Cersei Lannister is my favorite character in Game of Thrones, and everybody I know looks at me like I just spoiled the Red Wedding when I mention it. Just because she’s a villain and rather cruel to… well, everyone, doesn’t mean that she’s not an admirable person. Part of why I adore Cersei is because she is fully aware of the gender role restrictions around her and tells those restrictions to go jump in the Blackwater.
So, you know what? I’m going give you five reasons why I love Cersei and so should you.
1. She rules in a land where men tell her she’s not fit to rule because she’s a woman
Cersei grew up Lannister and has been the queen for over a decade. She’s the most qualified and experienced person to rule the Seven Kingdoms in the royal line. So when Robert dies, the men around her tell her she can’t run a kingdom because she has lady bits. Because. She. Has. Lady. Bits. I can’t think of anything more stupid and infuriating. I’m fully aware this is fiction, but any woman can relate to that kind of bull. So when the men around her put her young sons in charge, Cersei usually manages to find a way of getting what she wants.
2. Something interesting always happens when she’s on screen
A friend of mine made a really interesting point about why he likes Joffery. Sure the kid is a snot-nosed psychopath, but when everyone is carefully moving their pieces about, Joffery is the one who would come over and flip the board, scattering them everywhere.
Any storyteller would say that conflict is the root of all good narrative. Somebody has to create that conflict. That’s what Cersei does. She’s not enduring a long, boring trek over wastelands. Just intrigue, deception, and plot twists.
3. Those outfits
By the seven gods, Cersei is the best dressed woman in the history of television.
4. She speaks her mind and knows exactly when to do it
Throughout history and fiction, women have been taught that they are supposed to put the opinions and needs of others before their own. Game of Thrones offers many female characters who are strong in their own ways, but they’re all still oppressed by sexism. Some people hate Cersei because she’s not nice, demure, or submissive. She’s not afraid to lash out, but she’s still intelligent enough to know when to hold her tongue. She’ll tell off her abusive husband, be blunt with Sansa, threaten Margaery, and stand up to Tywin. She has no qualms about putting someone in their place–which is always beneath her–if they get out of line. She’s not going to tolerate anyone’s crap. Though she might allow them to think she will before going behind their backs to make their lives a living hell. And damn do I love her for that.
5. She has the inner strength of a lion
With all the power and glamour that comes with being queen, it’s easy for people to forget that Cersei has suffered. Her father arranged her marriage not once, but three times. King Robert abused her and openly slept around. The only people she truly loved were taken from her. Her brother Jamie was captive for over a year, and returned as a changed man. Two of her three children were murdered. Most recently, she was stripped and forced to walk through the city while citizens threw trash at her. And yet, despite all this, even at the end of the walk, that fierce heart of the lion always prevails. She survives again and again. And if she hasn’t taken her revenge yet, just you wait.
Do you love Cersei too? Let us know who your favorite Game of Thrones characters are in the comments!
Image credits: HBO