‘Game of Thrones’ should have given this character a better way to die

In a sentiment likely to be reiterated before the media itself ends, game of Thrones Season eight left a devastated scene. Virtually every character falls victim to incoherent writing choices. At the best of times, a character just goes out with a lot of fanfare, the equivalent of a bland “fail.” In the worst cases, their arcs are so damaged that the residue withers into dust from embarrassment. Somehow, Cersei Lannister (lena headey) met two fates at the same time. The villain deserves a better ending for as many reasons as she has long been a TV staple: psychological complexity, Shakespearean performances, and a tangible threat to continents. The rock falling, with the Lannister twins killed in the process, was the least satisfying ending this particular cultural zeitgeist could conceive, and left everything about Cersei up in the air—her sharpness, her ’s depravity, and her unstable, precious vulnerability.



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related: What made the unaired ‘Game of Thrones’ pilot a disaster?



Cersei Lannister was always complicated

Lena Headey Looks Arrogant as Cersei Lannister in 'Game of Thrones'
Image via HBO

Writing and acting go hand in hand, but only if game of Thrones’, ahem, questionable choices, let’s give credit where undeniable credit is due. Lena Headey went from the top of her head to her toes, and then her cells threw in extra power. She captures every variation needed for an extremely difficult role. There is graceful menace in her eyes, nuances dripping from her fingertips, and the slightest change in her manner conveys the value of the monologue. Headey’s Cersei is at times a prowling carnivore looking for the most satisfying devouring of its prey, and at other times a caged animal pacing around her cell with the whites of her eyes showing. She has remorse, fear, nobility, pity, and a raw power that often happens within minutes.

Cersei enters In the first season, she played an introverted and sly woman who happened to have frequent incest with her twin brother and who might be plotting a coup d’état. (Oops!) One of the show’s greatest strengths is the early and frequent glimpses it gives audiences into Cersei’s inner world. A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin Cersei’s point of view is not revealed until the fourth book, Feast for crows. If Martin has woven a web of mystery around this lone Lannister lioness, HBO won’t hesitate to unravel her.

The women of Westeros exist, as do all women, but in many ways remain seldom depicted fictionally: they are as complex an emotional tapestry as any male protagonist, supposedly tough enough to usher in genre-pushing modern fantasy. Like everyone who has a womb in patriarchal Westeros, Cersei despises the structural misogyny that limits her ambitions. In her mind, as the eldest son and legal heir of the Lannister family, she should inherit Casterly Rock City and deserve the favor of her father Tywin (charles dance) Respect, someone she greatly admires.

As Tyrion described (Peter Dinklage), Cersei is defined as greedy: “for power, for honor, for love”, this character trait is tragic and reflects her situation. Left to her own devices, Cersei could have been evil from day one, but there’s no question that the world she inhabits and her family’s upbringing has contributed to her insatiable hunger for power and approval. All her ambitions were focused on this. In one of her opinion chapters, Martin demonstrates his prose in this passage: “She played dutiful daughter, blushing bride, submissive wife. She suffered Robert’s drunken groping, James’ jealousy, Renly’s mocking Varys snickered, Stannis couldn’t stop grinding her teeth. She’d stood up to Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and her vile, treacherous, murderous dwarf brethren while assuring herself One day it will be her turn.

Cersei’s conflicted humanity makes her a delicate character

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) smiles on 'Game of Thrones'
Image via HBO

One of the most subversive (and therefore best) aspects of Cersei is that the kind of control she craves is mindless, aimless control. Her goals have gone beyond “secure the throne” and “keep the throne,” and she’s not as smart as she thinks. She mimics Tywin’s actions, but doesn’t understand the mental gymnastics behind his chess moves. As a result, Cersei is too impulsive and vindictive for her own good, and the misogyny she subconsciously internalizes is almost consciously intentional. Cersei is not an apex predator lithe on the hunt, but is full of wildfire (blink) and minimal common sense – which arguably makes her more dangerous than a logic-driven schemer.

Due to the diversity of female representation in Westeros (to an extent), Cersei’s desperate and constant need for control and her narcissistic fires don’t read as “women are stupid and reckless” sexist . A woman is not a piece of iron. If Sansa Stark (sophie turner) wants her subjects to love her, then Cersei believes that instilling fear is her only shield of protection. How could she not when there is little other evidence to suggest it? Destroying her enemies with wildfire symbolizes her capriciousness, her calculating patience, and the image of a properly deployed female army. There’s nothing triumphant about Cersei’s extraordinary triumph, but there’s compassion: If this woman goes to therapy, she’ll have to face her excruciating loneliness.

Cersei’s love for her children is one of her most redemptive and poignant human emotions. This affection may stem from their having her bloodline (like her obsession with Jaime (Nicola Coster-Waldau) may stem from seeing him as her male echo), but despite her severe lack of parenting skills, her grief over the deaths of her children is real. As vain as the Lannister Queen is, regret is no stranger to her emotion. She fears their fate as punishment for her sins; all she feels at the coronation is anger and emptiness, because winning the race comes at the expense of her children. She draws on two overused tropes that fall short of both: the wicked, ambitious mother and the caring woman softened by parenthood.

The abuse and marital rape she suffered while married to Robert Baratheon (mark addie) is equally astonishingly true. Like Sansa, Cersei fantasized about marrying a beautiful prince, only to find that married life—even women as a whole—was another form of captivity, another one she was forced to play. game. The act of redemption spawned a thousand memes and became the pinnacle of her life: Depravity, violation, hatred, leaving her bleeding, bruised, and barely able to crawl.

Cersei’s death on ‘Game of Thrones’ wasn’t satisfying and didn’t honor her legacy

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister crowned queen in Game of Thrones.
Image via HBO

The fifth and sixth seasons progressed steadily, with Cersei taking on the role of Daenerys Targaryen (emilia clark) main antagonist of the Iron Throne. Cue seasons 7 and 8: The woman with as many layers as Joseph’s dream coat, relegated to sipping wine, giggling, and staring into the middle distance. Sometimes she cracks some quality jokes. Most of the time, she hides around the towers. Using civilians as human shields against Daenerys is typical of Cersei at its core, and it’s thematic that her actions backfired on her the last time.

But the fragments held in Jaime’s arms collapsed and died, didn’t they? Narratively speaking, there is no real struggle for the throne, just the simplest tension.If one believes in basic narrative structure and subtle foreshadowing, then game of Thrones It took several seasons to lay the thematic foundation for Cersei, her emotional and literal wildfire to become Mad Queen. Cersei will burn King’s Landing to ashes and take revenge on the common people. Jaime, the one she had loved the most, would go from regicide to slayer. Instead… rocks.

Everyone is languishing under the weight of season eight, but all of Cersei’s positive contributions to this generation of famous fantasy franchises are gone. Her arc never ends; disappears through a metaphorical window, along with the ruins of the Red Keep. Cersei’s death was worth it for her complex characterization, pop culture legacy, and storyline heft. To add insult to injury, Cersei is one of the series’ main female characters. It doesn’t look good when another woman meets an unsatisfying end without thinking about her story, game of Thrones. Cersei has been asking for more all her life, and the lioness deserves better.

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