||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (June 2015)|
|A Song of Ice and Fire character|
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
"Iron From Ice" (2014)
|Created by||George R. R. Martin|
|Portrayed by||Lena Headey
Nell Williams (young)
Game of Thrones
|Aliases||Light of the West|
Lady Paramount of the Westerlands
Lady of Casterly Rock
|Relatives||Tywin Lannister (father)
Joanna Lannister (mother)
Jaime Lannister (twin brother/lover)
Tyrion Lannister (brother)
Cersei Lannister is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones. She becomes a prominent point of view character in the novels beginning with the 2005 fourth installment A Feast for Crows.
Cersei is portrayed by Lena Headey on the HBO series Game of Thrones. Headey received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in 2014 and 2015. In season 5, a young version of the character is portrayed by Nell Williams in flashbacks.
Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Cersei is the politically ambitious, manipulative and willful eldest child of Lord Tywin Lannister and Lady Joanna. She is the twin sister of Ser Jaime Lannister, with whom she shares an incestuous relationship. According to George R. R. Martin, Jaime is the only person she truly loves apart from her children. Fifteen years before the events of the series, Cersei married King Robert Baratheon to seal an alliance between House Lannister and the throne and so became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, but she neither loves nor respects Robert after years of abuse and violence. The contempt she feels towards her husband stems from the woman he was first betrothed to and was in love with, Lyanna Stark. She has three children, but all three are fathered by Jaime rather than Robert although all carry the surname Baratheon and are heirs to the throne. In her role, Cersei proves herself to be cunning in handling political turmoil, however, as the series progresses, her incompetencies become more conspicuous. Cersei grows increasingly paranoid and unstable, believing her younger dwarf brother, Tyrion, to be the center of all of her problems after being haunted by a prophecy in her childhood that described the valonqar (High Valyrian for “little brother”) who would end her life. Described as having classic Lannister looks, Cersei is seen as strikingly beautiful with her green eyes, golden blonde hair, slender figure and fair skin however, as of A Feast For Crows she has begun to gain weight as a result of alcohol abuse.
A Game of Thrones
At the beginning of the novel, King Robert Baratheon, his queen Cersei and most of the court visit The North to appoint Ned Stark Hand of the King. During the royal visit to Winterfell, the young Bran Stark finds the queen committing incest with her brother Jaime Lannister. To prevent her adultery from being revealed, her brother attempts to kill Bran but is unsuccessful.
Cersei and Robert have a loveless marriage, their union being a marriage of state to bind two wealthy houses together. Both Cersei and Robert repeatedly cheat on each other, with Robert fathering sixteen bastard children, and Cersei pretending that her children are Robert's. In reality, all of Robert's presumed heirs with Cersei have been fathered by Jaime. Ned Stark eventually discovers the truth of Cersei's infidelity and confronts her, giving her the opportunity to flee into exile and thus spare her innocent children certain execution. However unbeknownst to Ned, Cersei had already arranged Robert's death in a hunting accident. With the help of Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark (unknowingly), Cersei foils Ned's attempted coup and becomes Regent, gaining complete control of the capitol.
A Clash of Kings
Frustrated with Cersei's many political blunders as well as her failure to control her son, King Joffrey Baratheon, Cersei's father, Tywin Lannister appoints his son Tyrion Lannister Hand of the King with explicit instructions to control Cersei and Joffrey. Once at the capitol, Tyrion enters into a bitter power struggle with Cersei, methodically removing her supporters from positions of power and isolating her on the Small Council of the king's advisers.
When Stannis Baratheon, Robert's younger brother, marches on King's Landing, Cersei and Joffrey hide in a fortified tower, leaving Tyrion to mastermind the defense of the city. Just as Stannis is about to breach the gates, Tywin arrives and drives Stannis from the city. There, Tywin formally assumes his position as Hand of the King, once again marginalizing Cersei and depriving her of her power to rule as Joffrey's regent.
A Storm of Swords
After formally assuming his position as Hand of the King, Tywin makes it clear to Cersei that she is no longer welcome on Small Council meetings, de facto stripping her of her political authority. Furthermore, as a condition of their alliance with House Tyrell, Joffrey is to marry Margaery Tyrell with Cersei being shipped off to the Tyrell seat of Highgarden to marry Wilas Tyrell. Cersei is incensed by these developments, frustrated that not only has she lost her power of the capitol, but also lost control over her own life by a succession of forced marriages.
This state of affairs is shaken when Joffrey is poisoned at his wedding feast. Maddened with grief at the loss of her eldest son, Cersei lashes out against Tyrion, accusing him of poisoning the king out of revenge. Cersei manipulates Tyrion's trial to ensure a guilty verdict, bribing and intimidating witnesses. When Tyrion demands a trial by combat, Cersei selects the imposing Gregor Clegane, "The Mountain," as the Crown's champion. The Mountain prevails, killing Tyrion's champion. Tywin then pronounces Tyrion guilty and sentences him to death, but Tyrion escapes prison with the help of his brother Jaime and kills Tywin. Cersei is once again in complete control of the kingdom.
A Feast for Crows
With the death of her father and her son Joffrey, Cersei de facto rules the kingdom. Her second child, Tommen Baratheon is crowned king but is widely considered weak, signing every decree that passes in front of him. However she is ruling a kingdom on the brink of ruin. The huge losses suffered by House Lannister in the war combined with the wartime disruptions to trade and harvest mean that the ruling House Lannister is dependent on resources from House Tyrell. The Tyrells leverage this position and begin to build power in the capitol, much to Cersei's consternation.
Furthermore, Cersei makes a series of political and economic blunders, alienating allies such as Pycelle and Kevan Lannister. In an attempt to undermine the Tyrells as well as release her son from his marriage to Margaery, Cersei attempts to frame Margaery for adultery and treason. However this plot backfires as the investigation into Margaery reveals evidence of Cersei's own adultery and her complicity in Robert Baratheon's death. She confesses the adultery to the High Septon (though not her relationship with Jaime) and as punishment, she is stripped naked and forced to walk through the capital in full view of the public. The remaining charges will be settled in a trial by combat.
A Dance with Dragons
Cersei takes her walk of shame, nearly breaking down in tears near the end. The more serious charges of regicide and incest will be settled in a trial by combat. She sends a letter to her twin Jaime, asking him for help, but he burns her note. In prison awaiting trial, the kingdom is now run by Pycelle and Kevan. However, at the nadir of her fortunes, Varys returns to the capital and murders both Pycelle and Kevan. The book ends with Cersei's fate unknown.
Family tree of House Lannister
|Family tree of Tytos Lannister|
|References and notes:
- Jacobs, Matthew (July 10, 2014). "Emmy Nominations 2014: Breaking Bad, Orange Is The New Black Among Top Nominees". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- Brown, Tracy (July 10, 2014). "Emmys 2014: Complete list of nominees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Emmy Award Nominations: Full List of 2015 Emmy Nominees". Variety. July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2015.