

Joffrey Baratheon House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Main-Shield

Deceased
 
Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell House-Tyrell-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Mycella Season 5 family tree pic

Myrcella Baratheon House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Main-Shield

Deceased
 
Trystane Martell family tree

Trystane Martell House-Martell-Main-Shield

Deceased
 
Tommen Baratheon family tree
Tommen Baratheon House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell House-Tyrell-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
 
 

Quotes

Spoken by Cersei
"Someday, you'll sit on the throne, and the truth will be what you make it."
―Cersei[src]
"Everyone who isn't us is an enemy."
―Cersei to her son, Joffrey Baratheon.[src]
Cersei Lannister: "You're just a soldier, aren't you? You take your orders and you carry on. I suppose it makes sense. Your older brother was trained to lead, and you were trained to follow."
Eddard Stark: "I was also trained to kill my enemies, your Grace."
Cersei Lannister: "As was I."
— Exchange between Cersei and Eddard Stark.[src]
"Targaryens wed brothers and sisters for 300 years to keep bloodlines pure. Jaime and I are more than brother sister. Came into this world together, we belong together."
―Cersei to Eddard Stark[src]
"You want to be Hand of the King? You want to rule? This is what ruling is; lying on a bed of weeds, ripping them out by the root, one by one, before they strangle you in your sleep!"
―Cersei[src]
"One day I pray you love someone. I pray you love her so much, when you close your eyes, you see her face. I want that for you. I want you to know what it's like to love someone, truly love someone, before I take her from you."
―Cersei threatens Tyrion as they watch Myrcella being taken to Dorne.[src]
"Sometimes I wonder if this is the price, for what we've done, for our sins."
―Cersei to her brother Tyrion Lannister[src]
"The gods have no mercy, that's why they're gods."
―Cersei to Sansa Stark[src]
"Tears aren't a woman's only weapon. The best one's between your legs."
―Cersei to Sansa Stark[src]
"If I wanted to kill to you, do you think I'd let a wooden door stop me?"
―Cersei to her brother Tyrion Lannister[src]
"If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep."
―Cersei to Margaery Tyrell[src]
"Nobody cares what your father once told you."
―Cersei to Loras Tyrell[src]
"Even Joffrey. He was all I had once. Before Myrcella was born. I used to spend hours looking at him. His wisps of hair, his tiny little hands and feet. He was such a jolly little fellow. You always hear the terrible ones were terrible babies. ‘We should have known, even then we should have known.’ It’s nonsense. Whenever he was with me, he was happy. And no one can take that away from me — not even Joffrey."
―Cersei[src]
"Loyalty can be such a hard thing to define. This city alone is filled with all sorts of ambitious opportunists looking to reinvent themselves, pretending to be something they're not. Who knows what lurks within their hearts? You are a girl from the North, here in service to Lady Margaery. One can only assume her interests are yours. Yet, loyalty to a King...that must be absolute. Beyond question. And if your loyalties were to become conflicted - between your King and the very people whom you serve - what do you do then?"
―Cersei questioning Mira Forrester.[src]
"What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?"
―Cersei to Oberyn Martell.[src]
"Joffrey is dead, Myrcella's been sold like livestock, and now you want to ship me off to Highgarden and steal my boy... my last boy. Margaery will dig her claws in and you will dig your claws in and you'll fight over him like beasts until you rip him apart! I will burn our house to the ground before I let that happen!"
―Cersei to her father Tywin Lannister[src]
"Look at me! Look at my face. It's the last thing you'll see before you die."
―Cersei to the septas after she is arrested.[src]
"I will not kneel before some bare-footed commoner and beg his forgiveness!"
―Cersei[src]
Lancel: "Order your man to step aside, or there'll be violence."
Cersei: "I choose violence."
— Cersei and Lancel.[src]
"I do things because they feel good. I drink because it feels good. I killed my husband because it felt good to be rid of him. I fuck my brother because it feels good to feel him inside me. I lie about fucking my brother, because it feels good to keep our son safe from hateful hypocrites. I killed your High Sparrow... and all his little sparrows... all his septons, all his septas, all his filthy soldiers, because it felt good to watch them burn. It felt good to imagine their shock and their pain. No thought has ever given me greater joy."
―Cersei to Septa Unella.[src]
Spoken about Cersei
Salladhor Saan: "Cersei. I want her. I'll sail with your fleet, all 30 of my ships, and if we don't drown at the bottom of Blackwater Bay, I'll fuck this blond queen and I'll fuck her well."
Mathos Seaworth: "This war isn't about you. We're not attacking King's Landing so that you can rape the Queen!"
Salladhor Saan: "I'm not going to rape her, I'm going to fuck her."
Mathos Seaworth: " As if she would just let you?!"
— Exchange between Salladhor Saan and Matthos Seaworth regarding Cersei.[src]
"I don't distrust you because you're a woman. I distrust you because you're not as smart as you think you are."
Tywin Lannister to his daughter Cersei.[src]
"My sister and I have our differences. She takes great pleasure in her little charades. I take great pleasure in thwarting them."
―Tyrion Lannister to Mira Forrester.[src]
"You're a hateful woman. Why have the gods made me love a hateful woman?"
Jaime Lannister to his sister Cersei.[src]
"Lies come easily to you. Everyone knows that, but innocence, decency, concern, you're not very good at those, I'm afraid. Perhaps that's why your son was so eager to cast you aside for me."
Margaery Tyrell to her mother-in-law Cersei.[src]
"I wonder if you're the worst person I've ever met. At a certain age, it's hard to recall. But the truly vile do stand out through the years. Do you remember the way you smirked at me when my grandson and granddaughter were dragged off to their cells? I do. I'll never forget it."
―Olenna Tyrell to Cersei[src]
Qyburn: "I now proclaim Cersei of the House Lannister, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Long may She reign."
Audience in the Great Hall: "Long may She reign."
— Cersei's coronation[src]

Behind the Scenes

Actress Lena Headey became pregnant just before Season 1 began filming. However, the production team was so enthusiastic about her performance, and the larger scale concern of having Headey play Cersei for several years, that they didn't recast the role but instead worked around her pregnancy by, for example, keeping the camera frame above her waist or having her sit at a table. For wide shots when Cersei is walking around, notice that most of Cersei's costumes in Season 1 have large billowing sleeves which she carries in front of her to hide her pregnancy. At other times, body doubles were shot from behind in quick-cuts. This may also explain why Cersei's sex scene with Jaime isn't as involved as it is in the books, in which they are both completely naked and have an extended conversation intermixed with lovemaking. In the TV series, Cersei and Jaime are mostly clothed, with Jaime simply pulling her dress up, and Jaime is taking her from behind, so the viewer can't see that the actress is pregnant.

The TV producers actually made it a point never to show Cersei naked since the beginning of the TV series, even during sex scenes, specifically to make it more shocking when her penance walk would occur years later (ultimately in Season 5's "Mother's Mercy").[56] Just before Season 4 aired, Lena Headey spoke about the upcoming scene in such a way that it vaguely seemed like she was considering performing it herself, but ultimately a body double was used (model Rebecca Van Cleave), and Lena's head was then digitally added onto her body. Why Headey ultimately used a body double is unclear: one possible but unconfirmed explanation is that in February 2015 (after filming had ended), Headey revealed that she was pregnant with her second child - but she was so upset about how the media had been invasive about the divorce of her first marriage that she would not reveal who the father was, or any other details about her personal life. Therefore it is unknown when she first became pregnant and if this could have interfered with any nude scenes.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Cersei is a beautiful but also somewhat cold woman who does not get along with her husband, whom she considers to be a fat oaf. However, she dotes on and loves her three children. She is not politically skilled, and frustrated that her options for power are limited by her gender. Cersei is close to her brother Jaime, but is cowed by her father and despises Tyrion, whom she blames for killing her mother Joanna, who died giving birth to him.

According to the novels, Cersei never gave birth to any child by Robert. As she revealed to Eddard Stark, she was only pregnant by Robert once and aborted the child out of hatred for its father. Robert was unaware of both the pregnancy and the abortion. In the TV series, she revealed to Catelyn Stark that she'd had a "beautiful, black-haired boy", but he'd died of a fever.

Tywin does plan to find a new husband for Cersei, though not Loras Tyrell, who has been made a Kingsguard after the Battle of the Blackwater. Willas Tyrell, Mace's eldest son and heir who is not in the TV series, is Tywin's first choice. However, Olenna Tyrell vetoes the match in revenge for the Lannisters foiling her plot to marry Sansa Stark to Willas. Prince Oberyn Martell is also suggested as a match. Cersei never threatens her father with revealing Tommen's true parentage if she is forced to re-marry.

Cersei becomes a POV narrator in the fourth novel. With her father dead, she once more rules the Seven Kingdoms as Queen Regent. She grows increasingly paranoid and vindictive, drinks heavily and endlessly schemes to deal with her enemies, real and imagined. She is convinced that the Tyrells, Margaery in particular, are plotting against her. Her suspicions are fuelled when a gold Highgarden coin is found in the cell of a jailer who disappeared the night Tyrion escaped (she never suspects that Jaime released Tyrion). She has nightmares about Tyrion and thinks he is still hiding in the walls of the Red Keep, planning to kill her and her children. Until now, her obsessive hatred for Tyrion has effectively blinded her to the presence of her true enemies, believing that anything and everything that happens to her family was somehow Tyrion's doing (instead of Olenna Tyrell in Joffrey's case or Darkstar Dayne in Myrcella's case), and this obsession only grows after Tyrion kills Tywin.

Cersei soon makes a number of rash and ill-judged decisions. She fills the Small Council with her own cronies, picked for their loyalty to her rather than their competence, disregarding Tywin's previous arrangements. Despite the Crown's heavy debts, she orders the construction of a new royal fleet and puts it under the command of Aurane Waters, a bastard sellsail of questionable loyalty, who later steals the entire fleet. She refuses to honor the Crown's debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. In retaliation the Iron Bank begins calling in loans all over Westeros, causing economic chaos, and eventually sends a representative to Stannis Baratheon to offer to finance him. In return for cancelling the Crown's debts to the Faith, she allows the Faith Militant to be re-established, oblivious to the strife they had caused the Targaryens centuries earlier.

She offers her uncle Kevan the position of Hand of the King, but he insists on being named Regent and, in accordance with Tywin's plans, that Cersei return to Casterly Rock and re-marry. He also calls her an unfit mother, and hints that he knows Jaime fathered her children. In response she throws her wine in his face. Out of spite, Cersei then names two Lannister cousins Warden of the West and Castellan of Casterly Rock, respectively, instead of Kevan. She ignores the advice of Kevan and Jaime to appoint a capable and respected man like Randyll Tarly or Mathis Rowan as Hand, and chooses the weak and compliant Harys Swyft. Her paranoia also leads to her plotting to have Jon Snow killed, fearing that as Ned Stark's (presumed) last surviving son, he may rally the Night's Watch against the Lannisters. She also places a bounty on Tyrion, promising a lordship to whoever brings her his head, which leads to the deaths of many dwarfs and even ordinary children on both sides of the Narrow Sea. Her actions also alienate Jaime, who wants nothing to do with the increasing brutality and rampant cronyism of her reign and flatly tells his sister she is seeing enemies where none exist and turning what few allies she has left against her. Jaime is also haunted by Tyrion's revelation that Cersei has been cheating on him with Lancel Lannister and Osmund Kettleblack, amongst others, which Jaime eventually realizes is true.

In the books, after Tywin dies Cersei becomes the new head of House Lannister, but she appoints lesser cousins to other titles Tywin held: Daven Lannister (son of Stafford Lannister) is made the new Warden of the West, and even more distant cousin Damion Lannister is named castellan of Casterly Rock (Cersei is Lady of the castle, but she isn't there to rule it directly). No mention was made in the corresponding Season 5 of the TV series about exactly who holds the titles that Tywin used to hold - possibly implying that Cersei is the new Wardeness, but this awaits clarification.

Instead of having Loras Tyrell arrested by the Faith on charges of homosexuality, Cersei sends him to capture Dragonstone, hoping he will die in the attempt. Cersei also orders her lover Osney Kettleblack to seduce Margaery, in a scheme to bring about Margaery's downfall. When he fails to do so, Cersei compiles a long, dubious, list of individuals Margaery has supposedly slept with, including Kettleblack, who is then sent to the High Septon to confess. Margaery is arrested, but the plot backfires when the High Septon grows suspicious of Kettleblack's confession and has him tortured. Kettleblack then admits the truth: that he never touched Margaery but he has been sleeping with Cersei, and that he killed the previous High Septon on her orders. Cersei is arrested by the High Sparrow on charges of incest, regicide, and adultery. Though she confesses to adultery, she denies the other charges and demands a trial by combat, though she soon realizes that her choices for a champion are limited, since as the acting Queen, her champion must be a Kingsguard. She writes to Jaime, pleading for help, but he ignores her letter. She is allowed to return to the Red Keep by walking naked through the streets of King's Landing, while she is jeered by the crowd. Once she arrives, she is met by Qyburn, who introduces her to Ser Robert Strong (a re-animated Gregor Clegane), the newest member of the Kingsguard who will serve as her champion.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Cersei Lannister" is pronounced "SER-see LAN-iss-ter".

See also

References

  1. Jaime is Cersei's twin, and thus the same age as her. Tyrion stated in "The Prince of Winterfell" that Cersei became Queen when she was 19, at the end of Robert's Rebellion, and 17 years passed between the end of the war and Season 1. This makes Cersei 36 in Season 1 and 39 in Season 4. In the Season 4 premiere, Jaime is said to be "40", but characters might have been rounding. Some contradictory statements have been made about Cersei's age: see here for more information.
  2. 2.0 2.1 HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Cersei Baratheon entry
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Night Lands"
  4. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Tyrion Lannister entry
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "A Man Without Honor"
  6. 6.0 6.1 "The Wars to Come"
  7. 7.0 7.1 "The Prince of Winterfell"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "You Win or You Die"
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The Kingsroad"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Winter is Coming"
  11. "Lord Snow"
  12. "The Wolf and the Lion"
  13. "A Golden Crown"
  14. "The Pointy End"
  15. "Baelor"
  16. "Fire and Blood"
  17. 17.0 17.1 "The North Remembers"
  18. "What is Dead May Never Die"
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Garden of Bones"
  20. "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
  21. "The Old Gods and the New"
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Blackwater"
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Valar Morghulis"
  24. "Valar Dohaeris"
  25. "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
  26. 26.0 26.1 "And Now His Watch is Ended"
  27. "Kissed by Fire"
  28. "Second Sons"
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 "Mhysa"
  30. "Two Swords"
  31. 31.0 31.1 "The Lion and the Rose"
  32. "Breaker of Chains"
  33. "Oathkeeper"
  34. "First of His Name"
  35. 35.0 35.1 "The Laws of Gods and Men"
  36. 36.0 36.1 "Mockingbird"
  37. "The Mountain and the Viper"
  38. 38.0 38.1 "The Children"
  39. 39.0 39.1 "The House of Black and White"
  40. "High Sparrow"
  41. "Sons of the Harpy (episode)"
  42. "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 "The Gift (episode)"
  44. "Hardhome (episode)"
  45. "Mother's Mercy"
  46. "The Red Woman"
  47. "Home"
  48. "Oathbreaker"
  49. 49.0 49.1 "Book of the Stranger"
  50. "Blood of My Blood"
  51. "The Broken Man"
  52. 52.0 52.1 The Winds of Winter
  53. [1]
  54. "The North Remembers"
  55. "First of His Name"
  56. [2]
v  d  e
Lord: Cersei Lannister Heir:
House-Lannister-Main-Shield
Seat: Casterly Rock / Red Keep Lands: The Westerlands / The Crownlands
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the Westerlands · Lord of Casterly Rock · Warden of the West · King of the Rock (pre-War of Conquest)
Ancestors:Lann the Clever · Tommen II Lannister · Loren Lannister · Tyland Lannister · Damon Lannister
Current members:Tyrion Lannister · Jaime Lannister · Dorna Lannister · Cynda Lannister · Lyman Lannister
Deceased members:Tytos Lannister · Joanna Lannister · Stafford Lannister · Alton Lannister · Martyn Lannister · Willem Lannister · Orson Lannister · Tywin Lannister · Lancel Lannister · Kevan Lannister
Household:Bronn · Gregor Clegane · Qyburn · {Amory Lorch} · {Polliver} · {Rorge} · {Biter}
v  d  e
Lord: None, extinct Heir: None, extinct
House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Main-Shield
Seat: Red Keep, King's Landing Lands: The Crownlands
Title(s): King of the Andals and the First Men · Lord of the Seven Kingdoms · Protector of the Realm
Current members:Cersei Lannister
Deceased members:Robert I · Joffrey I · Myrcella Baratheon · Tommen I · Margaery Tyrell
Household:Jaime Lannister · Gregor Clegane · Preston Greenfield · Arys Oakheart · Boros Blount · Balon Swann · Osmund Kettleblack · Ilyn Payne · Gyles Rosby · Aron Santagar · Qyburn · Eglantine

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