The final episodes of Game of Thrones Season Six left fans with a lot to process, but perhaps the most exciting developments were the new positions of power some familiar characters found themselves in. Daenerys Targaryen was last seen en route to Westeros with dreams of a large-scale invasion, while miles away Jon Snow found himself rewarded for his leadership in taking down the Boltons with the title of King in the North. Perhaps most shockingly, however, Season Six ended with Cersei Lannister on the Iron Throne, newly crowned Queen after her plans to eliminate almost all of her enemies in one burst of wildfire sadly also resulted in the suicide of Westeros’ latest King, her last living son.
Cersei’s rise to power was swift and unexpected and before most even had time to consider the implications of her queenship, the season was over. As we wait for next July, a burning question for most is less what Cersei’s rule will look like, and more how long she will truly stay in power…or even alive. The Iron Throne has proved a fickle seat of late, and the stability a monarch once enjoyed in Westeros seems long gone.
In light of these questions, actress Lena Headey whose portrayal of Cersei Lannister recently earned her an Emmy nomination, had some thoughts about Cersei’s future in a recent interview.
The actress had some interesting insights into Cersei’s state of mind after the death of her son, Tommen.”She’s so tired at this point. So tired of losing, of her heart aching, that she’s just going through the motions. The point with Cersei is her utter will to survive, to achieve validation that she is something. That she has nothing left to lose is not something she considers.”
Later, delving into Cersei’s mind-set as she became Queen, Headey also speculated about how Cersei’s relationship with her brother and lover, Jaime will play out in the coming season, “The thing that gave her humanity was her kids. They’re gone now. Her father is gone. [Her brother] Tyrion is gone. There’s no one to tell her she can’t, she’s stupid, she’s just a woman. I think when Jaime looks anything other than happy, she has a “f— you” moment. This will be such an interesting season for them. Where do they go? It’s so toxic now.”
Headey’s thoughts on the growing toxicity between Jaime and Cersei are especially interesting to consider. It seems the days when the two worked as a team, even if grudgingly so,are gone. While Cersei has spiraled ever down into a lifestyle of power hungry vindication, Jaime has been exploring his morality and his place in the world in recent seasons, leaving the twins with disparate attitudes towards approaching life and each other. With Jaime and Cersei at odds, one cannot wonder if Jaime will be Cersei’s undoing.
Cersei Lannister has forged a life built on fear. The prophecy that her children her will die and her brother (she suspects Tyrion) will kill her have loomed over her head since childhood, and in the wake of the prophecy endlessly being proven true, Cersei’s only defense seems to be to bear down in her sense self-preservation for herself and her family. Robbed of her need to protect her children, Cersei is finally in a position where her only priority is herself, and now, in a position of enormous power, it is not difficult to imagine her making cruel and irrational decisions as her sanity grows increasingly faulty. Cersei, always cold-hearted, seems to be growing wilder as her fear increases, moving from petty slights, and carefully planned political maneuvers, to mass destruction and vengeful torture.
It’s easy to imagine Cersei out of control next season, but it’s also quite simple to imagine her meeting her match in Jaime, who while out-ranked and out-numbered by his sister may gain the upper hand with his greater sense of rationality. With his love for his twin not once it once was, and with a new-found perspective on basic morality, we don’t need a prophecy to tell us that Jaime may clash with Cersei next season. Perhaps the greater question is, however, if the Kingslayer finds himself in another position where he must dispose of a mad monarch for the greater good, will he be able to find the strength to kill his sister? It’s a painful, twisted question that is right up Game of Thrones‘ ally.
Later in the interview, Headey comments on feminism in relation to Cersei’s arc: “It’s sad she never got to raise her daughter, we would’ve seen a great parent. Feminist, yes — early stages.”
Cersei Lannister is perhaps the champion of female empowerment in Westeros at the moment, even if she’s not exactly the role-model young girls in King’s Landing should be looking up to. Cersei’s rise to power is a refreshing addition to an unprecedented spike in “girl power” that took place in Season Six. With the Sand Snakes ruling Dorne, Sansa finding a place of power and respect in the North, and Yara Greyjoy working over-time to keep the Ironborn from falling into her nefarious uncle’s hands, Daenerys is finally in good company when it comes to women in roles of leadership. With women wielding a huge amount of power next season, it will certainly be interesting to see how dynamics shift in Westeros and beyond.
Cersei Lannister certainly never fails to surprise, and her storyline next season will no doubt be full of twists and turns. In the mean-time, lets keep our fingers crossed for Lena Headey as she waits to find out if she’s won an Emmy. If you can’t be Queen in real life, I suppose a prestigious award is the next best thing.
What do you think is in store for Cersei Lannister next season? Comment below.