Cersei and Jaime Lannister were the eldest children and twins born to Tywin and Joanna Lannister and were involved in a sexual and romantic affair for many years, since their youth - despite the cultural and religious taboos against brother-sister incest in Westeros.
As a teenager, Jaime abdicated his post as heir to Casterly Rock to join the Kingsguard, an elite knighthood sworn to protect the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men and swore a sacred oath forbidding him from inheriting or owning land, taking a wife, or fathering children. Following the annulment of her betrothal to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Cersei was forced into an unhappy marriage with King Robert Baratheon, making her the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Because he was sworn to protect Robert, Jaime continued seeing Cersei even after her marriage and lived together in the Red Keep in King's Landing. The two had three children together, Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella, whose true parentage has been hidden in a conspiracy that ultimately resulted in the War of the Five Kings.
The two were also parents to an unborn child, who was killed along with them during the Battle of King's Landing.
Cersei and Jaime are the eldest children born to Joanna and Tywin Lannister, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Warden of the West, and Hand of the King to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. Exceptionally close since their birth, Jaime and Cersei were brought up in Casterly Rock and apparently resembled each other so closely, even their father couldn't tell them apart at times. However, early on, Cersei realized that as heir to Casterly Rock, Jaime received much more attention from Tywin than she did, simply because she was born a girl, and came to resent how much her father doted on Jaime.
When they were four years old, their mother died while giving birth to her youngest son, Tyrion, a dwarf. Both Tywin and Cersei blamed Tyrion for Joanna's death and vehemently wished for his death when he was an infant, but he survived into adulthood with ease, infuriating the both of them. The only member of House Lannister that had any love for Tyrion was Jaime, who was very fond of his younger brother and the two got along very well as children. Soon after Tyrion was born, Oberyn Martell and his sister Elia visited Casterly Rock with their father, both excited at the rumors of a monster having been born to Lord Tywin. They were disappointed when Tyrion appeared nothing more than a baby with a large head and small arms, but even at such a young age, Cersei was shown to hate him to such an extent that Oberyn and Elia were disturbed, and she pinched her baby brother's penis so hard they were afraid she would pull it right off, but Jaime stopped her before she could do so.
Early on, it was evident that Tywin had no intention of trying to hide the prejudices he had against each of his children. As the eldest boy and heir to the Westerlands, Jaime was taught to use the lance and the sword and Tywin spent countless hours with him teaching him how to fight properly and how to read. On the other hand, Cersei was taught to smile and put on a show, which she resented, and she was often ignored by Tywin in favor of Jaime. However, she still had it better than Tyrion, who, as well as being ignored, was vehemently hated and made a laughingstock of by Tywin and the rest of the court at Casterly Rock. Despite the unfair treatment, she and Jaime remained close and had an exceptionally intimate relationship, which can in part be contributed to the eternal unity between twins from birth.
Although it has never been confirmed exactly when Cersei and Jaime began their romantic relationship, it probably began as innocent experimentation when the two were still young children. Because Tywin was so often absent from Casterly Rock, serving as Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen, the two were primarily raised by servants and oftentimes were left alone with no supervision. Because the royal House Targaryen had been incestuously wedding brother and sister for nearly three centuries to keep bloodlines pure, Jaime insisted that what the two had been doing was not particularly unusual - although the rest of Westeros certainly would not have approved had it ever became public knowledge, even before they committed adultery.
Early on, the relationship was purely experimentation, but soon culminated into an intense, chaotic relationship. While Jaime cared deeply for his sister and loved her fiercely, Cersei only mildly returned the affection. She did love him, but moreso as a sibling than a lover. While Jaime was always faithful to her and never lay with another woman, Cersei continued to have interests in other men. As a teenager, she visited the woods outside of Casterly Rock with her friend Melara Hetherspoon in the hopes Maggy the Frog would read her future, asking three questions: 1) Will I marry the prince? 2) Will I be queen? and 3) Will the king and I have children? While she was satisfied by Maggy's answer that she wouldn't marry the prince, but she would marry the king, and that she would be queen, she was perturbed when Maggy said she would by deposed by a younger, more beautiful queen and that, although she would have three children, her husband would have twenty, and that while their crowns would be golden, so would their shrouds, distressing Cersei.
At the age of sixteen, Jaime decided to join the Kingsguard, becoming the youngest knight ever appointed to the elite knighthood. By doing so, he vowed to never own any land, never take a wife, and never father any children, therefore abdicating his role as heir to Casterly Rock and making Tyrion the Lord of Casterly Rock, in place of Tywin. Although Tywin was enraged at Jaime's decision, as he had previously planned Jaime to marry Lysa Tully, he was forced to accept Jaime's decision and Cersei was thereafter delighted that Jaime would continue to remain close with her. However, Cersei did not return his devotion, as she was hoping to marry the Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
However, her hopes to marry Rhaegar were dashed when the Mad King refused to let his son marry Cersei, believing she wasn't good enough for Rhaegar, insulting Tywin and ultimately resulting in Tywin's betrayal of the Mad King during the Sack of King's Landing. Rhaegar died at the Battle of the Trident during Robert's Rebellion and the Mad King was stabbed in the back (literally) by Jaime after he threatened to murder Tywin and burn all of King's Landing to the ground. House Targaryen was defeated and killed (all of them save the Mad King's two surviving children Viserys and Daenerys, who were exiled to Pentos, and unbeknownst to almost everyone, Jon Snow, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, who was passed off as the bastard son of Eddard Stark) and Robert Baratheon was named King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.
Following Robert's coronation, Cersei was forced into a political marriage alliance with him to secure the relationship between House Lannister and House Baratheon. During the early stages of her marriage, it is unknown, although highly unlikely, whether or not her relationship with Jaime continued. Robert was still mourning the death of his true love and former betrothed, Lyanna Stark, and had no real feelings for Cersei. Despite this, Cersei later said that the day she walked into the Great Sept of Baelor and saw her future husband, standing and waiting for her, was the happiest day of her life, but her hopes of a peaceful marriage were diminished when he later crawled on top of her on their wedding night and whispered the name "Lyanna" into her ear.
Although she soon realized Robert would never truly love her, she was happy for a long while and tried to make their marriage work. The two had a son together, "a black haired beauty" who was stillborn. Both Robert and Cersei were distressed at the news of their child's death and Cersei fought to hold her son, but Robert had to hold her down while they took the bundle away, something she never forgave him for. Eventually, she came to hate Robert and, in the rare moments that Robert would drunkenly try to force himself onto her, she would "finish him off in other ways". In time, Jaime recognized Cersei's struggles within her abusive marriage and attempted to "help her", committing adultery only when he was certain they would never be caught. Therefore, though Cersei still hesitant, both of them broke their sacred vows; Jaime the one he took when he became a member of the Kingsguard, and Cersei the one she took when she wed Robert.
Soon, Cersei bore three of Jaime's children who survived through childhood: Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. Due to their inbred origins, all three took after their mother with their yellow hair and pale features, but Cersei and Robert both dismissed it as a chance of genes. While Jaime was aware he was their biological father, he was physically unable to take a part in raising them, leaving the drunken whore-monger Robert as an absent father as well. Cersei, their only remaining parent, doted on her children and spoiled them rotten, adding to Joffrey's sadistic behavior. Her actions reflected exactly how Tywin had played favorites and doted on Jaime, ignoring Cersei and Tyrion.
In the Great Hall of the Red Keep in the capital of King's Landing, Cersei watches the Silent sisters prepare the body of Jon Arryn, Hand of the King to Robert, for burial. Jon died knowing of Cersei's relationship with Jaime, and was poisoned to ensure he would not tell Robert of the truth. Jaime approaches her, telling her she worries too much, at which she reproaches that he doesn't worry at all. She is concerned that Jon may have told somebody about what he found out, but Jaime eases her fears, saying if Robert knew, they would already be dead by now. She recommends that he become the new Hand of the King, but he refuses, citing the amount of responsibility and the danger that is forced onto anybody who holds the position.
Robert decides to travel to Winterfell and appoint Eddard Stark as Hand of the King. While there, Cersei sends Jaime to find their brother Tyrion, who has become distracted at the local brothel. Later that night, Cersei dines with Eddard's wife, Catelyn, and watches without emotion as her husband kisses and fondles a servant who serves him wine. The next day, Robert and Eddard go hunting, leaving the castle largely empty. Cersei and Jaime take the opportunity to engage in sexual intercourse in a derelict tower. However, Eddard's young son Bran climbs the tower and finds them together. Cersei frantically cries out when spotting him and Jaime catches Bran before he can climb back down, asking him how old he is. Bran replies "ten", whereupon Jaime sighs and muses, "The things I do for love," before pushing Bran out of the window.
A month later, at breakfast, Tyrion tells his family that, although he remains comatose, Bran is expected to live and notes his sibling's guarded reactions to the news. Cersei looks mildly distressed, while Jaime simply ponders the circumstances of Bran's fall, and appears thoughtful. Eventually, the royal party returns to King's Landing, now accompanied by Eddard and his two daughters, Sansa and Arya, the former being betrothed to Cersei's eldest son Joffrey. Receiving word that Bran has woken, but cannot remember the details of his fall, Jaime visits Cersei in her chambers. Cersei is upset at Jaime's thoughtlessness, but Jaime reminds her of the desperate situation he was in. Even after he tells her that Bran is only ten years old and no one will ever believe him if his memory returns, Cersei remains angry, and when Jaime jokes about going to war with Robert and how the minstrels will write the ballad "The War for Cersei's Cunt", she slaps him, but he simply pulls her to him, holding her close, and telling her that if need be, he will kill everyone in the whole world until they are the only two left standing.
Learning that Catelyn has arrested Tyrion for pushing Bran out of the tower window, Jaime confronts Eddard and leaves King's Landing to find his brother. Cersei and Robert discuss their unhappy marriage, Cersei revealing that she stopped having feelings for Robert a long time ago, although she had loved him once. Eddard receives a serious leg injury at the hands of one of Jaime's men, and upon waking up, is met by Robert and Cersei. Cersei is furious that Eddard dared to lay hands on her blood, and Robert demands that Eddard see that his wife release Tyrion. However, his lack of action causes Cersei to boldly tell ROBERT that she should wear the armor and him the dress, and he angrily hits her across the face, leaving a distinctive mark. Despite this, she remains docile, saying she will wear the mark proudly, before leaving Robert and Eddard to speak alone. The act of violence makes Eddard realize just how unhappy the two are in their marriage.
Eddard soon comes to the realization that Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella are not Robert's children, but Jaime's. Discovering that the Jon Arryn had been investigating the bastards Robert bore with other women, all of whom had dark hair and dark features like Robert, and that Jon's last words had been "the seed is strong" (referring to the indications that genetic characteristics contribute to the proof Robert did not father Cersei's children), as well as Sansa's claim that Joffrey is nothing like Robert and that she will bear him "golden-haired son", Eddard comes to the conclusion that Cersei and Jaime have been involved in an incestuous relationship for some time and calls for a meeting with her.
Visiting him the courtyard, she feigns concern on his injury, before he asks her whether or not Robert had ever hit before, and she responds that Jaime would have killed him if he had known and that Jaime is worth a thousand of Robert. Eddard reveals he is aware that he is her lover, but Cersei defends herself by saying the Targaryens wed brother and sister for three hundred years and that Jaime and her are more than brother and sister and, as they were brought into this world together, it is fate that has made them fall in love. She tells him that they are both parents who love their children, and that she worshiped Robert when she first married him, but came to resent him after realizing he was still in love with Eddard's sister and Robert's former betrothed, Lyanna. Eddard warns her that he must tell Robert the truth and tells her to go as far as she can go with her children, as does not want to be responsible for their deaths. Cersei remains unperturbed, mocking Eddard for not taking Iron Throne when given the chance, saying that when you play the game of thrones you win or you die and that there is no middle ground.
Cersei arranges for Robert to die by having her cousin Lancel drug him; his drunken clumsiness results in him being mauled by a wild boar. Eddard writes to Robert's brother Stannis on the truth of Cersei and Jaime's relationship and when Robert passes away, Joffrey seizes the throne for himself and has Eddard put into prison for treason, despite the fact that Robert had signed a document making Eddard the Protector of the Realm until Joffrey came of age to rule, Cersei herself being the one to rip up the document. Varys, Master of Whisperers on the small council, visits Eddard in the Black Cells, telling him he was foolish for confronting Cersei and that she will not allow him to survive so long as he knows the truth. Eddard decides to confess to his crimes to protect his daughters in the hopes that Joffrey, now king, will allow him to join the Night's Watch as punishment for his crimes and ensure the survival of himself and his children, but Joffrey beheads him nonetheless, despite Sansa's plea for mercy, and Eddard becomes the second Hand of the King to die because of Jaime and Cersei's secret.
The War of the Five Kings begins and Cersei takes Lancel as a lover, although the relationship seems merely a way for Cersei to relieve her emotions during Jaime's absence as she evidently has no romantic inkling for Lancel, whom she dismisses as a talkative and foolish boy. Jaime is taken captive by Robb Stark, Eddard's eldest son, and Catelyn visits Jaime, who taunts her over Eddard's death, telling her widowhood suits her and saying he would have sex with her if she wanted. She responds by hitting him in the head with a rock and making him confess to throwing Bran from the tower; when she asks why he committed the crime, he contemplates telling her the truth, but doesn't, simply advising her to get some sleep.
Stannis Baratheon hosts a council and prepares a letter to be distributed throughout the Seven Kingdoms. He has learned from Eddard Stark that Joffrey Baratheon is a bastard born of incest between Cersei and Jaime rather than Robert Baratheon's true heir. Stannis is therefore the rightful heir and plans to pursue his claims to the throne despite being outnumbered. His younger brother Renly has also claimed the throne to Stannis' frustration. Davos Seaworth urges Stannis to make peace with Renly or even Robb Stark to fight against Joffrey but Stannis refuses, arguing that Robb has crowned himself King in the North and thus "stolen" the Northern half of Stannis' kingdom.
Tyrion returns to King's Landing, where he speaks to Cersei on having Jaime released. He suggests that they trade the Stark girls for Jaime, but when Cersei reveals that Arya has escaped and now only Sansa remains, Tyrion is indignant, telling her that they had three Starks (Arya, Eddard, and Sansa), and that they killed one and let another escape, claiming her and Joffrey's foolishness may have just cost them their brother's life, upsetting Cersei, who is visibly concerned on her lover's safety.
Cersei tasks Petyr Baelish on finding Arya and needles him on his unrequited love for Catelyn; Baelish responds by hinting at his knowledge of her and Jaime's romance, telling her that knowledge is power, whereupon Cersei has her guards seize Baelish and demand they slit his throat, before laughing and saying she's changed her mind. Releasing Baelish, Cersei turns to him, saying "power is power" before leaving him to complete the task she bequeathed him with.
In the Great Hall, Joffrey is hoping to restore the throne room to its once intimidating grandeur and dismisses Cersei's concerns of Arya's escape, telling her there is no need to search for the youngest Stark girl. He goes on to blame Tywin for Jaime's capture and reveals he has heard of the rumors about Cersei and Jaime, as Stannis has released his claim to the throne as public, divulging his suspicions on Joffrey's true parentage. Joffrey is worried that other bastards of Robert will attempt to claim the throne for themselves, asking Cersei how many bastards Robert fathered with other women when he grew tired of her, and Cersei furiously slaps Joffrey across the face. Joffrey tells her that her crime is punishable by death, but says he will forgive her for now, warning her that if she ever does it again, the consequences will be fire.
A captive of the North, Jaime is confronted by Robb Stark on crippling Bran and, as he has received the letter from Stannis revealing the truth of Joffrey's parentage, mocks Jaime on his relationship with Cersei. Jaime reveals nothing and attacks Robb's decision to keep him in this mobile camp rather than with one of his bannermen as demonstrating a lack of trust. Robb asserts his faith in his men and his concern at the lengths House Lannister would go to in order to free Jaime. His direwolf Grey Wind is almost fully grown and menaces Jaime during the questioning. Robb sends his prisoner Alton Lannister to King's Landing with peace terms. His demands include the release of his sisters, the return of his father's remains along with the remains of all those who served him, and the recognition of the North as a free and independent kingdom, all of which Cersei rejects, although Tyrion once again warns her that her foolishness will cost them Jaime's life.
Learning that Tyrion has deposed Janos Slynt as Lord Commander of the City Watch, Cersei angrily confronts Tyrion and they talk about the growing cruelty of Joffrey, Tyrion warning her that most of the kingdom wants Joffrey and her dead. He mocks her relationship with Jaime, which Cersei takes lightly, saying he has always been funny, but that is greatest joke was when he killed their mother the day he was born, visibly upsetting Tyrion.
As Stannis prepares to march on King's Landing, Tyrion and Cersei talk about Joffrey, and Cersei opens up to Tyrion, revealing the struggle of controlling him and how she understands he is a monster, but is unable to tame him. She references her relationship to Jaime, wondering if Joffrey's madness is the price they must pay for their sins (incest). Tyrion attempts to console her by reminding that the Targaryens wed brother and sister for centuries, but Cersei is further disturbed, remembering how most of the Targaryens went mad because of it. Tyrion again tries to comfort her, telling her Myrcella and Tommen are good children and that Joffrey is the exception. Cersei begins to cry, breaking down for the first time in front of the brother she presumably hates, and Tyrion seems about to hug her, but looking up at the last moment, Cersei returns once again to her old self and the tension between the two intensifies.
Jaime remains a prisoner of the North and after an unsuccessful escape attempt, is visited by Catelyn and Brienne of Tarth. She accuses him of being a man without honor, but he says that he never lay with any other woman other than Cersei, making him more honorable than Eddard, who broke his vows of faithfulness when he fathered his bastard Jon Snow during the rebellion. Preparing to die, Jaime braces himself as Catelyn takes Brienne's sword, but Catelyn does not cut his throat, only his ropes, tasking him to return her daughters to her safely in return for setting him free, and appoints Brienne to accompany him.
Jaime, Cersei, and Qyburn are in Cersei's chambers. Cersei has had a golden prosthetic hand made for Jaime, and Qyburn attaches it to Jaime's stump. Qyburn asks Cersei about her symptoms, and she says they are gone. After Qyburn departs, Jaime tells her that he will stay in the Kingsguard with one hand so he can stay close to her, then tries to kiss her, but she turns away, much to Jaime's confusion and anger. Cersei implies that she has taken other lovers and that their relationship has changed because of his lengthy absence, a statement that clearly wounds Jaime. Bernadette suddenly enters and says she has important information for Cersei.
Loras attends the wedding of his sister and King Joffrey; enjoying a brief flirtation with Oberyn Martell, before being confronted by Jaime Lannister over his engagement to Cersei. Jaime attempts to intimidate Loras into calling off the wedding, warning him that Cersei will murder him in his sleep, along with any children they may conceive together. Despite having no affection whatsoever for Cersei, Loras retorts to Jaime that he will never be able to marry Cersei either, clearly aware of Jaime and Cersei's relationship. He walks off, leaving Jaime nonplussed. When Joffrey is dying, Jaime and Cersei rush over to their son's aid and are with him while he dies.
Jaime enters to Great Sept of Baelor to see Cersei and his dead son. Jaime sends the septon and septas away so he can be alone with Cersei. Cersei wants the death of the accused Tyrion and his wife, Sansa Stark. She asks Jaime to kill Tyrion for murdering their son because she is sure Tyrion will talk his way out of it. Jaime refuses and tries to comfort her through his affections. Cersei initially kisses Jaime then pulls away and turns back to her dead son after which Jaime proclaims "You're a hateful woman, why have the gods condemned me to love a hateful woman?" Jaime then becomes aggressive. Cersei insists his actions are inappropriate and repeatedly asks Jaime to stop, but he refuses. They embrace and proceed to have rough, angry sex on the floor in front of Joffrey's corpse.
See main article: "The Jaime/Cersei sex scene in "Breaker of Chains".
Tyrion mentions that Jaime will always be the "golden boy" of House Lannister, even if he is fornicating with Cersei.
During Tyrion's trial by combat, the siblings have very different feelings towards the outcome they wish. In the last hours before his trial by combat, Tyrion and Jaime share a final drink in Tyrion's cell and reminisce about Orson Lannister, their simple-minded cousin who spent his days smashing beetles with a rock. Tyrion tells Jaime of how he used to observe Orson day after day in an attempt to understand his motives, but in the end he was never able to come to reach any understanding. Tyrion asks Jaime if he thinks Oberyn stands a chance, but Jaime is not optimistic. As a bell rings out to announce daybreak in the city, Jaime takes his leave, wishing his brother luck.
Lannister guardsmen escort Tyrion to the arena, where a large crowd has assembled. He grows apprehensive to find a helm-less Oberyn drinking, and wearing very light armor – in comparison to his opponent, Ser Gregor Clegane, clad from head to foot in heavy armor and wielding a greatsword. Oberyn dismisses Tyrion's concerns, noting that he always drinks before a fight and favors speed over protection. As Gregor and his squire make their way to the arena, Ellaria becomes concerned, noting that The Mountain is the biggest man she's ever seen, but Oberyn remains confident that he will emerge triumphant. Grand Maester Pycelle steps into the arena and begins making a long-winded speech asking the gods to favor the innocent before Tywin Lannister cuts him short and begins the trial by combat.
Oberyn, after impressing the crowd with a display of acrobatic spear maneuvers, goes on the attack, stabbing out at Gregor and constantly moving out of the knight's reach, forcing Gregor to tire himself out chasing his opponent. As he evades Gregor, Oberyn repeatedly taunts Gregor by constantly bringing up his part in the murder of his sister, Elia Martell, and her children, and demanding a confession, only enraging Clegane further. As the fight progresses, Oberyn manages to seriously injure Gregor, stabbing him first in the chest, severing his hamstring and then burying his spear in Gregor's stomach, pinning him to the floor. As Jaime and Tyrion exchange a relieved grin across the arena, a furious Oberyn circles the prone Gregor, demanding that before he dies, Gregor confess to murdering Elia and her children, raping Elia, and that it was Tywin who gave the order.
However, Oberyn stands too close to his seemingly defeated opponent, and Gregor manages to trip and seize him. Berserk with fury, Gregor grabs Oberyn by the throat and lifts him off the ground, smashing out most of his teeth with a single devastating punch. Climbing on top of Oberyn, Gregor finally admits for all to hear that he raped and killed Elia as he gouges out Oberyn's eyes with his thumbs before crushing the Viper's skull between his hands, which he proclaims having done the same to his sister. As Ellaria screams in horror, a stunned silence sweeps over the crowd. The short joyful moments for Tyrion and Jaime are shattered, as Tywin stands and proclaims the will of the gods is clear: Tyrion is guilty and sentenced to death. Tyrion cannot even reply, shockingly staring in catatonic astonishment at Oberyn's skull-crushed corpse, as does Jaime; the only different reaction is from Cersei, who stares at Oberyn's slaughtered body, listening to Tyrion's death sentence while smirking in vindication.
Cersei approaches Tywin and insists that she will not submit to a forced marriage to Ser Loras Tyrell. He attempts to dismiss the subject by stating that the matter is closed, but she persists and says that it is not just because she does not love Loras: he wants to ship her off to Highgarden and remove her from the court entirely, keeping her away from her last remaining son. With Cersei out of the picture, both Margaery and Tywin will attempt to get their claws into Tommen, each trying to manipulate him into their allegiance. Tywin refuses to budge, so Cersei plays her trump card: she threatens to destroy House Lannister by telling everyone the truth. Tywin seems confused, and at first Cersei scoffs that he is merely feigning ignorance. With growing realization, she assesses that even the brilliant Tywin Lannister never noticed what was going on between his own children, when all it would have taken was one attentive moment in the past twenty years. Tywin is still apparently confused, so with a merciless grin Cersei reveals that all of the rumors about her and Jaime (and their children) are true – she will tell everyone and destroy Tywin's vaunted family legacy, even though it will also mean her death and Tommen's death. Tywin shakes with barely constrained rage, but in denial he accuses that Cersei is simply lying to anger him. Cersei says she doubts he truly thinks that and leaves him standing in his chamber alone.
Cersei finds Jaime in the White Sword Tower, and he expresses disgust at her blatant attempts to have Tyrion killed. Cersei asserts that Tyrion killed their mother when she gave birth to him. Jaime is surprised that she still irrationally blames him for that, pointing out that he was an infant and had no control over what happened. He insists that Tyrion is her family, whether she chooses to accept it or not. She rebukes his claim, saying he is not her family and that they all have a choice, and that she chooses Jaime. She then reveals that she has spilled their secret to Tywin. He is stunned and concerned by her actions, asking how Tywin reacted to the news, but she states that she does not want to discuss their father. She begins to seduce him, saying she chooses her brother over everyone else in the world, no longer concerned with whether anyone else knows their secret. He yields to her advances, kissing her passionately and throwing her on the table where they begin to have sex.
Against the wishes of his father, and without the knowledge of Cersei, Jaime frees Tyrion. Despite correctly believing that he didn't kill Joffrey, Tyrion later kills Tywin.
Cersei arrives at the Great Sept of Baelor to pay respect to her deceased father Tywin. Once inside the Sept, she chastises her brother Jaime for freeing their brother Tyrion and indirectly causing their father's death. When Cersei is sent a stuffed red viper from Dorne, the pair quickly realize that this a threat and their only daughter Myrcella is in grave danger. In response, Jaime goes to Dorne with Bronn, in a bid to prevent Myrcella from suffering Joffrey's fate.
As such the pair are separated for most of the season.
In King's Landing, Cersei takes command as Queen Regent, though she arrogantly continues to view herself as the Queen. Due to her paranoia, and her inapt misjudgement of the Tyrells, she makes several disastrous decisions, which plunge the realm into chaos. Her most serious mistake is installing The High Sparrow as High Septon, and allowing him to re-arm the Faith Militant. When Peter Baelish returns to Kings Landing, he informs her of the survival of Sansa Stark, who is now under the 'care' of the Bolton's. Learning that Roose intends to marry, the woman Cersei believes helped kill her son, the Queen Regent threatens war against them but is eventually relents when Baelish advises to let the Bolton's fight it out with Stannis Baratheon, who is advancing on Winterfell.
Cersei's plans eventually come to fruition and both Margery and Loras Tyrell are arrested by the faith for crimes before the gods (Loras for his sexuality, and Margery for perjury). The Queen Regent goes so far as to visit Margery's cell in order to gloat. She subsequently visits the High Septon, which proves to be a grave mistake - as he has learnt about Cersei's own offenses from her cousin, Brother Lancel. Cersei is immediately arrested by the faith and thrown into a cell by Sister Unella.
Over the course of several weeks, Cersei refuses to confess her sins and receives few visitors. Following her arrest, few people remain loyal to Cersei, and finally in a desperate bid to free herself, she confesses to some of her lesser crimes. She is allowed to return to the Red Keep but only after making the humiliating walk of atonement, which Cersei does. As she walks the citizens hurl excrement and insults at her in equal measure, eventually reducing Cersei to tears. She makes it back to the Red Keep, where she is treated by Qyburn and introduced to a newly re-animated Ser Gregor Clegane.
Jaime meanwhile, manages to rescue Myrcella, only to watch her die in front of him after she was poisoned by Elia Sand.
Jaime returns from Dorne, after successfully forcing the last forces loyal to Robb Stark's memory under the command of Brynden Tully at Riverrun to surrender. He is horrified to discover that in his absence, Cersei has used the wildfire caches that the Mad King had stored beneath King's Landing to destroy the Great Sept of Baelor to escape her impending trial by the Faith Militant, massacring the High Sparrow, most of the upper echelons of the Faith of the Seven as well as most of her rivals at court, particularly those of House Tyrell. Jaime returns to the Red Keep in time to see Cersei being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms in her own right; as the court bows to its new monarch, Jaime and Cersei meet each other's gaze, and the look Jaime gives his sister is extremely cold, suggesting that their relationship is now irrevocably fractured, given Cersei has just committed the same atrocity Jaime sacrificed his honor to prevent seventeen years earlier, and has ascended to the throne over the corpse of their last child.
Although together throughout most of the season, Jaime and Cersei's relationship begins to weaken and eventually break down as the series progresses. Following Cersei's ascension, Jaime is cautious with her and is clearly not happy that she brought about the death of their last surviving child Tommen. Cersei on the hand has moved on from this, arguing that in her opinion Tommen betrayed her. She is now set on fulfilling their late father's ambitions; establishing a dynasty that will last a thousand years, with the Lannisters ruling the Seven Kingdoms from the Iron Throne. She argues that they are the last two Lannisters left now, no one else matters.
Jaime is a lot more pragmatic about this, pointing out that most of the other Kingdoms are in open revolt against the Lannisters, and that their army is still recovering from the War of the Five Kings, as well as the fact that winter is soon to fall and most of the food that was supplying the Lannister armies came from the Reach, which under Olenna Tyrell has declared war on the Lannisters following the deaths of Margaery, Loras and Mace Tyrell at the Sept of Baelor and with Tommen, Myrcella and Joffrey dead, they have no heirs to inherit the Iron Throne. Cersei however, has been scheming so she is not overly concerned about this. She secures an alliance with Euron Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, although she turns down his offer of marriage unless he proves himself worthy. He leaves promising to return with a gift that will win her heart. Jaime is understandably not pleased with this, but Cersei puts his fears to rest assuring him she only loves him. The two have sex following this.
Cersei and Jaime then meet with several Lords of the Reach, sworn bannermen of Olenna Tyrell, who has joined Daenerys Targaryen. Jaime vouches for Cersei and the pair are able to persuade most of them, including Lord Randal Tarly to abandon their oaths of fealty and to join Cersei instead.
As a result of these actions, the Lannisters dominate the early stages of Daenerys Targaryen's invasion of Westeros, defeating the Dornish fleet and successfully sacking Highgarden at the expense of losing their ancestral home, Casterly Rock. Ellaria Sand and her last surviving daughter, Tyene, are brought to King's Landing by Euron Greyjoy, who also sacks the Unsullied Fleet depriving Daenerys of her navy. Held prisoners within the Red Keep, Tyene is poisoned by Cersei and Ellaria left to die in their cell in an act of revenge for murdering Myrcella. Olenna Tyrell meanwhile, takes poison offered to her by Jaime who is now in command of the Lannister-Tarly army in order to save herself from a crueler fate at Cersei's hands. Just before she dies however, the Queen of Thorns tells Jaime that he is a fool for loving Cersei and that she will bring ruin to him and the rest of the realm, which clearly upsets Jaime. She also admits that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey, thus denying both Jaime and Cersei a chance at revenge.
With the gold from Highgarden, Cersei pays of all the Lannister debts to the Iron Bank and prepares to take out a new loan.
However, just when things are looking on the up, the Lannisters are dealt a devastating blow. Though the Tyrell gold successfully makes it to King's Landing, Jaime and his army are ambushed by Daenerys Targaryen at the Battle of The Goldroad. Drogon and the Dothraki, succeed where the Unsullied and caution failed, and the Lannister army is completely routed and destroyed - undoing all of the Lannisters' accomplishments in a matter of hours. Most of the survivors are subsequently brought before Daenerys and Tyrion, the former executing Lord Randal Tarly and his son Dickon (both of whom were originally vassals of Olenna Tyrell, and therefore Daenerys' allies) when they refuse to bend the knee. Thus Daenerys gains additional soldiers for her army whilst also demonstrating she will not tolerate traitors or show mercy to those that do not support her cause.
Though he manages to escape the battlefield, Jaime's eyes are opened and his confidence is dealt a devastating blow. Upon returning to King's Landing, Jaime tells Cersei that the Lannisters have now lost most of their professional army. Cersei dismissively suggests that they can simply hire mercenaries to fight on their behalf with the Tyrell gold, but Jaime points out that in his opinion no force can stand up to the Dothraki or a single one of Daenerys' dragons, let alone three of them. Cersei refuses to relent since doing so would mean giving up the throne. When she sarcastically remarks that Tyrion could intercede with Daenerys by way of apology for killing Tywin and Joffrey, Jaime finally reveals the truth about Joffrey's death. Cersei, who has been clinging to the hatred of her younger brother all this time, initially does not believe him but Jaime is eventually able to persuade her, pointing out that Olenna had far more to gain from eliminating Joffrey than Tyrion, as killing Joffrey would have left Margaery free to marry the more manipulable Tommen. Her eyes opened, all Cersei can think about is how Olenna cheated her one final time. Jaime again tries to be the voice of reason; saying that they need to come to terms with Daenerys if they want to live, but Cersei declares she would rather die than submit to a second ruler, and that Jaime as her soldier should be prepared to do the same, leaving him shocked as Olenna's words echo in his mind.
Later, Bronn takes Jaime into the depths of the Red Keep under the false pretense of a sparing session. Much to Jaime's shock, he finds Tyrion waiting for him. There is an awkward conversation between the two brothers, who are now on opposite of the conflict, yet still love each other to some degree. Tyrion tells Jaime that an even bigger threat threatens the realm, and that Daenerys wants to come to terms with Cersei and suspend the hostilities. Cersei's little birds relay inform her of the meeting and she is clearly not happy with Jaime for speaking to Tyrion behind her back. Never the less, she sees the advantages of parlay - especially since she is pregnant with Jaime's child. She assures him she will tell everyone who the father is and is no longer afraid to be open about their relationship. When the twins embrace however, Cersei whispered threateningly, "Don't betray me again!"
At the Parley in King's Landing, there is open hostility between the factions. Once calm is restored following tense altercations between Sandor and Gregor Clegane and Theon and Euron Greyjoy, Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon Snow try to tell Cersei about the coming of the Night King and the White Walkers, but the Lannister Queen considers it nothing more than a joke. The Hound, acting on behalf of Jon Snow, then shows Cersei and her allies a captured Wight. The Lannister twins (especially Jaime) and their allies are clearly shocked and horrified to see the undead creature moving, particularly as its first act upon being released from its confines is to try and attack Cersei. When Daenerys tells Jaime that the Night King has roughly 100,000 others like it under his command, Jaime is clearly mortified. Euron Greyjoy appears to desert Cersei, whilst everybody else argues they need to stop fighting amongst themselves less they suffer the same fate as the wight. Cersei then appears to accept the truce but subsequently refuses to honor it after hearing that Jon Snow has already sided with Daenerys. She storms off in a huff. Jaime follows and (at the urging of Brienne, who insists the enemy facing them all goes beyond houses and oaths) tries to argue that they need to accept the offer for the good of the realm, but by his own admittance, his pleas fell on deaf ears. Fortunately for everyone, Tyrion meets with Cersei and appears to persuade her to change her mind.
His hope and purpose restored, Jaime immediately rallies the commanders of the Lannister army in King's Landing and sets about the necessary battle strategies whilst marshaling the Lannister armies. He is soon interrupted by Cersei who dismisses the other commanders, in order to have a private conversation with her brother. She quickly informs Jaime that he really is "the stupidest Lannister", then states quite openly that she has no intention of honoring the pledge she has just made, as doing so would jeopardize her authority.
Jaime is stunned to hear this. He tries to remind Cersei about what they just saw, a dead man walking, but Cersei is dismissive. She argues that whilst the monsters may be real, it is of little consequence. The other houses (particularly the Targaryens and Northern houses) have already united against the Lannisters' interests, and she will not send her armies to fight alongside those that will eventually turn on her. Instead, she plans to let her enemies fight it out, and weaken one another whilst the Lannisters secure their position in the south, establishing dominion for both them and then their child.
A desperate Jaime tries to be the voice of reason as a military commander. He points out that despite what Cersei thinks somebody is going to win the war in the North, and that when that happens the Lannisters will face one of two outcomes. If the Night King and the White Walkers win, their undead army, its ranks swollen by all those who die fighting against them in the north will descend upon the South as clearly stated without mercy or compromise, and kill them all. If the forces of the living win, the entire realm will become aware of what has happened and know that Cersei left them all to die. This will allow Jon and Daenerys to unite their battle-hardened forces against the Lannisters and march south in order to overthrow the Lannisters for abandoning them. Cersei remains indifferent, never giving it a second thought (It's most likely that Cersei is aware of it, but denies the truth in order to keep her position).
After Cersei correctly deduces that something happened to Viserion, Jaime tries to drum into Cersei that unlike her, he has faced Daenerys' army in the field and knows that no human army can compete against the unified might of the Dragons, Dothraki and Unsullied. He also reminds Cersei that their army isn't large enough to fulfill their ambitions. Cersei then smugly informs Jaime that thanks to the victory at Highgarden they can now afford to buy the services of the Golden Company, the most powerful sellsword company in existence. When Jaime frustratedly points out the Golden Company is on the far side of the Narrow Sea and of no use to the Lannister war effort there, Cersei also tells him Euron did not desert her; instead he has gone to Essos to ferry the company over.
Upon hearing this, Jaime reaches his wit's end. He lambasts Cersei for plotting with Euron behind his back, only for her to counter his argument by accusing him of working to promote her enemies' interests, by conspiring with Tyrion. She ignores that Jaime did what he did for the benefit of the Lannisters and the realm, whereas Cersei only acted in her own selfish interests. Disgustedly recognizing that he is not getting through to Cersei, Jaime tells her that he intends to honor the pledge he made, despite Cersei warning him that in her view he is committing treason (while it is herself who has committed treason). Jaime responds in utter disgust that, in her eyes, there is nothing he can say that will justify his decision and moves to storm out.
When Jaime turns to leave, however, Ser Gregor Clegane steps in front of him. A bewildered Jaime turns to Cersei, who angrily declares "I told you no-one walks away from me!" Jaime then openly asks if Cersei is actually going to order Clegane to kill him. He uses the same words Cersei used following her ascension to ensure his loyalty; they are the last of the Lannisters, since Tywin, Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are dead and Cersei wiped out all the other branches of the Lannister line (with the exception of Tyrion who has been disinherited). Cersei stares unblinkingly at Jaime, and says coldly, "There's one more yet to come."
It is in this moment that Jaime finally realizes what everyone has been trying to tell him, especially Olenna. At long last, he can see Cersei for what she really is; an insane, delusional, power-mad tyrant, willing to jeopardize the safety of the realm in order to secure her own dominion, and who would betray and kill anyone (even those close to her) rather than to give up the power she's been craving for years. It is possible that Jaime can see a great resemblance to the Mad King in her (since Cersei carried out Aerys' legacy by destroying the Great Sept with wildfire).
Even so he does not immediately lose hope, and decides to test the waters one last time. Nodding to Clegane, Jaime goads Cersei, telling her to give the order if she is serious. As the two men watch expectantly, Cersei hesitates, but after a long moment, the Lannister Queen nods to Clegane who draws his sword. Jaime is shocked, but the killing blow does not come. He stares into Cersei's eyes, and the tyrant stares back coldly.
His faith in Cersei shattered, a disgusted Jaime tells her coldly "I don't believe you." signifying the end of his loyalty and their long-lasting relationship. He storms past Clegane, who makes no move to stop him. Cersei follows for a brief moment and stares after him shocked, speechless, saddened and angry at his desertion.
Jaime subsequently casts off his Lannister armor, signifying his resignation from his position in Cersei's entourage. Dressed in much simpler garbs and without second thought, he begins the long ride north as the first snow of winter begins to descend.
Because of her own stupidity and selfishness, Cersei Lannister has now lost the last true ally in her family, as well as the only man she ever loved and the greatest commander for her armies. As for Jaime Lannister, a man of honor, he has finally left the monster he has been protecting and loving for years.
Cersei considers Jaime's act of abandoning her, to fight alongside Jon Snow and Daenerys, as an unforgivable betrayal. She has Qyburn hire Bronn to assassinate Jaime, along with Tyrion, in case they survive the battle against the army of the dead.
When Jaime arrives at Winterfell, as he gets off his horse removes his cloak and sees a man in a wheelchair. He is then shocked to realize it is Bran Stark. Remembering what he did to him by pushing him down the tower when he witnessed him and Cersei having sex, Jaime couldn't help but feel mortified and guilty seeing what he done to that kid in order to save him and Cersei's relationship.
Copy-pasted from "Drogo and Daenerys", this listing is inaccurate.
|Season One 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|
|Season Two 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|
There is a range of promotional images and screen captures featuring Cersei and Jaime in the gallery.
In the books
Cersei and Jaime were sexually experimenting with each other since they were small children. Once their mother Joanna caught them, and responded by chastising them and moving their bedrooms to opposite sides of the castle to stop it - hoping that this was just small children experimenting. She warned them never to do that again, or she would tell their father; they need not have feared, though, because shortly afterwards she died birthing Tyrion (it does not mean Tywin has never been aware of that relationship; he might have been, but chose to shut his eyes to it). Given that Joanna died when they were both eight or nine years old in the novels, this must have occurred when they were at least that old.
Years ago, caged lions had lived in the bowels of Casterly Rock. Cersei and Jaime, who were children then, used to dare each other to climb into the cage. Once Cersei, who was bolder than Jaime, worked up enough courage to slip her hand between two bars and touch one of the lions. The lion stared at her, then licked her fingers. She would not pull her hand back, until Jaime took her by the shoulders yanked her away. Cersei teased him “Your turn. Pull his mane, I dare you". He wouldn't dare.
Cersei and Jaime conceived Joffrey while Robert was making a royal visit to Estermont island in the Stormlands. Robert himself cheated on his wife with one of his cousins at House Estermont's court during the visit.
Originally, Tywin had planned to betroth Jaime to Lysa Tully as another political marriage. Not desiring Lysa, Jaime was convinced by Cersei to offer to join the Kingsguard to get out of it, as well as to have a reason to stay by her side at the royal court.
On the third book, Jaime is going through a change, affected mainly by Brienne's positive influence and his maiming. Although he enjoys mocking Brienne for her naive perspective, he learns a lot about honor and decency from her, the woman who is the exact opposite of Cersei of all aspects. His conscience finally awakes, and opens his eyes to see the corruption, injustice and wickedness that he was indifferent to: he saves Brienne twice from gang rape, and from death at the bear pit. As a part of the change in Jaime's personality, he severs relationship with the two people who always had negative influence on him - first his father, then Cersei. He has sex with Cersei near Joffrey's body in the Great Sept (clearly presented as consensually in the novels, but poor camerawork in the TV series unintentionally gave the impression it was not - see "Jaime/Cersei sex scene in Breaker of Chains" in the "Season 4" section, above). This turns out to be the last time that Jaime and Cersei have sex, as afterwards they grow increasingly distant, as Jaime becomes gradually more disgusted by Cersei's brazen and self-defeating actions.
After Jaime releases Tyrion, Tyrion is so enraged to hear the truth about Tysha that he tells Jaime "You poor stupid blind crippled fool. Must I spell every little thing out for you? Very well. Cersei is a lying whore, she's been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know." Jaime wants to believe Tyrion lied to him, but Tyrion's words are confirmed by what Cersei told Jaime earlier "He's [Tyrion] lied to you a thousand times, and so have I". Throughout the fourth book, he is haunted by doubts.
On the way to Riverrun, Jaime pays a visit to his cousin Lancel at Darry. Lancel, who has become pious and deeply regrets his past sins, tells Jaime tearfully the whole truth about his part in Robert's death and that he was Cersei's lover. That confession clears any doubts Jaime had about what Tyrion told him, and enforces his decision to stay away from his sister. Jaime also realizes why the High Septon (the one who preceded the High Sparrow) was killed, and that Cersei is responsible.
The relationship between Jaime and Cersei goes sour to such extent, that each of them contemplates about disposing of the other: Cersei, concluding that Jaime has become more of a hindrance than a help, dismisses any dream she had that the two of them might rule the Seven Kingdoms side by side, and plans to get rid of him. Jaime, while drinking with Ser Ilyn Payne, considers killing Cersei; he decides not to, not because of the taboo of kinslaying or because he still has feelings for her, but because Tommen will hate him for that, and Margaery would likely turn that to her advantage.
Cersei cannot understand why her brother changed, and why he refuses to take part in her schemes. In her eyes he has become a weakling, whose wits were in his sword hand, and nearly as ignorant as Robert. She treats him contemptuously, thinking "How could I ever have loved that wretched creature? He has become a stranger to me", and rudely tells him to his face "You’ve become a ghost of what you were, a pale crippled thing". That does not stop her, however, from sending him a letter, in which she begs him to return and be her champion at her upcoming trial (that is before Qyburn creates Ser Robert Strong).
When Jaime receives the letter from Cersei, shortly after resolving the siege of Riverrun, he burns it - either to destroy any evidence of their incestuous relationship, or perhaps as a symbolic gesture of severing their relationship permanently; he sees no reason to help his unfaithful sister, whom he believes (correctly) to be guilty of every treason laid against her - among them incest, fornication and the murders of Robert and the previous High Septon. Soon he is on his way to Raventree Hall, and does not care that Cersei may be executed before he returns to King's Landing.