In looking to give Cersei some kind of redemption, a lot of people have told me it's out of character for her. That I'd have to drastically change her character and personality to have her feel remorse.
And isn't that perhaps the point? I've seen people complain that the Dead Ladies Club is nothing more than whining about minor characters, but the remove of women has a impact.
The decision to center Cersei's dysfunction as so feminine - no women at court, agressive to possible female allies - is a obvious one that Jaime and Tyrion don't seem to share. Jaime, her twin, who is meant to so closely resemble her, is celebrated. Tyrion is looked down upon, yes, but even is is not so thoroughly outcast in his masculine sphere as Cersei is in hers.
Tyrion was made Hand of the King.
Cersei, sitting in the city Tywin needed ruled, was dismissed.
That's a choice on GRRM's part.
He could have had Joanna teach her how to politick and how to rule, and then let Kevan destroy her carefully made plans. He could have had her fail not because she's a fool, but because of the sexism he's already laid deep into Westeros.
The decision to make Cersei so outstanding hostile to other women and so blind to ruling and politics was absolutely a choice.
And perhaps it was a good one and perhaps it was a bad one, but it was a choice.
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Rhaegar & Cersei (part 2/?)
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Rhaegar & Cersei (part 1/?)
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Cersei: Wow, you're an evil genius. Next time I want to hurt someone, I'm coming straight to you.
Euron: Hm, I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.
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Why Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister are foils + Humble Hero, Arrogant Villain (1/?)
Cersei and Daenerys are intended as parallel characters – each exploring a different approach to how a woman would rule in a male dominated, medieval-inspired fantasy world.—GRRM
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Red and gold is the Lannister’s coat. Worn by the golden daughter of Casterly Rock, Cersei Lannister
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Cersei, praying: I'm not gonna bother with any "never sin again" material, cos let's face it, we've been there before. You know it's balls, I know it's balls.
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GREEDY FOR HONOUR, FOR LOVE.
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The Lannister kids
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I love Cersei.
Tell me about Cersei.
THE BEST ASK
THANK YOU, YOU'RE THE MVP!!!
I'm putting the rest of this under a cut because it got long.
Cersei has, to me, always been the character in this series who felt the most like a real person. (Not in terms of...you know, exemplifying the idea that humanity is inherently good, but in terms of the complex emotional layers she has.) She's processing trauma self-destructively, she has a warped view of love stemming from her upbringing and cynical perception of the world (which, wow, what a mood). She resents the sexist society she lives in but has so much internalized misogyny. She loves Jaime and loves her children, but that love clashes with selfishness. She does truly experience love, but she's internalized so many negative ideas about what that concept means that it no longer resembles what we think of as "love." She experiences this feeling in the only way she's allowed herself to know how; by conflating it with fear. Deep down, Cersei does want to be loved: she wants to be seen and appreciated by her father, she wants Jaime by her side, and she wants the general public to respect her. And by "respect" I mean "fear to the point where she becomes untouchable". Because that's what love means to her. The only way that makes sense for her to love her children is to try and give them that untouchability. She wants Jaime to listen to her unconditionally, to share her fear of getting caught (at least, in show-verse, in the beginning), to be deathly afraid of losing her and letting that inform all his decisions. She doesn't actually care what the public thinks of her, only that they defer to her to avoid her wrath-and the consequences that come with it-and let her stay In Control. Her love is destructive and dangerous and extreme in a terrifying way, but still genuine. And that brings up the question of...What, exactly, is love? And is it always a good thing? Is love ever enough to justify heinous acts? And probably most pressing of all: Where do we draw the line between permissible and impermissible acts of love? Love is an emotion that's very often full of a giant swirl of contradictory, painful, and at times indecipherable things. Loving something/someone so intensely you lose sight of everything else isn't admirable or beautiful: it's terrifying. And this deep examination of all that? My. Shit.👌
And don’t get me started on this woman’s tenacity. For 30-40 years, she has been mistreated (by her father, by society, by her husband, and tbh by herself--again obligatory *this doesn’t excuse her behavior* comment because Antis™ are Like That™) and it all comes to a head when The Faith Militant force her into the Walk of Atonement. It’s a disturbing, miserable, awful experience that no one should have to go through. And she she steels herself and vows to try again. After decades of a constant feeling of paranoid misery, she reacts to the ultimate experience of humiliation--one that would probably motivate a lot of people to just give up hope of getting what they want completely--by immediately starting work to plan how to avenge herself. In the show, she manages to take out everyone responsible and ascend the Iron Throne. In the books she basically says, “Well you know what, my hair is gonna grow back eventually.” I know I would probably just retreat into catatonic despair if something like this happened to me, but Cersei doesn’t. She takes what happened to her (and truthfully, this goes beyond the Walk of Atonement, she does this with, really, every obstacle in her life) and sublimates it into an astounding level of dedicated persistence. The people who do these things to her don’t get the satisfaction of breaking her or crushing her determination. And I’m not going to lie: I’m impressed.
But mostly? My love and fascination for Cersei is based on the fact that she's messy and angry and frightening, and though she believes she has to be On Top of the World™ to be truly safe and for her life to have meaning, she's not emotionless/stoic like many other characters who exemplify this worldview. Actually, she feels things so deeply. She mentions being suicidally depressed, only living for her children (and exhibiting other obvious symptoms of mental illness, from black-and-white thinking; actual, genuine paranoia; the extreme perfectionism inherent in her need to Have Power and be In Control of Everything, combined with her reputation as """crazy"""), but it's not dainty or romantic or exciting or pretty. She's angry. She wants to fight and destroy. And, you know, sometimes, when you're suffering, when your own brain is trying to ruin your life, when you see all the horrible things in the world and start to cynically question why we even bother and are so frustrated and fed up and exhausted by your constant, incomprehensible suffering that people refuse to understand...yeah, there's definitely a feeling of "just burn it all down."
And...that was the first time I'd ever really seen that. It was the first time I ever saw...really any female character, but especially one dealing with mental illness being allowed to be angry (or really feel "big" emotions at all). It was the first time I'd ever seen depression/mental illness manifest in a genuinely difficult, unpretty way. Because it is difficult; and it is unpretty. And even amid all of this, she still has an important place in the narrative. She gets to make stupid or impulsive decisions and scream and cry and cope unhealthily, which female characters aren't usually afforded the opportunity to do (at least...not without dying after a small handful of pages/episodes). Cersei, despite being an actual mess and very obviously having the most un-constructive way of dealing with her issues (mental health or otherwise), is not written off by immediate death or lack of focus. And while it's clear we're not supposed to root for Cersei, we are meant to find her not just complex, but sympathetic. Even taking into account her more "ugly" symptoms and ways of dealing with them. Which is...a lot more than neurodivergent people usually get. In this paradoxical way, it was the first time I ever really felt...heard.
And even putting aside my personal attachment, everything Cersei is understandable given what we know of her. (I said understandable, not justified, which I shouldn't even have to clarify, but apparently I must because you know how Antis™ are.) Her emotional state at any given moment informs the actions she takes to the point where they always feel organic. It's not that she makes decisions that make no sense. She makes decisions that are vicious and counterproductive. But I can always grasp how she came to make any given choice, even if I don't agree with it. Which isn't something I can say about a whole lot of characters. Every single time I think about her or revisit the series, I learn something new about her. And as a career performer who has always believed in the power of stories, that's one of the most beautiful things I can experience.
Wow, I just...I love her so much.
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On Cersei's death
(I had this in my drafts since the show ended & only remembered it now because someone posted a confession about how Cersei's death sucked. so someone might have already pointed this out i don't know.)
So at first I was like "what happened to the valonqar prophecy ?! Is it really how Cersei's story will end ?! Really ?!"
Now (I'm still a bit bitter about how Jaime's character development was thrown out of the window.) but i can see how Karma was doing it's work.
Cersei died crying for her child. After Robert's death she ordered the massacre of all Robert's illegitimate children.
She died frightened & helpless bc of a tyrant. Which is who she was & how she made her victims feel.
What collapsed on Cersei & took her life was The Red Keep. The Red Keep which Cersei did all she did to keep it. She ruined so many homes to keep this castle for herself. Cersei caused her own death. Her life ended with her own deeds.
At the end she was buried in the ruins of her actions.
Remember when Qybron said she has a keen sense of poetic justice ?
Now would like to see Valonqar ending her life in the books but this scene in the show was totally worth watching bc of Lena's amazing perfomance !
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Ok, I've been going back and forth on my opinion of Sansa Stark, but after telling Tyrion about a secret she had sworn to keep LESS THAN A DAY after, I'm done with her.
Oh, and fuck Jaime too. I've liked him through the majority of the show despite his fuck-ups, but leaving Brienne for Cersei was what tipped me over to disliking him again. Which is a shame cause I really DID like him.
His devoted love for Cersei is his biggest flaw and will be the death of him. Is what I hope anyway.
Brienne should have gone with the wildling, he'd love her unconditionally. And he's adorable.
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@fallesto | x
[I AM THE KING!]
And she was only his mother, nothing more
There was to be a battle now - his first of many he hoped. His father had left a lasting impression and while the brute had not bothered to teach him much of anything he did understand one thing, that his father was a man who had won countless battles in his time, killed untold amounts of men and united the kingdoms through fear and blood - something he was taking to heart and putting into practice. It would only be a matter of hours now and his uncle would be at the gates of his city, trying to take a throne that he had no right to take. They said the man never smiled, he was going to carve a red smile clean into his face when this was all over with.
“They will remain were they are mother.” The king snapped back, as she tried to send his kings guard and hound away, as she clung onto his arm tightly. “I will take to the field of battle, like my father had done.”
The young kind was confident in himself, perhaps a little bit overly. The hound remained close, but the other knights slowly retreated. They only had to take one look at the queen mother to know they should not be here. The king looked at his mother, snapping his arm out of her hands as he stepped back from her. He was not a little child anymore. He was not her boy. He was the king and this was his moment and he was not going to allow some woman to take it from him, not even his mother, not even the queen mother could deny this from him.
“You are the one who needs to leave, go and cower with the rest of them.” He mocked her, a smirk on his face as he looked at the hound who merely grunted. “I will bring my uncles head to you mother, something for you to remember this night by.”
˜”*°•. He envisioned a powerful kingdom, all traitors burned to ashes, all subjects blindly obeying his word. He’d worn the crown confidently, delivered orders with such certainty. When the crowd would grow all turbulent, screaming at them, rioting, though, it’d take more than just composure to stop them. When their enemies would grow stronger, take advantage of the rage they’d cultivated, it’d take more than just self-assurance to survive. He wished to fight great wars, prove his power, his worth, his invincibility. But he was not invincible. He was still a child, he was still incapable of understanding the danger lurking behind his choices. He was still unable to realise that his choices came with consequences. Consequences bound to condemn them all.
He pulled away, and she let him do it. Why would he’ve listened to a woman, after all ? He was speaking of his father’s achievements, but in reality, he was praising the face of a stranger. He was narrating stories of glory, aspiring to become the well-respected king of the Seven Kingdoms, while stepping on the wrongest of paths. The lie of a father still haunting her - them -. For the children had needed a hero to look up to. And the man they’d thought to be their father ? Their hero ? He’d been a prime example of all the things they should avoid becoming.
❝ The council did support this for a reason. ❞ You are not ready. Words that’d have echoed true, yet words that’d have aggravated everything. For he could not be defied. He could not be provoked. Even when disrespect would drip poisonous from his every word, even when taunts would be all that she heard. He could demean her, he could insult her. Nothing would change the fact she cared for him deeply. Nothing would make her want to protect him any less. He wanted to be like his father -- but hadn’t she been the one condemning him to follow the steps of a stranger ? -- Of someone that pathetic. ❝ I do not wish to be brought to your head instead. ❞ Words instantly regretted, yet words that’d reflected the truth; for if he went to that war… chances would not favor him. ❝ You will have hundreds of battles to fight. Hundreds of chances to punish the traitors. But this war is not one of them. ❞
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when jamie is like idc or give a fuck about my dead child was he really my child?? cersei made robert their father so who am i??? what am i doing here? am i supposed to grief? no. what does it matter if i do? and then when also jamie said he wouldn't leave kingsguard for seat in casterly fucking rock and shouted at tywin, but also when jamie didn't want to be tommens hand when cersei urged him sweetly enticing him and also when jamie lost his hand and lost almost a lot of power with it, but also when jamie upheld his pride and confidence, and also when jamie rescued brienne from bear without freaking sword and gave her ned starks sword to find sansa stark and keep her safe even if her sister wanted her... and also when jamie wrote in his white book in room of kingsguard lord commander, wrote everything realistically, didn't have long list of victories but opened his heart and wrote how he killed aerys and just left but when also jamie in heat of moment....just pushed bran from tower. and also when jamie freed his brother when he was to be executed not knowing he'll find his father dead later, and also when jamie was jamie and never listened to anyone and tries to make amends for mistakes but not because he is nice but because to surprise people with his behaviors when they judge him and think of him as lowlife or oathbreaker.
basically just jamie fokin lannister being him.
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I wonder if at some point Cersei will reflect on not taking Ned's offer.
I doubt it.
"You would do well to listen, my lady. I shall say this only once. When the king returns from his hunt, I intend to lay the truth before him. You must be gone by then. You and your children, all three, and not to Casterly Rock. If I were you, I should take ship for the Free Cities, or even farther, to the Summer Isles or the Port of Ibben. As far as the winds blow."
"Exile," she said. "A bitter cup to drink from."
"A sweeter cup than your father served Rhaegar's children," Ned said, "and kinder than you deserve. Your father and your brothers would do well to go with you. Lord Tywin's gold will buy you comfort and hire swords to keep you safe. You shall need them. I promise you, no matter where you flee, Robert's wrath will follow you, to the back of beyond if need be."
Cersei would never have considered this an acceptable fate. She doesn't consider herself to have been in the wrong about being unfaithful to her rapist unfaithful abuser husband, and she doesn't feel remorse for the fact that her children are Jaime's and will take over the throne from Robert. It is her idea of justice.
Running would have meant giving up on her victory over her abuser and the entire system that oppresses her.
(By no means is Cersei a feminist, all of this serves only herself. But it does oppose the real oppression she faced.)
Obliterating her enemies, like Ned, is Cersei's idea of justice, for herself.
In the end, I think, she will not consider herself to have made the wrong decision in choosing to fight. She will simply consider herself to have lost to her enemies. She will take pride in having fought.
The heroine of her own story.
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Ships for ship bingo if you will: Asha/Qarl the maid, and Euron/Cersei (as a book concept, not what the show had otg)
Ohh, those are nice.
All right, first one, Asha/Qarl is cute but not a ship I personally sail I commandeer only disasters. I am totally here for them though and I wish they got more content, and more content that doesn't hinge on Asha having to hand in her agency and assertivity.
Second one, Cersei/Euron is like, a disaster after my own heart. And it's absolutely happening in nearly all of my fics (eventually) because they're awful and I love them and nothing would please me more than watch them rip into each other as the awful assholes they both are. They absolutely deserve every inch of shit they would unleash on each other and they both have the potential to be really well matched in a glorious, escalating action-reaction dynamic.
I wish there was more content with Cersei being as unashamedly awful and badass and horror-successful as Euron. I don't really go search for this content though, as most of that ship content that I've seen either damsels Cersei, or gives her some weird redemption-through-pain arch realising the error of her ways (ugh), or wholesale is just turned into a punch bag with no agency and a lot of tears and just rampant misogyny with the apparent idea that in such a match, obviously, the man "wins" in being "the most awful". And it's fucking stupid.
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I assume that most people are okay with my Dany/Cersei gifs, but I recently received two asks (which, to be fair, at least weren’t overly hostile) telling me to stop making them because they’re supposedly just Cersei hate. I’m not going to answer them directly, but I will say here that I can’t agree with that.
There are valid criticisms to make of how Cersei was written. One can criticize how her incompetence is often played for laughs in a way that doesn't happen with, say, Theon. One can criticize how her ambition and her awareness of misogyny are used to villainize her in contrast to other female characters who are more humble and/or conform to the status quo more (Dany, Catelyn and Genna Lannister being major examples). One can criticize how it’s distasteful of GRRM to draw so many parallels between Cersei and her rapist. One can criticize how Cersei’s loss of power is associated with her weight gain and loss of conventional beauty. And so on.
That being said, it’s undeniable that GRRM is drawing parallels between her and Aerys II and that Dany is a foil to both of them. It’s undeniable that GRRM deliberately wrote Dany and Cersei as foils to highlight the former’s strengths and the latter’s weaknesses (though making these comparisons don’t erase Dany’s flaws and mistakes either) and that he wanted us to compare and contrast them. He said so in six different occasions. So why am I being accused of Cersei hate for doing what GRRM want us to do? Are Sansa, Brienne or Catelyn fans accused of hating Cersei for contrasting them with Cersei?
You can argue that I shouldn’t be making these gifs in such a regular basis, but 1) for a long time (particularly from 2011 to 2016), asoiaf meta writers mostly talked about Cersei’s anti parallels with Sansa, Brienne and Catelyn. A lot of fans couldn’t even imagine how or why Dany’s leadership style contrasted Cersei’s. I was also told that some of them were so sure that Sansa was the YMBQ that they harassed gifmakers who made gifs with other possibilities. Also, 2) in the light of the show’s ending, I do think highlighting these anti parallels is an important thing to do. A lot of people in this fandom still project Cersei’s and Stannis’s traits onto Dany. So I'm making these contrasts to remind people that Dany was written as a hero in the books.
Also, I look askance at attempts to equate criticisms of 1) the way GRRM wrote Cersei and 2) Dany’s character assassination in the show, e.g., “if you don’t want to see Dany being considered a villain or called a mad queen, don’t do the same with Cersei!”. I personally wouldn’t call Cersei a mad queen, but again, she has deliberate parallels with Aerys II. This makes me suspect that these are the same people who were too influenced by the show and project Cersei’s and Stannis’s traits onto Dany even though Dany was deliberately written as Cersei’s antithesis in all the ways that matter. It also reeks of the same “don’t criticize [x] to uplift Dany” argument that stans of a certain character use (all the while conveniently ignoring the moments when their fellow stans criticize Dany to uplight their fave), which is even more absurd in Cersei’s case because a) again, GRRM wanted us to compare them, b) Cersei is a fictional character and c) Cersei is a villain. A sympathetic one, but still a villain.
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moral standards don’t exist in my world thanks x
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Joffrey and Cersei were not close on the show either (and I do disagree that they aren't somewhat close in the books). In fact, I think they made him even more rude towards her to make her sympathetic.
I think I was mostly recalling a show only scene where she is shown giving him a pep talk about the Starks being their enemies while tending to his wound. But I agree the purpose was lather to make Cersei a softer and more sympathetic character as opposed to giving Joff any nuance.
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Did Joffrey go after his mother or father after the feast were Robert had a go at her? I can’t tell. It’s the one where he gets Sansa to be escorted by the hound.
I don’t think he went after either, I think he just wanted to be alone. Joffrey and Cersei being very close is largely a show invention. Cersei thinks highly of him but he’s pretty rude and dismissive of her.
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