Cersei Lannister

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Cersei Lannister
MagaliVilleneuve CLface.jpg
by Magali Villeneuve©

Title Light of the West
Queen Dowager
Protector of the Realm
Lady of Casterly Rock
Queen Regent
Allegiance House Lannister
Culture Westerlands
Born In 266 AC[1][2], at Casterly Rock
Spouse King Robert Baratheon
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (POV)
A Dance with Dragons (POV)

Played by Lena Headey ~ Season 1 - Season 6
Nell Williams ~ Season 5
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6

Cersei Lannister is the only daughter and eldest child of Lord Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock and his wife, Lady Joanna Lannister. She is the twin sister of Jaime Lannister. After Robert's Rebellion, she married King Robert I Baratheon and became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She is the mother of Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen of House Baratheon of King's Landing. Cersei becomes a POV character in A Feast for Crows. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones she is played by Lena Headey, and is portrayed by Nell Williams in a Season 5 flashback.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Cersei Lannister

When they were children, Cersei and her twin-brother Jaime looked so much alike that not even their father could tell them apart.[3] As adults, they still significantly resemble each other.[4][5] Cersei is a strikingly beautiful woman,[6] with golden hair,[7][8] emerald green eyes,[9][10][11][12][7][13][14] fair skin,[10] and a slender, graceful figure.[7] However, Cersei develops a tendency of alcohol abuse over the course of the series,[14] and as of A Feast for Crows, it begins to take a toll on her body, as she has begun to gain weight.[15]

Cersei is willful, ambitious and has a certain low cunning, and indeed, displays herself to be capable in handling political turmoil and intrigue early in the series. She is hungry and greedy for power.[16][17] However, the more power Cersei obtains, the more she proves herself to be incompetent at handling it.[citation needed] Cersei believes herself to be subtle[4] and politically astute. She hates being excluded from power on account of her gender,[18] and strongly resents the customs and conventions put on her because she is female.[7][3] She thinks of herself as a female version of her father,[19][10][20][21] and feels slighted when people do not obey her commands as they would have done for Lord Tywin, but instead give her their counsel, or disagree with her, which she faults on her gender.[15] She surrounds herself with sycophants rather than honest and competent advisers.[22] Numerous people, including several family members, consider her to be an ineffectual leader.[19][17]

Cersei is impatient,[7] and never forgets a slight, whether it was real or imagined. She considers caution to be cowardice and disagreement for defiance.[17] Her quick temper and her easily wounded pride frequently lead her to make rash decisions, and she rarely considers what unintended consequences her actions might have.[4] She does not shy away from using sex as a weapon.[3] Though she shares her father's philosophy of ruling through fear rather than love,[citation needed] she lacks his ability to temper ruthlessness with caution, pragmatism, and sound, objective judgment.[citation needed]


Early life

Cersei was born in 266 AC as the first-born child and only daughter to Ser Tywin Lannister, heir to Casterly Rock, and his wife, Lady Joanna.[1][2] Cersei was born shortly before her twin brother Jaime, who was holding her foot.[23][18] King Aerys II Targaryen sent both Cersei and Jaime their weight in gold as a nameday gift, and commanded Lord Tywin to bring the children to court when they were old enough to travel.[1] It is currently unknown whether this visit to King's Landing actually occured, as the royal court came to Casterly Rock following the death of Tytos Lannister in 276 AC.[1] Cersei and Jaime did visit King's Landing in 272 AC, when their mother brought them from Casterly Rock for the Anniversary Tourney held to celebrath the tenth year of King Aerys's reign.[1]

During their early childhood, Cersei and Jaime were inseparable.[24] They looked so similar as children, up to the point that not even their father was able to keep them apart.[3] Because of their similar looks, Cersei could occasionally wear Jaime’s clothes and take lessons from the master-at-arms in his stead, without anyone realizing.[25] As children, Cersei and Jaime played together in bowels of Casterly Rock, where the caged lions of Cersei's late grandfather, Tytos, were being kept. Cersei and Jaime would dare each other to climb into the cage. Cersei once dared to go as far as touch one of the lions, until her brother pulled her away.[10] Cersei and Jaime slept together in the same bed when they were very young,[24] and even went as far as to experiment together in a sexual manner at a young age.[23] During one of these encounters, they were caught by a servant who informed their mother. A guard was placed near Cersei's bedchamber, whilst Jaime's bedchamber was immediately moved to the other side of the castle. The twins were told never to do anything like that ever again, as Joanna would otherwise be forced to tell their father.[26]

Cersei Lannister by Elia Fernandez

Cersei's mother died not long thereafter,[26] in 273 AC,[1][2] when giving birth to Cersei's younger brother, Tyrion.[9] For killing her mother, Cersei despised her youngest sibling.[27] Shortly after Joanna's death, the Princess of Dorne visited Casterly Rock with her two youngest children, Elia and Oberyn Martell. Even though Tyrion was kept out of sight during the entire visit of the Martells, Cersei promised Princess Elia to show Tyrion to her. Threatening her brother's wet nurse before sending her away, Cersei undid Tyrion's swaddling clothes and hurt her little brother, until Jaime stopped her.[27] The Princess of Dorne proposed a betrothel between Cersei and Oberyn, durnig this visit, but she was refused, and Lord Tywin infored her that Cersei was meant as a bride for Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.[28]

Attempted betrothal to Rhaegar Targaryen

Lord Tywin first informed Cersei of his wish to betroth her to the crown prince when she was no older than six or seven, though he told her never to speak of it until a betrothal was officially announced.[15] Cersei drew a picture of her and Rhaegar on a dragon, once, though she claimed it were King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and his sister-wife Alysanne when Jaime discovered it.[15] Cersei saw Rhaegar in person for the first time when she was ten years old, in 276 AC, during a tourney her father Tywin had hosted to welcome King Aerys II Targaryen to the west, and to celebrate the birth of young Prince Viserys,[15][1] and was immediately infatuated with him.[15] Before the tourney began Cersei's aunt, Lady Genna, informed Cersei that her betrothal to Rhaegar would be announced during the final feast of the tourney.

After she had been separated from Jaime following their mother's discovery of their sexual experimenting, Cersei had had numerous bedmaids and campanions, daughters of Lord Tywin's bannermen and household knights who were of an age with her. While Cersei occasionally appreciated their company, she had not liked any of them, believing all of them to be weak, convinced they were trying to come between her and Jaime.[24] However, following Genna's announcement that Cersei's betrothal to Rhaegar would soon be announced, Cersei brought two of such companions, Melara Hetherspoon and Jeyne Farmanto a woods witch known to Lannisport as Maggy the Frog. After Jeyne had fled out of fear, Cersei inquired when she and Rhaegar would wed and how many children they would have. Maggy correctly predicted Cersei's marriage with the king and the amount of children both would have. She went on to prophesy that Cersei would outlive all her children, who would die as kings and queens, and that after everything she had was taken away by a younger and more beautiful queen, the valonqar (High Valyrian for "little brother") would come to end her life. The prediction frightened Cersei, and would come to haunt her for the remainder of her life. Her friend Melara suggested that if they never spoke about it, the prophecies Maggy had made (which included Melara's death) would not come true. However, Melara died shortly after their visit to Maggy, and it is heavily implied, though never confirmed, that Cersei killed the girl to prevent her from speaking of the prophecies.

After Melara's death, Cersei inquires with her Septa, Saranella, about the meaning of "valonqar".[29] She eventually becomes convinced that Tyrion is the valonqar Maggy spoke of, resulting in her despising and mistrusting him even more than she had before.

To make matter worse, the Lannisport tourney did not end with Cersei's betrothal. After all the knights and lords had left the west, Cersei had gone to her aunt for an explanation, learning that Lord Tywin had indeed proposed the betrothal to King Aerys II Targaryen, but that Aerys refused Cersei as a bride for his son and heir.[15][1]

Living at court

At the age of twelve, following the failure of Lord Steffon Baratheon's mission to find Prince Rhaegar Targaryen a suitable bride in Essos, Cersei was taken to King's Landing by her father, who still served as Hand of the King. In the following years, Lord Tywin refused every offer of marriage for Cersei he received. According to Jaime, Tywin still had his sights set on a Targaryen-match, either hoping to betroth Cersei to young Prince Viserys, or hoping for Rhaegars new bride, Elia Martell, to die in childbirth.[30]

In 281 AC, when Cersei was fifteen, Jaime came to visit King's Landing following him receiving his knighthood. Cersei informed him that Lord Tywin had been discussing betrothing Jaime to Lysa Tully. Cersei seduced Jaime and persuaded him to agree to join the Kingsguard, which would require him to remain unmarried and live near her in King's Landing. Cersei knew that Tywin would be strictly opposed to the idea, but that he could not openly object to, and offered to make the arrangements herself.[30] However, she had no idea how much the relationship between her father and the king had detoriated, and although she was successful in securing Jaime's place in the Kingsguard, her plan backfired when Lord Tywin perceived Jaime's appointment to the Kingsguard as a slight intended to rob him of his heir. Furiously, he resigned as Hand, and moved back to Casterly Rock with Cersei, separating the twins once more.[30]


After the conclusion of Robert's Rebellion, a marriage was arranged between Cersei and the new King, Robert I Baratheon, in order to seal the royal house's alliance with House Lannister. Cersei and Robert were wed in 284 AC.[31]

Wedding of Cersei and her husband, King Robert I Baratheon

Cersei and Jaime had sex the morning of her wedding. And while she was at first enthralled by the happy crowds at the royal wedding, Cersei's enthusiasm for the match ended abruptly when Robert called her "Lyanna" during their first night together. The marriage rapidly deteriorated, and Cersei resumed her incestuous relationship with Jaime. She bore him three children (Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen), all of whom she successfully passed off as the king's trueborn heirs. Although Robert was away at the births of his children, Jaime was present for at least Joffrey's birth, though Cersei refused to let her brother hold the child, fearing people might start to suspect his true parentage.[32][33] On one occasion, early in her marriage, Cersei became pregnant by Robert. Unwilling to give birth to Robert's child, she sent Jaime out to find a woman to cleanse her.[23] Having grown to resent Robert over the years, Cersei took further care to ensure he did not impregnate her.[23]

During the early years of their marriage, Robert would often ask Cersei to come hunting with him, though she would always decline, as Robert's trips allowed her more time with Jaime.[34] Because two of Robert's uncles from Greenstone had remained at court for half a year following Cersei's marriage, Robert insisted on repaying the visit, and Cersei and Jaime accompanied him for a two-week stay at Estermont. While there, Cersei suspected that Robert was sleeping with a cousin of his, and had Jaime follow Robert to confirms her suspicions. Cersei and Jaime slept together on Greenstone, and Cersei likes to believe that was the night their eldest son Joffrey was conceived.[15] Ever since calling her Lyanna during their wedding night,[23] Cersei's relationship with Robert continued to detoriate. While Robert "claimed his rights" frequently during the early years of their marriage, his drinking led to him hurting Cersei during those encounters. When she confronted him once during their first year of marriage, Robert claimed it was because of the drink, and he was not to blame. When he tried to take another horn of ale, Cersei smashed her own horn in his face, chipping his tooth. Robert claimed not to remember anything of those nights, but Cersei believes otherwise, and is certain that Robert did recall what he did to her, but felt that pretending to forget was easier than facing the truth. Cersei, in turn, tried to pretend that Robert was Rhaegar during those years. Over time, Robert came to Cersei's bed less frequently, not even once a year.[24]

True to Maggy's prophecy, Cersei had three children, while Robert sired several bastards. After Joffrey had assaulted a pregnant cat, Robert suggested bringing a bastard daughter of his to court. Cersei threatened the girl, claiming King's Landing was a dangerous place for a girl growing up. Though Robert had hit her for that, the girl was not brought to court, and all of Robert's bastards were kept out of sight.[22] According to Petyr Baelish, however, there are rumors that Robert fathered twins on a serving woman at Casterly Rock in 295 AC, and that Cersei had the babes killed, and the mother sold to a slaver.[35]

The parentage of Cersei's children remained a closely guarded secret for years, eventually Stannis Baratheon, familiar with the appearance of his brother's black haired, blue eyed bastard offspring, grew suspicious of the royal children's lack of resemblance to their supposed father. He confided in then-Hand of the King Jon Arryn, and the two investigated the matter together. After the tournament held to celebrate Joffrey's twelfth nameday, Cersei and her children travelled with Lord Tywin to Casterly Rock. During the fortnight following the tourney, Arryn was poisoned and fell ill, and eventually died before he could act. While Cersei was innocent of the fact, Stannis was convinced that she was responsible for Arryn's death, and fled to Dragonstone.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Queen Regent Cersei Lannister - by Katherine Dinger ©

After the death of the Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, Cersei accompanies her husband, King Robert I Baratheon, to Winterfell, where the king offers the position to Lord Eddard Stark.[36][37] When Robert and most of the castle go on a hunting trip, Cersei remains behind, as does her brother Ser Jaime. The two are seen having sex by Bran Stark in an old abandoned tower, and when Cersei insists that they must do something to prevent the boy from telling anyone, Jaime pushes him out of the tower window.[38] She later berates Jaime for his impulsiveness, arguing that attempting to kill the boy was foolish when they could have simply intimidated him into silence.[5]

While the royal procession travels back to King's Landing, Cersei's eldest son, Prince Joffrey, bullies a common boy, Mycah, prompting Arya Stark and her direwolf to attack and disarm him. Joffrey tells his parents that Arya and her wolf attacked him without provocation, and Cersei takes her son's side, arguing that the girl should lose a hand in accordance with the ancient penalty for striking a prince of royal blood.[39] When Robert refuses to do so, she proclaims her desire regarding maiming or killing Arya to Jaime, using sex as bribe. Jaime searches for the girl, and would later imply that he would have been willing to do his sister's bidding. Instead, Arya is found by Stark guards first. And while Robert again resists Cersei's call for severely punishing Arya, but Cersei successfully pressures him into ordering the execution of another direwolf as a proxy.[40][39]

Having appointed Eddard Stark as Jon Arryn's replacement, Robert orders the Hand's tourney be held in honor of Eddard.[41] Cersei forbids Robert from fighting in the melee, inciting a public argument between king and queen.[42] Robert intends to fight anyway, but Eddard and Ser Barristan Selmy succeed in dissuading him. Later, Varys claims that Cersei had known publicly forbidding Robert from participating in the melee was the most effective way of convincing him to do so, and had been planning to have him "accidentally" killed in the melee. He also suggests that Ser Hugh of the Vale, who had been killed by Ser Gregor Clegane earlier in the tournament, could have poisoned Jon Arryn at the Lannisters' instigation, only to have them arrange his death in order to ensure his silence afterward.[43]

When Tyrion is abducted by Catelyn Stark, Cersei argues with Robert, insulting his manhood for his failure to immediately avenge the insult to her family. The king strikes her in response, but Cersei tells him she intends to wear the bruise "as a badge of honor." Eddard Stark, who is present, does not approve of his friend's action; Robert admits that it was "not kingly," but blames Cersei for provoking him.[44] Eddard, who has been investigating Jon Arryn's death, has by now discovered the truth about the royal children's parentage. He confronts Cersei, and she admits that his accusation is true. She promises to make it worth his while if Eddard allies with her and keeps her secret, but he refuses. Not wanting to see the children harmed, Eddard warns her that he intends to tell Robert the truth and urges her to flee with the princes and princess.[23]

She instead uses the time to arrange a hunting "accident" for Robert. She provides his squire Lancel, one of her lovers, with fortified strongwine, telling him it is Robert's favorite vintage. Lancel serves it to the king during the hunt, and as the wine is far stronger than Robert expects, he becomes drunk and is fatally injured by a boar.[4] On his deathbed Robert names Eddard Stark regent until his thirteen year old heir Joffrey comes of age, though Eddard secretly changes “my son Joffrey” into “my heir”.[45] The morning of Robert's death, Cersei seizes power, denouncing Lord Eddard as a traitor who conspired against King Joffrey. She has Eddard imprisoned and is named Queen Regent, heading Joffrey's small council.[46][47]

Cersei intends to have Eddard convicted of treason but allowed to take the black, thus discrediting him and removing him as a factor in the political arena without antagonizing the North. She arranges a public confession for him on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor, assuring the High Septon that he will be offered forgiveness and the holy ground will not be profaned with blood. However, she underestimates Joffrey's willfulness and taste for cruelty. He foolishly ignores her advice and instead orders Lord Stark's immediate execution. Janos Slynt and Ser Ilyn Payne carry out the king's imprudent command before Cersei can intervene, deeply offending the Faith and rendering peace between Stark and Lannister impossible. [48][49][4] Cersei keeps the news of Renly Baratheon's coronation from Joffrey for a time, fearing he might take the field at the head of a force of gold cloaks. She commands her father Lord Tywin to come to the defense of the capital against Renly and the Tyrells.[50]

A Clash of Kings

To end the foolish edicts made by King Joffrey I Baratheon and Cersei, Lord Tywin Lannister promptly puts Tyrion in the position of Hand of the King until he can claim the seat himself. When Tyrion arrives in King's Landing, bearing a letter from their father naming him Hand of the King, Cersei threatens to have him thrown in the dungeon, but he placates her by saying he could rescue Jaime.[4] As Hand, Tyrion struggles to wrest control from her, finally resorting to poisoning her to ger her out of the way for a few days.[6][51] He nullifies most of Cersei's decisions, recalling the Gold Cloaks who are killing off Robert's bastards at her behest.[citation needed]

In Jaime's absence, Cersei begins taking other lovers into her bed.[51] After Tyrion sends away her personal guard, she tries to employ three sellswords to replace them - Osney, Osmund and Osfryd Kettleblack - but Tyrion finds out and buys their loyalty.[13] The Kettleblacks are actually loyal to Petyr Baelish, [52] but neither Cersei nor Tyrion figure this out.

Tyrion sends off Princess Myrcella to Sunspear in an effort to win over the Martells. Before doing so, his counter intelligence methods identify Grand Maester Pycelle as Cersei's agent. When Tyrion arrests Pycelle, the Grand Maester tells him that Jon Arryn had been recovering from his poisoning, and that he had sent Arryn’s maester off in order to prevent Arryn’s recovery, claiming that he could tell that Cersei wanted Arryn dead, even though she hadn’t said anything.[6] Tyrion gets Cersei to agree with sending Myrcella to Dorne.[7] The day Myrcella is sent off, Cersei is among those who is caught up in the riot of King's Landing provoked in part by a thoughtless comment she makes to King Joffrey about a dead baby.[13]

As King Stannis Baratheon moves on King's Landing, Cersei decides to get her son Tommen out of the city for safety, but Tyrion's men intercept the party and take Tommen into Tyrion's custody.[53][54] Fed up with Tyrion's efforts to rule, Cersei arrests Alayaya, a whore she believes Tyrion is sleeping with, and has the girl beaten. She uses Alayaya as a hostage to ensure Tommen's safe return; Tyrion, however, promises her that whatever happens to Alayaya, happens to Tommen as well, rapings and beatings included, frightening Cersei. Tyrion states to Cersei that he will hurt her for having done this. "I don’t know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid." Cersei, not knowing how to respond, sends him away.[8] She also removes Ser Boros Blount from the Kingsguard for his failure to resist Tyrion's men, and although removing the cowardly Blount from the Kingsguard was considered to have been one of her few wiser decisions, she replaces him with Osmund Kettleblack, a man just as hollow.[8]

As the Battle of the Blackwater begins, Cersei hosts a banquet for all the noblewomen in the Red Keep. She claims it is in an effort to keep their minds off the fighting, but has invited Ser Ilyn Payne, the headman, to be on hand to kill them if the city is taken, to prevent them from becoming hostages. When she hears that the River Gate is under attack, she has Joffrey summoned back to the Red Keep.[3] Seeing the king flee back to the castle damages morale and causes the men to rout, nearly costing her the city. This outrages Lancel Lannister, who feels they could have held the gates if Cersei hadn't recalled the King.[55] If not for the timely arrival and attack on Stannis's flank by the army of Tywin Lannister and Mace Tyrell, the battle would have been lost for the Lannisters.[56] Because Tyrion lies wounded and unconscious, Cersei is able to lie to her father and turn her father's prejudice against Tyrion to her advantage, all but completely stripping Tyrion's power from him by the time her brother's convalescence is over.

A Storm of Swords

Tywin bends Cersei to his will and later makes it clear she is no longer wanted on the council and plans to marry her off again, either to Willas Tyrell, Balon Greyjoy (whose wife was elderly and had failing health) or Oberyn Martell. After Joffrey offends Tywin through his ungracious behaviour, Tywin is furious and asks where the boy could have learnt such amoral sentiments. Cersei tries to place the blame on Robert but it is clear to all in the room, including Kevan, that it is Cersei's belief system too [57].

Joff is killed at his own wedding feast and Cersei accuses her brother Tyrion and his wife, Sansa Stark, falsely believing them responsible [58]. Cersei names Ser Gregor Clegane champion if there is to be a trial by combat. This move, however, leads Oberyn Martell, whose sister was murdered by Gregor over a dozen years ago, to champion Tyrion [18]. Oberyn is killed in the duel, and Ser Gregor is fatally wounded [28].

A Feast for Crows

Cersei as depicted in TV show.
Cersei framed Margaery Tyrell leading to her arrest

When her father Tywin is murdered, the checks on her claim to power are cleared. She resumes her position as Regent over her son, the eight-year-old King Tommen, who is entirely obedient to her will. As the eldest child of Tywin, she is also acknowledged as the Lady of Casterly Rock by her uncle Kevan. Thus empowered and unrestricted, Cersei feels she has the opportunity to prove herself an even better ruler than her father.

Cersei begins her new regime by filling all of the positions on Tommen's small council with her own supporters and agents, disregarding the previous arrangements made by Tywin and the well-meant, if blunt, advice from Kevan. She becomes a restless sleeper, troubled by nightmares of the Imp and the Iron Throne consuming her.[19] Her growing dependency on alcohol increases her tendencies to paranoia, rash judgement and hysteria following the death of her father and son.

Cersei grows to suspect that her powerful Tyrell allies, now relatives through Tommen's marriage to Margaery, are trying to seize control of the kingdom. This suspicion grows from a Gardener coin found by Maester Qyburn in the dungeon where Tyrion was being held before his escape[10] – a coin similar to the ones Lady Olenna Tyrell carries with her when traveling, causing Cersei to wrongfully suspect a Tyrell involvement in Tyrion's escape.[14]

Cersei commences a campaign of intrigue to remove all the Tyrells in King's Landing from positions of influence and authority, including her son's wife, Margaery, and Ser Loras, a member of the Kingsguard.[15] She befriends Taena Merryweather who informs Cersei that her maid Senelle is spying on her for Margaery. This leads Senelle to be given over to Qyburn for his twisted experiments. Taena becomes her bedwarmer and confidante.

Cersei's paranoia alienates Jaime, who abandons her to her political machinations.[59] She refuses to honor the debts owed by the Crown, angering powerful institutions such as the Iron Bank of Braavos and the Faith of the Seven.[22] This results in the Faith refusing to bless King Tommen, and the Iron Bank calling in all their debts throughout Westeros and refusing all new loans.[34] This causes economic chaos throughout the Seven Kingdoms. With the monies owed, Cersei constructs a new royal fleet of warships and gives command to Aurane Waters, the Bastard of Driftmark and a sellsail of questionable expertise and loyalty.[22]

Yet another of her ill-conceived schemes is a secret mission which she gives Ser Balon Swann of the Kingsguard, who is headed for Dorne to deliver the head of Ser Gregor Clegane.[22] Ser Balon carries a letter in which Cersei asks Prince Doran to give leave to her daughter Myrcella to return to King's Landing for what is decribed as a short visit, and to invite Prince Doran to take the Dornish seat on the small council that has been left vacant with the death of Prince Oberyn. The secret part of Ser Balon's mission, of which Prince Doran soon learns from informers at the royal court, is to invite Prince Trystane to accompany his betrothed, then kill him along the way somewhere in the Kingswood in a staged assault, for which Tyrion is supposed to be blamed, with Prince Doran preferably bearing witness to the fact that the attack is not the fault of the queen's men.[60]

In an attempt to alleviate the crown's debts, gain the Faith's blessing, and gain more protection from her purported enemies, she allows the new High Septon (known as the High Sparrow) to revive the Faith Militant, ignorant of its history of causing trouble for monarchs.[34]

She also takes the disgraced former maester Qyburn into her service, using him as a torturer, and allowing him to conduct immoral experiments on human subjects.[10] She tries to manipulate Falyse Stokeworth and her husband into killing Tyrion's friend, the sellsword Bronn, who was knighted and married off to simple Lollys Stokeworth to pry him away from Tyrion. The plan goes horribly wrong however when Falyse's husband foolishly challenges Bronn to single combat; Falyse flees to King's Landing to report that Bronn has killed her husband in a duel, though not before Bronn extracted a confession from the seriously injured Balman that Cersei was behind the attempt to kill him. Cersei responds by sending Falyse to Qyburn so nothing is found out about her machinations. Cersei's difficulty coping with the pressure of ruling lead to her beginning to drink heavily (something she often loathed her late husband Robert for) and begins to gain weight due to this but instead of realizing this, she blames the washer women for shrinking her gowns.

Cersei plans a plot to frame Margaery Tyrell for adultery and treason,and after seducing Osney Kettleblack has him falsely confess to the new High Septon that he had intercourse with Margaery and two of her three cousins. The High Septon acts on the information and has Margaery arrested when she visits the Sept. Cersei feigns concern publicly and visits the Sept of Baelor in order to appear to the population that she wishes Margaery released where in actual fact she does everything in her power to make sure Margaery will be found guilty.

However all of Cersei plans to remove the Tyrell influence at court backfire when the High Sparrow arrests her for several crimes, including the murder of the previous High Septon. The High Septon was suspicious of the confession of Osney Kettleblack and had him tortured till Osney revealed the actual truth.

Her own ministers seize control of the government while she awaits trial in the Great Sept of Baelor. They recall her uncle Kevan to fill her position as Regent, while her new Lord Admiral, Aurane Waters, absconds with the costly new fleet. Accused of capital crimes, her only hope lies in a Kingsguard champion to stand for her in a trial by combat. She sends an emotional summons to Jaime, which he burns and does not reply to.[21]

A Dance with Dragons

Cersei's penance walk from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep - by Marc Simonetti ©

Cersei still remains a prisoner of the Faith. To try and gain access to visitors, Cersei decides to confess to the High Septon that she did have relations with her cousin Lancel Lannister and all three of the Kettleblack brothers, knowing that such sins would not earn her an execution.

She continues to deny having ordered Osney Kettleblack to kill the previous High Septon, or that she was involved in King Robert's death. The High Septon agrees to allow her one visitor a day. Cersei then learns about Myrcella's injury and of Arys Oakheart's death, which leaves a vacancy in the Kingsguard. Cersei then sends word to Lord Qyburn that the time has come.[61]

Before her trial, the Faith requires Cersei to submit to a penance walk from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep. Cersei is shaved of hair from her entire body, then stripped naked. Just prior to the walk, at the Great Sept of Baelor she realizes that no Lannisters are there to support her, and this ordeal is hers alone. She bolsters herself by reminding herself,

Tommen is waiting for me. My little king. I can do this. I must. [62]

An escort of Warrior's Sons, Poor Fellows, and several septas protect her from the leering and jeering crowds that have flocked to see her shame. Cersei tries to hang on to her pride during the walk in spite of the crowds projecting filth at her and bawdy insults. At one point she thinks,

He wanted this. Him and the High Sparrow. And the little rose as well, I do not doubt. I have sinned and must atone, must parade my shame before the eyes of every beggar in the city. They think that this will break my pride, that it will make an end to me, but they are wrong. [62]

Cersei eventually breaks down in tears just before finishing and entering the Keep. Upon her entrance, Jocelyn Swyft has her body covered. Cersei is then carried into the castle by a silent eight-foot-tall knight covered head to heel in thick enamelled white plate, with a great helm concealing his face. Qyburn then appears and introduces Cersei to the newest member of the Kingsguard, "Ser Robert Strong," her champion.[62]

Cersei dines with her uncle, Ser Kevan, on the night of his death. She requests that Lady Taena Merryweather attend again her once her innocence is proved. When Kevan has no news of Jaime, Cersei seems certain of his safety. She believes that if he were dead, she would know it.[63]

Quotes by Cersei

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground. [23]

– Cersei, to Eddard Stark

Jaime and I are more than brother and sister. We are one person in two bodies. We shared a womb together. He came into this world holding my foot, our old maester said. When he is in me, I feel... whole. [23]

– Cersei, to Eddard Stark

A true man does what he will, not what he must. [23]

– Cersei, to Eddard Stark

A woman's life is nine parts mess to one part magic, you'll learn that soon enough... and the parts that look like magic often turn out to be messiest of all. [64]

– Cersei to Sansa Stark

Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same. [64]

– Cersei to Sansa Stark

The only way to keep your people loyal is to make certain they fear you more than they do the enemy. [3]

– Cersei to Sansa Stark

I waited, and so can he. I waited half my life. She had played the dutiful daughter, the blushing bride, the pliant wife. She had suffered Robert’s drunken groping, Jaime’s jealousy, Renly’s mockery, Varys with his titters, Stannis endlessly grinding his teeth. She had contended with Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and her vile, treacherous, murderous dwarf brother, all the while promising herself that one day it would be her turn. If Margaery Tyrell thinks to cheat me of my hour in the sun, she had bloody well think again. [15]
– Cersei's thoughts, on ruling as Queen Regent until Tommen comes of age

I am a lioness. I will not cringe for them. [62]

– Cersei, before she shrugs off her robe to stand naked and shorn at the Great Sept of Baelor

Quotes about Cersei

And Cersei . . . I have Jon Arryn to thank for her. I had no wish to marry after Lyanna was taken from me, but Jon said the realm needed an heir. Cersei Lannister would be a good match, he told me, she would bind Lord Tywin to me should Viserys Targaryen ever try to win back his father’s throne. I loved that old man, I swear it, but now I think he was a bigger fool than Moon Boy. Oh, Cersei is lovely to look at, truly, but cold . . . the way she guards her cunt, you’d think she had all the gold of Casterly Rock between her legs. [43]

Robert I Baratheon

The longer Cersei waits, the angrier she'll become, and anger makes her stupid. I much prefer angry and stupid to composed and cunning. [7]

Tyrion Lannister, explaining to Bronn why he will delay responding to Cersei's summons

Cersei is as gentle as King Maegor, as selfless as Aegon the Unworthy, as wise as Mad Aerys. She never forgets a slight, real or imagined. She takes caution for cowardice and dissent for defiance. And she is greedy. Greedy for power, for honour, for love. [17]

Tyrion Lannister, on his sister, to Young Griff

His sister liked to think of herself as Lord Tywin with teats, but she was wrong. Their father had been as relentless and implacable as a glacier, where Cersei was all wildfire, especially when thwarted. . .She does not lack for wits but she has no judgement, and no patience. [14]

Jaime Lannister, on his sisters leadership skills.

Every man's a piece to start with, and every maid as well. Even some who think they are players. Cersei, for one. She thinks herself sly, but in truth she is utterly predictable. Her strength rests on her beauty, birth, and riches. Only the first of those is truly her own, and it will soon desert her. I pity her then. She wants power, but has no notion what to do with it when she gets it. [52]

Petyr Baelish on Cersei and the game of thrones

Cersei is a lying whore, she's been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know. [59]

– Tyrion Lannister to Jaime Lannister

This head of mine is worth a lordship... back in Westeros, half a world away. By the time you get it there, only bone and maggots will remain. My sweet sister will deny the head is mine and cheat you of the promised reward. You know how it is with queens. Fickle cunts, the lot of them, and Cersei is the worst. [65]

– Tyrion Lannister to Ben Plumm


Jeyne Marbrand
Dorna Swyft
Emmon Frey
Darlessa Marbrand
Ermesande Hayford

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 54, Tyrion XII.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  11. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
  12. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 15.9 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  16. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  20. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 23.8 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  25. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Cersei Lannister.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 21, Jaime III.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  28. 28.0 28.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
  31. See the calculation for Cersei Lannister's wedding to Robert I Baratheon.
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
  33. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  35. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
  36. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  37. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  38. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  39. 39.0 39.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  40. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
  41. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  43. 43.0 43.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  44. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  45. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  46. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  47. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  48. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  49. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  50. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  51. 51.0 51.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 29, Tyrion VII.
  52. 52.0 52.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  53. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
  54. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  55. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
  56. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
  57. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  58. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  59. 59.0 59.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
  60. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  61. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 62.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
  63. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  64. 64.0 64.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
  65. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 57, Tyrion XI.

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