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A woman constantly chafing under the constraint of HBO's Game of Thrones’ patriarchal society, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is either a highly sympathetic villain, or an extremely villainous anti-hero. Either way, as House Lannister's resident woman, her role is both powerful, and powerfully constrained.
We were introduced to Queen Cersei in Season 1, when she was the discontent wife of King Robert Baratheon. Determined to see her house succeed, Cersei wielded power in the only ways she could: sex, manipulation, and political games. She proved a powerful foe to honorable Ned Stark; even after he discovered her greatest secret — her children were all her twin brother, Jaime's, not Robert's, and therefore they had no legitimate claim to the throne — she managed to outmaneuver him. Unfortunately, even she is not able to control her sociopathic son, Joffrey, and Ned lost his head, ensuring that Robb Stark continued to rage all-out war against the throne.
In Season 2 Cersei, governing as Queen Regent, struggled to contain Joffrey's sadism and general incompetence, while also retaining her position of power relative to her brother Tyrion, who was acting as Hand of the King. She was very distressed when Tyrion managed to ship her daughter, Myrcella, off to Dorne, to be married into House Martell. During the Battle of the Blackwater, Cersei provided refuge for highborn women. She proceeded to get memorably drunk, and when it looked like things were going south she almost poisoned her younger son, Tommen (rather than let him be captured), but was stopped at the last minute by her father's triumphant return.
Season 3 found Cersei, as well as Tyrion, struggling to maintain power after Tywin re-took control as Hand of the King. It didn't go well. Margaery Tyrell, Joffrey's new fiancee, quickly won Joffrey over, limiting Cersei's influence, and Tywin is forcing her into an arranged marriage with Loras Tyrell, which she wants no part of.
Cersei was introduced in Season 1, Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming.
- "The gods have no mercy, that's why they're gods."
- "Tears aren't a woman's only weapon. The best one's between your legs."
- "Power is power."
- "He attacked one of my brothers and abducted the other. I should wear the armor, and you the gown."
- "Everyone who isn't us is an enemy."
- "When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground."