- "Jaime and I are more than brother and sister. We shared a womb, came into this world together. We belong together."
- ―Cersei Lannister to Eddard Stark
Cersei and Jaime Lannister are the eldest children and twins born to Tywin and Joanna Lannister and have been involved in an ongoing sexual and romantic affair for many years, since their youth - despite the cultural and religious taboos against brother-sister incest in Westeros.
As a teenager, Jaime abdicated his post as heir to Casterly Rock to join the Kingsguard, an elite knighthood sworn to protect the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men and swore a sacred oath forbidding him from inheriting or owning land, taking a wife, or fathering children. Following the annulment of her betrothal to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Cersei was forced into an unhappy marriage with King Robert Baratheon, making her the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Because he was sworn to protect Robert, Jaime and Cersei continued seeing each other even after her marriage and lived together in the Red Keep in King's Landing. The two have three children together, Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella, whose true parentage has been hidden in a conspiracy that ultimately resulted in the War of the Five Kings.
Cersei and Jaime are the eldest children born to Joanna and Tywin Lannister, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Warden of the West, and Hand of the King to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. Exceptionally close since their birth, Jaime and Cersei were brought up in Casterly Rock and apparently resembled each other so closely, even their father couldn't tell them apart at times. However, early on, Cersei realized that as heir to Casterly Rock, Jaime received much more attention from Tywin than she did, simply because she was born a girl, and came to resent how much her father doted on Jaime.
When they were four years old, their mother died while giving birth to her youngest son, Tyrion, a dwarf. Both Tywin and Cersei blamed Tyrion for Joanna's death and vehemently wished for his death when he was an infant, but he survived into adulthood with ease, infuriating the both of them. The only member of House Lannister that had any love for Tyrion was Jaime, who was very fond of his younger brother and the two got along very well as children. Soon after Tyrion was born, Oberyn Martell and his sister Elia visited Casterly Rock with their father, both excited at the rumors of a monster having been born to Lord Tywin. They were disappointed when Tyrion appeared nothing more than a baby with a large head and small arms, but even at such a young age, Cersei was shown to hate him to such an extent that Oberyn and Elia were disturbed, and she pinched her baby brother's penis so hard they were afraid she would pull it right off, but Jaime stopped her before she could do so.
Early on, it was evident that Tywin had no intention of trying to hide the prejudices he had against each of his children. As the eldest boy and heir to the Westerlands, Jaime was taught to use the lance and the sword and Tywin spent countless hours with him teaching him how to fight properly and how to read. On the other hand, Cersei was taught to smile and put on a show, which she resented, and she was often ignored by Tywin in favor of Jaime. However, she still had it better than Tyrion, who, as well as being ignored, was vehemently hated and made a laughingstock of by Tywin and the rest of the court at Casterly Rock. Despite the unfair treatment, she and Jaime remained close and had an exceptionally intimate relationship, which can in part be contributed to the eternal unity between twins from birth.
Although it has never been confirmed exactly when Cersei and Jaime began their romantic relationship, it probably began as innocent experimentation when the two were still young children. Because Tywin was so often absent from Casterly Rock, serving as Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen, the two were primarily raised by servants and oftentimes were left alone with no supervision. Because the royal House Targaryen had been incestuously wedding brother and sister for nearly three centuries to keep bloodlines pure, they did not consider what they were doing to be particularly unusual - although the rest of Westeros certainly would not have approved had it ever became public knowledge, even before they committed adultery.
Early on, the relationship was purely experimentation, but soon culminated into an intense, chaotic relationship. While Jaime cared deeply for his sister and loved her fiercely, Cersei only mildly returned the affection. She did love him, but while Jaime was always faithful to her and never lay with another woman, Cersei continued to have interests in other men. As a teenager, she visited the woods outside of Casterly Rock with her friend Melara Hetherspoon in the hopes Maggy the Frog would read her future, asking three questions: 1) Will I marry the prince? 2) Will I be queen? and 3) Will the king and I have children? While she was satisfied by Maggy's answer that she wouldn't marry the prince, but she would marry the king, and that she would be queen, she was perturbed when Maggy said she would by deposed by a younger, more beautiful queen and that, although she would have three children, her husband would have twenty, and that while their crowns would be golden, so would their shrouds, distressing Cersei.
At the age of sixteen, Jaime decides to join the Kingsguard, becoming the youngest knight ever appointed to the elite knighthood. By doing so, he vowed to never own any land, never take a wife, and never father any children, therefore abdicating his role as heir to Casterly Rock and making Tyrion the Lord of Casterly Rock, in place of Tywin. Although Tywin was enraged at Jaime's decision, as he had previously planned Jaime to marry Lysa Tully, he was forced to accept Jaime's decision and Cersei was thereafter delighted that Jaime would continue to remain faithful to her. However, Cersei did not do justice to his devotion, hoping to marry the Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (though possibly not because she had any romantic feelings for him, but just for the social rank).
However, her hopes to marry Rhaegar were dashed when the Mad King refused to let his son marry Cersei, believing she wasn't good enough for Rhaegar, insulting Tywin and ultimately resulting in Tywin's betrayal of the Mad King during the Sack of King's Landing. Rhaegar died at the Battle of the Trident during Robert's Rebellion and the Mad King was stabbed in the back (literally) by Jaime after he threatened to murder Tywin and burn all of King's Landing to the ground. House Targaryen was defeated and killed (all of them save the Mad King's two surviving children Viserys and Daenerys, who were exiled to Pentos, and unbeknownst to almost everyone, Jon Snow, the son of Rhaeger Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, who was passed off as the bastard son of Eddard Stark) and Robert Baratheon was named King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.
Following Robert's coronation, Cersei was forced into a political marriage alliance with him to secure the relationship between House Lannister and House Baratheon. During the early stages of her marriage, it is unknown, although highly unlikely, whether or not her relationship with Jaime continued. Robert was still mourning the death of his true love and former betrothed, Lyanna Stark, and had no real feelings for Cersei. Despite this, Cersei later said that the day she walked into the Great Sept of Baelor and saw her future husband, standing and waiting for her, was the happiest day of her life, but her hopes of a peaceful marriage were diminished when he later crawled on top of her on their wedding night and whispered the name "Lyanna" into her ear.
Although she soon realized Robert would never truly love her, she was happy for a long while and tried to make their marriage work. The two had a son together, "a black haired beauty" who was stillborn. Both Robert and Cersei were distressed at the news of their child's death and Cersei fought to hold her son, but Robert had to hold her down while they took the bundle away, something she never forgave him for. Eventually, she came to hate Robert and, in the rare moments that Robert would drunkenly try to force himself onto her, she would "finish him off in other ways". In time, Cersei's affections once again returned to Jaime, and their relationship became a sexual one, committing adultery only when they were certain they would never be caught. Therefore, both of them broke their sacred vows; Jaime the one he took when he became a member of the Kingsguard, and Cersei the one she took when she wed Robert.
Soon, Cersei bore three of Jaime's children who survived through childhood: Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. Due to their inbred origins, all three took after their mother with their yellow hair and pale features, but Cersei and Robert both dismissed it as a chance of genes. While Jaime was aware he was their biological father, he was physically unable to take a part in raising them, leaving the drunken whore-monger Robert as an absent father as well. Cersei, their only remaining parent, doted on her children and spoiled them rotten, adding to Joffrey's sadistic behavior. Her actions reflected exactly how Tywin had played favorites and doted on Jaime, ignoring Cersei and Tyrion.
In the Great Hall of the Red Keep in the capital of King's Landing, Cersei watches the Silent sisters prepare the body of Jon Arryn, Hand of the King to Robert, for burial. Jon died knowing of Cersei's relationship with Jaime, and was poisoned to ensure he would not tell Robert of the truth. Jaime approaches her, telling her she worries too much, at which she reproaches that he doesn't worry at all. She is concerned that Jon may have told somebody about what he found out, but Jaime eases her fears, saying if Robert knew, they would already be dead by now. She recommends that he become the new Hand of the King, but he refuses, citing the amount of responsibility and the danger that is forced onto anybody who holds the position.
Robert decides to travel to Winterfell and appoint Eddard Stark as Hand of the King. While there, Cersei sends Jaime to find their brother Tyrion, who has become distracted at the local brothel. Later that night, Cersei dines with Eddard's wife, Catelyn, and watches without emotion as her husband kisses and fondles a servant who serves him wine. The next day, Robert and Eddard go hunting, leaving the castle largely empty. Cersei and Jaime take the opportunity to engage in sexual intercourse in a derelict tower. However, Eddard's young son Bran climbs the tower and finds them together. Cersei frantically cries out when spotting him and Jaime catches Bran before he can climb back down, asking him how old he is. Bran replies "ten", whereupon Jaime sighs and muses, "The things I do for love," before pushing Bran out of the window.
A month later, at breakfast, Tyrion tells his family that, although he remains comatose, Bran is expected to live and notes his sibling's guarded reactions to the news. Cersei looks mildly distressed, while Jaime simply ponders the circumstances of Bran's fall, and appears thoughtful. Eventually, the royal party returns to King's Landing, now accompanied by Eddard and his two daughters, Sansa and Arya, the former being betrothed to Cersei's eldest son Joffrey. Receiving word that Bran has woken, but cannot remember the details of his fall, Jaime visits Cersei in her chambers. Cersei is upset at Jaime's thoughtlessness, but Jaime reminds her of the desperate situation he was in. Even after he tells her that Bran is only ten years old and no one will ever believe him if his memory returns, Cersei remains angry, and when Jaime jokes about going to war with Robert and how the minstrels will write the ballad "The War for Cersei's Cunt", she slaps him, but he simply pulls her to him, holding her close, and telling her that if need be, he will kill everyone in the whole world until they are the only two left standing.
Learning that Catelyn has arrested Tyrion for pushing Bran out of the tower window, Jaime confronts Eddard and leaves King's Landing to find his brother. Cersei and Robert discuss their unhappy marriage, Cersei revealing that she stopped having feelings for Robert a long time ago, although she had loved him once. Eddard receives a serious leg injury at the hands of one of Jaime's men, and upon waking up, is met by Robert and Cersei. Cersei is furious that Eddard dared to lay hands on her blood, and Robert demands that Eddard see that his wife release Tyrion. However, his lack of action causes Cersei to boldly tell ROBERT that she should wear the armor and him the dress, and he angrily hits her across the face, leaving a distinctive mark. Despite this, she remains docile, saying she will wear the mark proudly, before leaving Robert and Eddard to speak alone. The act of violence makes Eddard realize just how unhappy the two are in their marriage.
Eddard soon comes to the realization that Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella are not Robert's children, but Jaime's. Discovering that the Jon Arryn had been investigating the bastards Robert bore with other women, all of whom had dark hair and dark features like Robert, and that Jon's last words had been "the seed is strong" (referring to the indications that genetic characteristics contribute to the proof Robert did not father Cersei's children), as well as Sansa's claim that Joffrey is nothing like Robert and that she will bear him "golden-haired son", Eddard comes to the conclusion that Cersei and Jaime have been involved in an incestuous relationship for some time and calls for a meeting with her.
Visiting him the courtyard, she feigns concern on his injury, before he asks her whether or not Robert had ever hit before, and she responds that Jaime would have killed him if he had known and that Jaime is worth a thousand of Robert. Eddard reveals he is aware that he is her lover, but Cersei defends herself by saying the Targaryens wed brother and sister for three hundred years and that Jaime and her are more than brother and sister and, as they were brought into this world together, it is fate that has made them fall in love. She tells him that they are both parents who love their children, and that she worshiped Robert when she first married him, but came to resent him after realizing he was still in love with Eddard's sister and Robert's former betrothed, Lyanna. Eddard warns her that he must tell Robert the truth and tells her to go as far as she can go with her children, as does not want to be responsible for their deaths. Cersei remainds unperturbed, mocking Eddard for not taking Iron Throne when given the chance, saying that when you play the game of thrones you win or you die and that there is no middle ground.
Cersei arranges for Robert to die by having her cousin Lancel drug him; his drunken clumsiness results in him being mauled by a wild boar. Eddard writes to Robert's brother Stannis on the truth of Cersei and Jaime's relationship and when Robert passes away, Joffrey seizes the throne for himself and has Eddard put into prison for treason, despite the fact that Robert had signed a document making Eddard the Protector of the Realm until Joffrey came of age to rule, Cersei herself being the one to rip up the document. Varys, Master of Whisperers on the Small Council, visits Eddard in pirson, telling him he was foolish for confronting Cersei and that she will not allow him to survive so long as he knows the truth. Eddard decides to confess to his crimes to protect his daughters in the hopes that Joffrey, now king, will allow him to join the Night's Watch as punishment for his crimes and ensure the survival of himself and his children, but Joffrey beheads him nonetheless, despite Sansa's plea for mercy, and Eddard becomes the second Hand of the King to die because of Jaime and Cersei's secret.
The War of the Five Kings begins and Cersei takes Lancel as a lover, although the relationship seems merely a way for Cersei to relieve her emotions during Jaime's absence as she evidently has no romantic inkling for Lancel, whom she dismisses as a talkative and foolish boy. Jaime is taken captive by Robb Stark, Eddard's eldest son, and Catelyn visits Jaime, who taunts her over Eddard's death, telling her widowhood suits her and saying he would have sex with her if she wanted. She responds by hitting him in the head with a rock and making him confess to throwing Bran from the tower; when she asks why he committed the crime, he contemplates telling her the truth, but doesn't, simply advising her to get some sleep.
Stannis Baratheon hosts a council and prepares a letter to be distributed throughout the Seven Kingdoms. He has learned from Eddard Stark that Joffrey Baratheon is a bastard born of incest between Cersei and Jaime rather than Robert Baratheon's true heir. Stannis is therefore the rightful heir and plans to pursue his claims to the throne despite being outnumbered. His younger brother Renly has also claimed the throne to Stannis' frustration. Davos Seaworth urges Stannis to make peace with Renly or even Robb Stark to fight against Joffrey but Stannis refuses, arguing that Robb has crowned himself King in the North and thus "stolen" the Northern half of Stannis' kingdom.
Tyrion returns to King's Landing, where he speaks to Cersei on having Jaime released. He suggests that they trade the Stark girls for Jaime, but when Cersei reveals that Arya has escaped and now only Sansa remains, Tyrion is indignant, telling her that they had three Starks (Arya, Eddard, and Sansa), and that they killed one and let another escape, claiming her and Joffrey's foolishness may have just cost them their brother's life, upsetting Cersei, who is visibly concerned on her lover's safety.
Cersei tasks Petyr Baelish on finding Arya and needles him on his unrequited love for Catelyn; Baelish responds by hinting at his knowledge of her and Jaime's romance, telling her that knowledge is power, whereupon Cersei has her guards seize Baelish and demand they slit his throat, before laughing and saying she's changed her mind. Releasing Baelish, Cersei turns to him, saying "power is power" before leaving him to complete the task she bequeathed him with.
In the Great Hall, Joffrey is hoping to restore the throne room to its once intimidating grandeur and dismisses Cersei's concerns of Arya's escape, telling her there is no need to search for the youngest Stark girl. He goes on to blame Tywin for Jaime's capture and reveals he has heard of the rumors about Cersei and Jaime, as Stannis has released his claim to the throne as public, divulging his suspicions on Joffrey's true parentage. Joffrey is worried that other bastards of Robert will attempt to claim the throne for themselves, asking Cersei how many bastards Robert fathered with other women when he grew tired of her, and Cersei furiously slaps Joffrey across the face. Joffrey tells her that her crime is punishable by death, but says he will forgive her for now, warning her that if she ever does it again, the consequences will be fire.
A captive of the North, Jaime is confronted by Robb Stark on crippling Bran and, as he has received the letter from Stannis revealing the truth of Joffrey's parentage, mocks Jaime on his relationship with Cersei. Jaime reveals nothing and attacks Robb's decision to keep him in this mobile camp rather than with one of his bannermen as demonstrating a lack of trust. Robb asserts his faith in his men and his concern at the lengths House Lannister would go to in order to free Jaime. His direwolf Grey Wind is almost fully grown and menaces Jaime during the questioning. Robb sends his prisoner Alton Lannister to King's Landing with peace terms. His demands include the release of his sisters, the return of his father's remains along with the remains of all those who served him, and the recognition of the North as a free and independent kingdom, all of which Cersei rejects, although Tyrion once again warns her that her foolishness will cost them Jaime's life.
Learning that Tyrion has deposed Janos Slynt as Lord Commander of the City Watch, Cersei angrily confronts Tyrion and they talk about the growing cruelty of Joffrey, Tyrion warning her that most of the kingdom wants Joffrey and her dead. He mocks her relationship with Jaime, which Cersei takes lightly, saying he has always been funny, but that is greatest joke was when he killed their mother the day he was born, visibly upsetting Tyrion.
As Stannis prepares to march on King's Landing, Tyrion and Cersei talk about Joffrey, and Cersei opens up to Tyrion, revealing the struggle of controlling him and how she understands he is a monster, but is unable to tame him. She references her relationship to Jaime, wondering if Joffrey's madness is the price they must pay for their sins (incest). Tyrion attempts to console her by reminding that the Targaryens wed brother and sister for centuries, but Cersei is further disturbed, remembering how most of the Targaryens went mad because of it. Tyrion again tries to comfort her, telling her Myrcella and Tommen are good children and that Joffrey is the exception. Cersei begins to cry, breaking down for the first time in front of the brother she presumably hates, and Tyrion seems about to hug her, but looking up at the last moment, Cersei returns once again to her old self and the tension between the two intensifies.
Jaime remains a prisoner of the North and after an unsuccessful escape attempt, is visited by Catelyn and Brienne of Tarth. She accuses him of being a man without honor, but he says that he never lay with any other woman other than Cersei, making him more honorable than Eddard, who broke his vows of faithfulness when he fathered his bastard Jon Snow during the rebellion. Preparing to die, Jaime braces himself as Catelyn takes Brienne's sword, but Catelyn does not cut his throat, only his ropes, tasking him to return her daughters to her safely in return for setting him free, and appoints Brienne to accompany him.
- See main article: "The Jaime/Cersei sex scene in "Breaker of Chains".
Copy-pasted from "Drogo and Daenerys", this listing is inaccurate.
|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|
In the books
Cersei and Jaime were sexually experimenting with each other since they were small children. Once their mother Joanna caught them, and responded by chastising them and moving their bedrooms to opposite sides of the castle to stop it - hoping that this was just small children experimenting. Given that Joanna died when they were both eight years old in the novels this must have occurred when they were at least that old.
Years ago, caged lions had lived in the bowels of Casterly Rock. Cersei and Jaime, who were children then, used to dare each other to climb into the cage. Once Cersei, who was bolder than Jaime, worked up enough courage to slip her hand between two bars and touch one of the lions. The lion stared at her, then licked her fingers. She would not pull her hand back, until Jaime took her by the shoulders yanked her away. Cersei teased him “Your turn. Pull his mane, I dare you". He wouldn't dare.
Cersei and Jaime conceived Joffrey while Robert was making a royal visit to Estermont island in the Stormlands. Robert himself cheated on his wife with one of his cousins at House Estermont's court during the visit.
Originally, Tywin had planned to betroth Jaime to Lysa Tully as another political marriage. Not desiring Lysa, Jaime was convinced by Cersei to offer to join the Kingsguard to get out of it, as well as to have a reason to stay by her side at the royal court.
On the third book, Jaime is going through a change, affected mainly by Brienne's positive influence and his maiming. Although he enjoys mocking Brienne for her naive perspective, he learns a lot about honor and decency from her, the woman who is the exact opposite of Cersei of all aspects. His conscience finally awakes, and opens his eyes to see the corruption, injustice and wickedness that he was indifferent to: he saves Brienne twice from gang rape, and from death at the bear pit. As a part of the change in Jaime's personality, he severs relationship with the two people who always had negative influence on him - first his father, then Cersei. He has sex with Cersei near Joffrey's body in the Great Sept (clearly presented as consensually in the novels, but poor camerawork in the TV series unintentionally gave the impression it was not - see "Jaime/Cersei sex scene in Breaker of Chains" in the "Season 4" section, above). This turns out to be the last time that Jaime and Cersei have sex, as afterwards they grow increasingly distant, as Jaime becomes gradually more disgusted by Cersei's brazen and self-defeating actions.
After Jaime releases Tyrion, Tyrion is so enraged to hear the truth about Tysha that he tells Jaime "You poor stupid blind crippled fool. Must I spell every little thing out for you? Very well. Cersei is a lying whore, she's been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know." Jaime wants to believe Tyrion lied to him, but Tyrion's words are confirmed by what Cersei told Jaime earlier "He's [Tyrion] lied to you a thousand times, and so have I". Throughout the fourth book, he is haunted by doubts.
On the way to Riverrun, Jaime pays a visit to his cousin Lancel at Darry. Lancel, who has become pious and deeply regets his past sins, tells Jaime tearfully the whole truth about his part in Robert's death and that he was Cersei's lover. That confession clears any doubts Jaime had about what Tyrion told him, and enforces his decision to stay away from his sister. Jaime also realizes why the High Septon (the one who preceded the High Sparrow) was killed, and that Cersei is responsible.
The relationship between Jaime and Cersei goes sour to such extent, that each of them contemplates about disposing of the other: Cersei, concluding that Jaime has become more of a hindrance than a help, dismisses any dream she had that the two of them might rule the Seven Kingdoms side by side, and plans to get rid of him. Jaime, while drinking with Ser Ilyn Payne, considers killing Cersei; he decides not to, not because of the taboo of kinslaying or because he still has feelings for her, but because Tommen will hate him for that.
Cersei cannot understand why her brother changed, and why he refuses to take part in her schemes. In her eyes he has become a weakling, whose wits were in his sword hand, and nearly as ignorant as Robert. She treats him contemptuously, thinking "How could I ever have loved that wretched creature? He has become a stranger to me", and rudely tells him to his face "You’ve become a ghost of what you were, a pale crippled thing". That does not stop her, however, from sending him a letter, in which she begs him to return and be her champion at her upcoming trial (that is before Qyburn creats Ser Robert Strong).
When Jaime receives the letter from Cersei, shortly after resolving the siege of Riverrun, he burns it - either to destroy any evidence of their incestuous relationship, or perhaps as a symbolic gesture of severing their relationship permanently; he sees no reason to help his unfaithful sister, whom he believes to be guilty of every treason laid against her - among them incest, fornication and the murders of Robert and the previous High Septon.