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Queen Cersei Lannister

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cersei_lannister_s7.png
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."

Played By: Lena Headey (Adult), Nell Williams (Young)

"Everyone who is not us is an enemy."

Elder twin sister of Jaime and older sister of Tyrion. Mother of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. Wife of King Robert Baratheon and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros by marriage at the beginning of the series. However unbeknownst to her husband their children are in fact the by-product of an incestuous affair with her brother Jamie. Ned Stark's discovery of this fact becomes one of the main instigators that leads to the War of the Five Kings. She becomes Queen Mother to Joffrey, then to Tommen after Robert's "accidental" death. After blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor in order to remove her political enemies within King's Landing, an event so horrifying that it led to Tommen's suicide, Cersei crowns herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and the first of her name after all her children are dead, and seeks to solidify power within the Seven Kingdoms to create a new dynasty for herself.

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  • 0% Approval Rating:
    • While not as hated as her son Joffrey, the common folk of King's Landing don't like her much at all. Her haughty, crappy treatment of the subjects and the rumors of incest certainly don't do a lot to change that.
    • Her destruction of the Sept of Baelor which killed hundreds if not thousands of people, including Margery, Loras, Mace, and Kevan, and her grab for the Iron Throne after Tommen's subsequent suicide cemented her position as the most hated person in Westeros.
  • Abusive Parent:
    • She loves her children, but it doesn't necessarily mean she's a good mother. She was indirectly responsible for Tommen's suicide, by orchestrating a mass murder while knowing Tommen's wife would have been killed as well. As a consequence, Tommen is Driven to Suicide and she shows no remorse for it. Instead making his death about herself.
    • Her unborn child, whether it had been real or not, she actively uses to get sympathy from Jaime and Tyrion, however, behind closed doors she continues drinking ensuring it would have fetal alcohol syndrome despite knowing the dangers. Her final acts was to pretend she cared about it, only to make clear how she just wanted to live and didn't care about the unborn child.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, when Cersei's hair is cut off by the Faith they shave her completely bald. In the show, they leave her with Boyish Short Hair that isn't completely unattractive. She also has a perfect physique, while in the corresponding part of the book her body is described as having lost part of its beauty due to Cersei's age, alcoholism, and pregnancies. That said, the series makes little effort to polish Lena Headey's natural minor blemishes as Cersei, so the general idea of "beauty somewhat weathered by age" still gets across, particularly when she's paired in scenes with the blossoming Sansa Stark and the young, in-her-prime Margeary Tyrell.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Although still one of the villains, Cersei is far more sympathetic here than she is in the books. Not that this is particularly difficult:
    • In the show, she and Robert (allegedly) had a child at one point; but it died of a fever shortly after being born. In the books, Robert got her pregnant once, after which she had the child aborted behind his back.
    • Season 1 also implies that she genuinely loved this child by Robert, and their private conversation together suggests that she still had feelings for Robert himself at the time the child was born (saying she loved him "For quite a while, actually."), despite knowing he didn't love her back. These changes introduce a much more tragic and human side to her character, whereas in the corresponding book there's no real indication that she wasn't a cruel, contemptuous and hateful person from the start. In the books, Cersei already despises Robert before they marry because he killed Rhaegar, her lifetime crush, and she has no problem having sex with Jaime the morning of her wedding day.
    • Her promiscuity is toned down in the TV series. Aside from Lancel and Jaime, in the books she has "affairs" with at least three other men (the Kettleblack brothers) and also beds another woman (Lady Taena), all of which are Adapted Out in the show.
    • In the books, Cersei's love for Jaime is a twisted form of narcissism, as she sees Jaime as what she could have been were she a man (something she does wish), and when he returns from the war he's so changed that she no longer finds him appealing, so their relationship pretty much ends. In the show there is more genuine love between them, and their relationship continues after his return.
    • In the books, Cersei finds little wrong in Joffrey, passing off his cruelty as "willfulness". In the show, she's aware that he's a monster and grieves about that, but as his mother she loves him regardless, which makes her a more tragic character. To be fair, Joffrey is also nicer to her in the books.
    • In the books, Cersei is responsible for ordering the deaths of Robert's bastards in King's Landing. In the show, she admits to Tyrion that it was Joffrey.
    • In the books she has no problem having sex next to Joffrey's corpse. In the show she clearly wants nothing to do with it.
    • Kicking Tyrion about is nothing heroic, but in the show it's clear that she loved her late mother and mourned her death. In the books, it's mentioned that lady Joanna once found out about her twin children's affair and separated them for a time, but soon died. The tone of Cersei's narration makes clear that it was one obstacle out of the way for her.
    • She has much better reasons to be wary of Margaery than in the books and despite getting Loras arrested by the Faith Militant was an underhanded move, well, at least this time she didn't frame anyone (and she has gone after him in the books as well for far more petty reasons, albeit in a different fashion).
    • Subverted come the Season 6 finale, when Cersei's remaining sympathetic qualities go out the window and she reveals herself to be even more petty, cruel, ruthless, destructive, and dangerous than her book counterpart ever had a chance to become, with the Green Trial. Although since the adaptation's overtaken the books at this point, it remains to be seen if her book counterpart (who's already displayed a knack for killing innocents and burning things) catches up.
  • Adaptational Intelligence:
    • Some of her petty and idiotic schemes from the books are instead done by Joffrey in the show, which makes her less Stupid Evil, and she actually tries to renegotiate the terms with the Iron Bank instead of just telling them to go screw themselves and have the kingdom falling into debt and bad credit. Lots of her smarts come from being all around less narcissistic and hateful so she can actually think instead of assuming she knows everything. She took over King's Landing in a tour de main and while she isn't in a great posture she has already made herself an ally in the Greyjoys, the strongest naval power in Westeros, to keep Daenerys at bay.
    • In Season 7, this is even more in effect. Cersei manages to out-scheme a bunch of very devious characters and keep her cool long enough to fool pretty much everyone as to her real intentions; it's very hard to imagine her character from the novels doing any of those things.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Her book counterpart is described as a Ms. Fanservice character. Here, she's only seen nude once and it's far from titillating.
  • Adaptational Dumbass:
    • In the books, Cersei makes the choice to rearm the Faith Militant in order to secure the High Sparrow's blessing, who was already named the High Septon without any imput from her, to ensure Tommen was seen as legitimate, as well as dealing with the sudden influx of refugees flooding into the capital and wipes away all of the debt the crown owes to the Faith. Compare this to the show, where she only does it to piss off the Tyrells.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the books, her hatred of Tyrion is in part because of a prophecy that her younger brother will be the cause of her downfall. From the Books...  The show removes that part of the prophecy and instead implies that Cersei blames Tyrion for the death of their mother.
    • Cersei's motivation for empowering the High Sparrow also changes in the show. In the book, she makes him the High Septon in order to have the protection of the Faith Militant. She didn't try to have them to target the Tyrells until after she became suspicious that they were in cahoots with Tyrion. In the show, she empowers the High Sparrow and his followers solely to get back at Margaery.
    • She is the one to tell on the Tyrells' plan to marry Sansa off to the heir of Highgarden (Willas in the books and Loras in the show) in the show and then gloats when Tywin decides to marry Sansa to Tyrion instead, to their both misery. The reveal that Cersei herself is going to be married to Loras for her trouble comes off like a well-deserved kick of Karma on her face. In the books she had nothing to do with that scheme, Tyrion agreed to marry Sansa out of his free will, Cersei came off as a genuine victim when her father decided to marry her off without her consent and it was Tyrion who gloated on his sister's misery, not the other way around.
    • Come the Season 6 finale, Cersei's Adaptational Heroism is completely gone when she blows up a large majority of the nobles in King's Landing (including Margaery Tyrell and most her family) during The Green Trial, something the showrunners claim to have come up with on their own. For all of Book Cersei's many, many, MANY faults, not even she has come close to what is the equivalent of dropping a nuclear bomb on her own city to kill a bunch of people with no attention whatsoever paid to the massive collateral damage.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the books, Cersei is Queen Regent through all of Joffery and most of Tommen's reign, here, while she is regent for Joffery it seems like she has some how lost the position of regent. In a small council meeting, she says she is merely acting as Hand of the King until Tommen comes of age.
  • Admiring the Abomination:
    • She is quite impressed with the killing power of Gregor Clegane and is quite keen to ensure that he retains the same killing power after his poisoning. She's also highly curious about Qyburn's experiments, giving him the patronage that no reasonable or sane institution like the Citadel or Pycelle would touch with a ten foot pole.
    • Seems quite disappointed during a flashback to her teens when Maggy the Frog is an ordinary-looking woman and not a terrifying monster as described.
  • Age Lift: Like Jaime. She's 40 here, putting several years between her and her book counterpart.
  • Agony of the Feet: Her Walk of Shame through King's Landing has her leaving bloodied footprints in her wake by the end of it. Luckily for Cersei, she has Qyburn to attend to them.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After Tywin forces her to marry Ser Loras, she is reduced to tearfully begging her father not to make her do it. It doesn't work.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Dies sobbing in Jaime's arms as the Red Keep collapses onto them.
  • The Alcoholic: Season 2 sees an increasing number of scenes where she has a cup close to hand. During the attack of Stannis Baratheon on King's Landing, she's drunk throughout. By Season 5, she has a Lady Drunk reputation. Between Cersei and Tyrion, it seems like a safe bet that the Lannisters are genetically predisposed to alcoholism. From the Books... 
  • Always Someone Better: Maggy the Frog prophesised that Cersei would someday be cast down and lose everything she holds dear to a queen "younger and more beautiful" than her. Cersei has never forgot this and grows increasingly paranoid that Margaery Tyrell could be the subject of the prophecy, though this is never confirmed. She hates that unlike herself, Margaery seems to thrive as a queen, endearing herself to the people, having the trust and support of her family, and effectively manipulating Joffrey and Tommen. Cersei also makes it clear that she has always resented that Robert still preferred Lyanna Stark to her, even when she'd been dead for seventeen years. Cersei in fact lost out twice to Lyanna; she once hoped to marry Prince Rhaegar, but the Mad King chose Elia Martell as his bride instead...and then Rhaegar later ran off with Lyanna. From the books 
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Cersei has a black and white view of friends and enemies (with nearly everyone falling under the latter), is prone to risky behaviors such as her incest and alcoholism, has a poor control of her emotions, and has difficulty empathizing with anyone who's not her kids. It's widely theorized by the fan base that she has Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Ambition Is Evil: The only trait she inherit from her Lord father and her brothers didn't. Never satisfied with her station in life, she is by far the most power-hungry of the Lannister siblings, always equating power with victory, no matter the cost.
  • Analogy Backfire:
    • When Ned confronts her on her incestuous relationship with Jaime, she responds that the Targaryens did the same thing for centuries. The same Targaryens that produced the "Mad King" Aerys... even more of a backfire when Joffrey turns out to be more like Aerys than anyone thought. She even directly lampshades this in the second season when she confesses to Tyrion how sad she is that Joffrey turned out like he did. But, as Tyrion points out, she may have actually beaten the odds the Targaryens confronted (that every other Targaryen goes mad), in that two of her three children by incest are actually extremely decent people.
    • During "Blackwater", she tries to comfort Tommen with the fable of the lion who was meant to be king and was in a forest filled with evil things such as stags. Tommen points out that stags aren't evil creatures, they only eat grass.
  • Animal Motif: The lioness, albeit in a rather warped manner. Lions are the sigil of House Lannister and she's always considered herself more a Lannister than a Baratheon. She has golden hair like a lion (her short haircut in particular gives her a more leonine appearance) and often wears clothing and jewellery decorated with lions. Like a lioness, Cersei is fiercely protective of her children (even nicknaming Tommen her "little cub") and she can be very proud and dangerous. Cersei goes to great lengths to keep her family safe and provided for (and tends to perceive herself as doing all the work for the men), rather like a lioness who goes out to hunt for her pride. Unlike a lioness though, she's generally not all that willing to work with others to achieve her aims...or at the very least she'll pretend to play along until she has a chance to cut them off.
  • Arch-Enemy: She's never short of foes thanks to her "everybody who is not us is an enemy" line of thinking, but there are some who stand out:
    • Her despised brother Tyrion is this to her in Season 2, mostly because their father has seen fit to trust the outcast of the family with greater authority than her. What should be a straightforward defense of King's Landing is hampered by Cersei constantly working behind his back out of spite. This carries on to Season 3 but fades somewhat as both become marginalized from power by Tywin, and even become mildly conciliatory towards each other due to their similar predicaments. Season 4, however, cements Tyrion as her most despised enemy when she decides with no evidence he murdered Joffrey and dedicates her life to having him humiliated and executed.
    • With Tyrion's fall from power, her eventual daughter-in-law Margaery Tyrell is increasingly regarded as this, mostly because Cersei sees her for the overly ambitious two-faced social climber that she is and Cersei wants nothing less than absolute control over her sons Joffrey and Tommen. To compound things, Cersei has been warned about an arch-rival since childhood, and someone like Margaery fits the description as far as Cersei is concerned.
      Maggy the Frog: Queen you shall be, till there comes another. Younger and more beautiful. To cast you down and take all that you hold dear.
    • The High Sparrow becomes this to her in a much more conventional way, since she's a major obstacle in establishing the theocracy he wants.
    • Daenerys Targaryen becomes to Cersei this after Cersei takes the Iron Throne.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In Season 6, when Kevan initially is reluctant to go along with her plan to seize control from the Faith Militant, Cersei asks him, "Do you want Lancel back? Or have you given him up for good?"
  • Arranged Marriage:
  • Authority in Name Only: Cersei's title as Queen Mother only holds weight before Joffrey, and later Tommen, were officially wed. Despite sitting in on Small Council Meetings, Cersei technically has no real authority. Her title as Queen Cersei, first of her name, also counts as this since she only gained this position after killing most of her political enemies and usurping the position for herself and she has no allies to speak of apart from Jaime and those at King's Landing. And even those are under extreme question at this point. In the Season 7 premiere, Jaime even brings this up.
    Cersei: I'm the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
    Jaime: Three kingdoms, at best. I'm not sure you understand how much danger we're in.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Her marriage to Robert was a long, bitter failure as she confesses to Ned and Sansa. Her only source of happiness and comfort was her affair with Jaime (which is sad in itself) and their children.
  • Ax-Crazy: Cersei's behaviour over Season 6 becomes more and more unstable until eventually she nukes the Sept of Baelor with wildfire, uncaring of collateral damage. Come Season 7 everyone is treading lightly around her as she has become incredibly unpredictable and irrational, and when Jaime calls her out on lying about her allying with Jon and Daenerys against the Night's King and leaves to help, she contemplates having him killed on the spot out of spiteful rage. Jaime is lucky to get out alive.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Season 6 ends with her on the Iron Throne and her most immediate enemies dead, though it's rather clear she has more, and few allies.
  • Badass Boast: Cersei's declaration that "House Lannister has no rival" definitely sounds badass, even if she is the only one who believes it. And then she backs it up by removing her rivals in Season 6 and then doubling down on the Martells and Tyrells in Season 7.
  • Battle Ballgown: She sports one of these in the last half of "Blackwater", though as the next entry down makes it abundantly clear it's just all for show.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Inverted. Renowned as one of the most beautiful women in Westeros, she's also one of the most spiteful and sinister, whereas her brother Tyrion (a dwarf considered to be highly repulsive in-universe) is one of the few Lannisters who can be considered heroic and caring.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: All her life, Cersei wanted to be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She originally became queen by marrying Robert Baratheon, only for the marriage to end up a disaster from day one and she lacks any real power. She finds out the hard way that being queen regent is actually incredibly difficult, especially with an uncontrollable nutcase like Joffrey on the throne, and everyone from her daughter-in-law to her own dad is soon trying to wrest control from her. She finally becomes queen in her own right at the end of Season 6, but it has cost her almost everyone she cares about and her realm is extremely unstable, making it a rather hollow victory.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: She has a tendency to do this and even use it to her advantage. Prince Oberyn discusses Cersei trying to gain sympathy from him by discussing Myrcella in a blatant attempt to turn him against Tyrion; he notes that she might have even been sincere or started believing it while she was lying.
    Tyrion: Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts.
  • Berserk Button: Mocking her about her incestuous relationship with Jaime is a quick way of pissing her off — she responded to Littlefinger doing so by nearly having her Kingsguard slit his throat, gives a cruel retort to Tyrion when he jokes about it and is seen giving Ellaria Sand a Death Glare when she indirectly mentions it. In Season 8 when Euron asks her how he compares to her brother in bed, she looks sharply at him and then softly says "You enjoy risking your neck, don't you?" However, Euron being Euron, he just shrugs it off.
  • Betrayal by Offspring: She perceives Tommen as having betrayed her for his actions (and inaction) in Seasons 5 and 6, even after he commits suicide. Jaime is shocked by this and clearly doesn't see it that way, but doesn't contradict her.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In "Blackwater", she obtains nightshade from Maester Pycelle and angrily retorts that she knows what 10 drops of it does (kill you) and also has Ilyn Payne stand guard over the women taking shelter for the purposes of killing them if the Red Keep is breached. And at the climax of the battle she opts to sit on the Iron Throne with Tommen and is just about to give them both poison when her father bursts in. She believes that Stannis's men would gang-rape her multiple times before killing her, and torture Tommen to death as a false pretender to the throne.
  • Big Bad: Although there's a plethora of villains, in Season 1 Cersei serves most clearly as the main antagonist. She's a threat to the Starks, the Crown and the Realm in general due to her scheming. She subsequently becomes a Big Bad Wannabe, with the more competent and intelligent Tywin falling into place. In Season 5, she temporarily manage to take this position, only to be put back as a Big Bad Wannabe by the High Sparrow. She regains her position as Big Bad with a vengeance after killing the Sparrows and Tyrells and taking the crown for herself. And, with the demise of the Night King halfway through Season 8, she is the final character to hold this position in the series...or so it seemed anyway.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Cersei plays the game well during Robert's reign, but this is only because she's playing it against the Starks, who are too honorable for their own good. Once her crazy son is on the throne, she loses control in short order. Her plan to be the Woman Behind The Throne fails spectacularly when Joffrey orders Ned Stark executed and she's powerless to stop him. In Season 2, Tyrion constantly manages to out plan her with ease, and in Season 3, her father is clearly running things despite Cersei outranking him as Queen Regent, and outright says to her face that she isn't as smart as she think she really is.
    • This becomes painfully obvious in Season 5; with Tywin dead and Tyrion on the run, she is now the highest ranking member of her family ruling the capital and she still can't get anything done right. Her attempted manipulation of Tommen is undermined by Margaery and, instead of trying to properly rule the kingdom like her father would have done, she instead spends her time trying to humiliate and undermine Margaery despite there being literally no benefit in doing so. In order to get things done she turns the Sparrows into the Faith Militant and makes them do all of her dirty work which seemingly turns out well for her... until it's revealed that the Faith where merely biding their time until they had enough power to hold her accountable for her own actions. In short, despite trying to set herself up as a Chessmaster she ultimately gets used as a pawn instead.
    • As mentioned above, she ditches the "Wannabe" part with a vengeance by burning all of her rivals to death with wildfire in the Season 6 finale and assuming the Iron Throne. With Joffrey and the Boltons dead, this makes her the most powerful and antagonistic of all the human characters and firmly the Big Bad. Played with at the beginning of Season 7, however, as the ramifications of her rash act are made apparent by Jamie: she's alienated almost all of her allies, poses no immediate threat to her enemies, and anyone with half a brain can see Daenerys is favored to win any potential war. When she tries to threaten Jon Snow into submission with a letter, he doesn't take her seriously, since the Night King is a far greater threat and Cersei is out of range with no chance of being able to march up North and assert her rule.
    • Cersei comes full circle with this trope in the final season. While Cersei does manage to outlive the Night King it's only because she deliberately sat out the War for the Dawn and allowed the dead to kill off half of Daenerys' forces. She then kills Rhaegal and Missandei in short order to enrage Daenerys enough to attack with her full force where Cersei is confident that her renewed stockpile of troops and enhanced ballista's will give her the edge in battle. Instead of the victory she had hoped for, however, Daenerys and Drogon easily destroy her defences and Dany's armies march into King's Landing with little resistance. Once inside Daenerys goes insane and destroys King's Landing while Cersei is forced to retreat and is eventually crushed to death when the Red Keep falls on her. So in the end all of Cersei's pointless, petty moves accomplished was to drive Daenerys mad and turn her into the Big Bad instead.
  • Big "NO!": When Tyrion arranges for Myrcella to be taken away.
  • Big Sister Bully: Was always unpleasant and cruel to her little brother Tyrion. As noted by Oberyn, she called him "a monster" to strangers and presented him as a freak and openly abused him when he was a baby.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter / Spoiled Brat: If the flashback scenes to her as a teen are any indication, she was a selfish and entitled brat from a young age, expecting everyone to cater to her whims because of who her father is.
  • Break the Haughty: In her imprisonment in the Faith, she resorts to sipping water from the floor of her filthy cell. Her walk of atonement is specifically designed to do this, and by the end Cersei is sobbing. It's subverted by the end of the sith season, however, as Cersei is just as haughty as ever but even more murderous.
  • Break Them by Talking: After forty years of emotional torment from her father, she finally gets her own back by revealing the truth of her and Jaime's relationship, leaving him stammering that it can't be true.
    Cersei: Your legacy is a LIE!
  • Broken Bird: Her conversations with Sansa during the siege of Blackwater and her own descriptions of how she once loved Robert reveal her to be this. She had hoped for real happiness from her marriage, from being the Queen, but is appalled at what a sham it had become and has lost any ideals she once had.
  • Broken Masquerade: After her takeover in Season 7, she abandons any pretense of her relationship with Jaime being secret. She's in charge now, so why care what others think of it?
  • Broken Tears: After being locked up and tortured by the Faith Militant for some time, she is reduced to crying and screaming in despair. Later, as she completes her walk of atonement and reaches the safety of the Red Keep, she begins sobbing uncontrollably and collapses into Qyburn's arms.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: With Jaime. It's a huge part of her character and Bran Stark's discovery of this dark secret is one of the catalysts of the series.
  • Brutal Honesty: In her Pet the Dog moment toward giving Sansa advice on being married, she admits that Sansa "could try" to love Joffrey but probably wouldn't.
  • The Bully: Cersei gets a kick out of throwing her weight around and making underlings squirm. Pycelle is probably her favorite punching bag.
  • Bullying a Dragon: She also tends to antagonise powerful people against her own interests, as with Margaery and the Tyrells when they arrive at King's Landing. Ultimately subverted in Season 7 when the Tyrell army turns out to be a Paper Tiger as Jaime finds out.
  • Cain and Abel: She has Qyburn hire Bronn to kill Jaime and Tyrion (with a crossbow, which makes it Death by Irony for the latter) if they survive the war with the Night King.
  • The Caligula: She seizes the Iron Throne after murdering hundreds in a wildfire plot that causes her son, King Tommen, to commit suicide. Cersei is a tyrannical ruler who takes pleasure in the pain and suffering she causes.
  • Can't Catch Up: She can play speed chess well against her somewhat dim-witted husband and the honorable-to-a-fault Ned Stark, but after removing these two and moving a rank up she quickly finds herself out of depth. The fact that she doesn't have any control over her psychotic son whom she has made a king doesn't help a bit. Even after he's dead and her far kinder and gullible second son is on the throne, she's still outplayed by those around her. Her only advantage is that she is willing to do things others consider downright stupid, which leaves them unprepared as they assume she would never try it. And even this begins to fade as players like Margaery Tyrell figure out how Cersei plays the game.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Any attempt to call Cersei out on her poor decisions or dysfunctional plans will result in her brushing it off or entering a state of cold rage.
    Cersei: I've done nothing.
    Tyrion: Quite right, you did nothing...when your son called for Lord Stark's head!
    Cersei: I tried to stop him...
    Tyrion: Did you? You failed! That bit of theatre will haunt our family for a generation! Now the entire North has risen up against us...
    Cersei: Robb Stark is a child...
    Tyrion: Who's won every battle he's fought!
  • Chained by Fashion: After becoming queen regnant, she adds chains to her outfits to symbolize her newfound power and strength.
  • The Chains of Commanding: She has moments of fragility and self-pity where she laments the hardships of the regency that have fallen on her. Given her pettiness and dismal management, nobody really empathizes with Cersei.
  • Character Tics: And beyond, Cersei is constantly smirking when she's too pleased with herself, which happens all the time when nobody puts her in her place. Her brows usually go in sync too.
  • Child Marriage Veto: When Tywin announces he's betrothing her to Loras Tyrell, she puts her foot down and adamantly refuses to go through with it (considering how her last marriage turned out, one can't exactly blame her). When Tywin doesn't budge, she resorts to telling him that all the rumours about her, Jaime and her kids are true and threatens to make it public. This at the very least gives Tywin a moment of pause, even sending him into a bit of a Villainous Breakdown (accompanied by a good dose of denial), and Cersei's convinced she's won. After Tywin is murdered and so cannot enforce the marriage, it becomes a moot point.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Subtly in regards to Jaime. When she realizes Brienne has feelings for him and learns they saved each other, she wastes no time putting her on the spot with passive-aggressive comments, making Brienne visibly uncomfortable. She also glares daggers at her when she grabs Jaime's arm to talk to him during the Dragonpit meeting.
  • Consummate Liar: Of all the liars in King's Landing she is one of the best, as Tyrion points out she is good at using her honest feelings to fulfill her dishonest goals and even he falls for it at times.
  • Cool Crown: In Season 1, she often wears a gold crown shaped like antlers due to being married to Robert Baratheon (whose sigil is a stag). After becoming queen in her own right, she gets a new silver crown resembling an abstract lion's face (her own sigil); the mane also resembles the back of the Iron Throne, her ultimate ambition.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: If her back is to the wall she will do things that while not safe for her in the long run will make her enemies regret pushing her as reviving the Faith militant and exploding the sept shows.
  • Corrupt Politician: Cersei has all the makings of a crooked politician (dishonesty, underhandedness, a sleazy private life, disregard for the law, self-entitlement, paranoia, etc) and very few of the attached Evil Virtues beyond ambition and determination. She's also occasionally murderous, but much less so than other courtiers or her book counterpart, until she goes genocidal and blows up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire, killing hundreds, if not thousands.
    Cersei: When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • Even she finally catches on the fact that her methods of raising Joffrey didn't pan out so well. Not to mention applying a little bit of incest in his actual creation.
    • Blaming Tyrion for Joffrey's murder with no evidence and doing everything in her power to see him convicted drove him into the service of Daenerys. They may not have liked each other prior, but at least Tyrion didn't have any intentions of removing her from power.
    • She learned in a hard way that giving power to religious fanatics is not a pragmatic thing to do, especially if you were bedding your brother and cousin.
    • Cersei's murder of Rhaegal and execution of Missandei is the final straw that breaks Daenerys who goes completely insane and burns King's Landing to the ground with no quarter spared for soldiers or innocent civilians alike.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: She was initially optimistic about marrying Robert and becoming queen. However, on their wedding night Robert came to her bed drunk and called her by the name of his dead fiancee, Lyanna. It set the tone for the rest of their marriage and marked the start of Cersei's descent into bitterness. The loss of her firstborn son really cemented it all.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Played with in regards to Tywin. Cersei greatly admires her father and seeks to emulate him, even dressing like him in later seasons, but she also resents him for making her marry first Robert then Loras, for always being quite cold to her and never showing her the respect she believes she deserves. As a result, she has a complicated, love-hate relationship with him. Tywin for his part mostly treats Cersei as a bargaining chip and lets her know in no uncertain terms that he thinks she's not nearly as cunning as she believes she is.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Although she may be from one of the wealthiest and most powerful noble houses in Westeros and a queen, Cersei hasn't had it all easy going. Her father barely pays attention to her and never showed her much affection, her mother died when she was young and she was forced to marry Robert Baratheon, whom she soon learned would always prefer his dead betrothed, barely looking twice at her. He soon descended in alcoholism and whoring, causing Cersei to resent him; her firstborn child also died as an infant, leaving her utterly distraught. It's also revealed that since she was a girl, she has been haunted by a prophecy stating that she would eventually be supplanted by a younger and more beautiful queen who will "take all that [she] holds dear" and all her children will die before her.
  • The Dark Chick: The pretty one of the family, who Tywin plans to marry into House Tyrell and previously married into House Baratheon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments of this, especially in Season 2.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the typical wicked fairytale queen. Cersei's cruel and twisted nature is partly due to years of abuse and/or neglect at the hands of her father and husband. It also highlights just what a woman in a very patriarchal, medieval-like society would have to do to gain power, which ultimately comes at great personal cost for Cersei. While she is dangerous, she's also irrational and petty, leading to poor decision-making that backfires on everyone, including herself. Bumping off her husband to take control of the realm doesn't turn out nearly as well as she hoped and when she does finally come into power, her ruthless methods and general incompetence severely destabilizes her realm and turns a lot of people against her, including potential allies, and prompts some previously feuding factions to unite against her.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Although she doesn't become a monster, after she and Robert have a conversation where it initially looks like they're going to reconcile and improve their relationship, she is then rejected by Robert. This scene ends with Robert asking her how she feels, and her responding that she doesn't feel anything. Her subsequent actions make a lot more sense in light of this.
    • If she hadn't crossed it before, she certainly does when Joffrey dies in her arms in "The Lion and the Rose".
    • When she hears that a Dornish ship is sailing in, she immediately lights up and runs excitedly to the harbor to finally be reunited with her beloved daughter Myrcella...and then as she sees Jaime's expression and realizes what it means, all the happiness drains from her face.
    • Turns out there was still some sanity for her to lose, which she finally does when Tommen abandons her to her fate in the hands of the Sparrows, which prompts Cersei to mass murder all of her enemies she can at once — along with a good chunk of bystanders — and even give up on her son himself.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Her approach to ruling after taking over the Seven Kingdoms is this; she doesn't seem particularly concerned about what happens to her subjects even when she learns about the extreme threat the White Walkers pose and is unwilling to help the Stark-Targaryen alliance fight them, figuring they can just kill each other while she stays safe in King's Landing and gathers her forces to pick off the survivors. In fact, destroying a chunk of King's Landing and killing or injuring dozens, if not hundreds of people, is exactly how she claimed the Iron Throne in the first place.
  • Destructive Romance: Even without the incest, her relationship with Jaime becomes increasingly toxic. She's physically struck him at least once, at least two of their sexual encounters were in Questionable Consent territory (once from his end in Season Four next to their son's corpse and once from her end in Season Seven) and she has a tendency to bring out the worst in him. She is emotionally manipulative towards him, expecting nothing but complete loyalty from him even if she does things he finds morally reprehensible and giving him the cold shoulder if he defies or disappoints her (her dismissive attitude towards him and his Trauma Conga Line in Season Four is a prime example, spending her time bemoaning that he "took too long" and insinuating that she had suffered more). By the end of Season Seven, she comes close to ordering his execution when he calls her out on her behaviour and says he intends to honor their allegiance with the Starks and Targaryens whether she likes it or not.
  • The Determinator:
    • Cersei said it in Season One; "In the game of thrones, you win or you die." She never gives up in the fight for supremacy, even when facing a 0% Approval Rating, a foreign invasion with fire-breathing dragons, dangerous allies and half of Westeros allied against her. She continues to plot and scheme, knowing she just has to outlast everyone else.
    • She's relentless in her never-ending hatred.
    Sansa Stark: 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Basically her entire reign, both from behind the scenes and as the actual monarch, is a long collection of this, with each new scheme trying to clean up the mess that the previous one made, while opening a whole new can of worms each time:
    • She has her husband killed to prevent him from finding out that her children (and his heirs) are actually bastards born of incest. The news gets out anyway and the King's death opens a succession crisis, with several contenders coming to claim the Iron Throne.
    • She removes Ned Stark, the only person keeping her psychotic son in check, from power. Next thing you know, it's civil war all through the kingdoms thanks to said son's actions.
    • When Tyrion demands Trial by Combat when accused of killing Joffrey, Cersei rather shrewdly chooses The Mountain as her champion, believing no-one would fight against him on Tyrion's behalf. However, she fails to consider Oberyn Martell, the only man in King's Landing who wants to fight Ser Gregor, declaring himself Tyrion's champion. Worse still, her daughter, Myrcella Baratheon, was currently residing with the Martells in Dorne. When the Red Viper is slain, Myrcella's life is essentially forfeit and she gets killed by Ellaria.
    • In Season 5, she fails miserably at her father's level of scheming, trying to manipulate the extremist Sparrow sect into doing her dirty work. Pity she overlooked that her cousin Lancel, who had been privy to all her own dirty dealings, was one of their number. There's also her lack of concern for antagonizing House Tyrell, who the royal family are now wholly dependent on for their food supply.
    • A quick fix to being surrounded by enemies with an impending trial she's bound to be found guilty at? Burning them all alive in a spectacular bombing of her own capital. This puts her on the throne as the reigning monarch at the end of Season 6, but leaves her in utter political, economical and military isolation except for the waning resources of her own House Lannister.
    • At the end of Season 7, she goes back on her word about helping either Jon and Daenerys in fighting the Night King and disregards the menace he represents, as she is actively hoping that they wipe each other out while she stands back, fortifies her position and replenishes her forces with the Golden Company. She doesn't seem to grasp that in the worst case scenario pointed out by Jaime, should the Night King prevail, the Stark and Targaryen forces will be absorbed into the ranks of the living dead and she won't be able to outfight them, or should they win, they'll come back south and kill them for their betrayal.
    Jaime: When the fighting in the North is over, someone wins — you understand that, don't you? If the dead win, they march south and kill us all. If the living win, and we've betrayed them, they march south and kill us all!
    • Kind of trivial compared to the impending Zombie Apocalypse she's basically sponsoring, but she's planning on consolidating her power, should she survive the ordeal, by bringing in foreign mercenaries from Essos. After rallying what few loyalist nobles she could muster on the premise that Daenerys was going to invade Westeros with an army of foreigners. Her prospective approval rates sound like fun.
    • She gets this in Season 8; Euron helps rebuild her army and they manage to shoot one of Dany's dragons by surprise only and take Missandei hostage. Cersei hears Tyrion's pleas to surrender and avoid bloodshed, but as long as she has Missandei alive, Dany won't dare burn down the city. Instead she orders Missandei beheaded, to taunt Dany and invites the queen to war. Congrats, Cersei, you just lost your only viable leverage!
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight:
    • Her son Joffrey's wedding feast happens in a bright morning and everything seems fine until Joffrey's Incurable Cough of Death at which point Jaime and Cersei rush to his side only for him to gasp his final breaths in his mother's arms.
    • This is how she ultimately perishes. In the penultimate episode of the series, trapped in the crypts beneath the Red Keep by a caved-in passageway, she and Jaime share a final loving embrace before the crypts collapse atop them, killing them both.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The second one for Season 8. Despite outliving the Night King and it looking like she would be the Final Boss of the series her evil actions inadvertently drive Daenerys mad who proceeds to level King's Landing and kill Cersei. In the end Daenerys takes over as the Final Boss of the series.
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • A particularly disturbing one happens in Season 4: at the end of Tyrion's trial by combat, her champion the Mountain crushes Prince Oberyn's head into a bloody pulp all the while boasting how he raped and murdered his sister before killing her children. Pan to Cersei, who looks as happy she ever does.
    • After Tommen's body — in a rare moment of Gory Discretion Shot, to boot — is shown to her, she doesn't show much reaction, making it one of her most disturbing moments in the series.
    • When Qyburn reveals that the Army of the Dead has broken through the Wall, her response is a simple "Good".
  • Domestic Abuse: Robert strikes her, although unlike in the books, there's no indication that he ever did so before. For Cersei, it's very much the final straw.
  • Doting Parent: She genuinely loves her children, especially Joffrey, gives them only the best and would do anything for them (and we do mean anything). Tyrion even states that her love for her children is her one redeeming trait. Unfortunately, 'Doting' doesn't necessarily mean 'Effective'; she doesn't do much to instil proper boundaries and good values in her kids and it's strongly implied her indulgence of Joffrey is part of the reason he's so messed up.
  • Dramatic Irony: She never figures out that the real culprit for Joffrey's death is Olenna and not Tyrion as she believes. By murdering Olenna's entire family and effectively extinguishing her entire House, Cersei unknowingly avenges her son's death by taking away everything his killer held precious. When she actually learns that it was Olenna who poisoned Joffrey, she laments that she didn't went far enough and made her suffer before dying.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: After they hear the news of the Red Wedding, Cersei tells Tyrion to impregnate Sansa so that she'll have a child to love, to cope with her grief of losing her mom, brother and last hope of escaping King's Landing. Tyrion bluntly asks why that would make Sansa happy because it would essentially be rape. Cersei grabs a goblet of wine and starts rambling how Joffrey as a baby was the only thing that kept her going. Never mind that her relationship with Robert was consensual, he wasn't her children's father, and she wasn't a hostage in war.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Increasingly, she uses alcohol as a coping mechanism for the pressures of ruling and her tumultuous personal life, to the point of becoming a Lady Drunk.
  • The Dreaded: In a brutish way that lacks the somewhat rational manner of her father, she gains this reputation after she openly shows the Realm her unhingedness in the pursuit of her goals and gets to hold the power of the crown directly.
    Olenna Tyrell: Your sister has done things... I was incapable of imagining [...] She's a monster, you do know that?
  • Dumb Blonde: While Cersei isn't a complete moron, Tywin perfectly assesses her when he says that she is nowhere near as intelligent as she thinks she is. Her main flaw is that she continually underestimates people, and her level of misguided arrogance about her supposed political brilliance prevents her from seeing that she is wrong. She loses control of Joffrey almost immediately after he becomes king, and most of her attempts to dispose of Tyrion are laughable failures. In Season 7, she thinks that she will be able to plot her way to victory despite Jaime outright telling her they're fighting a Hopeless War and she's just delaying the inevitable...and then goes even further by thinking she can turn a Zombie Apocalypse to her advantage.
  • Enemy Mine: She teams up with the Tyrells in Season 6 to take down the High Sparrow. When this falls through however, she opts for Plan B: blowing everybody up with wildfire. Subverted in Season 7; she publicly pledges to help fight the White Walkers alongside the Starks and Targaryens after seeing for herself the threat they pose, but later reveals to Jaime that she never had any intention of honouring this ("I'll say whatever I need to say to ensure the survival of our house").
  • Enfant Terrible: Was no more charming when she was younger.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Implied that, unlike in the books, Cersei loved her mother. It's indicated that part of the reason she hates Tyrion is because she blames him for their mother's death.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved:
    • A truly tragic example with Tommen. He genuinely loves and trusts his mother, to the point that he shuts himself off in his room, refusing to eat or see anyone for days when she is arrested by the Faith Militant. However, even he starts to realize what she's capable of; after Doran and Trystane are murdered, he fully believes Cersei is the likely culprit (he's wrong in this case, but not wrong about her willingness to do such things). Upon realising his own mother blew up dozens of his own people, including his beloved wife, for purely selfish gain, he crosses the Despair Event Horizon and is Driven to Suicide.
    • Despite everything that has happened, and unlike in the books, Tyrion still loves Cersei. He wants to depose her, but he took it on good faith that she wouldn't endanger her unborn's baby future to hold onto power. Sansa called him out for believing any bit of Cersei was that "good". Though part of begging her to surrender in "The Last of the Starks," is to prevent unnecessary bloodshed, it's also that he knows death by dragonfire isn't a nice way to go, and Cersei's actions ensure that Dany will make it To the Pain.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • In a twisted, narcissistic way because she mainly views them as an extension of herself, Cersei deeply loves her children and twin brother... but not enough not to manipulate her sons for her powerplays or not hop into bed with Lancel while Jaime's away. However, she seems to be more in love with the idea of having children to act as smaller versions of herself than them being her children as individuals.
      Tyrion: Say what you will of Cersei, she loves her children. She is the only one I'm certain had nothing to do with this murder, which makes it unique as King's Landing murders go.
    • Throughout the entire show, Cersei never attempts to manipulate or use Myrcella; she acknowledges that Myrcella is pure and good and innocent, and wonders aloud how such a child could have been born to her. Even with all the horrible things Cersei has done up to that point, it's really hard not to feel for her as she mourns her daughter's death.
    • Subverted in "The Winds of Winter", as although she makes sure that Tommen is not in the Sept when she blows it up with wildfire, he's not put under any security afterwards and he commits suicide over the death of his wife (whom he actually did love) and his people. Cersei doesn't even bother to give him a proper burial, she just tells Qyburn to burn his body and throw the ashes on the ruins of the sept where his siblings and grandfather were interred, then has herself crowned the Queen. Come next season, in her twisted mind he somehow betrayed her by committing suicide.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She does not approve several of Joffrey's actions, such as ordering Ned Stark's execution and ordering a massacre of children.
    Cersei: Robert was a drunken fool, but he didn't enjoy cruelty.
    • She also despises Pycelle for his lechery towards young women and his general sycophantic tendencies.
    Pycelle: [ranting about Qyburn] He brought shame to the Citadel with his repugnant experiments-
    Cersei: More repugnant than your gnarled fingers on that girl's thigh?
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In the seventh season, when Daenerys requests a brief alliance in order to face off against the larger threat, the White Walkers, all Cersei can consider is how to best use this to her advantage. Even when given proof of their existence, Cersei chooses to ignore the impending threat because she'd rather Daenerys deplete her own forces. Even prior to this, when Jaime, who barely survived her overwhelming forces, pleaded with Cersei to consider surrendering, Cersei balked at the idea because she doesn't believe Daenerys would spare her because Cersei wouldn't if the roles were reversed.
    • In the aforementioned scene with Jamie, at first Cersei is dismissive of Olenna's reported confession about murdering Joffrey. All it takes for Jaime to convince her is stating that she did it because Tommen would be easier for Margaery to manipulate. While that might be true, Olenna's main concern at the time was actually sparing Margaery from Joffrey's abuse, something Cersei doesn't even seem to take into account.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Trades her dresses for an all-black wardrobe (which invokes the late Tywin's casual outfit very closely) in "The Winds of Winter", just in time to massacre the Sparrows, the Tyrells and usurp the throne.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Catelyn. Both are Mama Bear types who can be utterly ruthless, hold grudges hard, have difficulty controlling their newly-crowned sons and deal with the loss of children. However, Catelyn is Happily Married, is comfortable in her station in life and is good to most people, while Cersei is trapped in an Arranged Marriage, yearns for even more power and is mean and petty.
  • Evil Eyebrows: Along with her constant smirking, Cersei also usually has one or both eyebrows raised. They don't match her hair colour, which by contrast makes them all the more sinister.
  • Evil Feels Good: "Confesses" in the Season 6 finale that she really enjoyed every evil thing she ever did in her life. Murder, incest, and even the act of confessing all of this to a helpless captive brought her joy. Not to mention, she got away with lying to the High Sparrow about her affair with Jaime.
  • Evil Is Petty: Cersei won't miss an opportunity to make someone miserable, assuming she can get away with it. Best typified in "The Lion and the Rose", in which to make herself feel better at her son's wedding, she walks around looking for people to be a jerk to — first making Brienne feel awful about herself, then telling Pycelle to feed the wedding feast leftovers to the dogs instead of the poor (as Margaery had commanded), as well as threatening him with death if he doesn't comply. When Tywin asks her why she's smiling, she tells him it's just the little pleasures in life. Finally, Cersei is noticeably smiling during the ultra-humiliating play of the War of Five Kings, when even Tywin is forcing himself to suppress one — after all, they're sitting alongside the bereaved of two of the titular kings! This plays into her Stupid Evil tendencies, as she'll act to hurt someone who's wronged her in the short term without regard to the long-term consequences.
  • Evil Matriarch: A deconstruction of one for the Lannisters-Baratheons. While she genuinely loves her children (despite being an abusive mother) and would do anything to protect or avenge them, some of her actions prove to be a greater threat to the safety of her children than those of her enemies (who are often far more intelligent and competent than she is). In the end, her last remaining child commits suicide because of her, but by that time Cersei is too far gone to even care.
  • Evil Overlord: Becomes this at the end of Season 6 when she seizes the Iron Throne for herself after blowing up her rivals with wildfire, also destroying the Sept of Baelor and killing a lot of innocent civilians in the process. She wastes no time torturing her enemies to death, allying with other evil or at least morally-questionable folks to solidify her power (including a Mad Scientist who can create nigh-unstoppable zombie knights and advanced ballistae capable of taking down dragons) and makes it very clear she thinks being Queen of the Seven Kingdoms means she can do whatever she wants now. She even switches her outfits to black ones with armour-like patterns and accessories and has her guards dress in black too. Like many tropes in Game of Thrones, it's deconstructed; Cersei's atrocities have made her a lot of enemies and many of the Seven Kingdoms are in open rebellion against her. Daenerys Targaryen is more than a match for her thanks to her own sizable army and dragons. House Lannister's coffers are also running severely low after the War of the Five Kings. Cersei's able to rectify this by plundering Highgarden and using the money to pay off the Iron Bank, enabling her to hire the Golden Company to boost her ranks, but she now has to contend with an Evil Overlord even more menacing than herself – the Night King and his army of the undead, and they don't have to worry about money and angry subjects. As of mid Season 8, the Night King is defeated, seemingly leaving her as the biggest threat in Westeros now, discounting potentially Euron Greyjoy. She shamelessly intends to use the civilians of King's Landing as human shields against Daenerys's forces and talks to Euron about her grand plans to retake the North once the dragon queen has been defeated - then said dragon queen decides enough is enough, performs her Face–Heel Turn and demonstrates to Cersei who the true most powerful threat left on the planet is now that the Night King is gone.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Played with. Cersei doesn't so much actively raise her children to be good people so much as she refuses to believe anything bad about them; this primarily refers to Joffrey. It's saying something when Myrcella and Tommen, whom Cersei tends to overlook in favor of Joffrey, actually turned out to be much nicer and more stable. Cersei apparently didn't intend for Joffrey to turn out as awful as he did, even crying about it to Tyrion, but she didn't do a very good job disciplining him and teaching him good values. After Myrcella dies, Cersei laments that she was always so good and kind and that she "[doesn't] know where that came from".
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: The haircut she receives at the end of Season 5 makes her bear an absolutely terrifying resemblance to Joffrey. By the end of Season 6, we now know that Joffrey didn't just get his insanity and penchant for irredeemable cruelty from incest. Most of it was from her.
  • Eye Scream: Seems to be a favourite method of punishment of Cersei's — Tyrion recounts she had a servant girl beaten until she lost an eye when she was nine, and in 'The Wars To Come', she threatens to have Maggy's eyes gouged out if Maggy wouldn't tell Cersei her future.
  • False Reassurance: Towards Septa Unella in "The Winds of Winter":
    "You're not going to die today. You're not going to die for quite a while. Ser Gregor."
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Hubris. Cersei thinks she's way better than she really is and better than anybody else, which makes her think nothing about hurting people, and in her arrogance, she is reckless, deaf to council and unable to evaluate herself or make any kind of amends.
    • Additionally, her complete inability to play any sort of long game. Cersei only ever seems to plan for the moment, and this almost always blows up in her face later. To get back at Margaery, she empowers the Faith Militant with no consideration as to how this would affect King's Landing, only caring that Margaery would suffer. They turn on her as soon as it's convenient, and King's Landing comes within a hair's breadth of becoming a theocracy.
    • Her "Everyone who is not us is an enemy" policy doesn't help either. Cersei is good at manipulation, but negotiation and compromise is anathema to her. She desires the absolute authority of her father, but fails to understand that House Lannister is no longer as wealthy and powerful as it was before the war, and therefore the Tyrell alliance is a necessity. And the "us" quickly becomes "me" where her own family is concerned.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She can pretend, and at rare moments her beauty and charm allows her to come across as decent. It's what fools Sansa for so long.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • She considers herself the responsible one. She's actually the most foolish out of all three.
      Cersei: [to Tyrion] I don't care what you think! You've never taken it seriously; you haven't, Jaime hasn't! It's all fallen on me.
    • It becomes a case of Jerkass Has a Point. Although Cersei is far from bright, when it came to supporting her father's schemes, she was the one who had to do all the work.
  • Foreign Ruling Class: In Season Seven, Randyll Tarly says he'd rather be ruled by Cersei Lannister than Daenerys Targaryen, because at least Cersei was born and raised in Westeros, rather than a "foreign invader; one with no ties to this land" (although Daenerys was technically born on Dragonstone and forced to flee as an infant).
  • For the Evulz: By the finale of Season 6, she has more or less embraced this. She admits to a captive whom she is about to have slowly tortured to death that her main motivation for the evil things she's done in her life was that it all made her feel so damn good.
    Cersei: 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. [chuckles evilly] Even confessing feels good, under the right circumstances.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Her hatred for Robert stems from his using her as a Replacement Goldfish for Lyanna, to say nothing of his other ugly traits.
    • It's easy to see why she spoiled Joffrey so much when you take into account that she lost her own mother at a young age; the fact her mother died when she was young and her father was quite detached from her means that she doesn't really have any positive role models for parenting either.

    G-L 
  • A Glass of Chianti: A goblet of red wine increasingly becomes Cersei's favourite accessory. A notable example is in "The Winds of Winter", where she watches the Sept of Baelor and all her rivals go up in green flames while sipping on wine.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!:
    • She is not a pleasant person and groomed Joffrey to follow in her footsteps. In "You Win or You Die", she fully metamorphoses into this trope when she orchestrates a Hunting "Accident" for Robert. She shows snobbish disdain for the people of King's Landing and Lack of Empathy for her subjects. Tyrion initially assumes it was her who gave the order for the purge of Robert's bastard children, and she doesn't admit that it was something Joffrey really shouldn't have done.
    • Come the end of Season 6, she becomes the reigning queen after bombing the Great Sept of Baelor (with a good chunk of King's Landing as collateral damage) to get rid of her political enemies, causing her last remaining son to kill himself. In Season 7, her first acts as the reigning monarch are allying herself with a complete madman, inflicting (or at least planning to) a gruesome revenge on selected personal enemies, pillaging the breadbasket of the Seven Kingdoms on the verge of winter, making plans to indebt the Crown with the Iron Bank again after having just paid the previous debts, betraying the only forces that are trying to prevent a Zombie Apocalypse on her kingdom, and forcing her handmaids to adopt her pixie cut. And Season 7 doesn't even show us how daily life is for the peasants in King's Landing under her rule, or after the aforementioned bombing.
    • In Season 8, she has a captive Missandei executed after Tyrion tries to convince her to abdicate the throne, thus dooming King's Landing to violence, all because she's drunk with power.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • During Cersei's brief chat with Brienne at Joffrey and Margaery's wedding, she can't help but let slip a note of jealousy towards the strong, independent lady knight. Cersei also hates Margaery because she gains influence after marrying Cersei's sons, while Cersei's power wanes, and also because the Tyrell Queen is far more popular in King's Landing than Cersei is and ever will be.
    • Shae tells Sansa that she believes her bitterness towards her is due to jealousy, which Cersei goes on to immediately validate by drunkenly tormenting Sansa for- in her own spiteful words- being "so perfect".
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: Her gowns often include very long, wide sleeves, symbolising her wealth and high status, as well as her manipulative nature and the dark secrets she hides. In the Season 6 finale, she ditches voluminous sleeves for more practical ones, emulating her late father's outfits as she ascends as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. It could also symbolise how Cersei feels she has nothing to hide anymore; she's going to do whatever she wants now that (in her opinion) there's no one to stop her.
  • Hand on Womb: She announces her Surprise Pregnancy in Season 7 to Jaime and the audience by putting her hands on her abdomen, after giving Jaime a speech about how they'll destroy all their enemies "for ourselves, for our house. For this."
  • Hate at First Sight: Likely due to her own vanity and narcissism, she always seems to instantly hate any young, attractive noblewoman that she sets her eyes on — the most notable cases being Sansa and Margaery. Shae points out that it's likely jealousy. It may also have something to do with them being set up to become the Queen over her, which she obviously can't stand.
  • The Heavy:
    • In Season 1. In the series' first story arc, Tywin entrusts her with the task of seizing the throne on behalf of the Lannister clan and ruling King's Landing while he crushes all contesting forces to their family's claim in the field; she performs well at first until her son Joffrey becomes king...
    • After Joffrey and Tywin's deaths in Season 4, Cersei is back to being main villainous force in King's Landing in Season 5, until she gives the High Sparrow too much power, who subsequently turns on her. In the Season 6 finale, she kills the High Sparrow and claims the Iron Throne. In Season 6, Cersei presents a more immediate threat than the more distant Night King. Overall, Cersei is the show's most recurring villain.
  • Hidden Depths: Doubly so when Stannis's invasion approaches; she quotes Tywin on the subject of war and surprisingly she's the one who thinks up a defense via wildfire. She orders its mass-production and keeps this plan hidden from Tyrion. Her actual implementation is fraught with potential problems, however (shooting it from the city could easily burn the city down), so when Tyrion finds out he hijacks the plan and goes his own way with it.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In Season 2, Cersei urges Joffrey to call off his betrothal to Sansa in favor of Margaery Tyrell, making her partially responsible for most of the troubles she suffers over the next three seasons.
    • In Season 3, jealous of Margaery's influence over Joffrey, Cersei enlists Littlefinger to find anything that she can use against the Tyrells. Littlefinger discovers that they plan to betroth Loras to Sansa, so Littlefinger tells Cersei, Cersei tells Tywin, and Tywin decides to take the initiative by marrying Tyrion to Sansa, and Cersei to Loras, with the consent of none of them.
    • Cersei's stupidity and half-assed schemes catch up to her in Season 5 when the Sparrows she empowered finally arrest her for her lack of piety, namely her incestuous relationships.
    • Killing Missandei to spite Dany after killing one of her dragons ends up only further breaking the mother of dragons, turning the woman who had given her multiple chances to surrender to finally ignore it when Cersei does surrender, burning King's Landing down and killing Cersei with the collapsing Red Keep.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: To a fair extent, yes. Like her father, she'll never see anything positive about Tyrion, even if it's dancing in front of her, which often make her vastly underestimate him, even as she fears him by distorting what he's capable of, as well. She started to wise-up about Joffrey, but had been in denial for years about how unstable he actually was (answer: VERY) — this very denial caused soooooo many problems, it's unreal. And, then there's her tendency to belittle anybody who has faith in anything other than power or gold, which caused her to to massively misread the High Sparrow, for one. Listen to her tone when she says she has nothing to fear from him because "he's a religious man". It screams "an idiot I can use because he's religious" in subtext. Rather badly judged, there, Queenie. Almost as bad as deciding that you've managed to cow a tail-tucked Lady Olenna Tyrell...
  • Horrifying the Horror: For all her cruelty and brutality, Cersei is genuinely terrified when the wight Jon and Daenerys have brought to King's Landing bursts out of its crate and charges straight at her, trying to wrap its hands around her throat. Then subverted when she decides to ignore the threat and believing she could easily defeat the dead when they win.
  • Human Shield: Up to Eleven in Season 8. Cersei orders the population of King's Landing to shelter in the Red Keep to 'protect them' from Daenerys' army, but she makes it clear her actual intention is to protect herself, as Dany won't be able to attack her without endangering and likely killing a lot of civilians.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Much like her brothers, Season 3 is one long demonstration of Cersei getting knocked down a peg. Joffrey begins to disregard her. Margery proves to be far better at wrapping Joffrey around her fingers, and it becomes apparent to her that any power she had at King's Landing was quickly fading. And the icing on the cake was that despite being Tywin's favorite, he treats even her as an Unwitting Pawn and plans to ship her off to marry Loras so that he can have more power.
    • It only gets worse from there. By the penultimate episode of Season 6, Cersei has been completely outplayed by everyone in King's Landing, leaving her a powerless joke to everyone who knows her. Two of her children are dead, she's banned from the Small Council meetings or any prominent position in the royal court, her third child has completely turned on her, she was stripped naked and walked through the streets of King's Landing, she's been formally charged with incest and treason and is facing a trial she cannot hope to win, and all of it is entirely her fault. Even Olenna rubs it in Cersei's face that she's lost.
    • The Season 6 finale then demonstrates why humiliating and antagonizing an unstable and vicious individual who has a Mad Scientist and a Frankenstein's Monster knight on her side is a bad idea.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She calls Margaery a harlot and a whore, despite herself having committed adulterous incest with her brother. She also despises Margaery for manipulating the king and trying to become a power behind the throne... which, unlike Cersei, Margaery would prove seemingly successful at.
    • So, Cersei's cheating on Robert with Jaime was presented by herself as somehow justified by "true love" and her and Jaime "belonging together", adding that to her husband being an Unwanted Spouse who was whoring around himself, anyways? Fine... until Jaime is gone and Cersei starts shagging a cousin behind her "true love's" back, as part of manipulating him to help kill her husband Robert.
    • Cersei is deeply offended that Tywin played favorites with his children, favouring the gifted Jaime. Cersei has no problem playing favorites by focusing on her firstborn son Joffrey. Myrcella and Tommen are pretty much ignored unless there is some setback on the horizon.
    • She looks down on and tries to insult Ellaria Sand for being a bastard, but all three of her children are illegitimate and pretenders to both the throne and to her own House.
    • She deeply loves Tommen because he is her son, but shows little respect and concern for the actual individual, not thinking twice before undermining and manipulating him or before hurting the woman he loves because Cersei's power plays come first. At most, she views herself as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and at worst views him as an object to love.
    • In season 4, she accuses Tywin that once she is gone that he and Margaery would dig their claws into Tommen and fight over him until he would be ripped apart. Come Season 5, after Tywin's death, she constantly struggles with Margaery to manipulate Tommen, until he ends up killing himself after realizing that his mother's schemes ruined his chances of becoming a good king.
    • She repeatedly insults Daenerys for bringing foreign soldiers as part of her invasion of Westeros, but has no issue with having Euron Greyjoy bring foreign mercenaries from Essos to bolster her forces.
  • If I Can't Have You...: When Jaime announces he's leaving her to fight alongside the Starks and Targaryens as he promised, she comes very close to ordering Ser Gregor to kill him, though she can't quite bring herself to do it. Come the next season, she orders Bronn to kill both Jaime and Tyrion should they survive the battle with the White Walkers.
  • If Only You Knew: She threatens Tyrion that one day he'll love one woman and she will take her away just to spite him. That's precisely what happened to Tyrion's first love Tysha. Tyrion's response is to stare at her with utter disdain and leave without saying a word.
  • Ignored Epiphany: There were moments in earlier seasons where Cersei tries to be nice to people: Sansa, Tyrion, her son Tommen, and Myrcella. She also understands that doing everything in her power to protect and prop up Joffrey isn't such a good idea. Then Joffrey dies, she immediately forgets her past kindness, and goes on a petty revenge binge that ultimately leads to her unleashing the biggest atrocity in recent Westerosi history just so she can be queen.
  • I Just Want to Be You: According to Lena Headey, this is Cersei's Freudian Excuse for her incest with Jaime. There's subtle hints of it in the show too, such as Cersei discussing what she would do in Jaime's place, lamenting the fact that she was born a woman, and even doning an armored dress when the Battle of the Blackwater looks to be turning in Stannis's favor. In Season 3, it is implied that she prefers metallic accoutrements to her dresses because she associates it with armor. This in turn may something to do with her spitefulness at Brienne at the Purple Wedding, Brienne having seemingly defied her supposed station far more successfully than Cersei and being noticeably close(r) to Jaime.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Immediately after torturing Ellaria and giving Tyene Sand the kiss of death, she goes off to have sex with Jaime.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Despite seeing a zombie with her own eyes, she still underestimates the threat the Night King represents and hopes that the Starks and the Targaryens exhaust themselves fighting against them just so she can remain on the Iron Throne.
  • Irony: When Ned Stark offers her the chance to escape King's Landing with her children and live in exile, she famously tells him that "When you play the game of thrones, you live or you die. There is no middle ground." While the line is meant to portray Ned as Good Is Dumb, this is exactly what happens to Cersei and her family. Cersei loses all her children to the game by the end of season six, and after becoming queen herself, she dies with Jaime in season eight.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: No. When Tommen turns on her and sides with Margaery and the High Sparrow, Cersei opts to bomb the Sept of Baleor and kill all of his chosen allies. She spares Tommen himself, but her reaction after he commits suicide because of her actions pretty much confirms that she'd already given up on him.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. She mentions to Catelyn and later discusses with Robert how their first child died shortly after birth due to a fever.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: After Tywin is killed by Tyrion, Cersei is left to fill her daddy's shoes as the real power behind throne and as a political intrigue mastermind in Season 5. Having no foresight nor grasp of realpolitik, she fails on an epic scale when her attempts to sabotage Margaery backfires. It shows that Cersei is no Tywin, by a long shot. Even taking the throne for herself by killing everyone else that had a claim to it is likely to lead to her getting deposed in short order, given how many enemies she makes doing it.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Just because Cersei correctly guesses that Daenerys' dragons can be killed after all, she believes she can win against her enemy and it will be just that easy by hiring a company of sellswords to replace her exhausted Lannister armies. She doesn't realize that her scorpion ballista failed to critically injure Drogon one bit, let alone kill him and that something powerful enough to kill a dragon (like the Night King) should be a massive concern itself.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Cersei is widely praised as one of the most beautiful noblewomen of Westeros, although Olenna notes that she's growing old.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Tywin breaking the door in "Blackwater" stops her from proceeding with her son Tommen, because she was convinced the city would fall to the unflappable Stannis.
  • Ironic Echo: She begins shrieking "I am the Queen!" exactly the same way Margaery did when she was arrested by the Faith Militant. It's also not dissimilar to what her beloved son said previously, "I am the KING!"
  • It's All About Me: To the point of possible textbook narcissism.
    • She regards Jaime as a poor sight at the start of Season 4, complaining about her being left alone to suffer a siege in the capital despite being surrounded by servants and with several bodyguards, which she obviously thinks is so much worse than Jaime being a prisoner dragged from camp to camp, losing his hand, and being humiliated and despised.
    • Her main reason for accusing Tyrion for Joffrey's murder amounts to her believing that Tyrion did it to hurt her personally. It doesn't matter that Tyrion might have had much more legitimate motives for killing Joffrey; to Cersei, the motive must have been that he wanted to get back at her specifically and Joffrey just happened to be collateral damage.
    • In "The Children", she tells Tywin that she's be willing to burn House Lannister to the ground so long as she remains Queen and gets to have her children. In the Season 6 finale, we see this wasn't an idle threat when she literally burns down a good chunk of the city's skyline to take out the Faith Militant, Margaery, and everyone else that opposes her to make sure she stays in power.
      • This also dispels any further belief that she truly loved her children as she doesn't bat an eyelid at learning Tommen has killed himself. Cersei clearly only ever loved her children because they were hers to love, not because she truly cared about them as people, and as soon as Tommen became more trouble than he was worth to her, her love ran out. She doesn't even try to act like she'll love her unborn child, intentionally drinking to damage it and only using it as a bargaining chip for sympathy.
    • In Season 7, she ignores the threat the Night King represents despite seeing a wight pouncing towards her and pulls out her war effort because she expects her political rivals to exhaust each other fighting the Army of the Dead. She doesn't care about the realm as long as she remains on the throne.
  • Jerkass: Unfriendly or hostile by default, petty, vindictive, and an overall unpleasant person to be around. It goes without saying that she Hates Small Talk.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • It might be mainly because she's a bitch who revels in seeing others suffer, but what she says to Sansa during the Battle of Blackwater about marrying Joffrey is pretty accurate. Likewise, her assessment of Queen Margaery is mostly motivated by jealousy, but that doesn't mean she isn't right in seeing Margaery as a two-faced social climber.
    • While still hiding the fact of Brother–Sister Incest and giving birth to bastards, during her "confession" about adultery, Cersei angrily calls out the High Sparrow on Double Standard, reminding him what kind of a man she had been cheating on. Unfortunately for her, her conversation partner is unfazed, as he thinks All Crimes Are Equal and the king is now dead and out of reach anyway.
    • Although her decision to falsely agree to a truce to fight the White Walkers, while really using the time to consolidate her own position is a real dick move, she's probably right that the Lannister armies wouldn't really be of any help anyway if the armies already committed to the fight - which have dragons in support - can't win. And if the Stark-Targaryen alliance does win, they're going to go right back to fighting against her for the throne.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In the second half of the final season, she decides to let Tyrion have an audience with her in an effort to end the war before innocents are slaughtered in King's Landing, with both of them knowing that Cersei has contempt for her subjects. She stops for a moment to consider his words, and specifically his promise that she and her unborn child will be protected if she steps down. She even refuses to take the opportunity to kill her hated brother right then and there. And then, following a brief moment of consideration, she executes Missandei and dooms the city to violence, just in case you needed a reminder about what kind of person she is.
  • Kick the Dog: As she walks.
    • An almost literal incident, when she has Sansa's direwolf killed because Arya's direwolf — who attacked Joffrey to defend her mistress — is unavailable. It's also probably her purest example of this trope in the show: it's her first, showing what kind of a human being she is, involves an actual dog and is completely unprovoked — she knows full well that Lady wasn't involved with Joffrey's accident and Sansa, Lady's owner actually sides with him and Cersei.
    • In general, her treatment of Sansa when the latter is a hostage of the Lannisters in King's Landing, though this is strangely mixed with occasional Pet the Dog moments (like when Sansa starts menstruating).
    • She denounces Tyrion's relationship with Shae to their Lord Father, knowing full well how Tywin deals with Tyrion's ladies of company.
    • Tyrion's trial is a prolonged Humiliation Conga orchestrated by her to inflict as much psychological pain as possible (though in her view it's Kick the Son of a Bitch, as she mistakenly thinks that Tyrion murdered her son).
    • After her last son Tommen commits suicide due to Cersei's actions, she claims that he betrayed her... directly to his father in the Season 7 premiere.
    • Word of God revealed in this interview that she had Tommen's cat Ser Pounce brutally executed shortly after Tommen's suicide.
    • In the second half of Season 8, she has Missandei executed, dooming King's Landing to violence.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • In Season 6's finale, she finally gets back at Septa Unella, by throwing several goblets of wine at her face, chanting 'Confess! Confess!', calling her out on her hypocrisy, and gloating about the truth of the crimes Cersei herself has been accused of. It quickly morphs into Disproportionate Retribution though, as she subjects the septa to death by torture at the hands of Ser Gregor.
    • She orchestrated Grand Maester Pycelle being stabbed to death by various harlots and Qyburn's child spies.
    • Her torture of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes is not exactly her greatest of sins, especially considering that they murdered her own daughter, who had done nothing wrong, in nearly the exact same way.
  • Kissing Cousins: With Lancel while Jaime is being held captive.
  • Knight Templar Parent: She practically embodies this trope at times. Her protectiveness of her children combined with her ruthlessness and vengeful attitude results in her going to extremes to protect them...occasionally to their own detriment. Summed up very nicely with the following exchange with Tywin in "The Children":
    Cersei: When you marched into the throne room to tell me we'd won the Battle of Blackwater, do you remember?! I was sitting on the Iron Throne with Tommen. I was about to give him essence of nightshade; that's how far I was willing to go when I thought someone awful had come to take my son away. Someone awful is coming to take him away.
    Tywin: No.
    Cersei: 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, 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!
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Cersei will usually fight to the bitter end, being too proud to give up, but there are a few occasions when she realizes she's beat. In Season 5, she finally confesses to adultery after being imprisoned and tortured by the Faith for weeks and makes a humiliating walk of atonement if only to get back to the safety of the Red Keep. In Season 8's "The Bells", after Daenerys completely wipes the floor with the Iron Fleet, Golden Company and ballistae, Cersei realizes she has no hope of winning and reluctantly gives into Qyburn's suggestion to surrender, figuring at least this way she'll get to live. Unfortunately, she's managed to piss Dany off enough that she's unwilling to accept it and continues the attack. Cersei doesn't make it out.
  • Lady and Knight: The Dark Lady to Ser Gregor's Black Knight. She was also the Lady to Jaime's Knight for much of the series, though her increasingly cruel and irrational behavior eventually turns Jaime against her.
  • Lady Drunk: Cersei's trusty goblet is never far from her hand.
  • Lady Macbeth: She's behind some of Robert and Jaime's callous or outright evil decisions.
  • Large Ham: Especially when drunk.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • She once gloated over having Ned Stark in the Black Cells. In Season 5, she is tossed into one of the cells by the Faith Militant and the High Sparrow begins to collapse her house of cards, hard.
    • She also visits Margaery in her cells, specifically to rub it in. Then in the very same episode, she gets thrown into an even worse one.
    • She gloats over Tyrion being forced into an Arranged Marriage, only to find that her father has the same fate in mind for her.
    • She gloats a lot over Sansa, who started out admiring the queen, and hates her for the Arranged Marriage to Joffrey since that will fulfill the prophecy of someone younger and more beautiful succeeding her. Then Margaery gets engaged to Joffrey, and Margaery, unlike Sansa, isn't a frightened hostage but an active player in the game. Come Season 8, Sansa is safely in Winterfell surrounded by people who truly love and care about her, while Cersei has two political allies in King's Landing and the threat of death by a third queen who can succeed her.
  • Last of Her Kind: She's the last monarch to sit on the Iron Throne; Daenerys does manage to claim the Throne, but never actually sat on it before her death.
  • Last-Second Chance: In "The Last of the Starks", Tyrion tries to persuade Cersei to surrender to Daenerys, saying that neither she, her unborn child and thousands of innocent civilians in King's Landing need to die in an unnecessary battle. Cersei doesn't take it and has a captive Missandei beheaded for good measure.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Cersei would like to believe that she is the female version of her father, but she has all of his worst qualities and none of his talents. All she manages to achieve is a lacklustre imitation of Lord Tywin.
  • Love Is a Weakness: She believes this, because Love Makes You Dumb and compels you to do things you know you shouldn't to keep them happy and safe. The only people Cersei advises Sansa to love are her children since a mother has no choice in that.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Apparently, she used to have feelings for Robert when they married, but Domestic Abuse and Robert's love for Lyanna Stark brutally changed that. Her relationship with Jaime doesn't seem to bring out the best in her either.

    M-R 
  • Mad Bomber: Cersei outdoes the Mad King and actually manages to "burn them all" when she blows the Sept of Baelor sky-high with all her enemies inside it using one of Aerys Targaryen's old caches of wildfire.
  • Mama Bear: She goes to extremes when it concerns protecting her children:
    • When it looks like Stannis Baratheon will sack King's Landing, she even prepares to poison her youngest to spare him from getting murdered by the victorious enemy troops... albeit because such a massacre is exactly how her father came to renewed power and influence.
    • She is willing to "burn House Lannister to the ground" in order to stay at King's Landing protecting Tommen, according to her. But in reality, her lust for power is also a big factor, if not bigger.
    • When she receives Myrcella's necklace from the Dornish as an implied threat, Cersei is furious and declares she will have Dorne burnt down if they dare hurt her.
    • Her determination to have Tyrion executed after the poisoning of Joffrey also falls under this trope. As opposed to Tywin, who is just glad to have The Millstone out of the way and is willing to use a convenient scapegoat, Cersei genuinely believes that the accused person is guilty and seeks to avenge her child.
    • However, ultimately she cares more about herself and her power than any of her offspring. In the Season 6 finale, she shows little emotion to Tommen's suicide in the aftermath of her blowing up the Sept of Baelor. In Season 7, she becomes pregnant once again. Jon and Daenerys make it clear what kind of threat the White Walkers present and Cersei still decides to stab them in the back, rather than sending troops to help win the war. All this even after Jaime tells her that their child will not even be born if the White Walkers win.
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: Initially, she is utter denial about how much of a monster Joffrey is, but by Season 2 she can't ignore it anymore. Although she still loves and supports him no matter what, after he dies she admits to Margaery that the things he did shocked even her.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She's able to manipulate the likes of Ned, Jaime, Lancel, Sansa and a few others... but sharper characters like Tywin, Tyrion, Varys and such aren't fooled by her machinations.
  • Meal Ticket: To Euron Greyjoy. It's not her wealth he's interested in, rather that she's the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and so could make him king if they were to marry. Originally, he was going to propose to Daenerys Targaryen and help her conquer Westeros in exchange for his fleet, but Yara and Theon get to her first, so he allies with Cersei instead. It's unclear if she knows she wasn't his first choice, though she is well aware of his ambitions and hopes to use them to her own advantage.
  • Meaningful Name: Cersei is likely named in tribute to Circe (pronounced the same way) — the beautiful, duplicitous sorceress from The Odyssey.
  • Mood Whiplash: Due to Tywin's Wham Line. Just before that, she had been shamelessly gloating over the fact that Tywin was going to force Tyrion to marry Sansa... and then Tywin tells her of his plans for her, and she's brought nearly to tears.
    Tywin: You're still fertile. You need to marry again and breed.
    Cersei: I am Queen Regent, not some broodmare!
    Tywin: You are my daughter! You will do as I command and you will marry Loras Tyrell!
  • Motive Decay: A big part of her character at the start was that she loved her children and wanted them on the throne but as they die one by one she decides to take the throne for herself and grow distant of Tommen as time goes on. It reaches the point where she's downright callous when she coldly orders Tommen's body burnt after his suicide and doesn't even pretend to care about her latest child.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, her decision to break her pledge to aid the North and allow Westeros to hang as long as she can keep power, is seen as this by the previously loyal-to-a-fault Jaime, who is so disgusted that he leaves her for good to fulfill the vow.
  • Moral Myopia: She has a tendency to view things as heinous when being done to her or her children, and as okay when done to other people. See also Hypocrite.
    • She is greatly angered when Tyrion arranges for a marriage between Myrcella and House Martell, but has no problem mocking Sansa about beheading more of her family members before her wedding to Joffrey.
    • In Season 3, she smugly smiles when Tywin orders Tyrion to marry Sansa, and nearly breaks into tears when he orders her to marry Loras in turn.
  • Mrs. Robinson: In addition to being Lancel's cousin, she's also old enough to be his mother. The same would apply to her relationship with Loras Tyrell, if not the fact that both of them are equally repulsed by their engagement to each other.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Non-romantic variety. Cersei has Pycelle killed because he was the only other one Tommen was willing to listen to.
  • My Beloved Smother: She tried to be this for her children but has so far failed at it, rather spectacularly with Joffrey becoming an uncontrollable monster, Myrcella being spirited off to Dorne specifically to get her out of Cersei's clutches (and she reappears, it turns out Myrcella has no wish to go anywhere near her cold and distant mother), and with Tommen being virtually a non-entity to her — so it's far too late to start anew when he becomes King.
  • My Girl Back Home: For Jaime during the War of the Five Kings. His love for her gives him the strength and determination to keep going and get back to her - as he later tells her, he even murders people to return to her side. Unfortunately for Jaime, Cersei isn't all that appreciative, instead bitching about he "took too long" and "left [her]". She was also fooling around with Lancel during his absence, while Jaime has always remained faithful to Cersei, confessing as much to Catelyn Stark.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: As Joffrey rises to ever new heights of cruelty and perversion, she finally acknowledges that having three inbred children with her twin brother wasn't such a great idea — considering what it did to the Targaryens — to say nothing of putting the most unstable of them on the Iron Throne itself. She breaks down in tears from the sheer knowledge that the son she loves (despite everything) is a psychopath. Nevertheless, in later episodes she undergoes a mild Selective Obliviousness.
  • Narcissist: Cersei, much like her father, has a pronounced sense of self-worth. She is also practically a textbook case. Cersei sees herself as far more intelligent and powerful than she actually is. Her love for her brother Jaime is because she sees him as a reflection of herself if she were a man (which is also why she is notably distraught over his missing hand rather than any impact that it could ever have on his life). She loves her children, but moreso as extensions of herself than as human beings. She takes any perceived (real or not) slight extremely seriously and will often come up with forms of Disproportionate Retribution for it, even when she has absolutely nothing to gain by doing so. She also often tends to devalue and ruthlessly criticize and tear down those who come into contact with her. So, truly, due to the way Cersei's mind works, she is almost fundamentally incapable of not thinking everything is about her and ties back to her. So even on a more general level, Cersei is truly incapable of placing anyone's interest before her own.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: She feels like she is suffering under this in the male dominated Westerosi society, but Tywin bluntly tells her the real reason for her lack of power and influence beyond her family name is that she isn't as capable as she thinks she is; it can also be surmised that at least some of her apparent jealousy at Brienne of Tarth is how Brienne is by all appearances a relatively self-made woman whose family name isn't nearly as important to who Brienne became and what she achieved.
  • Never My Fault: Rare is the moment where Cersei ever considers her own fault in any situation, and even then it's fleeting.
    • A shining example is in the premiere of Season 7 when she declares that everyone currently rebelling against her rule is a traitor. She doesn't seem to understand that the major reason they're all rebelling against her is because she's a terrible queen who murdered hundreds of people, including members of her own family, to take power.
    • Later in the season, she declares that the fall of House Lannister, including the deaths of Myrcella and Tommen, is Tyrion's fault for killing Tywin because no one would have dared harm the family while Tywin lived. She seems to either not remember or not care that Tommen committed suicide as a direct consequence of something that she did.
    • When Jaime leaves her, she declares him a traitor, even though the reason he left her was because she was willing to let the people of Westeros get killed by the Army of the Dead just so she could stay in power, and he had been loyal to her upto that point.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Cersei is based on several queens with poor reputations — Queen Isabella (the She-Wolf of France), Queen Catherine De'Medici of France, and from the Wars of the Roses — Margaret d'Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville. The incest charge she's guilty of was also taken from another real-life queen, Anne Boleyn (although it was most likely fabricated), to go with Robert's own Henry VIII look.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Being a highborn lady, she never received any sort of combat training and relies on her soldiers, in particular Ser Gregor and later Euron Greyjoy, to do fighting for her, while she sits comfy in the Red Keep and schemes.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: After about six seasons of being sidelined, outmaneuvered, and humiliated by the other players of the Game, Cersei snaps and exterminates all of her rivals in King's Landing with wildfire before usurping the Iron Throne as Queen. She is directly responsible for killing as many or more major characters than anyone else has over all six seasons. She goes further with this when she has Euron Greyjoy working for her and is able to wipe out most of Daenerys' Westerosi-based allied teams.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: She's every daughter-in-law's worst nightmare. She's a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing towards Sansa Stark and does virtually nothing to stop Joffrey from tormenting her, although she does have a brief moment of compassion towards her when she gets her first period, offering her comfort and advice. She despises Margaery Tyrell from the moment they meet, partly because she knows she's a manipulative Social Climber but also out of jealousy and paranoia that she will usurp her position (it's indicated she fears that Margaery is the younger and beautiful queen prophesied to supplant her). She can't do much besides being passive-aggressive, although when Margaery remarks they'll be sisters-in-law after she marries Loras, Cersei rather cheerily remarks that she'll have her strangled in her sleep if she ever refers to them as such again. After Tywin's death and Margaery's marriage to Tommen, Cersei plots to have her arrested by the Faith Militant on trumped up charges and takes obvious pleasure in seeing her imprisoned and humiliated. Eventually, she has Margaery and pretty much her entire family blown up with wildfire and happily watches the whole thing go down with a glass of wine in hand.
  • Offing the Offspring: During the Battle of the Blackwater, she procures essence of nightshade with the intention of poisoning both Tommen and herself in the event the battle is lost, as she believes Stannis will have Tommen tortured to death while she will be raped. However, just as she's about to give Tommen the poison Tywin bursts into the throne room to announce that the battle is won, prompting her to drop the bottle on the ground. That being said, although she didn't personally kill him, Tommen's eventual suicide is a direct result of her actions in "The Winds of Winter". Cersei, of course, doesn't openly take any responsibility for this.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • It's very cathartic to see a look of terror on her face when the wight Jon and Daenerys have brought to show the greater threat, already pissed off at being roused from its crate, goes straight for Cersei with seemingly every intention of wrapping its fingers round her neck.
    • She quietly begins freaking out in "The Bells" after she surrenders to Daenerys, only for Dany to begin torching the city in front of her, closing in on the Red Keep.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Cersei adores her children and is extremely protective of them. When she learns Myrcella and Tommen are to be taken away from her, she is sent into a rage, screaming threats and even claiming she'll destroy House Lannister before she lets Tommen be taken. When Joffrey and Myrcella are killed, she is clearly distraught and vows revenge against their killers. However, when Tommen commits suicide, she barely seems to react at all beyond becoming a bit upset, instead calmly ordering his body be burnt and the ashes scattered where the Sept of Baelor once stood. She refuses to talk about it with Jaime, insisting there's nothing to say and that although she loved Tommen, he "betrayed" her, which clearly throws Jaime off. Cersei's almost callous reaction to her last child's death is a sign she's gone completely off the deep end; all she cares about now is her own hold on the Iron Throne.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: A prophecy implies (states in the books) that this tragedy would befall her. Her first child with Robert died because of fever and Joffrey and Myrcella begin to fulfill it when they were poisoned in Seasons 4 and 5. It's completed in the finale of Season 6 when her brutal machinations drive Tommen to commit suicide.
  • Overarching Villain: Begins the series as the de facto Big Bad for the first season before being hastily pushed into Big Bad Wannabe for most of the series after Joffrey proves utterly uncontrollable and far more effective masterminds such as Tywin, Olenna Tyrell and the High Sparrow leave her grasping at thin air. After a drawn-out Villainous Breakdown through Season 5 and 6 she goes off the deep end and wipes out everyone to usurp the Iron Throne. Towards the end of Season 8 she's finally brought down by Daenerys, the last villain standing.
  • The Paranoiac: Cersei fits just about all seven criteria. She never accepts the blame for anything, is extremely vengeful even when it comes to petty slights, outright states that she thinks "Everyone but us [her immediate family] is the enemy", is an utter Jerkass to just about everyone, looks down upon and tries to control people (in particular her children) and is so self-absorbed that she's almost a textbook narcissist. For much of the series she's very suspicious of the Tyrells, believing they're trying to usurp her position and seize power, although in this case she's actually Properly Paranoid. By Season 7, though, she's a borderline Conspiracy Theorist, accusing Jaime of plotting against her, even though nothing further could be from his mind and he's only trying to help, and after he's left to aid the Targaryen-Stark forces out of disgust at her callousness, she orders his and Tyrion's deaths.
  • Parental Favoritism: She gives much more love and attention to Joffrey than to Tommen and Myrcella. Considering the effects, the younger children probably benefited greatly from that. Ironically, she later claims that Myrcella was her favorite child.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Her very prominent brows emanate hatred even during her rare moments of levity.
  • The Peter Principle: A self-inflicted example. Cersei's alright at playing the game of thrones as queen consort, successfully orchestrating Robert's death and Joffrey's ascension as king. However, when she's the one actually holding the reigns, it soon becomes obvious she's out of her depth. She can still sometimes keep ahead of others by blindsiding them in the short-term, but she subsequently creates more problems for herself in the long-term she's ill-equipped (or unwilling) to deal with.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • She comforts Catelyn after Bran "falls" from the window. Despite the incident happening because of her (though she wasn't the perpetrator) Cersei's sympathy for Catelyn as a fellow mother who had her child hurt seems actually honest.
    • She convinces Joffrey to do something nice for Sansa during "Lord Snow", referencing her own unhappy arranged marriage.
    • On the event of Sansa's first menses, she counsels her on how best to survive a marriage to Joffrey. When Sansa asks her if she should love Joffrey, Cersei acknowledges it would be hard but Sansa "could try".
    • During Tyrion's wedding, she tries to divert a lecherous Joffrey away from Sansa. A somewhat weak and quickly abandoned effort but well-intentioned nevertheless.
    • Briefly comforts a nervous Melara during the flashback of her as a teenager.
    • She also stops Pycelle from sexually harassing one of Margaery's handmaids (though admittedly this could have been just to get the opportunity to abuse Pycelle herself).
  • Post-Final Boss: The first of two after the fall of the Night King. Whereas the Long Night was implied to be far longer than what was shown in a single episode, in addition to the Night King wiping out the majority of the opposing side before going down, once Dany attacks King's Landing directly, she manages to tear Cersei's forces apart in about eight minutes. After Cersei dies, Dany then replaces her as the second Post-Final Boss and is killed without a proper final battle by Jon.
  • Power Hair: A full season after her Traumatic Haircut, she ascends as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Despite generally being Stupid Evil, there are a few moments when even Cersei realizes that petty revenge is a bad idea.
    • Knows full well that a tame wolf is better than a dead one, so she plans to have Ned stripped of titles and lands and sent to the Night's Watch, though her plan fails when her son instead orders Ned's death. There is an element of Even Evil Has Standards here, albeit expressed in a cruel Ironic Echo: since Ned planned to exile her rather than allowing her and her children to be murdered, it is sort of "fair" to "only" plan to exile the Starks rather than killing them.
    • In the second season, even she seems taken aback by Joffrey's order to kill Robert's bastard children, not necessarily because of personal standards, but because something like murdering children and babies draws the wrong type of attention. She even seems offended that Tyrion initially thinks she was the one who ordered it.From the books...  However, she's also too prideful to admit he was wrong to do so.
  • Pride: A theme for the Lannisters. They all have a slightly different take on it.
    Cersei: He's attacked one of my brothers, and abducted the other. I should wear the armor, and you the gown. [Robert strikes her] I shall wear this like a badge of honor.
  • Princess in Rags: Queen Mother in rags, to more specific. In Season 5, she's arrested by the Faith Militant, stripped of her finery and imprisoned in a dingy cell with only a dirty shift to wear. And then she get stripped of clothes entirely and has to walk through crowds of commoners as part of her atonement. She does not take it well; she mostly retains her haughtiness throughout the ordeal, alternating between trying to bribe and threaten her captors, and dismissing Olenna Tyrell's blunt assessment of her situation:
    "My dear. You have been stripped of your dignity and authority, publicly shamed and confined to the Red Keep. What's left to work with?"
    • She bounces back in the Season 6 finale, killing all her enemies/rivals in one move and promoting herself to queen regnant.
  • Properly Paranoid: In a stark contrast to her book self, towards Margaery. Although Cersei started some of the antagonism herself, she's correct in her assumption that the younger queen is a shrewd politician with her eyes on being the power behind the throne; which goal requires removing Cersei from her position.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Although she's generally more sophisticated and poised than tantrum-throwing Joffrey and Viserys, Cersei has been known to behave in a childishly petty and petulant manner at times, especially when things aren't going her way. Her 'I'm queen so I can do whatever I want' attitude, tendency to ignore opinions and hard facts that inconvenience her and spiteful Kick the Dog moments can make her resemble a Bratty Teenage Daughter in a grown woman's body. Lena Headey herself says that she plays Cersei as a "kind of wayward 15-year old, who's never had any real parenting". Seeing as her mother died when she was very young, her lord father is very emotionally detached from all his children and she grew up quite sheltered and spoiled, it wouldn't be surprising that Cersei is emotionally stunted and immature to a degree.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy:
    • Cersei's smirking victory over Tyrion and later the Tyrells become meaningless as it comes with a high price. Her champion Ser Gregor Clegane winning over Oberyn Martell in Tyrion's trial on Joffrey's murder breaks new tensions from Dorne and leads to Myrcella's death. Jaime, out of sympathy for Tyrion, helps him escape only for Tyrion to kill Tywin on the way out, leaving the kingdom in her less-than-capable hands. Her reinstatement of the Faith Militant as a means to get back at the Tyrells backfires when she herself gets arrested and punished for her own crimes which also leads her own son Tommen to accept the Faith as part of their alliance to the Iron Throne.
      Olenna: You have no support, not anymore. Your brother is gone; the High Sparrow saw through that. The rest of your family abandoned you. The people despised you. You're surrounded by enemies, thousands of them. You're going to kill them all by yourself? You've lost, Cersei. It's the only joy that I've find in this misery.
    • The Season 6 finale she wipes out all of her enemies in one fell swoop using wildfire beneath the Sept of Baelor, but in doing so she drives her son Tommen over the edge, both figuratively and literally. Killing the Tyrells adds the plentiful Reach to the list of enemies of the increasingly powerless crown.
    • In Season 7, she gets to remain in power despite her armies being beaten by her enemies due to the White Walker threat looming from the horizon it must be dealt with before Cersei. She makes a truce with them which she doesn't intend to honor, just to see her rivals weaken themselves fighting the dead just so she can replenish her forces. However, this leads to Jaime, the only man who ever loved her to abandon her, after he makes it painfully clear that she won't be able to hold the throne in the aftermath of the new war with the dead. Sure enough when Dany is angered enough, with only half of her remaining forces and one dragon, she easily defeats the Lannister armies, Golden Company, and Euron's fleet.
  • Questionable Consent: Her sexual encounter with Jaime in "Breaker of Chains". Jaime roughly initiates sex in the Sept next to Joffrey's body while they're both grieving. Cersei pushes him away and says no, insisting it isn't right, but Jaime carries on anyway, angrily saying he doesn't care. This comes off as rape, but if one looks closely, Cersei actually kisses Jaime back and pulls him close while still crying about how wrong it is, which...complicates things. The actors and crew also said they didn't set out to shoot it as a rape scene, nor was it written as one in script. Cersei doesn't seem to hold it against him, either. Either way, the scene is very uncomfortable to watch and highlights just how effed up their relationship is. From the books... 
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Gives a nasty one to Tyrion in Season 2 after he makes a crack about her and Jaime's "relationship":
      Cersei: You're funny. You've always been funny. But no joke will match the first one, will they? You remember — back when you ripped my mother open on your way out of her and she bled to death.
      Tyrion: ...She was my mother too.
      Cersei: Mother gone. For the sake of you. There's no bigger joke in the world than that.
    • She tries to give one to her father midway through Season 4 (about how he's so self-centred about his family legacy he neglects his real family) but Lord Tywin turns it round on her in his ignominiable style. At the end of the season though she succeeds, thanks to dropping the bombshell of her twincest.
  • Regent for Life: One of the reasons she's turning progressively against Joffrey with each passing episode is that he ruined her plan to become his Regent for Life. It's her own damn fault for being a moron, but still. After all of her children die, she actually steps up and takes the crown for herself.
  • The Resenter: Especially for Jaime, but also for her father, husband and even Tyrion due to their respective positions of power which she believes came from the fact that they're men. While the society of Westeros is very sexist and she may have had a point back then, she's filled about twenty years since with exactly resenting others and doing nothing constructive with her own position of power as the damn Queen, which has led to the present situation where Cersei's completely justifiably being denied power due to her incompetence. Visibly so towards Brienne of Tarth, who by her achievements and not being nearly as reliant on being a Tarth as Cersei is on being a Lannister, much less on being beautiful, pokes a sharp hole in Cersei's worldview.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • She tends to focus on harming her enemies — real or imaginary — first, and thinking about the consequences... uh, sometime later. Maybe. A shining example is her ploy to undermine the Tyrells in Season 5. Not only does Cersei's claim to power rely on the Lannister-Tyrell alliance (meaning that, if the Tyrells are undermined, she is undermined as well), but Cersei's scheme directly results in her own imprisonment, public humiliation, and complete loss of political power and control. Most halfway intelligent people would realize they've lost and do their best to mitigate the damage and avoid future misery. Cersei is not one of these people, and actually proceeds to top herself in Season 6's finale when she blows up the Sept of Baelor during the Green Trial, destroying all of her opponents in King's Landing, along with a good part of the city. It's one of the very few plans she actually executes successfully, but it leaves her as the target of pretty much every remaining faction in Westeros. Of course, by that time her sanity is so long gone it's hard to even speak of "reason". And this time she may have been genuinely more interested in just making her enemies suffer than in gaining anything for herself.
    • A perfect example is also her willingness to have Sansa dead because she suspects that the latter poisoned Joffrey (she didn't). But she does not take it into a consideration one bit that Joffrey caused so many misfortunes to Sansa including the execution of her father as well wanting to give her the head of her brother.
  • Rich Bitch: She's from the wealthiest Great House in Westeros and has the ego to match. She swans around in fancy clothes, drinking fine wine and being waited upon by servants while the population of King's Landing starve during the War of the Five Kings. She doesn't just look down on the lower classes, but also anyone who isn't her immediate family. In Season 7, she makes it very clear she doesn't give two hoots what the smallfolk think of her, reminding Jaime of their father's saying: "The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." And then there's her initial reaction to the news of the undead army marching south:
    Jon Snow: Lord Tyrion tells me a million people live in [King's Landing]. They're about to become a million more soldiers in the army of the dead.
  • Royal Inbreeding: Her first three children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen were already inbred due to her affairs with Jaime, but he wasn't a member of the royal family. When she becomes Queen of Westeros and Jaime essentially her consort in all but name, she tells him that she's pregnant again and won't bother hiding that he's the father from her subjects. When Jaime says that the people won't like it, she just shrugs it off with a "whatever I say goes".

    S-Z 
  • Sanity Slippage: She is much more calm, collected, and rational in the first season than she is in the second. Her loss of Jaime and Joffrey's increasingly out of control attitude, complemented by her father's suddenly dismissive attitude towards her don't seem to be doing well for her mental faculties. Her despair over her daughter Myrcella's impending Arranged Marriage can't help, either. She comes within inches of poisoning Tommen during "Blackwater" when she thinks that Stannis is about to break down the door. In "The Lion and the Rose", she's outright screaming with rage at Tyrion, as she believes he poisoned Joffrey, and by Season 5 she's noticeably resorting to alcohol continuously, further worsening her condition. By the end of Season 6, she's clearly gone off the deep end. She not only blows up the Sept of Baelor and dozens of nobles within, including her uncle Kevan and three of the four Tyrells, but she doesn't care at all that Tommen kills himself in the aftermath. She still believes she can create a great dynasty with her children dead and surrounded by enemies. In the Season 7 premiere, Jaime actually calls her out on this last point.
    Cersei:I understand whoever wins could launch a dynasty that lasts a thousand years.
    Jaime: A dynasty for whom? Our children are dead. We're the last of us.
    Cersei: A dynasty for us, then.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: After getting herself crowned queen, she has this attitude, particularly when it comes to her incestuous relationship with Jaime. While they're in bed together, Cersei's handmaiden knocks at the door and Cersei simply chucks a robe on and goes to answer it. When Jaime protests, she replies "I am the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, I'll do as I please" before opening the door with a smug smile.
  • Screw Yourself: Her incest with Jaime is, according to the cast and crew and in consonance with her thoughts in the books, her attempt to get as close as she can to making this a reality. She sees Jaime as what she was actually meant to be and denied the privilege of being by being born a woman. Thus by having sexual intercourse with Jaime, she is, in her own mind, not engaging in incest but rather incredibly metaphorical masturbation.
  • Secret Relationship: With Jaime, partly because they're twin siblings and partly because she's married to Robert. That being said, it becomes increasingly obvious that it's practically an Open Secret at court and by Season 7 Cersei isn't even bothering to hide it anymore.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Maggy the Frog told her that all three of her children would die. Cersei's own actions, in various ways, lead to this outcome. Joffrey dies because Cersei coddled him throughout his early life and then couldn't control him when he was made king, which led to him being poisoned because he was out of control. Myrcella died because the Mountain killed Oberyn, which in turn only happened because Cersei was determined to punish Tyrion for killing Joffrey without any proof that he was responsible. Finally, Tommen kills himself after Cersei detonates the wildfire under the Great Sept of Baelor, killing Margaery among many others.
  • Shadow Archetype: Cersei is the picture of what could have gone wrong with several other female characters who shared some characteristics with her:
    • To Sansa. They were both sheltered daddy's girls from noble families, living a fantasy of marrying a Prince Charming, which in both cases has gone horribly wrong, leaving them both disillusioned. Sansa's kinder nature and not actually spending years in a horrible marriage have left her in better mental shape than Cersei, for now at least.
    • Tywin notes a similarity between a young Cersei and Arya in their spirited and rebellious natures. However, Cersei was forced by Tywin to conform to the standard submissive role for a Westerosi woman, and put her energy into becoming an evil queen.
    • Both Tyrell women, Margaery and Olenna, share many traits with Cersei — they're manipulative, willing to use seduction (in Olenna's case, in the past) to further their goals and were "blessed" with not particularly politically competent husbands. Olenna and Cersei also share ruthlessness and and similarities in their acts go as far as committing a regicide and letting an innocent man take the fall. However, by growing (at least in Margaery's case) in a household where the female role was valued and taught — instead of being reduced to a property of a man and a piece to haggle — and being sane and having an ounce of common sense, they get out of their roles everything Cersei couldn't: Margaery is a popular queen and gets to manipulate even Joffrey, and Olenna is the real head of her family who has raised a capable heiress and is the closest thing the series has to a female Tywin.
  • A Shared Suffering: Shows a short-lived sisterly attitude towards Tyrion after Tywin reminds them both of the joy of living under his domineering thumb.
  • Shed the Family Name: Inverted Trope. Cersei again takes up the Lannister name as Queen instead of Baratheon.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Displays an open animosity towards Tyrion, which gets incensed when their father entrusts him with power. She has wished the death of Tyrion since the day he was born. Tyrion doesn't reciprocate beyond the occasional quip because intellectually and humanely, he's way above her level. She also harbors some resentment over Tywin favouring Jaime.
  • Smart Ball: This is debatable, as in Season 7 she manages to turn around a war in which she was hopelessly outmatched to one that she has a very slim chance of actually winning. Of course, a good deal of this is due to Jaime's influence, Tyrions decreasing intellect, and the rest due to a lack of those to restrain her leading to her willingness to sacrifice a lot of long-term stability for short-term victories that ultimately mean very little. It doesn't completely erase her shortsighted behavior and her It's All About Me attitude gets exponentially worse.
  • Smug Smiler: There probably isn't a character from any medium ever to compete with that contemptible, irritating smirk that she wears constantly, except for when her schemes backfire on her.
  • Smug Snake:
    • While she is indeed a somewhat competent/lucky schemer, she is not as brilliant as she thinks herself to be and her self-entitlement, pettiness and overconfidence often render her blindsided, and she always struggles to grasp that she's in over her head when she has been outplayed. Her own father even points out that she overestimates her own intelligence.
      Lord Tywin: I don't distrust you because you're a woman. I distrust you because you're not as smart as you think you are. You've allowed that boy to ride roughshod over you and everyone else in this city.
    • During her dinner with Tyrion in "The Prince of Winterfell", she gloats over the fact that she's holding Tyrion's whore hostage, while both Tyrion and the viewers know she's got the wrong woman altogether. Not that that makes Tyrion any less pissed at her contemptible behavior.
    • Despite considering herself a keen player in the game of thrones, none of her plans ever truly succeed. Indeed, in most cases, her actions end up backfiring on her horribly, particularly her plan to rule Westeros behind the scenes while Joffrey sat on the throne. The most Cersei ever appears to achieve are very small, petty victories over people much less powerful than her, and that desire for short-lived sense of satisfaction irrespective of whether it actually improves her position or accomplishes anything in the long run is textbook Smug Snake.
    • At the end of Season 6, while she does eventually manage to outmanoeuvre her enemies to become crowned Queen, the rather extensive point made under Pyrrhic Victory above mean that this isn't exactly the glorious triumph it might otherwise seem to be.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: While carrying out her monstrous actions during "The Winds of Winter", she keeps a very soft tone of voice. This is especially apparent in her treatment of Sister Unella.
  • Spanner in the Works: To Tywin and Jaime in "The Laws of Gods and Men" when she calls Shae to the stand at Tyrion's trial. Tywin and Jaime had originally planned on sending Tyrion to the Wall, but Cersei having Shae falsely testify prompts an enraged Tyrion to demand a Trial by Combat.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: She has no qualms posthumously calling Renly Baratheon a "degenerate" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words". This is coming from a woman who had three children with her twin brother.
    • She takes it to the next level in Season 7 when she says that her own son, Tommen (who was Driven to Suicide over her actions) betrayed her by dying (even though this provided the power vacuum that allowed her to rule in her own right). To his father's face, no less. Ouch.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Young Cersei looks strikingly similar to her daughter, Myrcella. The fact that Myrcella's a product of Cersei's incest with her own twin brother might have something to do with this.note 
    • With her hair cut off by the Faith Militant, she bears an unsettling resemblance to Joffrey. (Ditto with the incest thing.)
  • Stupid Evil:
    • Tyrion and Tywin separately note this about her. Her vile and foolish tendencies are always present, to the point where Tywin is quick to empower his much disparaged son Tyrion to mitigate Cersei's calamities.
    • She cares nothing about public sentiment and doesn't realize that throwing people out of her city will draw their ire and how the ire of the mob is dangerous for kings and queens.
      Tyrion: Listen to me, 'queen regent'. You're in danger of losing the people.
      Cersei: The people? Heh. You think I care?
      Tyrion: You may find it difficult to rule over millions who want you dead.
    • Her understanding on the actual military threats posed by Stannis Baratheon and Robb Stark is likewise tenuous at best, to the point that Tyrion's victory at Blackwater is almost in spite of her efforts, rather than because of it (her only contribution is getting the wildfire made, a plan Tyrion co-opted because she likely would have burned King's Landing to the ground by accident). Of course, a lot of these may be due to her rapidly becoming a not very functioning addict.
    • Once the sensible influences or restraints of Tyrion and Tywin are gone, Cersei goes one step further and engages in one petty, short-sighted scheme after another, culminating in her empowering the Faith Militant as a petty revenge scheme against the Tyrells with zero regards for the potential blowback. She's called out on this one multiple times.
    • By the end of Season 7, She makes a truce with the Stark/Targaryen faction to end the war and fight off the White Walker invasion, only to reveal to Jaime which she doesn't intend to honor it. She intends to let Stark and Targaryen armies fight the Army of the Dead while the Lannisters stay south and wait for foreign reinforcements, then, once that battle is over, defeat whoever is left and solidify her rule. Jaime angrily tells her that she just signed their death warrants as, no matter which side comes out on top, the Lannisters have absolutely no chance of beating them even with the reinforcements. He's so angered by her stupidity he abandons her right then and there.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Halfway through Season 7, it's revealed that she's pregnant with a fifth child, despite the obvious inferral in seasons past that everybody, including Cersei herself, figured she was past her childbearing years.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: It's an extremely rare occurrence, but she has been known to sympathise with more heroic characters from time to time.
    • She makes an effort to comfort Catelyn when Bran falls from a tower (which was actually Cersei and Jaime's fault) and may not wake up, empathising with her due to having lost a child herself. When Sansa is distressed over getting her first period and the prospect of marrying Joffrey, Cersei actually appears to feel some pity for her and tries giving her a bit of advice on how to cope with her situation based on her own experience, albeit in a rather blunt and cynical manner. It should be noted that her sympathy towards them doesn't last long, though, as Cersei is not very forgiving of those she perceives as being a threat to herself (whether that threat is real or not).
    • She is also very sympathetic towards her younger children Myrcella and Tommen, who are both very goodhearted people. However, as with Cat and Sansa, her sympathy for Tommen swiftly goes out the window around the same time he does, as she sees him as having betrayed her for the Tyrells and the Faith. She still loves Myrcella unconditionally though, regarding her as being Too Good for This Sinful Earth and seeking revenge on the Sand Snakes for her murder.
  • Thicker Than Water: She spoiled her first son Joffrey from day one, but was horrified when he became increasingly psychopathic and insane, starting to indulge in regular cruelties and atrocities. She later acknowledges to Margaery that even at his most evil she still loves Joffrey out of some sense of maternal care and loses it completely when he dies in her arms.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Although she doesn't directly murder her husband, she does arrange his fatal Hunting "Accident" late in Season 1, partly to keep herself and her children safe after Ned discovers Robert is't the kids' real father and intends to inform him of this, but also because she was sick of Robert after years of wedded misery and she wanted to secure power for herself. As she 'confesses' to Septa Unella in Season 6:
    "I killed my husband because it felt good to be rid of him."
  • Too Clever by Half: She is indeed well-versed in the games of subterfuge and underhanded politics amongst the Westeros' nobles, but she fancies herself to be better than she actually is, causing her to often severely underestimate her opponents. Ironically, this also works in her favor, since her opponents often assume she's too rational to do something stupid, only to be blindsided when she does it anyway.

  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Cersei has never been a very pleasant person, but in early seasons she did have some rare moments of empathy and compassion for others (mostly her children, but also Catelyn when Bran was injured, Sansa in regards to her Arranged Marriage and even very briefly Robert and Tyrion). She also didn't approve of some of Joffrey's more sadistic actions and even cries at the thought it was her fault he turned out this way. However, after Joffrey is fatally poisoned in front of her and the Tyrells start usurping her position, she becomes increasingly cruel, spiteful and paranoid.
    • By the end of Season 6, the sheer amount of trauma and humiliation she's gone through have eradicated almost all her redeeming traits. She blows up her rivals and dozens of innocent people using wildfire with a smile on her face, barely reacts to the suicide of her last child because he "betrayed" her, accuses Jaime of treason if he so much as disagrees with her, gleefully exacts some truly horrible punishments for her captured enemies (and regrets not doing the same to Olenna Tyrell) and is willing to screw over her 'allies' and all of Westeros simply to keep her butt on the Iron Throne. At this point, Cersei just does whatever she wants and makes it very clear she doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks of her.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • Episodes 2 and 3 of Season 4 are nothing but this for Cersei. First, Joffrey is assassinated using a horribly painful poison, and then her father totally ignores her when she asks him not to lecture Tommen about how bad a king Joffrey was before taking Tommen away, and then she has a...rather uncomfortable sexual encounter with Jaime next to her son's corpse while she's mourning.
    • Season 5 proves to a huge one for her. She gets arrested by the Faith Militant for regicide and adultery (which she had actually given them the power to do to bring down Margaery and the Tyrells). She spends weeks locked up in a dark, cramped cell, being humiliated and tortured (including being kept in isolation, beaten and denied water while being repeatedly ordered to "confess") and must resort to drinking spilt water off the floor to survive. She finally breaks and confesses to adultery just to end the torment and is allowed to return to the Red Keep awaiting trial...but only after she makes a 'walk of atonement': she has her hair hacked off before being stripped naked and forced to walk naked through the streets of King's Landing, where she is jeered and harassed by the crowds and pelted with mud and garbage. Her main comfort is that she's going to be reunited with her daughter Myrcella soon....only to learn she has been murdered by the Sand Snakes and she's not even allowed to attend her funeral. It's not too surprising she completely snaps come the next season.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Has her precious golden locks cut off by the Faith Militant.
  • Troubled Abuser: Between her experiences with her abusive husband, controlling, emotionally abusive father and uncontrollable, psychopathic son, Cersei takes it out on whom she has a chance at the moment. Sometimes it's Tyrion (though it tends to backfire on her). More often it's Sansa.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour:
    • She proudly recalls the time she had a 9 year old servant girl beaten to blindness for stealing a necklace, when she was of the same age.
    • "Mockingbird" reveals that during a visit Oberyn and Elia had at Casterly Rock when they were children, Cersei freely tormented a baby Tyrion in front of them by pinching his penis and talking about how she wished he had died. She only stopped tormenting Tyrion because Jaime made her stop.
    • We finally get a glimpse of teen Cersei in Season 5, she's about as charming as you would think. When Maggy the Frog refuses to tell her fortune, a teenage Cersei threatens to have her eyes gouged out.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: In the Season 6 finale, after killing most of her political enemies in a wildfire explosion and Tommen's suicide, Cersei forcibly takes the Iron Throne and names herself Queen.
  • The Un-Favourite: In Season 3, her father makes it clear that due to her failure to control Joffrey, he regards her as little better than Tyrion. Also note that while Tywin may not like Tyrion, he does respect Tyrion's intelligence and in this respect treats him as an equal. The same can't be said for Cersei.
  • The Unfettered: Cersei is committed to her own power and status above all else, and will go to any lengths necessary to achieve it, regardless of how abhorrent it may be. In Season 7, Olenna acknowledges this about her:
    Olenna Tyrell: I did unspeakable things to protect my family, or watched them being done on my orders. I never lost a night's sleep over them; they were necessary and whatever I imagined necessary for the safety of House Tyrell, I did. But your sister has done things I wasn't capable of imagining.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Never has anything good to say about Tyrion or Loras, despite both of them being vital in saving her and Tommen's lives at the battle of Blackwater. Tywin even calls her out on her ingratitude for the Tyrells. Probably the most blatant example of this was her framing Ned Stark as a traitor after he warned her to save herself and her children; though it was mixed with Pragmatic Villainy, since they would be forced to go into exile if she accepted Ned's scenario.
  • Unholy Matrimony:
    • With Jaime, her twin brother. He is one of the few people in the world she genuinely cares for; however they gradually start to drift apart as Jaime becomes a better person while Cersei becomes more selfish. In the Season 7 finale, Jaime dumps her for good out of disgust when she reveals she lied about helping the Starks and Targaryens fight the White Walkers.
    • In Season 8, she becomes lovers with Euron Greyjoy after Jaime finally has enough of her cruelty and leaves her. Euron would like to make things more official, but she's holding off for the time being. There's no real affection between them; Euron just wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms (Daenerys was his original choice) while Cersei is trying to manipulate Euron and is fed up because Jaime dumped her (and she didn't get her elephants).
  • Unwanted Spouse: To Robert Baratheon. By the time of the series, the feeling is mutual, although when they first married it's strongly indicated Cersei found him attractive - possibly even loved him - and hoped it would become a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Robert, however, didn't feel the same, still mourning his dead betrothed Lyanna Stark and making it very clear he only married Cersei for the sake of an alliance with House Lannister.
    Cersei: I felt something for you once, you know.
    Robert: I know.
    Cersei: Even after we lost our first boy. For quite a while actually. Was it ever possible for us? Was there ever a time, ever a moment?
    Robert: No.
  • Unwitting Pawn: After transforming the Sparrows into the Faith Militant and giving them free rain to imprison any deviants towards the Gods, which ends up getting both Loras and Margaery captured, she confidently assumes that she is controlling them like puppets. It never occurs to her until it's too late that the now all powerful fundamentalist organisation would imprison her for her own deviant lifestyle once they no longer needed her.
  • The Usurper: Although it's her sons who get to sit on the Iron Throne, not herself, it's her actions which usurp said throne to her family. And as "The Winds of Winter" she finally seizes it for herself.
  • Villain Protagonist: She is clearly the viewpoint character during the Faith in King's Landing storyline in Season 6.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • She angrily loses her cool when Tyrion shows up in a meeting of the Small Council, and much to her chagrin reveals that he's acting Hand of the King.
    • She's in this mode for the entire episode "Blackwater", although it's a less hammy example then usual.
    • In "The Lion and the Rose". Cersei visibly shatters as Joffrey dies helplessly in her arms.
    • In "The Gift", she goes from being a Smug Smiler for the majority of Season 5 to screaming "I am the queen!" as she is dragged away to the Black Cells by the High Sparrow's Faith Militant.
    • Her sanity worsens as her situation does throughout Season 6. This ends up being the dangerous version, since she's desperate and crazy enough in the finale to use the wildfire caches in King's Landing to simply kill all of her rivals at once.
    • In "The Bells", when Daenerys lays siege to King' Landing and completely decimates all of her forces, Cersei completely drops the Smug Snake act and is reduced to sobbing as she realizes she has lost and there is no way she can come out victorious.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Qyburn, who is the only person to visit her during her imprisonment by the Faith, and the first person to cover her after her walk of shame.
  • Villain Has a Point: Cersei is absolutely right that Tywin is more concerned about idea of the family than its actual members.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Like all of Tywin's children, she craves his appreciation. Like all of Tywin's children, she doesn't get it, because a) she screws up, b) daddy doesn't do appreciation to begin with.
  • Wham Line: She reveals the truth to Tywin in "The Children":
    Cersei: Everything they say about Jaime and me is true... your legacy is a lie!
  • While Rome Burns: She smiles and triumphantly sips a glass of wine as she watches the wildfire cache burn down the Great Sept of Baelor, along with all of her rivals in it, in the distance. She's clearly enjoying the awful spectacle.
  • With Us or Against Us: "Everyone who is not us is an enemy."
  • Woman Of Wealth And Taste: She's always dressed in very fine clothes and jewellery and frequently seen drinking wine. She's a Lannister, so it comes with the territory.
  • Woman Scorned:
    • After Robert makes clear that he never loved her and their marriage didn't have a chance to work, and strikes her (in a different scene), he doesn't live for long. Years of cheating and humiliating her probably didn't help his case, either.
    • She doesn't take Jaime leaving her out of disgust at her short-sightedness well, and hires Bronn to kill him and Tyrion with a crossbow should they survive the war with the Night King.
  • Women Are Wiser: At times.
    • She is completely right about Margaery Tyrell not being as harmless as she seems. Joffrey ignores her.
    • Cersei herself believes this trope to be true, in tandem with All Men Are Perverts; during her pathetic attempt to blackmail Tyrion she says that thinking with their penises is a Fatal Flaw present in all men. Again, playing into her Hypocrite character. She considers men's uncontrollable sexual desires to be their biggest weakness, and yet her own sexual desires for Jaime that she either couldn't or wouldn't control despite the knowledge that the whole affair could backfire horribly is what ultimately leads to all of the events in the series.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: As Joffrey is only 16, she's technically the ruling sovereign of the Seven Kingdoms; her official title is even "Queen Regent". She even tries to assert her authority as such early on, but Joffrey takes a shotgun to that notion with six little words: "Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!" She still attempts to rule while Joffrey spends his time performing various cruelties, but Tyrion compromises much of her power and repeatedly outmanoeuvres her when she tries to take it back, Tywin wastes no time controlling everyone once he comes back from fighting the war, and then the Tyrells join in by marrying Margaery to both of Cersei's sons, making Margaery the would-be reigning Queen.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Lampshaded by Euron Greyjoy, though he's laying it on thick and she is not his first choice.
    Euron: Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to grow up and marry the most beautiful woman in the world.
  • Wicked Cultured: As could be expected of a rich young woman from a noble house, Cersei recieved an excellent education.
  • You Are What You Hate: Not so much as in the books, but in the end of the day Cersei is a philanderer, a drunkard and an incompetent ruler, not unlike her hated late hubby (albeit in a different style and more malicious compared to his apathy).
  • Your Cheating Heart: First cheats on Robert with Jaime, then on Jaime with Lancel. While Robert is her Unwanted Spouse, she has proclaimed Jaime tto be her One True Love, making cheating on him the ultimate proof that she isn't loyal to any man.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Strongly implied to be a factor in hating Tyrion. Leads to what is probably her best comeback.
    Cersei: Mother gone. All for the sake of you. There's no bigger joke in the world than that.
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