The Case For Cersei Lannister, The Ruthless And Effective Queen Of The Seven Kingdoms

(Welcome to Debate of Thrones, where a panel of Citadel-trained experts explain why someone deserves, or doesn't deserve, to sit on the Iron Throne. In this edition: all hail Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.)

Frankly, I'm not sure why we're having this "debate" in the first place. Cersei Lannister, First of Her Name, currently sits atop the Iron Throne as the queen of the Andals and the First Men, and any discussion about a potential usurper or successor is tantamount to treason. We're living in a monarchy, and the fact that Cersei hasn't already slaughtered everyone who's bandying about notions of a different ruler is another example of our queen's benevolence.

But very well. I'll play your game and make the case for Cersei Lannister to continue her reign over the Seven Kingdoms.

She Knows How to Do the Job

Other "candidates" may feel that they're superior on the battlefield, but Cersei Lannister – who, by the way, is the first officially-recognized Queen in the history of Westeros – is the only person alive who has actual experience navigating the perils and pitfalls of ruling this continent. Cersei, a member of one of Westeros's great houses, studied under her father Tywin Lannister, a military mastermind and Hand of the King. She knows the history of the country's houses and understands the political chess board better than just about anyone.

As Queen Regent, she shaped the policies of the land as she stood by the buffoonish king Robert Baratheon, and then by exerting significant influence over her sons who followed him onto the throne. As Queen, she has kept a cool head in the face of several threats, notably shutting down a treasonous uprising at Highgarden and orchestrating a sneaky victory against Daenerys Targaryen's forces when they attempted to overthrow her family's homeland, Casterly Rock. This is a woman who knows how to get things done.

She Hates Religious Extremists

We've heard the whispers about everything that's happened in Cersei's bedchambers, but frankly, that's none of our business. But here's something we are sure about: when the High Sparrow rose to prominence in King's Landing a couple of years ago with an army of zealots at his back, they all forced her to make that humiliating "walk of atonement" through the streets of the capital. That's enough to give even the most open-minded person pause when it comes to allowing religious extremists to take a foothold in society, so we know a resurgence like that will never happen again under Cersei's reign. Sinners of the Seven Kingdoms can rest easy.

She Knows How to Make Tough Choices

I'm sure you've also heard rumors about who was really responsible for that explosion at the Sept of Baelor. And while we at the Citadel would never officially condone that type of violence, we must objectively acknowledge the personal sacrifice that was made if those rumors are indeed true: Cersei Lannister killed her own uncle in order to protect the realm. That's a difficult decision, the kind Cersei has made throughout her entire political career. She refused to marry for political gain, instead following her heart and later establishing a beneficial partnership with Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Fleet. She has executed elaborate and deadly revenge plans against those who have wronged her, so citizens of the realm know she wouldn't sit idly by and allow invading forces to attack our people. (And I scoff in your general direction if you believe those lunatic ravings about an army of the dead breaching The Wall and attacking Winterfell. Poppycock.)

Though it was controversial at the time, her decision to take the throne for herself as the first ruling Queen of Westeros has proven effective thus far. Just this week, she held off the advances of Daenerys Targaryen and kept the people of King's Landing safe in the face of rumors that the Targaryen woman wants to burn innocent citizens alive just to prove a point. Yes, she executed one of the foreign invader's advisors in the process. Not a great look. But this is war, and Cersei is willing to make those decisions to protect her country.

Side note: Cersei has also proven to have immense influence over the young women of Westeros as a style influencer. Have you noticed all of those short haircuts lately?

She Has Working Relationships with Powerful Friends

Does any other potential ruler of the Seven Kingdoms have a relationship with the Iron Bank of Braavos? No. Cersei, having served on small council meetings throughout her adulthood alongside several different Masters of Coin, has a deep knowledge of how much it costs to rule a kingdom, and she's acquired enough funds for the realm to establish a key link between King's Landing and the Iron Bank. She is a Lannister after all, so they know she'll always pay her debts.

All hail Cersei Lannister. Fiscally responsible. Deadly avenger. Style icon. Long may she reign.