It’s time to bend the knee to the real villain of ‘Game of Thrones.’
There have been many villains that have captured audiences attention in Game of Thrones. At first, it was Joffrey Baratheon, the young bastard of a king who tormented King’s Landing with his pitiful ruling. For a time it was Ramsay Bolton, who tortured Theon Greyjoy and slaughtered the only family he ever knew. Now perhaps, the narrative has changed once again to feature someone new with Euron Greyjoy of the Iron Islands. Not only does he violently kill to his heart’s content, he also has his eye set on the throne and to be husband to the one true villain of all.
For all the buildup to these side villains (even the Night King is sort of a side villain at this point), no one has been playing and winning the Game of Thrones as long as Cersei Lannister. She has always played by her own rules, cunningly manipulating the men around her and frequently on the winning side of turmoil. For all that she has lost, she continues to get revenge on those who have wronged her, at whatever means necessary. Just when things can’t any worse for Cersei, she finds a way to destroy all her enemies. These are some of the events that have shaped Cersei into the “Mad Queen” she is today.
Cersei always knew there was greatness in store for her life. When she visits the witch in the season 5 premiere as a young child, she discovers what might come of the future. She is given the ability to ask three questions that she will not like the answers. She asks if she will become the Queen and in this moment she learns that she will not only hold the crown but that she should be wary of someone who will usurp her throne. She also learns that she will bear three children, but that they will be buried. Perhaps she always believed that she could fight these vile futures if she knew what was to become of her, but events proved differently.
The Weak Men
Cersei has always played second fiddle to weaker men. Even though she was only “the queen”, she made a lot of decisions and did what she pleased when she was married to Robert Baratheon. Most importantly she slept with who she wanted as well. This is in reference to her brother, Jaime Lannister. While he is known far and wide as The Kingslayer, he is definitely controlled by the eyes of his sister. Cersei knows that Jaime will never refuse her and that she has his full confidence. Those that do not bend to her will, get tossed aside.
Death of the Children
The prophecy stated that Cersei would have three children, but that they would all die. She had no idea that they would be taken from her at so young an age. These three children meant the world to her and when they were taken away all that is left is a rage.
First, it was her son Joffrey who perished from a deadly poison in the season 4 episode 2. Of all her children, Joffrey was easily the least well liked and for a long time held the honor of the most despicable person on Game of Thrones. His death made Cersei blind to reason and she blamed her brother, Tyrion, for her son’s death. Perhaps from that point forward, she began to lose her grip on reality.
Then, her only daughter Myrcella was killed as revenge in the season 5 finale. During an earlier trial by combat, Cersei had ordered the death of Oberyn Martell, Ellaria Sand’s lover. That didn’t sit very well with Ellaria. She slipped some poison into Myrcella’s lips with a kiss and, well, Myrcella didn’t last very long.
Finally, her son Tommen committed suicide after his wife and love, Margaery Tyrell, was blown away in the season 6 finale. Cersei thought she was protecting her son from being brainwashed by cultists and being manipulated by a troublesome woman. This only brought immense despair to Tommen and he could not continue his duty as king now that his wife was killed.
In easily one of the best finales in Game of Thrones, the season 5 finale “Mother’s Mercy,” was a devastating time for Cersei. Not only was she unaware that her only daughter had died, but she had to take a walk of shame through King’s Landing. After being imprisoned by the High Sparrow, she finally decides that she will confess her sins if it means seeing her son again. In order to atone for her sins, she had to walk through the streets, her hair shaved off and stripped of her clothing. It was an embarrassing, pitiful moment for Cersei, but in that moment she declared that her revenge would be had.
The Queen’s Justice
Cersei has finally found some happiness. In season 7, episode 3 she finally gets revenge on those who took the life of her children. Cersei meets her two new captives, Ellaria Sand and Ellaria’s last surviving daughter, Tyene. She first manipulates their emotions by explaining just how long she has thought about killing them. Then she goes over to Tyene and delivers a kiss of death, just like what was given to Myrcella. Ellaria will now have to sit imprisoned and watch her last remaining daughter die a slow and painful death.
While Cersei is not there to watch her other nemesis die, Olenna Tyrell sits as her house falls to Cersei’s army. Her time on Westeros has come to an end and she is given a poison to make her journey a pleasant one. Of course, she lets Jamie Lannister know that it was she that killed Joffrey. Even though she might get the last laugh, Cersei might learn of her treachery and finally feel as though she has avenged her son’s death.
Cersei Lannister has always been manipulative, but now with the death of her children, she has nothing holding back her madness. Whereas there have been others who have captured audiences attention as the villains of Game of Thrones, there are none that are as developed and motivated as Cersei. From the very beginning, she has always wanted to own the throne for herself, although she couldn’t have imaged the price that throne would cost her. Now it seems that she holds all the cards and those who defy her shall be killed without mercy. She has always been the most frightening Game of Thrones character, it’s just now that she reigns supreme.