- "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
- ―Cersei Lannister to Eddard Stark
Queen Cersei I Lannister was the twentieth ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and the widow of King Robert Baratheon. She was the daughter of Lord Tywin Lannister, twin sister of Jaime Lannister and elder sister of Tyrion Lannister. She was involved in an incestuous relationship with Jaime, who was secretly the father of her three bastard children, Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen.
After all her children died, Cersei assumed the throne, making her the first officially recognized queen regnant in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. Her reign came to an abrupt end during the Battle of King's Landing, where she and Jaime were killed. She was the last monarch to sit on the Iron Throne.
Cersei was the only daughter and eldest child of Lord Tywin Lannister and his wife Joanna Lannister, who was also his cousin. Tywin was the head of House Lannister, the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms and Lord Paramount of the Westerlands. The Westerlands are one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Lannister is one of the Great Houses of the realm. Cersei was the elder twin of Jaime Lannister and the elder sister of Tyrion Lannister. She was raised in the family seat of Casterly Rock. She was known for her great beauty as a young girl.
Cersei's mother died when she was four years old, after giving birth to her younger brother Tyrion. Like her father, Cersei always blamed Tyrion for her mother's death and deeply resented that her mother died so that Tyrion would be brought into the world. Tywin was constantly away from home during Cersei’s childhood and teenage years, serving as Hand of the King at the capital, with only infrequent visits back to his seat at Casterly Rock. Coupled with the death of her mother, this meant that Cersei and her two brothers were primarily raised by servants attached to House Lannister. She began an incestuous relationship with Jaime in her youth which continued despite her marriage. While Cersei had other partners in King’s Landing, Jaime always kept himself strictly for her.
When she was about fifteen, Cersei and her friend Melara visited Maggy, a woods witch and reputed fortune teller dwelling in a hut deep in a forest close to Casterly Rock. Melara was reluctant, but Cersei convinced her to go. After rudely awakening her and insisting on having her future foretold, Maggy tasted a drop of her blood and revealed to Cersei she wouldn't marry "the Prince" but "the King", and while the king would have twenty children, she would bear only three children who will wear golden crowns as well as golden shrouds. Finally, she revealed to Cersei that although she would indeed be Queen, she would be cast down by another, younger and more beautiful queen.
After the end of the civil war which ended the reign of House Targaryen, Cersei was married to King Robert Baratheon, a political marriage Robert agreed to in thanks for her father's last-minute alliance. She was only 19 when she married Robert and became Queen. At first, Cersei was infatuated with the handsome Robert, but their love began to wane when he called her "Lyanna" on their wedding night. She nevertheless bore Robert a son who died shortly after his birth. Cersei was devastated by the loss of her son and refused to have the body taken from her, forcing Robert to hold her while they took her son from her. In time, Cersei's feelings for Robert turned to hatred and she returned to her brother as a result. Her three children, Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, were officially Robert's, but in reality were the products of her incestuous relationship with Jaime.
In King's Landing, Queen Cersei watches the Silent Sisters preparing the body of Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, for burial. She and her twin brother, Jaime, discuss the situation and wonder if Jon told anyone else about what he had discovered. Jaime tells her not to worry, since if the king knew the truth they'd be dead already, and that Robert will simply choose a new Hand of the King everything will go on as normal. She suggests that Jaime could be the next Hand, but Jaime refuses, citing the position as too much responsibility and danger.
King Robert decides to travel to Winterfell and ask his best friend, Lord Eddard Stark, to become the new Hand, as well as proposing that his son Joffrey marry Eddard's eldest daughter, Sansa. Cersei, Jaime, and a retinue of courtiers accompany him. When the royal party arrives at Winterfell (the seat of House Stark) a month later, Eddard presents his household to Robert and Cersei, who is greeted much more formally than Robert.
After initial greetings, Robert demands to see the crypts and pay his respects to his former betrothed, Lyanna Stark, stoking Cersei's impatience, eager to rest after a month's travel. After Robert and Eddard depart, Cersei sends Jaime to find their younger brother Tyrion, who has become distracted at the local brothel. That evening, a great feast is held and Cersei and Catelyn Stark exchange cordial words. Cersei seems impressed by Sansa, thinking that she will be a great success at court.
The next morning, Eddard and Robert go hunting, leaving the castle largely empty. Cersei and Jaime liaise in derelict tower. Bran Stark climbs the tower and finds them engaged in sexual intercourse. He is caught watching by Cersei, and Jaime grabs him. Whilst Cersei immediately becomes worried that their secret will be exposed, Jaime feigns Bran with a sense of safety. He asks how old Bran is. When Bran replies "ten", Jaime sighs and pushes him out of the window, musing, "The things I do for love."
A month later, at breakfast, Tyrion tells his family that Bran is expected to live and notes his sibling's guarded reactions to the news. Cersei notes that it no mercy to let the boy live, after which Tyrion snidely remarks that only the Gods know his fate. Tyrion then crudely tells his family what he plans to do whilst at the Wall, and although Tommen and Myrcella laugh, Cersei ushers them away from his "filth." In response to Tyrion's information, Cersei visits Catelyn, who is sitting vigil for Bran. Cersei tells Catelyn that her first child, a beautiful, black-haired boy, died of a fever.
She and Robert were grief-stricken and her prayers and tears were for naught. She offers to pray for Bran's survival, hoping that this time the gods will listen. The royal party sets out for King's Landing, now joined by Eddard, Sansa and Arya. However, an incident between Arya's direwolf and Joffrey on the Kingsroad escalates into an argument between Cersei and Eddard. Robert defuses the situation by agreeing that he and Eddard will attend to their own discipline. Cersei insists that the direwolf must be killed. When Nymeria cannot be found (Arya having driven her off to protect her), Cersei has Sansa's wolf, Lady, killed instead. A furious Eddard attends to the matter himself to spare Lady a much more grisly death at the hands of Ilyn Payne.
Arriving back at court, Cersei talks to Joffrey about the incident on the Kingsroad. She tells him that when he is king, the truth will be whatever he decides it will be. Joffrey tells her that he thinks there will be trouble with the Starks, and that when he is king he'll double their taxes, force them to contribute to a standing army and, if they should object, he'd crush them. Cersei elucidates that the North is too vast and wild to be militarily conquered by outsiders. She cautions Joffrey that he will need to be cleverer as king. She also advises him to be kind to Sansa to avoid causing trouble for later, and concludes that "anyone who isn't us is an enemy." A raven arrives in King's Landing with news of Bran's recovery. Cersei fears he will expose their secret, but Jaime comforts her.
At the tournament, a drunken Robert embarrasses Cersei, causing her to leave. She visits Eddard at his chambers, remarking at how the Hand is not at his own tournament. Though Cersei attempts to start the conversation in an attempt to put the incident on the Kingsroad behind them, Eddard correctly deduces that she has an ulterior motive for her visit. Cersei then wonders aloud to Eddard what his true purpose is for being at King's Landing, as she knows how little Starks enjoy being in the capital. When Eddard tells her he is there to faithfully serve their King, Cersei remarks that just as his brother Brandon was born to lead, Eddard was born to follow.
Cersei and Robert share a drink and discuss the threat from the Dothraki now that Daenerys Targaryen is married and pregnant. Cersei also tells Robert that at the start of their marriage she truly loved him, even after their first boy died, for quite a while. He says he knows, but could never love her back due to his feelings for Lyanna Stark.
Cersei and King Robert visit Eddard as he recovers from wounds sustained fighting Jaime and his guards. Cersei is furious with Eddard for having her brother Tyrion arrested and for fighting with Jaime, but Eddard is unrepentant. Finding Robert unresponsive to this, she scolds him. He then hits her across the face, leaving an obvious mark. She marks that this only increases her integrity, but Robert threatens her to silence, promising to hit her again if she speaks of it. 
Eddard confronts Cersei and tells her he knows her children are fathered by Jaime. She does not deny it, instead saying that she and her brother belong together, always. Cersei says she did love Robert at first, but on their wedding night he whispered Lyanna's name, which soured their relationship afterwards. Eddard advises her to leave King's Landing before Robert returns from a hunt, as he will then tell Robert the truth. Cersei instead warns him that "In the game of thrones, you win or you die."
Robert is mortally wounded on the hunt. Cersei is concerned that Eddard will tell Robert the truth, but Ned chooses to spare his friend further pain. Robert names Eddard Protector of the Realm and regent. Upon Robert's death Cersei quickly installs Joffrey on the throne. Eddard tries to reveal the truth with the help of Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish, but Baelish betrays him and sides with Cersei. Eddard is arrested and imprisoned, while his guards are killed.
Cersei persuades Sansa to write a letter asking her brother Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey in return for her father's life. Sansa agrees, but the plan backfires, as the letter merely encourages Robb to raise an army and march into the Riverlands to confront the Lannister armies directly. In open court, Cersei encourages Sansa to make a new plea to Joffrey for her father's life. Joffrey agrees to spare him and let him join the Night's Watch, if Eddard recants the claims he has made about Joffrey not being the true king.
Sansa is sure he will. Cersei is present at the Sept of Baelor when Eddard Stark 'confesses' his crimes, in accordance with the arrangement brokered by Sansa and Varys. She is visibly horrified when Joffrey arrogantly flouts the arrangement and instead demands Eddard's decapitation. Knowing that this will only lead to another war, she frantically tries to persuade her son to reconsider, but the order is nonetheless carried out by Ser Ilyn Payne, the royal executioner.
Sure enough, war erupts between the Lannister and Stark armies in the Riverlands and Cersei attempts to secure her son's hold on the Iron Throne. She takes a new lover, her cousin Lancel who was King Robert's squire and gave him the wine that made him too drunk to slay the boar that killed him. She also receives a letter informing her of Jaime's capture by Robb Stark.
Cersei continues to govern from King's Landing as the Queen Regent to Joffrey. She is driven to defend Joffrey's claim in the face of several challengers in the War of the Five Kings. Facing imminent winter, she orders the city gates barred to prevent further refugees from entering the city. She is perturbed by the arrival of her brother Tyrion, who has been named acting Hand of the King by their father Tywin Lannister. She fears that Tyrion schemes to usurp her power and is frustrated when he tells her that since she failed to prevent the death of Eddard Stark, she has been viewed as the disappointing child by Tywin. Tyrion wins her temporary acceptance when he pledges to free Jaime from captivity, but insists that they need to find the fugitive Arya Stark in order to facilitate a prisoner exchange.
Stannis Baratheon sends copies of a letter detailing Cersei's incestuous relationship with Jaime and the illegitimacy of her children to high lords throughout the seven kingdoms, fueling widespread rumors. Cersei tasks Petyr Baelish with recovering Arya and is enraged when Baelish dares to reference the rumors. She asks Joffrey to enlist the aid of Tywin in the search, but he refuses to involve his grandfather. He provokes an argument with Cersei about the rumors and threatens her life when she slaps him. He then orders a citywide massacre of Robert Baratheon's bastard children so that he will have no rival claimants in case his true parentage is revealed.
Cersei rejects King Robb Stark's peace terms and refuses a request for aid from the Night's Watch, ignoring news of wights attacking the Lord Commander Mormont. Tyrion ousts Lord Janos Slynt as commander of the City Watch for his part in the massacre as well as his betrayal of Ned Stark. Cersei angrily confronts him for displacing her loyal servant.
He warns her to consider the importance of the support of her subjects; she is dismissive of his concerns but becomes upset at the weight of responsibility she has born. Tyrion mocks her relationship with Jaime. She ends the discussion by saying that Tyrion's finest joke was killing their mother when he was born.
Tyrion tests the loyalty of the remaining small council members by feeding each of them a different marriage plan for Myrcella. Pycelle dutifully informs Cersei of Tyrion's plans to marry Myrcella into House Martell of Dorne despite his promise to keep them secret. Cersei confronts Tyrion who insists that the alliance is necessary and that Myrcella will be safer in Dorne. He then has Pycelle arrested for breaking his confidence. Tyrion sends Petyr Baelish to negotiate with Catelyn Stark, leaving Varys as the last active member of Cersei's small council in the city.
Robb Stark wins a major victory at the Battle of Oxcross. Joffrey responds by having Sansa Stark publicly beaten, sparing her only because of Cersei's orders, that if Sansa is killed the Starks will exact vengeance on his uncle Jaime. Tyrion intervenes and halts the ordeal, causing further deterioration in his relationship with Joffrey.
Cersei issues a warrant demanding the release of Pycelle. She tasks her lover and cousin Lancel Lannister with delivering it to Tyrion. Lancel arrives in the middle of the night, and Tyrion asks why he waited so long to deliver the message. When Lancel says he just came from Cersei, Tyrion notices Lancel smells of Cersei's favorite perfume, and threatens to expose their relationship to Joffrey unless Lancel agrees to become his double agent, reporting everything Cersei does.
Cersei is pleased when she learns of King Renly Baratheon's death. Tyrion considers it a sign of an imminent attack by his brother King Stannis Baratheon, who has assumed control of Renly's army. Cersei refuses to discuss measures for the defense of the city and remains irate about the marriage pact with Dorne. Tyrion learns from Lancel that Cersei is relying on the Alchemists' Guild to supply Wildfire to defend the city and supplants her relationship with the Guild.
Cersei and the court assemble at the shore of the Blackwater Bay for the departure of Princess Myrcella. Cersei remains livid about Tyrion's arrangements for her daughter. She threatens to one day deprive him of someone he loves. As they move through the city to return to the Red Keep they are confronted by angry crowds of starving smallfolk. Joffrey is hit by thrown excrement and triggers a riot by demanding that his guards kill everyone in the crowd. Tyrion marshals the Lannister guards to lead them to safety.
Upon learning that Sansa has flowered for the first time, Cersei summons Sansa and offers her advice on motherhood. Cersei tells her to love only her children, since love makes you weak, although it is a mother's obligation to love her children. Sansa asks if she should love Joffrey; Cersei replies that she is welcome to try.
Cersei meets with Tyrion to discuss the imminent attack of King's Landing by King Stannis Baratheon. She admits her struggles controlling Joffrey and openly references her relationship with Jaime. She confides her fear that Joffrey's madness is the price for her sins, including her incestuous relationship. Tyrion tries to comfort her by telling her that Tommen and Myrcella are good, decent children.
Joffrey is keen to fight in defense of the city. Cersei is furious and suspects Tyrion of trying to kill her son. She mistakenly identifies Ros as his lover because of the Lannister necklace Tyrion gave her and seizes the opportunity to deliver on the threat she made when Myrcella left. Cersei has the prostitute kidnapped as insurance against Tyrion placing Joffrey in harms way. She reveals her ploy over dinner and Tyrion vows to free Ros and take revenge when Cersei least suspects it.
Cersei provides refuge for the women of the court in Maegor's Holdfast during the battle. She prepares for the worst by having Ser Ilyn Payne present and obtaining deadly Essence of Nightshade poison from the reinstated Pycelle. She drinks heavily during the siege and torments Sansa Stark when she tries to keep up the morale of the women by praying. She tells Sansa that the gods have no mercy and that Ser Ilyn is there to kill them should the Red Keep be breached.
Lancel is wounded and returns from the walls to report that Stannis has reached the Mud Gate, despite Tyrion's ingenious use of Wildfire to destroy a large portion of his fleet. Cersei sends Lancel to bring Joffrey back to the Red Keep, ignoring his protests that it will damage morale. Joffrey willingly leaves the field but his exit is a blow to the men.
Lancel begs Cersei to let him return Joffrey to the front, believing the battle is lost otherwise. Cersei pushes him into a stone pillar, aggravating his injury, and storms out. Convinced the battle is lost, and not wanting her children to die by Stannis's hand, she takes Tommen to the Iron Throne room and prepares to poison him. She is stopped just in time by the unexpected arrival of Tywin, who reports that they have won the battle. Tyrion is betrayed and wounded by Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard during the fighting. Tyrion's role in defending the city is not acknowledged and he is left to recover from his wounds, stripped of his power. Rumors circulate that Cersei ordered the attack on Tyrion. No longer considering Tyrion a threat, Cersei releases Ros.
Cersei orchestrates a public ceremony rewarding those who aided the city in the battle. Tywin is officially recognized as Hand of the King, Petyr Baelish is named Lord of Harrenhal for brokering the alliance with House Tyrell and Ser Loras is offered a favor of his choosing. He asks Joffrey to marry his sister, Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey says that he is constrained by his betrothal to Sansa but Cersei intervenes to insist that the treachery of House Stark frees him from any obligation. The court welcome the decision with a round of applause.
Some weeks after the Battle of Blackwater, Cersei pays Tyrion a visit accompanied by two of her son's Kingsguard. She only gains entrance to Tyrion's chambers after agreeing to leave her guards outside. Once inside Cersei demands to know how he will "slander" her to their father now that he is here. Tyrion asks when he has ever slandered her before, and she reminds him of a time at Casterly Rock that he got her in serious trouble with their father: when she was nine years old, Cersei discovered that a servant girl (also nine years old) had stolen a necklace, so she had her guards beat the girl, who ended up losing an eye. Tyrion told their father what Cersei had done and he was angered, but Cersei notes that the servant girl never stole a necklace again. Tyrion quips that it isn't "slander" if it's true, and he only told Tywin what she really did. The queen admits that Tyrion is a clever man but not as clever as he might believe. Tyrion merely retorts that this still makes him a great deal more clever than her. Cersei then leaves abruptly and just in time to prevent Meryn Trant and Bronn from exchanging blows.
At night, Cersei and Joffrey are hosting a private dinner party for Loras and Margaery Tyrell. Cersei is surprised that Margaery has been handing out food aid to the smallfolk of the city and visiting orphanages. Unlike Cersei, who only knows how to rule through fear, Margaery is skilled at winning the hearts and minds of the common people, and this concerns Cersei. After trading veiled insults with both her son and future daughter-in-law, it becomes clear that Cersei doesn't trust Margaery and fears that the younger woman has come to usurp her as queen.
While speaking with Joffrey about his upcoming wedding, Cersei begins to criticize Margaery, saying that she is only charitable to the poor to build up her own reputation and that she dresses like a harlot for a reason. Joffrey, however, dismissively tells Cersei off. 
At King's Landing, Tywin Lannister calls the first meeting of the small council since he arrived in the city and assumed his position as Hand of the King. He has the meeting place changed to a room next to his own quarters in the Tower of the Hand, asserting his dominance. Tywin arrives early and has all of the council members called in at once. All of the seats are on one side of the table, as a non-verbal test to see how each of them reacts around him. Cersei arrives to find the seats are all occupied, but not wanting to play that game and be relegated to a lowly position, she pulls up a chair so she is sitting at Tywin's right hand, opposite Littlefinger. 
While Joffrey is giving Margaery a tour of the Sept of Baelor, Cersei speaks with Lady Olenna, exchanging stories about their deceased husbands. When Margaery takes Joffrey with her to greet the common people, Cersei realizes that she has lost control of Joffrey to the Tyrells. Later, Cersei meets with Tywin to discuss the Tyrells and informs him how Margaery has begun to manipulate Joffrey. Tywin is satisfied, as Cersei has only let Joffrey do whatever he pleased. He also tells her that she is not as smart as she thinks she is and that undermining the Tyrells would be irrational considering how they helped defeat Stannis. When Margaery and Joffrey wave to the crowd outside the Sept, Cersei initially fears for Joffrey's safety. Upon realizing that the crowd is hailing the two, Cersei then realizes that Margaery has a control over Joffrey.
Cersei encounters Lord Baelish and informs him that she fears the Tyrells do not have the Lannisters' best interest at heart. Littlefinger agrees that he will use his spies to uncover their plans, one of which turns out to be marrying Loras to Sansa. Initially, Cersei is delighted when her father decides to "kill this union in its crib" by instead having Tyrion marry Sansa to secure the North. However, her smug attitude towards Tyrion when this is revealed to him quickly evaporates when Tywin reveals that he intends to have her marry Loras to secure the Reach.
Cersei protests against this, saying she is Queen Regent and not some broodmare, but Tywin angrily asserts that she is his daughter and she will do what he tells her and put an end to the "rumors" about her. Cersei begs her father not to make her enter another loveless marriage but Tywin refuses to hear another word from either of his children, saying they have disgraced the family name for far too long. As Tywin leaves the room, Cersei hesitantly opens her eyes and shifts her gaze toward Tyrion, expecting to see him laughing at her but Tyrion is too glum about his own awkward predicament.
Cersei and Tyrion Lannister observe Loras and Sansa from Cersei's chambers overlooking the garden. Tyrion sarcastically asks which of the four of them has it the worst. He then finally accuses his sister of trying to have him killed during the Battle of the Blackwater. Cersei, tired of fighting him, remains quiet while he deduces that only two people can command the Kingsguard. Tyrion realizes that while Cersei certainly has the authority to command a Kingsguard, she isn't stupid enough to command Ser Mandon Moore to kill him in public. Tyrion realizes that it was in fact Joffrey who ordered Ser Mandon Moore to kill him, because Tyrion was the only one who stood up to him. Cersei tells him his life is not in danger from Joffrey, as he dare not try anything like that now that Tywin is the Hand. They discuss about Jaime's possible return to King's Landing, with Cersei wondering where he could possibly be. She asks Tyrion which one of them should be the one to break the news to Sansa. Tyrion decides he might as well dash Sansa's hopes sooner rather than later.
As the court gathers for Tyrion's wedding, Cersei finally snaps when Margaery says she looks radiant. Cersei reminds the queen-in-waiting of the lyrics of The Rains of Castamere and to take a lesson of what happened to House Reyne. Cersei threatens to have Margaery strangled in her sleep if she ever refers to her as "sister" again. Cersei maintains a cool expression during the ceremony, and does not laugh when Joffrey ridicules Tyrion by removing his footstool. During the wedding feast, Joffrey heads off to torment Sansa some more. Fed up with him, Cersei tells him to speak with Margaery instead, but he ignores her. Cersei later retreats to an upper gallery and stares despondently out over Blackwater Bay. Loras sees her and tries to make small talk, but Cersei rudely brushes him off.
Cersei is present at the meeting where Tyrion learns of Robb and Catelyn's deaths. Joffrey comments that he wants to present Robb's head to Sansa at his wedding feast as promised, though Varys reminds him that Sansa is now his aunt-by-marriage. Cersei brushes it off as a joke, though Joffrey denies this. She also reassures Joffrey when he is threatened by Tyrion. At the end of the meeting, she leads Joffrey to bed after he calls out Tywin's cowardice during the Rebellion.
Later, Cersei visits Tyrion and rudely dismisses Podrick. She tells Tyrion that he should give Sansa a son if he truly wants to make her happy, though Tyrion responds by asking her if she is happy as she has children. Cersei admits that she is not happy, but would've thrown herself "from the highest window in the Red Keep" without them, even Joffrey. She recounts of how he was all she had before Myrcella was born and how she would spend hours looking at him, and acknowledges that he is one of the "terrible ones." Tyrion asks her when this will end, and Cersei replies when they have dealt with all their enemies. Tyrion mentions how dealing with one enemy creates two more, and she just says that they will be in this position for a long time.
When Jaime returns to King's Landing, he immediately goes to Cersei's chambers and calls her name. Looking at seashells on her bed, smiling, she turns around upon hearing her name called, shocked and sickened at finding him maimed.
Cersei is present while Qyburn is attaching Jaime's golden prosthetic hand that she commissioned for him because she's so disgusted by his stump. After Qyburn departs from Cersei's chambers, Jaime asks why she drinks more than she used to. Cersei replies that she drinks more because Jaime left the capital, Robert was killed, Myrcella was shipped off to Dorne, they suffered through a siege, and her son Joffrey is being married to Margaery whom she despises. When Jaime tries to make love to her, she refuses him and says that everything has changed and that he took too long to return.
Cersei is present at the breakfast of Joffrey and Margaery and tells Tywin about Shae being seen leaving Tyrion's chambers. During the wedding feast, Cersei sits with the rest of the royal family. When Brienne of Tarth approaches the king and Margaery, she bows and congratulates them on their marriage.
Cersei quickly points out that she bowed instead of performing a curtsy. She then thanks Brienne for bringing her brother back and asks her if she loves Jaime. Brienne responds by walking off.
After Margaery says that the leftovers are going to the poor, Cersei kisses her on the cheek and says she is an inspiration to them all. Shortly after, she goes over to Pycelle, who is harassing a young woman. Cersei tells Pycelle to leave her alone and says that she should get Qyburn to examine her. Pycelle mocks Qyburn, but Cersei responds by ordering Pycelle to go to the kitchens and order the cooks to give the leftovers to the dogs instead. Pycelle is reluctant to do so, but Cersei threatens to have him killed if he does not. Cersei and Tywin meet Oberyn and Ellaria and the four get into a heated discussion when Cersei hypocritically mocks Ellaria's baseborn origins despite the fact that her own children are also bastards (and born out of incest no less).
Joffrey then makes his speech, publicly embarrassing Tyrion, much to Cersei's delight. Joffrey then begins to choke on his wine, causing him to gasp for air and collapse. Cersei rushes over to her son, who points towards Tyrion. He then dies in her arms, blood flowing from his eyes and mouth from the effects of the strangler. In a blind rage, she accuses Tyrion and has him arrested. Upon noticing that Sansa has vanished, she immediately begins to suspect her too and petulantly demands to know her whereabouts.
Cersei is mourning Joffrey while Tywin arrives and immediately begins instructing Tommen on the qualities of a good king, much to her annoyance. After the two leave, Jaime arrives to comfort Cersei. She breaks down into tears and asks Jaime to avenge their son by killing Tyrion. Jaime is not convinced that Tyrion was behind the murder and tells Cersei that there will be a trial, but she does not care. He tries to comfort her through his affections. Cersei refuses initially, but Jaime is aggressive. Cersei insists that the sept during a private viewing of their son's corpse is a highly inappropriate place for sex, and asks Jaime to stop, saying "It isn't right, it isn't right..." and Jaime refuses to stop, saying, "I don't care, I don't care...." They proceed to embrace and have rough, angry sex on the floor next to Joffrey's corpse.
- Main article: Breaker of Chains/Jaime-Cersei sex scene
Cersei calls Jaime to his chambers, but only to know about Kingsguard formations for protecting Tommen. She then asks why Catelyn Stark released him from his captivity. Jaime replies that he swore by all the gods that he would bring back Catelyn Stark's daughters to her. Cersei questions his loyalty to their enemies, but Jaime states that he only did it so he could return to her. She then asks if he could track down and kill Sansa Stark, believing that she schemed with Tyrion to murder Joffrey. Jaime remains silent. He then tries to convince Cersei that Tyrion is innocent, but she refutes that he has always pitied their little brother and firmly believes that Tyrion is the monster that killed their son. Cersei tells Jaime that she wants four men at Tommen's door and abruptly dismisses him, referring to him only as "Lord Commander", showing that their relationship has almost completely deteriorated.
Cersei is present at the coronation of her son, Tommen. Seeing Margaery at the coronation, Cersei tells her that she understands that Joffrey was a monster, but as her first child, Cersei still loved him.
She also believes the newly crowned Tommen will make a good and decent king, but he needs guidance. Cersei asks Margaery if she is still interested in being queen. Margaery says she will need to speak to her father about the matter.
Cersei is present at a small council that discusses the threat of Daenerys Targaryen, who they learn has recently conquered Meereen. Cersei doubts that Daenerys is a credible threat to the Iron Throne, a view not shared by the rest of the council. When Varys mentions that Sandor Clegane has been spotted in the Riverlands, Cersei recounts him as being both a coward and a traitor to the crown.
At Tyrion's trial, Cersei is verbally confronted by Tyrion, who angrily declares his innocence, but tells her how he wishes he could have been the one to murder Joffrey and that he felt the boy deserved it.
Cersei bribes Bronn to sway him from being Tyrion's champion in his trial by combat by arranging for him to marry Lollys Stokeworth, and later she approaches Gregor Clegane and enlists him as her champion.
Initially worried for the possibility of Clegane's failure, as Tyrion's champion, Oberyn Martell, has more passion throughout the fight, as Clegane killed his sister, Elia Martell. However, this ultimately proves to be Oberyn's downfall, as Gregor manages to maneuver him to the ground and crush his skull. She watches proudly as the Mountain defeats him and smiles as their father sentences Tyrion to death. She later sees to the treatment of Ser Gregor's wounds.
Cersei confronts her father and defiantly asserts once again that she will not consent to marry Loras Tyrell. When Tywin insists, she shocks him further by confirming for the first time to his face that the rumors about her relationship with her twin brother are in fact true. Disgusted, she leaves Tywin's quarters and proceeds to find Jaime. Though they still disagree on the fate of their younger brother, she approaches Jaime and kisses him passionately. She reaffirms her love for him and her wishes to continue their relationship regardless of what others may say. She kisses his gold hand as a symbol of her acceptance, and he makes love to her.
Escorted by Ser Meryn, Cersei walks to the Great Sept of Baelor for Tywin's funeral, surrounded by numerous lords and ladies, including Margaery, who she glances at suspiciously. Cersei is stopped by the High Septon, who suggests to her that they start soon, since lords and ladies have come from all over Westeros, but she says they will wait a little longer while she has a moment alone with Jaime and their father's corpse.
Inside, Jaime warns that all the power and prestige their father built for House Lannister belongs to them now, and that once everyone sees that Tywin is truly dead, their enemies will do everything they can to take it away from them. Cersei bluntly states that their true enemy is Tyrion and that Jaime is partly responsible for Tywin's death since he was the one who released their father's murderer, and then she leaves him.
Later, during Tywin's wake, Cersei is approached by Loras, who babbles on and on, but she ignores him, as she is intently watching Tommen and Margaery sharing a few words and holding hands. Pycelle offers his condolences, yet she completely ignores him as well. She is then approached by Lancel, who has recovered from his wounds at the Blackwater and become extremely pious and joined the Sparrows. Kevan apologizes for the appearance of his son, but Cersei comforts him by saying Lancel will grow out of this phase. While she is having a private moment, Lancel approaches her again and asks for her forgiveness for their "unnatural" relationship, and for serving Robert the wine that led to his death. Cersei brushes off Lancel's request, and his prayers for Tywin's soul.
Cersei summons Jaime to show him a box she's received. Inside, a stuffed Red Viper holds Myrcella's necklace in its jaws. Cersei is both unnerved and unsurprised by the threat as Dorne blames the Lannisters for the deaths of Oberyn and Elia Martell. Acknowledging Cersei's distress, Jaime makes a promise: "I'm going to Dorne. And I'm bringing our daughter home." When Jaime asks Bronn to join him in this quest, he reveals that Cersei has arranged for Wyllis Bracken to wed Lollys Stokeworth instead of Bronn, breaking their agreement.
Later, two men bring Cersei the head of a dwarf. She's disappointed it's not her brother, but donates the head to Qyburn's lab. Cersei presides over the small council and doles out new titles on Tommen's behalf: Qyburn is named Master of Whisperers, and Mace Tyrell takes on the additional title of Master of Coin. When Cersei appoints her uncle Kevan as Master of War, he rejects the offer. "I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet," he says, emphasizing that Tommen should attend the meetings himself. Kevan reminds Cersei she's nothing more than Queen Mother, and he decides to return to Casterly Rock. Cersei is left dissatisfied with Kevan's departure.
On the way to the Sept of Baelor, Cersei is incensed to find the crowd cheering Margaery's name. She remains stone-faced throughout the ceremony. The following morning, Cersei walks with Tommen along the battlements and tries to subtly turn him against his wife, but Tommen scares her by asking her if she'd prefer to go back to Casterly Rock. Cersei goes to confront Margaery, finding her bragging about Tommen's libido to her handmaidens. Cersei tries to verbally spar with Margaery as she used to, but the younger queen is in her prime, and assaults Cersei with backhanded compliments and subtle barbs. Realizing that she is losing, Cersei departs.
Later on, Cersei and the small council are visited by the High Septon, who has recently been abducted from Littlefinger's brothel and forced to walk naked through the streets of King's Landing. Cersei is mildly amused and not particularly sympathetic to the man's plight. She later pays a visit to the so-called High Sparrow. Assuming a much more conciliatory and humble tone than she ever has before, Cersei talks with him about the relationship between the Faith and the Crown, and also mentions that she's had the High Septon thrown in the Black Cells.
Cersei meets with the High Sparrow again and names him as the new High Septon, allowing him to reinstate the Faith Militant, a military order dedicated to defending the Faith of the Seven which was abolished two centuries ago. Loras Tyrell is arrested during the ensuing rampage for his homosexuality, which Margaery believes is part of Cersei's plan to divide her and Tommen.
Tommen confronts his mother and demands that Loras be released, but she calmly tells him that she didn't order his arrest, although her tone of voice seems to imply that she knew beforehand that Loras would be arrested and allowed it to happen in order to interfere with Margaery and Tommen's relationship.
During her meetings with Littlefinger, Cersei again feigns ignorance about Loras' arrest and seems unconcerned about what repercussions this might have. The Queen Regent is about to dismiss Baelish when he admits that even though he lost track of Arya, he has discovered Sansa Stark's whereabouts.
She's finally back at Winterfell 'allying' herself with House Bolton. Cersei is naturally livid that the Boltons have betrayed her and vows that they'll end up being flayed for their crimes. Petyr then suggests that Cersei could just wait a while until Stannis has dealt with the Boltons or vice versa. The Vale army (under his command) could later easily mop up the remains. The only boon Littlefinger wants for his service is to be named Warden of the North. Cersei readily agrees on the condition that Baelish brings her Sansa's head.
After a brief but tense meeting with Olenna in which mutual insults are exchanged, Cersei takes part in the trial of Loras Tyrell. Though she appears incredulous towards the accusations, it is clear that she has played a part in engineering the entire process. She plays the same trump card that she once did with Tyrion and Shae by making a deal with Olyvar, Loras's lover, to testify against Loras in exchange for being spared from persecution. As a result of her schemes, Loras is to be put on trial, and Margaery is imprisoned for giving false testimony.
When Tommen loses his appetite over his wife's arrest, Cersei attempts to calm him down, and gives him a long speech about how as King, he will be faced with many circumstantial situations in which he will be powerless to act, as Robert Baratheon sometimes was, though she proclaims her love for him by claiming that she will do anything it takes to protect him, even if it means burning down entire cities, and weeps as she cuddles her son. She later visits Margaery in her cell, bringing her food and trying to convince her that she will do her utmost to get her out, but Margaery angrily counters that she knows Cersei engineered both her arrest and Loras's in order to retain control over her son, and shouts at her to get out, throwing the bowl of stew at her and calling her a "hateful bitch." Cersei leaves and finds the High Sparrow beneath the Sept of Baelor, who tells her that both Loras and Margaery will be put on trial, and certain septons, including himself, will stand as judges.
Cersei thanks the High Sparrow for his actions, and he proceeds to give her a speech about the history of the Sept. He tells her that the Tyrells' falsehoods will be revealed for all the world to see, as in the case of everyone, including Cersei herself. The High Sparrow reveals that Lancel confessed his adulterous affair with Cersei following Jaime's capture by Robb Stark, and orders Cersei arrested, to her horror. She is taken to a cell by a group of septas, but threatens them that her face is the last thing they will see before they die for what they are doing to her.
Cersei remains in custody for the next few days, visited only by Septa Unella, who offers her water in return for a confession, but she repeatedly refuses. She is later visited by Qyburn, who informs her that the charges against her are treason, incest and regicide, which she dismisses as lies, though Qyburn reminds her that the Faith will not depend on physical proof as much as the Crown does in her upcoming trial. She asks about Jaime, but Qyburn claims there has been no response, and further tells her that Pycelle has summoned Kevan back to the capital and Tommen has fallen into a depression.
Qyburn, however, tells Cersei that she can still confess, but she refuses. Before he leaves, Qyburn tells her that his work is progressing. Later, when Unella visits her again, Cersei offers to make her a Lady of the capital or have her killed, depending on whether or not she will help her. Unella pours her water on the floor and leaves. Cersei finally abandons her pride and licks the water from the dungeon floor, breaking into tears.
Sometime later, Cersei is brought before the High Sparrow to confess her sins. She confesses of adultery with Ser Lancel Lannister, but denies her incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime. She begs to be allowed to go to the Red Keep to see her son Tommen. The High Sparrow accepts, but states that she has to stand trial.
Cersei is brought to a cell where she is stripped naked and washed, and her long blonde hair is cut short. She is then brought outside, where she is forced to walk completely naked through the streets of King's Landing, from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep as punishment. She is escorted through an angry mob, who hurl filth and vicious insults at her.
With bloody feet, Cersei makes it to the Red Keep. Upon entering the gates, Cersei finds her uncle Kevan Lannister, Grand Maester Pycelle and Qyburn waiting for her. Qyburn attempts to comfort her by covering her body with a cloak. Heavy footsteps are heard, and Qyburn introduces Cersei to the newest member of the Kingsguard: a seven foot tall man in golden armor, the Mountain, who has his face hidden constantly due to Qyburn's experimentation and the effects of manticore venom. Qyburn suggests Cersei to go inside to have a look at her feet, which are badly injured, when the huge knight lifts her up and carries her away.
Once again residing in the Red Keep, Cersei is alerted to Jaime's return and runs excitedly to the port to meet Myrcella for the first time in the space of almost 4 years, but her worst fears are realized when she sees a despondent Jaime standing alone on the boat, with a corpse behind him she immediately realizes is Myrcella's. Later, Cersei is comforted by Jaime in her quarters. Cersei finally admits to Jaime that she believes their children's deaths truly are destined according to Maggy's prophecy, since both Joffrey and Myrcella are gone and the only one left is Tommen. Jaime scoffs it off and promises Cersei revenge for all that their enemies have taken from them.
A man in King's Landing brags about revealing himself to Cersei during her walk of shame. When the man leaves the crowd to urinate, the gigantic Kingsguard knight walks up behind him and brutally kills him by smashing his head against the wall before reporting back to Cersei.
When Cersei attempts to leave for Myrcella's funeral with the Kingsguard knight in tow, a squad of guards blocks her path; their leader informs her that by order of the king, she is prohibited from leaving the castle, in the interest of her own protection. Cersei demands that they move, but the guards do not budge, even when Cersei's Kingsguard places a hand on his sword. Eventually, Cersei acquiesces and retreats to her chambers. Tommen later visits his mother to apologize for doing nothing when she was arrested and forced to walk through the streets naked, then asks her to teach him to rule. Moved, Cersei tearfully embraces her son.
Cersei and Jaime later visit Qyburn in his lab, where he has swayed some of Varys's little birds into his service, to Cersei's amusement. When Jaime asks Qyburn to order Gregor Clegane to slaughter the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant, Cersei claims it will not be necessary, since she has opted for a trial by combat and again named Gregor as her champion.
She then orders Qyburn to place his spies all over Westeros to prevent any other Great Houses from benefiting from the Lannisters' disgrace. Cersei, Jaime and Gregor attend a small council meeting, but Kevan, Pycelle, Olenna and Mace Tyrell refuse to accept them, with Olenna coldly reminding Cersei that she is no longer Queen. When they defy the council and sit down, Kevan leads the council out, leaving Cersei alone with Jaime and Gregor.
A few days later, Cersei goes to speak to Tommen, only to find he is already being counseled by Pycelle. Despite the Grand Maester's claim that he is simply offering his wisdom to the king, Cersei coldly orders him to leave. Once alone, Cersei wishes to speak with Tommen in private, having missed the past several small council meetings. Tommen is anxious to fight the High Sparrow, since Margaery is still a prisoner, though Cersei reminds him of what the Sparrow forced her to do. Although Tommen knows his mother has always hated Margaery, Cersei claims the rivalry is unimportant, explaining that kings and queens must command respect, and the High Sparrow is little more than an idealistic anarchist using the Faith to achieve his goals. After Tommen reveals his conversation with the High Sparrow and knowledge of something important, Cersei presses him for information.
Cersei and Jaime attend another small council meeting, this time presided over by Kevan and Olenna. Though Olenna reminds Cersei she is not welcome, adding her repeated humiliations, Jaime defends his sister, revealing that Tommen has been talking to the High Sparrow about Margaery and Loras. Cersei points out the High Sparrow was expecting them to fight among each other, and before the trial, Margaery will perform her own walk of atonement, which Olenna agrees must not happen. Although Cersei promises to destroy the Sparrows for corrupting Lancel, Kevan warns them the High Sparrow has many supporters, and more lives could be lost in the ensuing battle.
After his failure at the Sept of Baelor and forced removal from the Kingsguard, Jaime informs Cersei he is being sent to Riverrun to help the Freys deal with Brynden Tully. Despite her brother's protests and anger over Tommen's decision to join the High Sparrow, Cersei advises him to lead the Lannister army as their father intended, confident that the Mountain will win her trial by combat. She kisses Jaime goodbye, reminding him they are the only ones who matter.
Cersei visits Olenna Tyrell in an attempt to convince her to stay in King's Landing. She uses Margaery and Loras as an excuse for Olenna to stay, but Olenna angrily reminds Cersei that all this is happening because of Cersei herself. Olenna reminds her of the smug look she gave her when Loras and Margaery were being dragged away by the Faith Militant. She tells Cersei that the universally hated Queen Mother has no support in King's Landing, and has lost. Qyburn enters Cersei's chamber to inform her that the Faith Militant have entered the Red Keep. Accompanied by Qyburn and the Mountain, Cersei confronts the group. Lancel tells her that the High Sparrow wishes to speak with her at the Sept of Baelor. When she refuses, Lancel tells her that it is not a request.
Cersei retorts that the High Sparrow promised that she could stay in the Red Keep until her trial, which Lancel replies that no such promise was made. When Ser Gregor Clegane threatens the Faith Militant, Lancel tells Cersei to order him aside or there would be violence. Cersei says that she chooses violence. One of the Faith Militant attacks the Kingsguard, leaving several visible holes in his armor but drawing no blood. In response, the Mountain rips the man's head off and tosses it aside and Lancel and his men back down.
Later, Cersei, Qyburn and Ser Gregor enter the Great Hall to find a large crowd gathered for a royal announcement. The ladies in court look at the Queen Mother in detest. Cersei asks Kevan Lannister why she was not informed. Kevan bars her from standing beside her son and tells her that her place was in the gallery "with the other ladies of the court." Cersei reluctantly takes her place there while the other women stand aside, not wanting to be near her or Gregor.
King Tommen Baratheon starts by saying that the Crown and the Faith are the two pillars that hold up this world, and should one collapse, so does the other. He also says that The Father judges them all, and if they break his laws, they shall be punished. He announces that Loras Tyrell and Cersei's trial will be held in the Sept of Baelor on the first day of the festival of The Mother. After much prayer and reflection, he also announces that trial by combat will be forbidden in the Seven Kingdoms, stating that it is a scheme made by those who wants to escape true judgement from the Gods, and that Loras and Cersei would stand trial before seven septons as it was in the earlier days of the Faith.
As the king leaves, Qyburn tells a shocked Cersei, who had been planning on calling a trial by combat with Gregor as her champion, that his little birds have been investigating an old rumor that she had told him about, and that it appears to be much more than a rumor.
On the day of her trial, Cersei dresses incredibly ornately. She is adorned with fine clothes and all manners of jewelry. However, she does not show up at the Great Sept for her trial, instead viewing the city in the distance from the Red Keep. Unknown to those present at the trial, there is a large cache of wildfire underneath the Sept, placed there by Aerys II at the height of his insanity. Cersei has Qyburn's little birds light candles with eventually shrink to a size in which the cache can be ignited. Shortly before, Cersei has Qyburn and his little birds assassinate Pycelle, so as to consolidate all power to her.
The explosion kills Margaery, Mace, and Loras Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, all of the Sparrows including Lancel and the High Sparrow, and a number of King's Landing citizens. Cersei watches amused and then goes on to "confess her sins" including her incestuous relationship with her brother, the murder of her husband and the explosion of the Great Sept, to captured Septa Unella. Later she gives her as prisoner to the Mountain, so she can be tortured, calling "Shame" continuously upon her departure. She also states that Unella is not going to die for some time.
Following the destruction of the Sept, Tommen commits suicide by jumping out a window. Cersei orders that his body be burned and the ashes buried at the ruins of the Sept, along with the ashes of her father, elder son and daughter. Through right of conquest, she has Qyburn crown her Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. During the coronation, she sees Jaime from afar, who gives her a grim look.
Following her coronation, Cersei shows Jaime a giant map of Westeros and discusses the multiple foes they now face. While Cersei has dreams of ushering in a long dynasty, Jaime reminds her that they are losing the war, and with all their children dead, there is no Lannister line to inherit the Iron Throne. When Jaime asks Cersei about Tommen, she responds angrily that he betrayed them by committing suicide. Cersei adds that they are the only living Lannisters who count. Jaime tells her that they need allies and reports that House Frey has been exterminated. Cersei angrily reminds him that she has been listening to their father's counsel for the past forty years and has learnt some things.
They later meet with Euron Greyjoy to discuss a possible alliance. Though Cersei declines his offer of marriage, Euron graciously departs, promising to return with a gift that will win her heart. Later, Cersei gives a speech urging several nobles from the Reach, including Lord Randyll Tarly, to reaffirm their allegiance to the Iron Throne and not follow House Tyrell in supporting Daenerys. Cersei warns that the Targaryen's Dothraki and Unsullied hordes would pillage their lands and homes, and rape their women. When Lord Tarly points out that Daenerys has three dragons, Qyburn replies that he is "at work on a solution."
Later, Qyburn leads Cersei to the dragon skulls beneath the Red Keep. He tells Cersei that his spies have reported that one of Daenerys' dragons was wounded by a spear at Meereen, showing that the dragons are not invincible. Qyburn then displays a ballista and reassures her that they can hurt dragons. Cersei tests the ballista on the nearby skull of Balerion the Black Dread (the dragon of Aegon the Conqueror) and is pleased when the bolt pierces through the massive, hard skull.
Euron returns to the capital with Ellaria and Tyene Sand, the women who poisoned her daughter Myrcella. In recognition of Euron's gesture of good faith, Cersei agrees to Euron's marriage proposal, though only after the war is won, and names him commander of the Iron Throne's naval forces. She is cheered by the attendants in the Throne Room following her success, propagandising her defence as being compromised of the "sons and daughters of Westeros."
Cersei has Ellaria and Tyene both chained and gagged in one of the black cells. She tells Ellaria that even though they are enemies, she understands her captive's fury. She calls to mind how skillful a fighter Oberyn was up to the point when he got killed, taunting Ellaria by insinuating Oberyn brought his own death upon himself by taunting Gregor instead of just leaving him to die. She then reveals her own grief at losing her only daughter, and walks over to Tyene, complimenting her beauty before ungagging her and kissing her full on the lips with the very same poison that Ellaria used on Myrcella. Qyburn puts the gag back on Tyene and gives Cersei the antidote.
Cersei tells Ellaria that she intends to keep her alive to watch Tyene die and rot in the cell, even if they have to force feed her.
She then expresses her delight by intimately engaging with Jaime, after which she announces that, as Queen, she doesn't care if servants know of their incest. Then, Bernadette arrives, differing from the subject of Jaime, telling Cersei that Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank of Braavos has arrived. Following this she forms an alliance with Tycho, hoping that she will gain a loan after Jaime has successfully taken Highgarden. Tycho agrees to this possibility, as Daenerys has cost them many shares in wealth, due to her ending of slavery in Slaver's Bay.
After the Sack of Highgarden, Cersei meets with Tycho, who is pleased that Cersei will use the captured gold to pay off the Iron Throne's massive debts to the bank, and he engages in open flattery by saying that she is as cunning at military strategy as her father Tywin was, if not more so. Now that the Lannisters' old debts will be mostly paid off, and the Iron Bank's faith in them somewhat reassured by their recent military victories, Cersei wants to take out new loans to strengthen her position in the war, so she can finish securing control over the rest of the continent. They discuss that Cersei wants to use the money to hire foreign sellsword companies to bolster the depleted Lannister military ranks. Specifically, she reveals that she has had Qyburn make overtures to hire the best and largest private mercenary army in all of the Free Cities: the Golden Company. Tycho assures her that the Iron Bank will be delighted to help her with these future endeavors, once it receives the gold she is bringing them.
Jaime returns to King's Landing to inform Cersei of their defeat in the Battle of the Goldroad. He flatly insists that the Lannisters have no chance of defeating Daenerys, even if Cersei were able to buy enough mercenaries to replace their huge losses; Qyburn's scorpion did little more than anger Drogon, and neither the Lannister soldiers nor any mercenaries will be able to match the huge horde of Dothraki, who Jaime notes killed their men as if it were sport to them, not war. Cersei snidely asks Jaime if they are expected to surrender to a Queen whose throne Cersei occupies and whose father Jaime betrayed and murdered, mockingly remarking that Tyrion could intercede for them with Daenerys.
Jaime reveals to Cersei that Tyrion is innocent of Joffrey's murder, telling her Olenna Tyrell confessed to it. Cersei is dismissive, so Jaime talks her through it, asking her rhetorically if Olenna would prefer Margaery to marry the strong willed and sadistic Joffrey or the emotionally pliable and good-natured Tommen. Effectively, Olenna would have become the true ruler of the Seven kingdoms behind the scenes - in the same way that their father Tywin Lannister became the true ruler of Westeros through his grandsons.
Feeling cheated of yet another vengeance, Cersei can barely contain her fury as she laments listening to Jaime, saying Olenna ought to have died screaming. Jaime then points out that such vengence is pointless, with House Tyrell now being extinct, as well as their isolation from anybody else of significance. Cersei then surmises to say that she will fight to the bitter end rather than surrender.
Later, at the Red Keep, Qyburn is visiting Cersei when Jaime enters her chambers. Jaime tells Cersei that he met with Tyrion. When Cersei asks if Daenerys wants to negotiate a surrender, Jaime tells her that Dany is seeking an armistice due to the threat posed by the Army of the Dead. Cersei knows that Bronn secretly organized the meeting between Tyrion and Jaime. Cersei says that perhaps an alliance with Daenerys may be a wiser move, but she still retains her determination to destroy any force that stands against her. She also asks if Jaime plans to punish Bronn for arranging the clandestine meeting with Tyrion. She also reveals that she is pregnant with another of Jaime's children, one who she believes will someday be the heir to the Iron Throne. After reflecting on their late father's advice that "the lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep", Cersei hugs Jaime and whispers in his ear that he is never to betray her again.
As the Dragonpit Summit comes into fruition, Qyburn tells Cersei from her chambers that Daenerys's forces are en route to the Dragonpit. Cersei then warns Gregor that if anything should go wrong, he should kill Daenerys first, followed by Jon and then Tyrion, following then in any order she sees fit, before departing herself.
At the Dragonpit, the various factions meet: Cersei, Jaime, Qyburn and Euron representing the Iron Throne, Jon, Davos and Brienne representing the North, and Daenerys' court. When Cersei demands to know where her rival is, the Dragon Queen makes a suitably dramatic entrance on Drogon's back, with Rhaegal flying overhead. Euron tries to posture, threatening to kill Yara unless Theon yields to him and deriding Tyrion's dwarfism; when Tyrion and Theon retort to his taunts with their own, Euron remarks that Tyrion would have been killed at birth in the Iron Islands.
A furious Jaime orders Euron to sit down, and when he disregards the warning, Cersei reiterates it; a subdued Euron returns to his seat. Getting the meeting on track, Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon try to warn Cersei of the greater threat coming for them all, but she dismisses it as a ploy to trick her into lowering her defenses. To prove their claims, Sandor returns with the crate containing the wight, which is worryingly silent. Sandor gets the crate open, but there is still no movement. He finally gives the crate a massive kick, which prompts the enraged wight to launch itself out and charge toward the nearest target - Cersei, appropriately enough.
Visibly horrified, the Lannister queen and her allies recoil in horror as Sandor pulls the wight back on a chain, its claws inches from Cersei's face, and manages to slice the creature in half when it turns to attack him. The assembled look on in shock as the wight's upper half still moves around. Jon steps forward and picks up the wight's discarded hand, using a torch provided by Davos to demonstrate how fire can be used to stop them. He then uses a dragonglass dagger to the heart to end the wight's upper half, bluntly stating that if they don't win the coming war, such a fate awaits every person in Westeros. A horror-struck Jaime asks how many wights are coming, and Daenerys tells him the army of the dead numbers at least 100,000. Euron asks if the wights can swim. When Jon responds, "No," Euron announces to Cersei his intention to withdraw the Iron Fleet back to the Iron Isles. He declares that he has been over the whole world and has never been terrified until now. On his way out, he tells Daenerys to retreat to her island while he returns to his own, and to come find him when they are the only two left alive.
Seemingly convinced, Cersei immediately offers terms: satisfied that Daenerys is concerned with the Army of the Dead, Cersei will not withdraw her troops, but will guarantee that they will not hinder the Targaryen or Northern forces in any way during the battle against the White Walkers. She refuses to deal with Daenerys at all, however, and calls on Jon Snow, as King in the North and Ned Stark's son, to keep the truce and to stay out of any future conflict between Cersei and Daenerys. Jon, however, says that he cannot serve two queens - and reveals to all assembled that he has already declared for Daenerys, infuriating all three Lannisters present. Declaring that there will be no truce if it is just she and Daenerys, Cersei storms out, content to let the Starks and Targaryens battle the undead alone and then deal with whomever emerges victorious from that conflict.
Tyrion later enters Cersei's office, and the two trade savage barbs. Although she finally acknowledges that Tyrion did not kill Joffrey, Cersei blames his murder of Tywin for the series of events that led to her younger children's deaths and the destruction of House Lannister's future. Tyrion maintains that he loved Myrcella and Tommen almost as much as Cersei and that he regrets what happened to them. He attempts to call Cersei's bluff, claiming that if Cersei genuinely blamed him for their deaths, then Gregor should just kill him right then and there. A tense moment passes in which Cersei does not give the order. Relieved, Tyrion heads straight for the wine. They continue their discussion until Tyrion realizes that Cersei is pregnant.
All three Lannisters then return to the Dragonpit. Cersei has agreed to work with Daenerys, but not by keeping her troops back: the Lannister army will march north to fight alongside the Starks and Targaryens. After the enemy delegation has left, an eager and relieved Jaime meets with his commanders to discuss the logistics of moving the army north. Cersei enters the map room and asks what he is doing. Dismissing the commanders, she tells Jaime he really is the stupidest Lannister. Shocked, Jaime listens as Cersei explains that Euron has not abandoned her, but has gone to Essos to ferry the Golden Company back to Westeros. She intentionally leaked her pregnancy to Tyrion so he would believe her, and now she intends to allow their enemies to exhaust themselves against the Army of the Dead, then have the Golden Company mop up the remnants of whoever is left in the North, conveniently forgetting that if the Dead win, their numbers will increase even more.
Jaime is furious that his sister and Euron plotted this behind his back, but Cersei angrily accuses him of plotting with Tyrion in favor of her enemies. Reeling from the accusation, Jaime incredulously reminds her that whoever wins the conflict in the North will turn their attention south afterwards; either the White Walkers will march south to kill them, or the Starks and Targaryens will come seeking revenge over the fact Cersei betrayed and left them (and essentially all of Westeros) to die, but Cersei is indifferent.
Finally seeing his sister for the manipulative, untrustworthy, power-mad narcissist she truly is, Jaime disgustedly declares that he, at least, will fight to honor the pledge he made. When he tries to leave, he finds his way blocked by Ser Gregor. Cersei furiously insists that she will kill him as a traitor if he tries to leave, but Jaime calls her bluff and storms out, and Cersei does not give the order, unable to kill the only man she ever loved. As she watches Jaime leave, both betrayed and saddened, snow begins to fall on her city, showing that winter has finally reached the south.
Cersei is standing on the ramparts of King's Landing looking at Euron's Iron Fleet when Qyburn brings her the news that the Wall has been breached, as the Golden Company ferry into the bay. She coolly replies "good", and goes to meet the capain of the company, Harry Strickland, who reveals that their elephants are absent due to the length of the voyage. Euron continues to press his suite of marriage, and after much persistence, Cersei allows him to follow her into her chamber. The two have sex, and despite her apparent satisfaction, Cersei calls Euron the most arrogant man she's ever met. When he claims he will make her pregnant and then leaves the room, Cersei's face becomes drawn and pensive.
After Euron informs Cersei about his success in ambushing the Targaryen forces near Dragonstone, she lies to him that she is pregnant with his child. To deter Daenerys from launching an all-out attack, she allows in civilians to enter the Red Keep. During the parley before the battle, she ignores Tyrion's pleas for surrender to Daenerys and has Missandei beheaded.
Cersei's plan, however, backfires as Daenerys has Drogon and her armies slaughter Cersei's forces and the civilians in King's Landing. Cersei spends much of the battle in numb denial as she watches the carnage unfold from the Red Keep, unable to accept that all her planning and efforts were for naught and her fall is inevitable, and there is absolutely nothing she can do to change the outcome.
She is initially hesitant to leave the Red Keep, but eventually gives in to Qyburn's suggestion to leave for Maegor's Holdfast. Her Queensguard, however, is either crushed by debris or killed at the hands of Sandor Clegane. Gregor abandons her to fight Sandor, and Qyburn is killed by Gregor when he tries to stop him, causing her to flee alone before both the Clegane brothers fight. The wounded Jaime finally finds her in the war room and they embrace.
The two flee into the cellars, hoping to flee the city on a rowboat and later sail to Pentos, but the exit has been blocked by debris. Cersei cries and begs Jaime not to leave her, pleading she does not want her and their unborn child to die. Jaime hugs her, saying nothing else matters except them. As they embrace for the final time, they are crushed by debris.
Following the battle, the corpses of both Cersei and Jaime were discovered in the ruins of the Red Keep by Tyrion. She left a hated legacy, with Yara Greyjoy still seeing Daenerys as a savior who freed them from the tyrant queen, despite her massacre of the people in King's Landing.
With Cersei dead, Tyrion is finally free from her threats and persecutions. Also, the deaths of the members of House Tyrell, Kevan and Lancel Lannister, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon are finally avenged. In the end, Cersei Lannister was wrong about Tyrion being the one who would destroy House Lannister. It was her own selfishness, jealousy, megalomania and stupidity that caused the destruction of her house and her own death.
- "My sister was an evil woman."
- ―Tyrion's opinion on Cersei
Cersei is ruthless, willful, cold, ambitious, and cunning in the sense that she is utterly willing to betray anyone who trusts her, or do anything to protect her own. However, she is also arrogant and self-centered to a fault, which has proven to be one of her greatest weaknesses. While she certainly believes herself to be a master strategist, she is extremely impatient, short-sighted, and prone to displays of poor judgment and poor leadership, resulting in her being both unskilled at manipulating enemies who openly distrust her and incapable of thinking about the long-term consequences of her actions. Cersei's own father Tywin stated to her that he distrusts her because she isn't nearly as intelligent as she believes herself to be. This makes for a dangerous combination, as not only is Cersei not as intelligent as she thinks, but she does not even realize her own limitations.
However, she is not completely devoid of tact. Despite their blatant attempt to deceive her and collect the reward on her brother, Cersei opts not to punish a pair of bounty hunters to avoid discouraging the other hunters from finding Tyrion and acknowledges that mistakes will be made.
Cersei's schemes may work initially, but they have a tendency to backfire on her; this happens because she while has a good amount of tactical ability, she utterly lacks the strategic ability necessary for her role as queen. She was partially successful in her scheme to have Ned Stark falsely confess to treason before exiling him to the Wall in order to keep the North and the Riverlands in line. However, she failed to predict that Joffrey would be so foolish as to start a war by having Ned executed instead. Her scheme to undermine the Tyrells' plot to marry Loras to Sansa backfires on her when Tywin insists that Cersei will marry Loras instead, and coerces the Tyrells into consenting by threatening to have Loras appointed to the Kingsguard if they don't. After Tywin's death, she thinks she can co-opt the Sparrows into undermining the Tyrells, which briefly succeeds by having Loras and then Margaery imprisoned by the Faith Militant, but this plan ultimately backfired on her as well when she too was imprisoned and force to perform a walk of atonement. In this particular case, the combination of Cersei's own ego, as well as her belief that the Sparrows were loyal to her alone, did not allow her to comprehend that the same tactics she used against the Tyrells could also be used against her. Cersei's plan to destroy the Faith Militant and the Tyrells backfires on her as well with the suicide of Tommen, her last living child. Finally, Cersei's scheme to betray the Targaryens and the North after the parley of King's Landing has already backfired somewhat with Jaime abandoning her. Ultimately, it did backfire in the worst possible way, as during the Battle of King's Landing, she completely and utterly lost, all of her scheming was for nothing.
A mistake outsiders, such as Sansa, often make when dealing with Cersei is assuming that Cersei has the dignified personality, emotional maturity, and regal wisdom of a queen, or at least an adult, when her real personality is closer to a petty, petulant, and vindictive child in an adult's body (indeed, Lena Headey has stated that she plays Cersei as having the mind of a wayward 15 year old who never had any real parenting). With her mother dead at a young age and her father away at court (and a cold disciplinarian anyway), Cersei was functionally raised by servants. In public, Cersei often tries to exude a sense of calm and regal control over her surroundings. When things do not go her own way, however, Cersei's usual response is to become childishly flippant, even when the assembled small council is trying to give her advice which would genuinely serve her own interests.
On the other hand, Cersei's inability to foresee the full consequences of her plans, combined with the fact that her enemies don't understand this trait of her and don't understand her immaturity neither, gives her an advantage against them: her enemies are unable to guess her plans in time because, unlike her, knowing that such plans would eventually backfire, they assume that she knows it as well and don't expect her to be willing to act in such a foolish way. This, combined also with her ruthlessness, allows her to get rid of the enemies she is facing in short term in a quite easier way, even though at the end she will be damaged too and will be the only one who did not foresee it.
Cersei also has a tendency to irrationally blame other people for problems she actually started herself though her ego won't let her admit otherwise. When Jaime reminds her that the world mustn't know Myrcella really is their daughter, she hypocritically faults him for his caution, saying it led to Joffrey being murdered and Myrcella being sent to Dorne in the first place, even though she was the one who had Joffrey installed on the throne in the first place rather than flee when Ned Stark warned her of his intentions in order to spare her children's lives. Although she later acknowledges that Tyrion did not in fact kill Joffrey, she blames him for the deaths of her other two children by sending Myrcella to Dorne and killing Tywin, an act that she says made the Lannisters vulnerable to their enemies. Again, Cersei forgets that Tyrion's actions were brought on entirely by her own, namely her failure to stop Joffrey from executing Ned and igniting a war, and later irrationally accusing Tyrion for Joffrey's murder. Furthermore she openly ignores that, after their father's death, she was the one who made the mistakes that destabilized more and more the position of their family.
Cersei's behavior is very mercurial, capable of switching between seemingly true affection for someone to extreme loathing over trifles. She is very petty about even small slights, both real and imagined, which ended up being her undoing, for she tried to use the Faith Militant to undermine House Tyrell due to her dislike of Margaery and the fact she replaced her as Queen, only to lose House Tyrell as an ally and find a powerful enemy in the Faith Militant. As Tyrion noted, Cersei often uses her honest feelings to dishonestly manipulate other people. For example, her fear for the safety of her children is actually genuine, but she will shamelessly use this to play on the sympathy of other people, to sway them into supporting her.
Cersei despises the restraints placed on her because she is a woman and is jealous of the freedoms that men have in her society. Several of the noble Houses in the Seven Kingdoms have more liberal attitudes when it comes to involving female members of their family in politics. The women of House Tyrell, for example, are expected to be involved in politics and have thus been trained from a young age in the skills of ruling. Unfortunately, Cersei's father Tywin is a staunch conservative, and never envisioned Cersei playing an active role in politics. Instead, her duty was to cement a marriage alliance and raise royal children, nothing more. It is also possible that instead of her gender being the object, Tywin believes she is simply too impatient and rash. Either way, the practical result is that, right or wrong, Tywin didn't raise Cersei to be skilled in ruling or in political intrigue. While confronted with these shortfalls, Cersei often blames her father or society in general for not giving her the years of training needed to rule, but complaining about it doesn't change the fact that she simply doesn't possess these skills. Although Cersei hates being a woman in Westerosi society, she shows no sympathy towards other women in similar circumstances, scorning them for what she perceives as their weakness: Cersei isn't so much angry at men for mistreating women, as angry that she isn't a man. When she was drunk during the Battle of the Blackwater she even openly said she wished she was born a man.
Cersei's lack of a parental relationship growing up is reflected in how poorly she has served as a mother to her own children, for whom she is unable to act as a stable moral instructor. While she certainly dotes on them, she doesn't genuinely "love" them so much as she treats them as extensions of herself. When they were infants, she refused to allow that they were breasfed by a nurse, hating the idea of them with another woman. She is convinced that she is obsessed with their welfare, but when events threaten to take any of them away from her she is not so much worried about their happiness and well-being as angered that something she feels belongs to her is being taken away.
Tyrion once observed that Cersei's love for her children is her one obvious redeeming quality - but she even managed to twist this into a negative. Cersei doesn't really "love" her children so much as she is obsessed with her mental constructs of them. She spent Joffrey's entire childhood convinced that he was going to grow up to be the best king ever, wise and brave - to the point that she blinded herself to his obviously psychopathic behavior. However, in spite of her obvious favoritism and far from realistic conception of her son, she at least acknowledged that Joffrey was indeed a monster after his death, implying she wasn't as deluded as she appeared. Her overindulgence of Joffrey also spoiled him rotten, filling him with an insatiable sense of entitlement - nor did he particularly give her much respect in return. Meanwhile, Cersei seems oblivious to the fact that she ignored her two younger children, Myrcella and Tommen. While Cersei is constantly upset that her own father Tywin played favorites with his children and focused all of his attention on her brother Jaime, she hypocritically visited the same treatment on her own children. She fixated on Joffrey so much that she barely knew Myrcella and Tommen, rarely engaging them in conversation except when she needed to manipulate them. After Myrcella was sent away to Dorne in a marriage-alliance, Cersei assumed she was suffering away from her family, not suspecting that Myrcella would actually find happiness once she was free from Cersei's control and not even want to come back to her. After spending some years in Dorne away from her, Myrcella outright said that Cersei doesn't even know her. Finally, after the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei tells a captured Unella, she was motivated by protecting her last living child, Tommen. However, Cersei once again proves what a poor parent she is by not going immediately to Tommen after his wife is killed in the explosion and preventing his suicide as she was too preoccupied with paying back Unella for imprisoning and humiliating her. In the end, Cersei kept her children close to herself more than most of other Westeros' noblewomen did with theirs, but still she managed to not truly know them and to, indirectly, cause their death; even her fourth child with Jaime could have lived if Cersei had accepted her defeat instead of foolishly refuse to surrender. All this happened because what Cersei loved the most were herself and, especially, power, so she never actually thought, or maybe cared, about how much her pursuing of it would have endangered her children before it was too late, and still, even after losing them one after the other, she never accepted her responsibility nor learned from her mistakes until she died herself with her unborn child.
After she was humiliated by the Faith Militant, the megalomania, immorality and vengefulness Cersei possessed all her life reached its peak. Combined with the rage she felt for her uncle Kevan and the fact that Olenna Tyrell and Pycelle deprived her of power, Cersei began plotting with Qyburn to avoid her trial, simultaneously destroy her enemies, including the High Sparrow and Queen Margaery and gain her revenge on the faith militant.This ended up destroying the alliance with the Tyrells, the only effective ally to King's Landing and a bloody revolt is to be expected by a vindictive Olenna. Cersei, however, does not seem concerned regarding this, displaying much more recklessness and slight mental imbalance on her part. Despite declaring herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, the title is effectively meaningless as currently the only major houses supporting her are her own and the Freys, although with the death of Walder Frey as well as the Freys' apparent military incompetence, they are unlikely to be useful allies. Along with the Lannisters now pitted against the rest of the great houses of Westeros, there is also the matter of the Crown's debt to the Iron Bank which has still not been resolved. So while Cersei might have achieved her ultimate ambition of being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, she is still in an incredibly precarious situation. However, this appears lost on her, further demonstrating her inability to see the far-reaching consequences of her actions.
Beforehand, Cersei was known to have an extremely thinly-veiled sense of morality, which can be attributed to her love for her own children, no matter how twisted it was. Now that Tommen, Joffrey and Myrcella are all dead, however, Cersei has begun displaying more ruthlessness and depravity in her convictions. Her use of wildfire to destroy the Great Sept of Baelor can be considered somewhat of a symbolic envoi to her own descent into the same level of tyranny as the the Mad King. This act also destroyed the area surrounding the Great Sept for half a mile, effectively murdering hundreds of innocent people. Ironically, this may serve to drive a wedge between her and Jaime; Jaime outright said that the only thing he cares about is Cersei and that he was willing to kill even children if it reunited them, but Cersei has committed an act similar to the one he had to kill the Mad King for. Jaime's grim look upon returning to King's Landing and witnessing her coronation means that he understands that she is becoming exactly like him.
Regarding her own crimes, Cersei appears to have become shamelessly sadistic. She outwardly admits that all her actions from having Robert killed to having an incestuous relationship with Jaime was solely because she enjoyed doing so. This, she "confesses" to a helpless Unella while vengefully playing with her, even quietly chanting "shame" (in a similar sense that Unella did during her walk of atonement) before leaving her to be tortured by Gregor Clegane. She also used her own motherly emotions for sadistic purposes when facing off with Ellaria Sand, going so far as to kill Ellaria's daughter Tyene with the same exact method which had been used to kill Myrcella. In the same scene, she vividly recalled Prince Oberyn's death to Ellaria, and pointed out that Oberyn died in vain since Gregor Clegane was still alive and stronger than ever before.
All of this points to another mistake outsiders often make, Ned Stark for example, when dealing with Cersei as Olenna Tyrell noted before her death: failure to imagine just how far Cersei is willing to go to keep her power.
Cersei has been cited by Tyrion to be one of the most dangerous people in Westeros, because of her absolute ruthlessness in the face of those she perceives as her enemies. Cersei maintains a major amount of hypocrisy, blaming Tyrion for the destabilization of her family, and blind to the fact that she was an almost central influence in the deaths of Tommen and Myrcella, and showing no sympathy whatsoever when Tyrion apologizes but cites Tywin's own cruelty towards him - the hypocrisy here is that Cersei herself has complained about Tywin's mistreatment of her, and outright threatened to 'burn [her] house to the ground' if she were separated from her children (the latter being hopelessly ironic because Cersei accuses Tyrion of decimating the position of House Lannister, where she at least contemplated it herself). In addition, Cersei was a supreme influence in the arrest of Ned Stark (since she installed Joffrey on the Iron Throne rather than leave King's Landing when Ned warned her of his intentions in order to spare her children's lives), Tyrion's arrest (since it began with Bran Stark finding her having sex with Jaime), and giving free reign for Joffrey to do as he wanted and being unable to control him (which led to the death of Eddard Stark), making her an almost undisputed influence in the War of the Five Kings, which led to her family's decimation.
Cersei has also become increasingly more arrogant and callous with her ascension to queen, disrespecting Jaime as the stupidest Lannister, having seen his logical and sound keeping of his promise as a betrayal. Perceiving this betrayal, Cersei feigns a threat with Ser Gregor, but Jaime knowing his sister so well as he does, calls it out. But the feelings of hurt are still the same. Cersei expresses her need to protect their new child by allowing the enemies to eliminate each other. By all logical guesses, it looks as if she is mimicking what Tywin Lannister had done during the end of Robert's Rebellion where he camped out and waited until the end game to see what he could do with what was left, even though it's clear that her situation was much different from Tywin's because, at the end of the war she had kept herself out from, the winner then would surely have gone to her more dangerous than before or, however, eager for revenge for her betrayal. Cersei Lannister's character has always been what it has always been about: being a mother and ensuring the survival of the ones she loves, and that is her children and her lover, Jaime Lannister. Her behavior reinforces the belief that she has stated since the very beginning, that when you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die, and there is no middle ground. Unfortunately for her, Cersei lacked the ability to win this play for a long time so, at the end, her game of thrones ended with her tragic and inglorius death.
During the Battle of King's Landing, Cersei's true nature comes forth; a weak, fearful, delusional and tearful woman that is in no control of her actions and with her death so close, she becomes more afraid and sad, as she drowns in her own tears with only her brother as comfort until the end.
- Main article: Cersei and Jaime Lannister
|Game of Thrones: Season 1 appearances|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Game of Thrones: Season 2 appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What Is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Game of Thrones: Season 3 appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch Is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Game of Thrones: Season 4 appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Game of Thrones: Season 5 appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother's Mercy|
|Game of Thrones: Season 6 appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
|Game of Thrones: Season 7 appearances|
|Dragonstone||Stormborn||The Queen's Justice||The Spoils of War|
|Eastwatch||Beyond the Wall||The Dragon and the Wolf|
|Game of Thrones: Season 8 appearances|
|Winterfell||A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms||The Long Night|
|The Last of the Starks||The Bells||The Iron Throne *|
* Only appears as a corpse
Died in infancy
- Spoken by Cersei
- Cersei Lannister: "You're just a soldier, aren't you? You take your orders and you carry on. I suppose it makes sense. Your older brother was trained to lead, and you were trained to follow."
- Eddard Stark: "I was also trained to kill my enemies, your Grace."
- Cersei Lannister: "As was I."
- — Exchange between Cersei and Eddard Stark.[src]
- "I shall wear this as a badge of honor."
- ―Cersei to Robert Baratheon.
- "The more people you love, the weaker you are."
- ―Cersei to Sansa Stark
- "Sometimes I wonder if this is the price, for what we've done, for our sins."
- ―Cersei to her brother Tyrion Lannister
- "Tears aren't a woman's only weapon. The best one's between your legs."
- ―Cersei to Sansa Stark
- "If I wanted to kill to you, do you think I'd let a wooden door stop me?"
- ―Cersei to her brother Tyrion Lannister
- "If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep."
- ―Cersei to Margaery Tyrell
- "Start trying to work out who deserves what and before long you’ll spend the rest of your days weeping for each and every person in the world."
- ―Cersei to Tyrion Lannister
- "Even Joffrey. He was all I had once. Before Myrcella was born. I used to spend hours looking at him. His wisps of hair, his tiny little hands and feet. He was such a jolly little fellow. You always hear the terrible ones were terrible babies. ‘We should have known, even then we should have known.’ It’s nonsense. Whenever he was with me, he was happy. And no one can take that away from me — not even Joffrey."
- "What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?"
- ―Cersei to Oberyn Martell.
- "Joffrey is dead, Myrcella's been sold like livestock, and now you want to ship me off to Highgarden and steal my boy... my last boy. Margaery will dig her claws in and you will dig your claws in and you'll fight over him like beasts until you rip him apart! I will burn our house to the ground before I let that happen!"
- ―Cersei to her father Tywin Lannister
- "Look at me! Look at my face. It's the last thing you'll see before you die."
- ―Cersei to the septas after she is arrested.
- "I will not kneel before some bare-footed commoner and beg his forgiveness!"
- "I do things because they feel good. I drink because it feels good. I killed my husband because it felt good to be rid of him. I fuck my brother because it feels good to feel him inside me. I lie about fucking my brother, because it feels good to keep our son safe from hateful hypocrites. I killed your High Sparrow... and all his little sparrows... all his septons, all his septas, all his filthy soldiers, because it felt good to watch them burn. It felt good to imagine their shock and their pain. No thought has ever given me greater joy."
- ―Cersei to Septa Unella.
- "Enemies to the east... enemies to the west... enemies to the south... enemies to the north... Whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it... We're the last Lannisters. The last ones who count."
- ―Cersei to Jaime.
- "I don't care about checking my worst impulses, I don't care about making the world a better place. Hang the world."
- ―Cersei to Tyrion.
- "You want a whore, buy one. You want a queen, earn her."
- ―Cersei to Euron Greyjoy
- "I want our baby to live. I want our baby to live. I want our baby to live. Don't let me die, Jaime. Please don't let me die. Please don't let me die. I don't want to die. Not like this. Not like this. Not like this."
- ―Cersei's last words, to Jaime
- Spoken to/about Cersei
- Salladhor Saan: "Cersei. I want her. I'll sail with your fleet, all 30 of my ships, and if we don't drown at the bottom of Blackwater Bay, I'll fuck this blond queen and I'll fuck her well."
- Mathos Seaworth: "This war isn't about you. We're not attacking King's Landing so that you can rape the Queen!"
- Salladhor Saan: "I'm not going to rape her, I'm going to fuck her."
- Mathos Seaworth: " As if she would just let you?!"
- — Exchange between Salladhor Saan and Matthos Seaworth regarding Cersei.[src]
- "I don't distrust you because you're a woman. I distrust you because you're not as smart as you think you are."
- ―Tywin Lannister to his daughter Cersei.
- "You're a hateful woman. Why have the gods made me love a hateful woman?"
- ―Jaime Lannister to his sister Cersei.
- "Lies come easily to you. Everyone knows that, but innocence, decency, concern, you're not very good at those, I'm afraid. Perhaps that's why your son was so eager to cast you aside for me."
- ―Margaery Tyrell to her mother-in-law Cersei.
- "I wonder if you're the worst person I've ever met. At a certain age, it's hard to recall. But the truly vile do stand out through the years. Do you remember the way you smirked at me when my grandson and granddaughter were dragged off to their cells? I do. I'll never forget it."
- ―Olenna Tyrell to Cersei
- Qyburn: "I now proclaim Cersei of the House Lannister, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Long may She reign."
- Audience in the Great Hall: "Long may She reign."
- — Cersei's coronation[src]
- Sansa Stark: "You're the military man, but I know her. If you're her enemy, she'll never stop until she's destroyed you. Everyone who's ever crossed her, she's found a way to murder."
- Jon Snow: "You almost sound as if you admire her."
- Sansa Stark: "I learned a great deal from her. "
- — Sansa Stark warning Jon Snow to take the threat of Cersei seriously.[src]
- Olenna Tyrell: "Your sister has done things I wasn't capable of imagining. That was my prize mistake, a failure of imagination. She's a monster, you do know that?"
- Jaime Lannister: "To you, I'm sure. To others as well. But after we've won and there's no one left to oppose us, when people are living peacefully in the world she built, do you really think they'll wring their hands over the way she built it?"
- Olenna Tyrell: "You love her. You really do love her. You poor fool. She'll be the end of you"
- Jaime Lannister: "Possibly. Not much to be gained from discussing it with you though, is there?"
- — Exchange between Olenna Tyrell and Jaime Lannister after the Lannisters sack Highgarden[src]
- "I don't believe you."
- ―Jaime turning on Cersei after she threatened to kill him.
Behind the scenes
Actress Lena Headey became pregnant just before Season 1 began filming. However, the production team was so enthusiastic about her performance, and the larger scale concern of having Headey play Cersei for several years, that they didn't recast the role but instead worked around her pregnancy by, for example, keeping the camera frame above her waist or having her sit at a table. For wide shots when Cersei is walking around, notice that most of Cersei's costumes in Season 1 have large billowing sleeves which she carries in front of her to hide her pregnancy. At other times, body doubles were shot from behind in quick-cuts. This may also explain why Cersei's sex scene with Jaime isn't as involved as it is in the books, in which they are both completely naked and have an extended conversation intermixed with lovemaking. In the TV series, Cersei and Jaime are mostly clothed, with Jaime simply pulling her dress up, and Jaime is taking her from behind, so the viewer can't see that the actress is pregnant.
The TV producers actually made it a point never to show Cersei naked since the beginning of the TV series, even during sex scenes, specifically to make it more shocking when her penance walk would occur years later (ultimately in Season 5's "Mother's Mercy"). Just before Season 4 aired, Lena Headey spoke about the upcoming scene in such a way that it vaguely seemed like she was considering performing it herself, but ultimately model Rebecca Van Cleave was used as a body double, and Lena's head was digitally added onto Van Cleave's body. Why Headey ultimately used a body double is unclear: one explanation circulated was it was because Headey was pregnant, though the scene was shot in early October 2014 and Headey gave birth on July 10 the following year, making it unlikely that she was pregnant during filming.
Headey later revealed that the reason she didn't do the nude scene herself is because she felt she wouldn't be able to stay in-character: Cersei is supposed to make the entire penance walk with an utterly stoic face, but Headey felt she could not restrain herself from reacting to the crowd as extras would also be flinging filth and insults at her during the entire sequence, when it is explicitly important that the character doesn't react.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Cersei is a beautiful but cold woman who does not get along with her husband, whom she considers to be a fat oaf. However, she dotes on and loves her three children. She is not politically skilled, and frustrated that her options for power are limited by her gender. Cersei is close to her brother Jaime, but is cowed by her father and despises Tyrion, whom she unjustly blames for killing her mother Joanna, who died giving birth to him. Cersei and Jaime were around 10 years old when Tyrion was born and Joanna died. In the series, it is mentioned that Cersei was 4 instead, a change which better reflects the relative ages of the actors (Peter Dinklage is four years older than Lena Headey).
According to the novels, Cersei never gave birth to any child by Robert. As she revealed to Eddard, she was only pregnant by Robert once and aborted the child out of hatred for its father. Robert was unaware of both the pregnancy and the abortion. In the TV series, she revealed to Catelyn that she'd had a "beautiful, black-haired boy", but he'd died of a fever.
Tywin does plan to find a new husband for Cersei, though not Loras Tyrell, who has been made a Kingsguard after the battle of the Blackwater. Willas Tyrell, Mace's eldest son and heir (who does not appear in the TV series), is Tywin's first choice. However, Olenna Tyrell vetoes the match in revenge for the Lannisters foiling her plot to marry Sansa to Willas, claiming that Cersei is "too old and too used" for her precious grandson. Prince Oberyn Martell and Balon Greyjoy are also suggested as a match. Cersei never threatens her father with revealing Tommen's true parentage if she is forced to re-marry; she does object, exclaiming that she is not a brood mare, but Tywin firmly tells her that she will marry and breed in order to refute the rumor Stannis spread about her incest (which she did). Grudgingly, Cersei asks for a few days to consider that. As things turn to be, Tywin dies before Cersei is forced to marry anyone.
With her father dead, Cersei once more rules the Seven Kingdoms as Queen Regent. She grows increasingly paranoid and vindictive, drinks heavily and endlessly schemes to deal with her enemies, real and imagined (Margaery, Jon Snow, Bronn, Trystane Martell, etc.). All of Cersei's schemes, with no exception, somehow go wrong - foiled, backfire or never come to fruition; even those that initially succeed - turn to be too costly.
During her reign, Cersei becomes alcoholic, and takes lovers of both genders, among them Osney Kettleblack and Lady Taena Merryweather, both characters of questionable loyalty. Jaime, who has been growing more and more distant from Cersei, is disgusted by her behavior; he finds it ironic that she has adopted the same negative habits she hated so much about Robert.
Cersei's paranoia increases rapidly, so much that she interprets every statement, causal comment or even a smile as a plot against her. For instance: Kevan advises her to appoint either Randyll Tarly or Mathis Rowan as Tommen's Hand, since they are able and loyal; however, since both are the Tyrells' bannermen, Cersei hastily concludes that her uncle is a traitor, bought by the Tyrells to act against her - which is a totally wrong conclusion.
Cersei is annoyed at the Tyrells due to their nonstop demands, among them to wed Margaery to Tommen so soon after Joffrey's death. As time passes, Cersei's annoyance gradually turns into mistrust, and then to paranoia: she becomes convinced that the Tyrells, Margaery in particular, are plotting against her, have conspired with Tyrion to kill Joffrey and maybe her father too (she does not suspect Littlefinger at all). Her suspicions are fueled when a gold Highgarden coin is found in the cell of a jailer named Rugen (in fact, Varys in disguise), who disappeared the night Tyrion escaped; that makes her suspect the Tyrells - not Jaime - helped Tyrion escape by bribing the guards, and confirms her former suspicions about them. She has nightmares about Tyrion and thinks he is still hiding in the walls of the Red Keep, planning to kill her and her children. Until now, her obsessive hatred for Tyrion has effectively blinded her to the presence of her true enemies, believing that anything and everything that happens to her family was somehow Tyrion's doing (including the attempt of Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne to kill Myrcella – the end result of a plot instigated by a rogue member of House Martell who was actually trying to help Myrcella), and this obsession only grows after Tyrion kills Tywin.
Cersei soon makes a number of rash and ill-judged decisions. She fills the small council with her own cronies, picked for their loyalty to her rather than their competence, disregarding Tywin's previous arrangements and advice from Jaime and others. Despite the Crown's heavy debts, she orders the construction of a new Royal Fleet (rather than rely on the fleet of Paxter Redwyne, a bannerman of Mace Tyrell, or make an alliance with the Greyjoys to replace the few ships that survived the Battle of the Blackwater) and puts it under the command of Aurane Waters, a bastard sellsail of questionable loyalty and experience, who later steals the entire fleet. She refuses to honor the Crown's debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos and flippantly brushes off its representatives when they demand an explanation. In retaliation, the Iron Bank begins calling in loans all over Westeros, causing economic chaos, and eventually sends a representative to Stannis Baratheon to offer to finance him. In return for cancelling the Crown's debts to the Faith, she allows the Faith Militant to be re-established, oblivious to the strife they had caused the Targaryens centuries earlier. Pycelle, who previously was Cersei's henchman, keeps arguing and objecting to her poor decisions, but his protests fall on deaf ears.
She offers her uncle Kevan the position of Hand of the King, which he agrees, on the condition that he also be named Regent and that Cersei removes herself from King's Landing and, just like Tywin wanted, returns to Casterly Rock and re-marries. Cersei is infuriated and a fierce argument takes place during which she threatens Kevan. As he leaves, Kevan calls her an unfit mother, and hints that he knows Jaime fathered her children. In response, she throws her wine in his face. Out of spite, Cersei then names two Lannister cousins Warden of the West and Castellan of Casterly Rock, respectively, instead of Kevan. She ignores the advice of Kevan and Jaime to appoint a capable and respected man like Randyll Tarly or Mathis Rowan as Hand, choosing instead the weak and compliant Harys Swyft.
Cersei's paranoia also leads to her plotting to have Jon Snow killed, fearing that as Ned Stark's (presumed) last surviving son, he may rally the Night's Watch against the Lannisters; that plot is never realized, though. She also places a bounty on Tyrion, promising a lordship to whoever brings her his head, which leads to the deaths of many dwarfs and even ordinary children on both sides of the Narrow Sea. Cersei refuses to publicly punish anyone who kills an innocent, however, fearing that doing so will discourage other bounty hunters and allow Tyrion to escape.
Cersei's actions alienate Jaime, who wants nothing to do with the increasing brutality and rampant cronyism of her reign, and flatly tells his sister she's seeing enemies where none exist and turning what few allies she has left against her. Watching how Cersei treats Tommen, Jaime - similarly to his father and uncle - thinks she is totally incompetent as a mother and fears she will corrupt their son into another Joffrey. Jaime is also haunted by Tyrion's revelation that Cersei has been cheating on him with Lancel Lannister and Osmund Kettleblack, amongst others. Some time later, Lancel tells Jaime the truth about his affair with Cersei and his part in Robert's death, thus confirming Tyrion's words; moreover, Jaime realizes that Cersei is responsible not only for Robert's murder, but also for the murder of the previous High Septon, what increases the deep loathing he already feels toward her.
In the books, after Tywin dies, Cersei becomes the new head of House Lannister, but she appoints lesser cousins to other titles Tywin held: Daven Lannister (son of Stafford Lannister) is made the new Warden of the West, and even more distant cousin Damion Lannister is named castellan of Casterly Rock (Cersei is Lady of the castle, but she isn't there to rule it directly). No mention was made in the corresponding Season 5 of the TV series about exactly who holds the titles that Tywin used to hold - possibly implying that Cersei is the new Wardeness, but this awaits clarification.
Instead of having Loras Tyrell arrested by the Faith on charges of homosexuality, Cersei sends him to capture Dragonstone, hoping he will die in the attempt due to his rashness; he is fatally injured but somehow clings to life by the point the books reached. Cersei also orders her lover Osney Kettleblack to seduce Margaery, in a scheme to bring about Margaery's downfall. When he fails to do so, Cersei compiles a long, dubious, list of individuals Margaery has supposedly slept with; she tortures the Blue Bard, a young singer in service with House Tyrell, into "confessing", and has Kettleblack sent to the High Septon to confess. Margaery is arrested, but the plot backfires when the High Septon grows suspicious of Kettleblack's confession and has him tortured. Kettleblack then admits the truth: that he never touched Margaery but he has been sleeping with Cersei, and that he killed the previous High Septon on her orders.
Cersei's stupidity is underscored by the fact that even the unworthy people she has recently appointed to the small council - who mainly act as sycophants - are aware of the dangerous applications of Margaery's arrest. They express their concern that, due to Margaery's popularity and her family's military strength, the smallfolk will riot and Mace will storm King's Landing. Cersei, smug about her "victory", is not worried, but agrees that some precautions must be taken. Of course, she could have figured the consequences of her poorly developed schemes in advance, had she thought it over.
Cersei is arrested by the High Sparrow on charges of high treason, fornication, incest, regicide, deicide and adultery. She confesses only the lesser charges - sleeping with Lancel and others, claiming she did that only after Robert's death (namely that she's guilty of fornication, but not of adultery); she denies all the other charges and demands a trial by combat, though she soon realizes that her choices for a champion are limited, since as the acting Queen, her champion must be a Kingsguard. She writes to Jaime, pleading for help; Jaime, who has grown to hate Cersei and even considers killing her, ignores her letter, since he knows she's guilty of all the crimes she is charged with. She's allowed to return to the Red Keep by walking naked through the streets of King's Landing, while being jeered by the crowd. Once she arrives, she's met by Qyburn, who introduces her to Ser Robert Strong (a re-animated Gregor Clegane), the newest member of the Kingsguard who will serve as her champion.
Following the walk of atonement - in sharp contrast to the show - Cersei is stripped of all power and authority, including her seat at the small council; all her henchmen are either deposed, imprisoned or flee away; she's practically confined to her chambers rather than the Red Keep at large, and is not allowed to walk around with her new bodyguard and intimidate people; all her guards are replaced by Kevan's men; her former ladies-in-waiting are replaced by a septa and three novices who watch her all the time, selected by the High Septon, and as an additional precaution - the novices are to be replaced every week, lest Cersei corrupts them; she cannot receive any visitors, including Tommen, without Kevan's permission; whatever schemes she has in mind, she cannot realize them. Qyburn is the only one who remains loyal to her. Kevan intends to return her to Casterly Rock after the trial (if she's not executed) and see that she remains there, unable to take part both in the governance of the realm and in Tommen's education, while he and the new appointed small council members take steps to repair the damages she caused.
According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Cersei Lannister" is pronounced "SER-see LAN-iss-ter."
- HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Cersei Baratheon entry
- "The Night Lands"
- HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Tyrion Lannister entry
- "A Man Without Honor"
- "The Wars to Come"
- "The Prince of Winterfell"
- "You Win or You Die"
- "The Kingsroad"
- "Winter Is Coming"
- "Lord Snow"
- "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things"
- "The Wolf and the Lion"
- "A Golden Crown"
- "The Pointy End"
- "Fire and Blood"
- "The North Remembers"
- "What Is Dead May Never Die"
- "Garden of Bones"
- "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
- "The Old Gods and the New"
- "Valar Morghulis"
- "Valar Dohaeris"
- "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
- "Walk of Punishment"
- "And Now His Watch Is Ended"
- "Kissed by Fire"
- "The Climb"
- "Second Sons"
- "Two Swords"
- "The Lion and the Rose"
- "Breaker of Chains"
- "First of His Name"
- "The Laws of Gods and Men"
- "The Mountain and the Viper"
- "The Children"
- "The House of Black and White"
- "High Sparrow"
- "Sons of the Harpy"
- "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
- "The Gift"
- "Mother's Mercy"
- "The Red Woman"
- "Book of the Stranger"
- "Blood of My Blood"
- "The Broken Man"
- "The Winds of Winter"
- "The Queen's Justice"
- "The Spoils of War"
- "The Dragon and the Wolf"
- "The Last of the Starks"
- "The Bells"
- "The Iron Throne"