We saw a kinder, gentler Cersei on the May 4 episode of ‘Game Of Thrones’ — does this mean she’s going soft? Or is she playing possum? Or is it simply poor characterization?
It’s fair to say that Game Of Thrones is known for its shock factor as much as it’s known for dragons. Well, on the May 4 episode — “The First Of His Name” — the most shocking moment was probably when Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) had not one, but two perfectly lovely conversations with Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) — people she considers to be her enemies. She even acknowledged Joffrey’s violent shortcomings! Were we in Bizarro Westeros? Or is Cersei just lying in wait?
‘Game Of Thrones': What’s Going On With Cersei’s Characterization?
After Tommen’s coronation, Cersei asked Margaery if she misses Joffrey. Margaery replied that yes, of course, “he was my husband. My king.” “He would have been your nightmare,” Cersei told her. This is the first time that we’ve ever really seen Cersei acknowledge how violent, and how poorly-suited Joffrey was to the throne. “Do you think I’m easily shocked?” She asked Margaery. “No.” “The things he did shocked me.”
Cersei has never been a huge fan of Margaery. In Season 3, when the subject of Cersei marrying Loras first came up, Margaery told her that they’d be sisters, to which Cersei replied, “If you ever call me sister again, I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.” So, I was kind of surprised to see the two of them having a measured, relatively pleasant discussion — Cersei even asked Margaery if she still wanted to be queen, so that Margaery could marry Tommen! In the Song Of Ice And Fire series, Cersei has never showed one iota of good will toward Margaery, and was never happy about the idea of marrying Tommen off to her.
Similarly, Cersei has always resisted the idea of marrying Loras — and in “The First Of His Name,” she agreed to marry Loras “in a fortnight” in a conversation with her father.
Then, later, she took a walk with Prince Oberyn, who has made his displeasure with the Lannisters very clear. It was on the order of the Lannisters’ that his sister, Elia Martell, was raped and murdered by Gregor Clegane, and Oberyn is happy to remind the Lannisters every time he has a conversation with them that they’re on his checklist. In fact, on the day of the Purple Wedding, Oberyn and Cersei had a spectacular sass-off where he told her, “I expect it is a relief, Lady Cersei, giving up your regal responsibilities. Wearing the crown for so many years must have left your neck a bit crooked.” “I suppose you’ll never know, Prince Oberyn. It’s a shame your older brother [the Prince of Dorne] couldn’t attend the wedding.”
‘Game Of Thrones': Is Cersei Changing Her Ways, Or Lying In Wait?
During their stroll, she could not have been kinder to Oberyn. Cersei asked him if he could give a gift to Myrcella for her, since she missed her birthday, and she asked him if her daughter is happy where she is in Dorne. Oberyn, kind of taken aback, assured her that Myrcella is happy — that “We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne,” alluding, as ever, to Elia’s death. Cersei replied that “Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.”
It was such a sad, sweet moment for Cersei — it was hard not to empathize with her. Her life had been utterly controlled by men until her husband Robert’s death, and when her machinations landed Joffrey on the throne and power in her grasp, it all fell away upon his death. Now she will be forced to marry Loras, and Tywin has made it quite clear that he’s pulling the strings of the realm — not her.
So, all of that said — is Cersei going soft? Are the GoT showrunners trying to position her as a more sympathetic character? Is it necessary to make her more sympathetic? Cersei is a strong, compelling character just as she is — power-hungry machinations, murderous revenge plots, cutting remarks, and all. Cersei was never this soft in the books.
Or, is Cersei just lying low? Will the following episode, “The Laws Of God And Men” have her go off the rails?
After all, Natalie Dormer told Entertainment Weekly on April 18 that Margaery’s relationship with Cersei is “going to get really nasty. The rivalry between them gets incredibly personal and venomous.” We haven’t seen a lot of nastiness between them and now — clearly, the worst is yet to come in their relationship. So, that said, it was very strange to see this kinder, gentler side of Cersei, unless we see in the next episode that this was all a play — that she’ll be unleashing her wrath on the Tyrells and the Martells very soon.
What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Is Cersei changing her ways for good? Or is all of this a play? Or, more importantly — is this simply bad characterization on part of the GoT writers? Don’t forget — Jaime’s rape of Cersei was not discussed between them in the following episode, nor was it even alluded to. The followthrough from the GoT team is not always stellar. Vote above and comment below!
– Amanda Michelle Steiner
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