The Case Against Cersei Lannister

(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: Queen Cersei has proven herself incapable of caring about her kingdom or her subjects.)

There was a time, three or four years ago, when I would argue in favor of our queen. Much like her father, Cersei is adept at political machinations. She understands both power and money well – she is a Lannister, after all. There was a time when she was a proud lioness protecting her pride, and by extension, the rest of Westeros. Without her children to anchor her, Cersei has become even more vicious and unpredictable. Estranged from her brothers, even her lover-twin Jaime, she has nothing left to protect.

Our queen has failed us time and again. Her failures began when jealousy took root. Her envy of Margaery drove her to insanity, and now our Mad Queen reigns supreme.

The Case for Cersei Lannister

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Cersei’s confidante Taena of Myr has revealed to me that when our Queen was ten years old, she visited upon the tent of Maggy the Frog in Lannisport. Maggy was a fortune-teller and witch, and young Cersei wanted to know her future. She received three prophecies, and she has unintentionally caused each of them to come true through her own inept machinations.

The first prophecy was that she would be queen, until a younger, more beautiful queen would take all she held dear. It is for this reason that she was so unnecessarily cruel to Sansa Stark when she was betrothed to Joffrey, and it is the reason she feuded with Margaery. The petty power game between Margaery and Cersei left King’s Landing susceptible to invasion by the High Sparrow and his mutilated followers. Her fear of being usurped by the younger queen led her to instantly mistrust her and create an unnecessary rivalry.

The second prophecy haunted her, though she brought it upon herself. She asked Maggy about her children and was informed that she would have three. “Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds,” Maggy told her. All three of Cersei’s golden-haired children from her incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime are dead. Joffrey was poisoned at his wedding to Margaery by Olenna Tyrell, who was acting in the best interests of her granddaughter. Myrcella was poisoned by Ellaria Sand as vengeance for the death of Oberyn Martell at the hands of Cersei’s personal henchman, the Mountain. Tommen took his own life after Cersei finally killed Margaery. Had Cersei acted in the best interests of the realm and not based upon the fear of a prophecy, her children might still be alive.

Pulling from the Mad King’s Playbook

Cersei is ruthless. While a certain amount of ruthlessness is necessary to survive Westerosi politics, she even puts her dead father to shame. (That’s saying something, considering Tywin wiped out the entirety of House Reyne to prove his strength as a Lord.)

To many of us, “The Rains of Castamere” is a dirge, but for Cersei, it’s a battle hymn. She is willing to commit atrocities to get her way. Little birds have chattered for some time that Cersei had a hand in the deaths of Margaery and the rest of the Tyrells, and that she arranged for the Sept of Baelor to go up in a pillar of green flame.

It’s ironic that Cersei should use the Mad King’s wildfire to kill innocents when that’s the very thing her brother killed Aegon for threatening. Aegon threatened to burn all of King’s Landing to prevent Robert Baratheon from taking it, and Jaime killed him before he could give the order. Cersei turned around and used that very wildfire to kill the Tyrells, the sparrows, and everyone assembled in the sept. She has no respect for human life and sees people only as pawns in her game.

No One Can Reach Her – Not Even Jaime

No one in this gods-forsaken world matters to Cersei like her twin. She was born only moments before, and he came out of their mother clinging to Cersei’s ankle. They have been nearly inseparable since. Though their mother discovered their incestuous experimentations and separated them, she died soon after. Jaime and Cersei kept their romance a “secret” for decades, until a 10-year-old Bran Stark happened upon them in the crumbling tower at Winterfell.

The secret is open, now, though Tywin made attempts to quash rumors about the parentage of his three grandchildren. Most of Westeros knows of the Targaryen-esque romance between the twins, though it appears to be on the rocks. Cersei has been getting extra close with Euron Greyjoy and promises him that she carries their future king in her belly. (Whispers of her pregnancy began long before whispers of their bedrooms antics, however, so we’re guessing the kraken isn’t great with numbers.)

On top of having a new, completely insane paramour, Cersei also promised Riverrun to Bronn if he could kill her brothers. Cersei longs not only for Tyrion’s head on a platter, but Jaime’s as well. If the Mad Queen no longer even loves the one man she defied everything for, then she is beyond redemption. We have lost Cersei to bitterness, vengeance, and greed.

The Case for Cersei Lannister 1

Unstoppable Wildfire

Without Jaime or her children to help moor her, Cersei has been driven to her worst tendencies. Her rage, the thing that helped keep her warm on cold nights when Robert warmed another woman’s bed, has grown into a wildfire that threatens to take all of Westeros with it.

During a battle of wits, Tyrion once said of Cersei, “The longer (she) waits, the angrier she’ll become, and anger makes her stupid. I much prefer angry and stupid to composed and cunning.”

Cersei hasn’t stopped being angry since she was forced on her walk of shame. She has not felt anything but hatred in her heart since she was stripped bare and paraded before the people. There is no cunning or composure left, and that leaves her exposed. Her treatment at the hands of the common folk in Flea Bottom made her hate them even more than she had before, when she only hated them for being poor. She has always been paranoid, but now she sees enemies in every face.

The Mad Queen executed Missandei of Naath, but there was no real purpose for it beyond cruelty. The interpreter and loyal follower of Daenerys Targaryen was a valuable political pawn for negotiation with Daenerys. What Cersei said with her execution was that there is no room for negotiation. If she doesn’t rule Westeros, she will make it so there is no Westeros left to rule. Cersei will burn all of Westeros to the ground if it means she is its final queen.

Cersei believes that she is just like her father, but Tywin would probably like to correct her from the grave. She’s paranoid, jealous, bitter, and impulsive. Where once there was a woman who could manipulate the whole court to her will, there is now only a burned-out husk seeking vengeance. Her anger will be the death of us all.

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