Cersei Lannister

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House Lannister.svg Queen
Cersei Lannister
House Baratheon.svg
Cersei Lannister by Magali Villeneueve (cropped).jpg
Cersei Lannister, by Magali Villeneuve © FFG

Culture Westermen
Born 266 AC[1][2]
Casterly Rock, the westerlands
Father Lord Tywin Lannister
Mother Lady Joanna Lannister
Spouse King Robert I Baratheon

Played by Lena Headey
Nell Williams (young)
TV series Game of Thrones: Season 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Queen 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 of her younger brother, Ser Jaime Lannister. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones Cersei is played by Lena Headey, and is portrayed when she is a child by Nell Williams in a Season 5 flashback.

After Robert's Rebellion, Cersei married King Robert I Baratheon and became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She is the mother of Prince Joffrey, Princess Myrcella, and Prince Tommen of House Baratheon of King's Landing. Cersei becomes a POV character in A Feast for Crows.

Appearance and Character

Cersei Lannister, by Hylora ©

Cersei is a strikingly beautiful woman,[3] with curly[4][5][6] golden hair,[7][8] emerald green eyes,[9][10][11][12][7][13][14] fair skin,[10] and a slender, graceful figure.[7] When they were children, Cersei and her twin brother, Jaime, looked so alike not even their father, Tywin, could tell them apart.[15] As adults, they still significantly resemble each other.[16][17]

Cersei is willful, ambitious, and according to her brother Tyrion Lannister, has a certain low cunning.[18] She is hungry and greedy for power.[19][20] Cersei believes herself to be subtle[16] and politically astute. She hates being excluded from power on account of her gender,[21] and resents the customs and conventions put on her because she is female.[7][15] She thinks of herself as a female version of her father,[22][10][23][24] 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.[25]

Cersei is impatient,[7] and never forgets a slight, whether real or imagined. She considers caution to be cowardice and disagreement for defiance.[20] 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.[16] She does not shy away from using sex as a weapon.[15]

The queen's fine gowns include one of sea-green silk trimmed with pale Myrish lace;[26] one of black silk with red rubies sown into the bodice;[27] a low-cut gown of deep green velvet;[8] a snowy white linen gown with sleeves lined with gold satin;[4] a cloth-of-gold gown slashed in burgundy velvet;[28] a gown with stripes of green satin and black velvet with black Myrish lace above the bodice;[29] a jade-green gown with sleeves of silver Myrish lace;[30] and a white gown slashed with cloth-of-gold.[31] When Cersei wants to be discreet, however, she dresses in hunting green with leather boots and a brown cloak.[32]

Cersei's jewelry includes a golden ring with a large emerald,[26] a necklace of diamonds and emeralds,[33] and a golden necklace with a large emerald.[30] Her jeweled tiara is also decorated with emeralds.[9][26] Cersei's huge royal wheelhouse is a double-decked carriage of oiled oak and gilded metal,[34] and the queen has an ornate barge located at the harbor of King's Landing.[35] Cersei is fond of Arbor gold.[15][36][37]


Early life

Joanna Lannister, with her children Cersei and Jaime, by Naomimakesart ©

Cersei was born in 266 AC as the first-born child and only daughter to Ser Tywin Lannister, heir to Casterly Rock and Hand of the King, and his wife, Lady Joanna.[1][2] Cersei was born shortly before her twin brother Jaime, who was holding her foot.[32][21] King Aerys II Targaryen sent the twins their weights in gold as a name day gift, and commanded 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 occurred, as the royal court came to Casterly Rock following the death of Lord Tytos Lannister in 267 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 celebrate the tenth year of King Aerys's reign.[1]

During their early childhood, Cersei and Jaime were inseparable.[37] They looked so similar as children that not even their father was able to keep them apart.[15] Sometimes they would dress in each other's clothes, and spend a whole day as each other.[15] Occasionally when Cersei wore Jaime's clothes, she took lessons from the master-at-arms in his stead, without anyone realizing.[38] The twins played in the bowels of Casterly Rock, where the caged lions of Cersei's late grandfather, Tytos, were 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,[37] and experimented sexually at a young age.[32] During one of these encounters, they were caught by a servant, who informed their mother. A guard was placed outside Cersei's bedchamber, while Jaime's bedchamber was 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.[39]

Cersei's mother died not long thereafter,[39] in 273 AC,[1][2] when giving birth to Cersei's younger brother, Tyrion.[9] Cersei, then seven years old, despised her youngest sibling for killing her mother.[40] Shortly after Joanna's death, while the family was still in mourning, the Princess of Dorne arrived at Casterly Rock with her two youngest children, Elia and Oberyn Martell. Though Tyrion was kept out of sight during the visit of the Martells, Cersei promised to show him to Elia. On the last day of their visit, Cersei threatened her brother's wet nurse and sent her away, then undid Tyrion's swaddling clothes to better display his dwarfism to the siblings. When Oberyn remarked that Tyrion was not much of a monster, Cersei replied that he had killed her mother, and then attacked the baby, twisting his penis while he screamed, until Jaime stopped her.[40]

After being separated from Jaime following their mother's discovery of their sexual experimenting, Cersei had numerous bedmaids and companions, girls her age who were daughters of Tywin's bannermen and household knights. While Cersei occasionally appreciated the company of these girls in keeping her bed warm at night in the cold Rock, she did not like any of them. She felt they were dull, weepy, sneakily telling tales about her, and was convinced they were trying to come between her and Jaime. Few lasted very long.[37]

Attempted betrothal to Rhaegar Targaryen

Young Cersei drawing herself with Rhaegar Targaryen, by Pojypojy ©

During the Martells' visit to Casterly Rock, the Princess of Dorne proposed a betrothal between Cersei and Oberyn, as had been previously discussed by her and her friend Joanna. However, Tywin Lannister refused her, and informed her that Cersei was meant as a bride for the crown prince, Rhaegar Targaryen.[41]

Lord Tywin first informed Cersei of his wish to betroth her to Prince Rhaegar when she was no older than six or seven, though he told her never to speak of it until a betrothal was officially announced.[25] Cersei once drew a picture of Rhaegar and herself, riding a dragon, though she claimed it depicted King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and his sister-wife, Alysanne, when Jaime discovered it. In 276 AC, at the age of ten, Cersei became infatuated with Rhaegar after meeting him for the first time during the tournament in honor of Viserys's birth at Lannisport.[25][1] 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.[25]

Cersei and Melara Hetherspoon in the tent of Maggy the Frog, by Cris Urdiales ©

On the tourney grounds, Cersei brought her bedmaids, Melara Hetherspoon and Jeyne Farman, to the tent of a woods witch, Maggy the Frog, so that she could tell their futures. After Maggy awoke, causing Jeyne to flee in fear, she required a taste of a drop of their blood, which Cersei bravely gave her. Cersei then inquired when she and Rhaegar would wed, and Maggy correctly predicted Cersei would not marry "the prince", but rather "the king" (Robert Baratheon). When Cersei asked whether she would still be queen, Maggy answered that she would, until another queen, "younger and more beautiful", would cast Cersei down and take all she held dear. Cersei then asked if she and the king would have children, and Maggy predicted that he would have sixteen children, and Cersei three. She went on to prophesy that Cersei would outlive her children, who would die crowned, and that afterwards the valonqar would come to "choke the life from [her]." Melara then asked if she would marry Jaime, but Maggy prophesied that she would not marry anyone and would die a maiden, and that her death was was very close. Cersei followed this by throwing a potion into Maggy's face, and the girls fled the tent.[23] Afterwards, Melara suggested that if they never spoke about the prophecies, they would be forgotten and would not come true.[36][42]

However, Melara died shortly after their visit to Maggy, drowned in a well, and it is implied that Cersei killed the girl to prevent her from speaking of the prophecies, and out of jealousy over Jaime. After Melara's death, Cersei inquired with her septa, Saranella, about the meaning of valonqar, who informed her it was High Valyrian for "little brother".[42] Cersei eventually became convinced that Tyrion was the valonqar Maggy spoke of, resulting in her despising and mistrusting him even more than she had before. The prophecy of the valonqar has continued to haunt Cersei.[22]

After the guests of the tourney left the westerlands, Cersei learned from her aunt that Tywin had proposed the betrothal to King Aerys II Targaryen, but Aerys refused, saying that a man did not marry his heir to his servant's daughter.[25][1]

Living at court

At the age of twelve, Cersei was taken to King's Landing by her father, who still served as Hand of the King, after the failure of Lord Steffon Baratheon's mission to find Prince Rhaegar a suitable bride in Essos. In the following years, Lord Tywin Lannister refused every offer of marriage for Cersei. 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 Rhaegar's new bride, Princess Elia Martell, to die in childbirth.[43]

In 281 AC, when Cersei was fifteen, Jaime visited King's Landing after receiving his knighthood. Cersei informed him that their father had been discussing betrothing Jaime to Lysa Tully. Cersei seduced Jaime and persuaded him to join the Kingsguard, which would require him to remain unmarried and live near her in the Red Keep. Cersei knew that Tywin would be opposed to the idea, but that he could not openly object if it was the king's order, and offered to make the arrangements herself. After a night of passionate sex, Jaime consented to her plan.[43] However, Cersei had no idea how much the relationship between her father and the king had deteriorated, and although Aerys did award Jaime a place in the Kingsguard, Tywin furiously perceived Jaime's appointment to the Kingsguard as a slight by King Aerys intended to rob him of his heir. He resigned as Hand, pleading illness, and moved back to Casterly Rock with Cersei, separating the twins once more.[43]


Wedding of Cersei and King Robert I Baratheon, from Game of Thrones Histories & Lore, © HBO

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 new royal house's alliance with House Lannister. Cersei and Robert were wed in 284 AC.[44] She and Jaime had sex the morning of her wedding.[45] Nonetheless, Cersei was at first enthralled by the happy crowds at the royal wedding. However, her enthusiasm for the match ended when the drunken Robert called her "Lyanna", the name of his late betrothed, while having sex with her on their wedding night.[32]

The marriage rapidly deteriorated, and Cersei resumed her incestuous relationship with Jaime. During the early years of their marriage, Cersei declined Robert's invitations to hunt with him, as Robert's trips allowed her more time with Jaime.[31] Because two of Robert's Estermont uncles from Greenstone had remained at court for half a year following the wedding, 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.[25]

Cersei bore Jaime three children, Joffrey, born in 286 AC, Myrcella, born in 290 AC, and Tommen, born in 291 AC. Cersei successfully deceived Robert and the entire kingdom, presenting the children as Robert's trueborn heirs. Although the king was away during the births of the children, hunting in the kingswood, Jaime was present for at least Joffrey's birth, defying the maesters and midwives who would have kept him out of the birthing room.[46] However, Cersei refused to let her brother ever hold Joffrey, fearing people might start to suspect his true parentage.[47]

Cersei with a drunken Robert, by David Sourwine © Fantasy Flight Games

While Robert "claimed his rights" frequently during the early years of their marriage, his drinking led to him hurting Cersei during their sexual intercourse, leaving her sex and breasts sore and painful. Once, during their first year of marriage, when Cersei confronted Robert the morning afterwards, telling him that he had hurt her, he 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 their sexual encounters, as she could not imagine him as Jaime.[37] 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.[32] Having grown to resent Robert over the years, Cersei took further care to ensure he did not impregnate her, and used other means to bring him to completion. Over time, Robert came to Cersei's bed less frequently, not even once a year, preferring to lay with whores.[32][37]

After young Joffrey killed a pregnant cat, Robert suggested bringing a bastard daughter of his to court. However, Cersei made unsubtle threats, claiming King's Landing was a dangerous place for a growing girl. Though Robert hit Cersei for that, the girl was not brought to court, and all of Robert's bastards were kept out of sight.[36] 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.[48]

Eventually Stannis Baratheon, Lord of Dragonstone, familiar with the appearance of his brother Robert's black-haired, blue-eyed bastard offspring, grew suspicious of the royal children's lack of resemblance to their supposed father.[11] He confided in Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, and the two investigated the matter together.[49][50] After the tourney on Prince Joffrey's name day, Cersei and her children travelled with Lord Tywin to Casterly Rock. During the fortnight following the tourney, Jon was poisoned and fell ill, eventually dying before he could act.[51] Stannis was convinced that Cersei was responsible for Jon's death, and he fled to Dragonstone.[52][50]

Recent Events

Jaime and Cersei watch as Bran Stark falls from the window, by pojypojy ©

A Game of Thrones

After the death of the Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, Cersei and her children accompany her husband, King Robert I Baratheon, to Winterfell, traveling in a huge, lumbering wheelhouse.[53][34] At Winterfell, the king offers the position of Hand to Lord Eddard Stark, and betrothes Joffrey to Eddard's oldest daughter, Sansa.[54] Jon's widow, Lady Lysa Arryn, sends a coded message to her sister, Eddard's wife Catelyn, alleging that the Lannisters murdered Jon.[55] When Robert and most of the castle go on a hunting trip, Cersei remains behind with her brother, Ser Jaime. Bran Stark sees the two having sex in Winterfell's First Keep, and when Cersei insists that they must do something to prevent the boy from telling anyone, Jaime pushes him out of the tower window.[56] Cersei later berates Jaime for his impulsiveness, arguing that attempting to kill the boy was foolish, when they could have simply intimidated him into silence.[17]

Cersei's wheelhouse, by Thomas Denmark © Fantasy Flight Games

While the royal procession travels back to King's Landing, Cersei's eldest son, Prince Joffrey Baratheon, bullies a common boy, Mycah, prompting Arya Stark and her direwolf, Nymeria, to attack and disarm him.[57] Joffrey tells his parents that Arya and her wolf attacked him without provocation, and Cersei takes her son's side,[58] arguing to Robert that the girl should lose a hand in accordance with the ancient penalty for striking a prince of royal blood.[59] 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 had he found her.[59] Instead, Arya is found by House Stark guards. At Darry, while Robert again resists Cersei's call for severely punishing Arya, the queen successfully pressures him into ordering the execution of Sansa's direwolf, Lady, as a proxy.[58]

Having appointed Eddard Stark as Jon Arryn's replacement, Robert orders the Hand's tourney be held in honor of Eddard.[60] Cersei forbids Robert from fighting in the melee, inciting a public argument between king and queen.[61] 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.[62]

When Cersei's brother 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 does not approve and Robert admits that it was "not kingly," but blames Cersei for provoking him.[63]

Eddard Stark and Cersei in the godswood of the Red Keep, by Tommy Arnold © Fantasy Flight Games

Eddard, who has been investigating Jon Arryn's death, discovers the truth about the royal children's parentage. While the king is hunting in the kingswood, Eddard confronts Cersei, who admits the accusation is true. She attempts to seduce him in the godswood of the Red Keep, but Ned 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.[32] Eddard plans to have his daughters, Sansa and Arya, sail from King's Landing on the Wind Witch.[64] Sansa, not understanding the danger and desiring to marry Joffrey, informs Cersei of her father's plan.[27]

A drunken Robert is fatally injured by a boar during his hunt,[65] having been given strongwine by his squire, Lancel Lannister.[66] On his deathbed Robert names Eddard regent until his thirteen-year-old heir Joffrey comes of age, though Eddard secretly changes “my son Joffrey” into “my heir”.[65] The morning of Robert's death, Cersei seizes power, denouncing Eddard as a traitor who conspired against King Joffrey. She has Eddard imprisoned and is named Queen Regent, heading Joffrey's small council.[26][33]

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, Joffrey 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.[66][67][16]

Cersei weeps when she hears that Jaime has been captured by Robb Stark in the Whispering Wood.[68] She 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 to come to the defense of the capital against Renly and the Tyrells, but Tywin instead marches for Harrenhal and sends Tyrion to the capital in his stead.[69]

A Clash of Kings

Cersei Lannister, by Katherine Dinger ©

Having escaped King's Landing, Arya Stark adds Cersei's name to the list of those she desires dead.[70]

When Tyrion arrives in King's Landing, bearing a letter from their father, Cersei threatens to have him thrown in the dungeon, but he placates her by saying he could rescue Jaime.[16] As Hand, Tyrion struggles to wrest control from her, finally resorting to poison to incapacitate her for a few days.[3][71]

In Jaime's absence, Cersei begins sleeping with her cousin, the knighted Lancel, which is discerned by Tyrion.[71] She also reveals to Tyrion that she had given Lancel fortified wine for Robert's hunt, stronger than Robert usually drank.[16] After Tyrion sends away Vylarr and Cersei's personal guard,[3] she employs three sellswords to replace them—Osney, Osmund and Osfryd Kettleblack—but Tyrion finds out and buys their loyalty.[13]

Tyrion deceives small council members and determines that Pycelle is 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 Jon's maester away in order to prevent Jon's recovery, assuming that Cersei wanted Jon dead.[3] Tyrion gets Cersei to agree with sending Myrcella to Dorne to win over House Martell.[7] The day Princess Myrcella takes ship for Sunspear, Cersei is among those 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 sends Tommen to Rosby for safety, but Tyrion's men intercept the party and take the boy into Tyrion's custody.[72][73] 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.[8] Cersei removes Ser Boros Blount from the Kingsguard for his failure to resist Tyrion's men, and she replaces him with Osmund Kettleblack, a man just as hollow.[8]

As the Battle of the Blackwater begins, Cersei hosts a banquet for 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 King's Justice, 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 summons Joffrey back to the Red Keep.[15] Seeing the king flee back to the castle damages morale and causes the men to rout, nearly costing her the city. This outrages Lancel, who feels they could have held the gates if Cersei had not recalled the king.[74]

If not for the timely arrival and attack on Stannis's flank by the army of Lords Tywin Lannister and Mace Tyrell, the battle would be lost for the Lannisters.[28] Because Tyrion lies wounded and unconscious, Cersei is able to lie to Tywin and turn her father's prejudice against Tyrion to her advantage, stripping Tyrion's power by the time his convalescence is over.[75]

A Storm of Swords

Jaime Lannister and Cersei, by Magali Villeneuve

Tyrion Lannister believes that Cersei is to blame for Ser Mandon Moore's assassination attempt at the Blackwater.[76]

Cersei plans the upcoming wedding of her son, King Joffrey I Baratheon, to Margaery Tyrell.[76][77] Tywin bends Cersei to his will and makes it clear his daughter is no longer wanted on the small council. Against her wishes, he plans for her to marry her again, considering Balon Greyjoy (whose elderly wife Alannys has failing health), Oberyn Martell, Horas or Hobber Redwyne, Theon Greyjoy, Quentyn Martell, and Willas Tyrell as potential matches.[77] While Lord Mace Tyrell is initially receptive to Cersei marrying Willas, the offer is rejected after Mace speaks with his mother Olenna, the Queen of Thorns.[78]

Cersei intends to keep Sansa Stark as her hostage,[77] but Tywin forces the girl to marry Tyrion.[79] During the wedding feast, Cersei dances with Paxter Redwyne, Mathis Rowan, and her father.[79] She also flirts with Osmund Kettleblack of the Kingsguard.[80]

After Joffrey offends Tywin through his ungracious behavior, Tywin is furious and asks where the boy could have learnt such amoral sentiments. Cersei blames Robert but it is clear to all in the room, including Tywin's brother Kevan, that Cersei is responsible.[81]

Joffrey is killed at his own wedding feast, and Cersei accuses Tyrion and Sansa, falsely believing them responsible.[82] Ser Jaime Lannister returns to King's Landing with the assistance of Brienne of Tarth, and the Lannister twins have sex in a sept where Joffrey's body rests. Cersei rejects Jaime's suggestion of announcing their incest, like the Targaryens had done.[47]

Having escaped King's Landing with the aid of Petyr Baelish, Sansa learns that the Kettleblacks are actually loyal to Petyr, not Cersei or Tyrion.[83]

Cersei finds numerous witnesses to testify against Tyrion,[21] including his lover Shae,[41] and Cersei names Ser Gregor Clegane champion if there is to be a trial by combat. This leads Prince Oberyn, whose sister Elia was murdered by Gregor over a dozen years ago in the Sack of King's Landing, to champion Tyrion.[21] Oberyn is killed and Gregor is severely wounded in the duel.[41]

Oberyn's death condemns Tyrion, but he is freed from his cell by Jaime and Varys. Tyrion tells Jaime that Cersei has been sleeping with Lancel Lannister and Osmund Kettleblack. Before escaping the Red Keep, Tyrion kills Shae and his father, Tywin.[84]

At the Eyrie, Lysa Arryn reveals in Sansa's presence that she had killed Jon Arryn and then informed her sister Catelyn that the Lannisters were to blame.[85]

A Feast for Crows

Cersei, by Cassandre Bolan © Fantasy Flight Games

Cersei's tendencies to paranoia, rash judgement and hysteria increase following the deaths of her son, King Joffrey, and her father, Lord Tywin. She resumes her position as regent over her surviving son, the eight-year-old King Tommen, who is obedient to her will. As the eldest child of Tywin, she is also acknowledged as the Lady of Casterly Rock by her uncle, Ser Kevan.[10]

Cersei orders Ser Osney and Ser Osfryd Kettleblack to hide Shae's corpse,[22] and commands Ser Boros Blount and Ser Osmund Kettleblack to murder the two guards who had been guarding Tyrion's cell when she hears that they had been found asleep on duty (unknown to Cersei, Varys had drugged them).[6] After her fathers funeral she has Ser Osney murder the High Septon, bedding him as a reward.[24] Since Tyrion has vanished, Cersei burns with wildfire the Tower of the Hand, the site of Tywin's death, which her twin Jaime considers a folly.[86] Word spreads throughout the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities that Cersei has promised a lordship to whomever brings her Tyrion's head,[10] but innocents are killed instead.[36] Cersei's paranoia alienates Jaime,[6] who departs to secure the riverlands and resolve the siege of Riverrun.[30]

Cersei surrounds herself with sycophants rather than honest and competent advisers,[36] and she fills 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 Tyrion, who murdered Tywin, and the Iron Throne consuming her.[22] Cersei also recalls the prophecy of the valonqar, whom she considers Tyrion.[22][23] Numerous people, including several family members, consider her to be an ineffectual leader.[22][20] Cersei's growing dependency on alcohol increases her weight, but she blames the washerwomen for shrinking her gowns.[25]

Cersei suspects 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 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 Tyrells in King's Landing from positions of influence and authority, including Margaery and her brother Loras, a knight of the Kingsguard.[25]

Cersei 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.[36] 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.[31] 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.[36] Two of the dromonds, Lioness and Sweet Cersei, are named in the Queen Regent's honor.[31][37]

Cersei frames Margaery Tyrell, by cabepfir ©

In an attempt to alleviate the crown's debts, gain the Faith's blessing, and gain more protection from her purported enemies, Cersei allows the new High Septon, the so-called High Sparrow, to revive the Faith Militant, ignorant of its history of causing trouble for monarchs.[31]

Cersei sends Ser Balon Swann of the Kingsguard to Dorne to deliver the head of Ser Gregor Clegane.[36]

Cersei takes the disgraced former maester Qyburn into her service as master of whisperers, using him as a torturer, and allowing him to conduct immoral experiments on human subjects.[10] 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.[37]

The queen is reluctant to aid the Tyrells after Euron Greyjoy's taking of the Shields. Cersei instead gives command of the siege of Dragonstone to Loras, as the Redwyne fleet could return to the Reach when the island castle falls.[37] Aurane Waters reports that Loras was gravely injured during the assault.[23]

Cersei manipulates Falyse Stokeworth and her husband, Ser Balman Byrch, into attacking Tyrion's friend, the sellsword Bronn, who was knighted and married to simple Lollys Stokeworth to pry him away from Tyrion. Falyse flees to King's Landing to report that Bronn killed Balman in a duel, though not before Bronn extracted a confession that Cersei was behind the attempt to kill him. Cersei responds by sending Falyse to Qyburn so nothing is found out about her machinations.[37]

The queen wears a new crown of pale spun gold set with sparkling emeralds.[23] Cersei plots to frame Margaery for adultery and treason. Having seduced Osney Kettleblack, she has him falsely confess to the High Sparrow that he had intercourse with Margaery and two of her three cousins, Megga and Elinor.[42] The High Sparrow acts on the information and has Margaery arrested when she visits the Great Sept of Baelor. Cersei feigns concern publicly and visits the Great Sept in order to appear to the population that she wishes Margaery released. However, the High Sparrow arrests the Queen Regent for several crimes, including the murder of the previous High Septon. The High Sparrow was suspicious of Osney's confession and had him tortured till Osney revealed the truth.[24]

Cersei's ministers seize control of the government while she awaits trial in the Great Sept, and they recall her uncle Kevan from Casterly Rock to fill her position as regent. Aurane absconds with the costly new fleet, while Taena flees for Longtable. Accused of capital crimes, Cersei's only hope lies in a Kingsguard champion to stand for her in a trial by combat.[24] She sends an emotional summons to Jaime, which he burns at Riverrun without reply.[24]

A Dance with Dragons

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

Ser Balon Swann arrives at Sunspear with a letter in which Cersei asks Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, to give leave to her daughter Myrcella to return to King's Landing for a short visit, and to invite Doran to take the Dornish seat on the small council that has been left vacant with the death of Prince Oberyn. Doran learns from informers at the royal court, however, that Balon is to invite Prince Trystane Martell to accompany Myrcella but then be killed by outlaws in the kingswood, for which Tyrion is supposed to be blamed, with Balon as a witness.[87]

Cersei remains a prisoner of the Faith of the Seven in a tower of the Great Sept of Baelor, under the care of Septas Unella, Moelle, and Scolera. To gain access to visitors, Cersei confesses to the High Sparrow that she had 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 I Baratheon's death. The High Septon agrees to allow her one visitor a day. Cersei learns from her uncle, Ser Kevan, that Jaime disappeared in the riverlands with a woman, possibly Brienne of Tarth. Kevan also tells his niece about Myrcella's injury and of Arys Oakheart's death at the Greenblood, which leaves a vacancy in the Kingsguard. Cersei sends word to Lord Qyburn that the time has come.[45]

Before her trial, the Faith requires Cersei to submit to a walk of atonement from the Great Sept to the Red Keep. Cersei is shaved of hair from her entire body, then stripped naked. An escort of Warrior's Sons, Poor Fellows, and septas protect her from the leering and jeering crowds that have flocked to see her, with Septa Scolera ringing a bell and singing the word "shame". Cersei tries to hang on to her pride during the barefoot walk in spite of the crowds projecting filth at her and bawdy insults. Faces in the crowd remind her of Tywin Lannister, Melara Hetherspoon, Eddard Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Joffrey Baratheon. She eventually breaks down in tears, however, just before finishing and entering the Red Keep. Upon her entrance, Jocelyn Swyft has her body covered. Cersei is carried into the castle by a giant knight, whom Qyburn introduces as the newest member of the Kingsguard and her champion, "Ser Robert Strong".[88]

After her walk of atonement, Lord Regent Kevan Lannister places Cersei within house arrest in the Red Keep, awaiting her trial. Her guards are dismissed and replaced with Kevan's own men. As part of Kevan's attempts to repair the damage Cersei has done to the Lannister-Tyrell alliance, he tells Mace Tyrell that Cersei will no longer have any voice in the governing of the Seven Kingdoms, nor in Tommen's education. Kevan also intends to send Cersei to Casterly Rock after her trial, and make sure she stays there. Kevan feels that Cersei has been subdued and submissive since her walk, and that he has "pulled her claws".[89]

While awaiting trial, Cersei is attended by a septa and three novices selected by the High Septon, rather than her usual ladies-in-waiting. The High Septon insists that no girl spend more than seven days with Cersei, lest she be corrupted. The novices serve as Cersei's handmaids, with one sharing her bed every night to make sure she has no other company. The novices report that of the hours Cersei is awake, she spends a third of that time with Tommen, another third praying, and the rest in her tub, bathing four or five times a day, scrubbing herself with horsehair brushes and lye soap.[89]

After a meeting with the small council, Kevan dines with Cersei and Tommen. Cersei dresses extremely modestly, in a dark brown gown that buttons up to her throat, and a hooded green mantle to cover her shaved head. Cersei requests that once her innocence is proved, that Lady Taena Merryweather attend her again, and Kevan agrees, thinking Taena could accompany Cersei on her return to Casterly Rock. Although Kevan has no news of Jaime, Cersei seems certain of his safety, believing she would know if he were dead. Kevan begins to chide Cersei about her misjudgment regarding the Kettleblack brothers, but the meal is interrupted when a boy arrives, summoning Kevan to Grand Maester Pycelle's chambers.[89]

In actuality, the boy is one of Varys's little birds, and Kevan arrives in the maester's chambers to find Pycelle murdered. Varys then assassinates Kevan, since his attempts to unify the Seven Kingdoms under Tommen were "threatening to undo all the queen's good work", and Varys wants the realm in chaos until Aegon Targaryen arrives. Varys shoots Kevan in the chest with a crossbow so that Cersei will believe he was murdered by the Tyrells with Tyrion's help, and then has the little birds end Kevan's suffering with their daggers.[89]

The Winds of Winter

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

The mummers of the Gate in Braavos perform The Bloody Hand, a play based on recent events in Westeros. The mummer Lady Stork plays the role of the Queen, based on Cersei.[90]

Harys Swyft attends the first performance of the play. The young mummer Mercy overhears one of his guards saying that if Harys returns to Westeros without the gold (from the Iron Bank), the queen will have his head.[90]

In the Vale, Petyr Baelish reports to Sansa Stark that Cersei has collected the heads of a dozen dwarfs, but none of them Tyrion's.[91]

Quotes by Cersei

Cersei by Michael Komarck © Fantasy Flight Games

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.[32]

—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.[32]

—Cersei to Eddard Stark

A true man does what he will, not what he must.[32]

—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.[92]

—Cersei to Sansa Stark

Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.[92]

—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.[15]

—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.[25]

—Cersei's thoughts on ruling as Queen Regent until Tommen Baratheon comes of age

Come at once. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.[93]

—Cersei writing to Jaime Lannister

I am a lioness. I will not cringe for them.[88]

—Cersei's thoughts before her walk of atonement

Quotes about Cersei

She was as beautiful as men said. A jeweled tiara gleamed amidst her long golden hair, its emeralds a perfect match for the green of her eyes.[9]

Jon Snow's thoughts

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.[62]

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]

I have never liked you, Cersei, but you were my own sister, so I never did you harm. You've ended that. I will hurt you for 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.[8]

Tyrion Lannister to Cersei

They are knights now, all three, and your sister has promised them further advancement. And the eldest, Ser Osmund of the Kingsguard, dreams of certain other ... favors ... as well. You can match the queen coin for coin, I have no doubt, but she has a second purse that is quite inexhaustible.[80]

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.[83]

Cersei is a lying whore, she's been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know.[84]

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 had been giddy as a maiden when she learned that Stannis had abandoned Dragonstone, certain that he had finally given up the fight and sailed away to exile. When word came down from the north that he had turned up again at the Wall, her fury had been fearful to behold. She does not lack for wits, but she has no judgment, and no patience.[14]

Jaime Lannister's thoughts

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 honor, for love.[20]

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.[94]



Behind the Scenes

Cersei may have been inspired by Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou, both queens of English kings.[95]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
  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 8.3 8.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 54, Tyrion XII.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  11. 11.0 11.1 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 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 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  19. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 25.7 25.8 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 51, Sansa IV.
  28. 28.0 28.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 32.6 32.7 32.8 32.9 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  33. 33.0 33.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  34. 34.0 34.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  35. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 36.7 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 37.6 37.7 37.8 37.9 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  38. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Cersei Lannister.
  39. 39.0 39.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 21, Jaime III.
  40. 40.0 40.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
  44. See the calculation for Cersei Lannister's wedding to Robert I Baratheon.
  45. 45.0 45.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
  46. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
  47. 47.0 47.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
  48. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
  49. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  50. 50.0 50.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  51. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  52. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  53. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  54. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  55. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  56. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  57. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  58. 58.0 58.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
  59. 59.0 59.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  60. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  61. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  62. 62.0 62.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  63. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  64. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 44, Sansa III.
  65. 65.0 65.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  66. 66.0 66.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  67. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  68. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
  69. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  70. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
  71. 71.0 71.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 29, Tyrion VII.
  72. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
  73. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  74. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
  75. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 67, Tyrion XV.
  76. 76.0 76.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  78. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  79. 79.0 79.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
  80. 80.0 80.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
  81. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
  82. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  83. 83.0 83.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  84. 84.0 84.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
  85. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  86. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  87. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  88. 88.0 88.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 89.3 A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  90. 90.0 90.1 The Winds of Winter, Mercy
  91. The Winds of Winter, Alayne I
  92. 92.0 92.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
  93. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  94. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 57, Tyrion XI.
  95. Time: The Real Life Inspirations for "Game of Thrones", April 4, 2012

External Links

Preceded by Queen consort of the Seven Kingdoms
283298 AC
Succeeded by
Preceded by 25th Protector of the Realm
298300 AC
Served under: Joffrey I Baratheon
Tommen I Baratheon
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lady of Casterly Rock
Shield of Lannisport

300 AC–present