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Cersei is an Idiot?

cersei

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#61 Lord Littlefinger's Lash

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:56 AM

Idiot, no. Competent ruler, again no. There are a lot of characteristics that are necessary to be a competent and successful ruler. Cersei does not lack for basic intelligence, or even education - there are several scenes wwhere she explains historical events or political developments or long-dead "players" to people who are ignorant of them, so it is clear that she has had at least a decent education and basic, possibly even higher than average, intellect.

The problem is not that Cersei's brain doesn't function properly; the problem is that she doesn't use it.

I thought that was the definition of idiot?

She knows the history of Westeros, but seems incapable of applying its lessons to her own actions.

I thought that was the definition of idiot?

She allows her passions and prejudices and fears and arrogance and sense of entitlement to inform her decisions - which are quite markedly made on the spur of the moment in most cases

I thought that was the definition of idiot?

- and that it her downfall every time.

The reason she seems to do better with someone "more intelligent" guiding her actions is not necessarily that the advisor is smarter than she is. It is that they get her to stop for a minute and THINK. When she actually pauses and takes the time required to consider an action all the way through, weighing its pros and cons and possible outcomes, she often makes the wiser decision. It's when she hatches ideas born of anger or fear or vengeance, and then pursues them diligently without giving them any further thought (beyond how to force them to happen), that she creates one disaster after another

I thought that was the definition of idiot?

. An idea pops into her head, and if it suits her more base and destructive characteristics and goals, she goes full steam ahead with not a thought for flaws or possible holes in the plan.

I thought that was the definition of idiot?

If anyone had ever taught her self-restraint or self-control, or logical problem solving skills, or managed to get the concept of "look before you leap" drummed into her pretty skull, she would probably do just fine at achieving her goals. Which, frankly, is a rather terrifying thought. Westeros should probably thank its seven gods that no one ever taught Cersei how to perfect a plan before executing it.



#62 Arch-MaesterPhilip

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:36 PM

Cersei has the biggest case of Penis Envy in Westeros.

#63 OldCorvid

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:22 PM

Cersei has the biggest case of Penis Envy in Westeros.

It's not the biggest case of Penis Envy if it's not focused on Tormund Giantsbane.

#64 Dr. Pepper

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:45 PM

Cersei is not an intelligent person. She may have memorized all of the stories and history of Westeros but that knowledge is useless when she lacks basic reasoning skills. She cannot think critically or abstractly, she does not understand basic logic, she cannot properly understand her surroundings nor does she ever learn from her experiences. She lacks any sort of self-awareness. She is an extreme emotional thinker. She is a stupid person. An idiot.

She is not stupid or unintelligent or an idiot because she's paranoid after her son and father are killed or after she starts obsessing over the Maggy prophesy. She is just inherently stupid. Prior to her POV debut in AFFC, we are given hints that she is not an intelligent person. One of the most obvious hints is when Tywin sends Tyrion to KL to take his place as Hand of the King because he doesn't trust Cersei. Cersei makes us think that he doesn't trust her because she's a woman but we know that's not the case. It's known throughout the kingdoms that Tywin wife was a most trusted advisor. Tywin is known for being vicious in squashing those that blaspheme his family's position and honor but he never does anything to refute that he heeded Johanna's counsel. Thus, Cersei's teats aren't the cause for Tywin to mistrust her, it's her stupidity.

The only time there's really an idea that Cersei might be smarter than others make her out is when she pulls one over on Ned. But really, it wasn't Cersei at all who did it. It was Littlefinger. Cersei just happened to be the person who is in a position that makes it appear that she's the one in control.

We get to witness Cersei's idiocy in her POV chapters in AFFC. She's a completely unreliable narrator. There are some subtle hints that she's unreliable but we know for certain when she's being laced up in a dress that's too tight and she's thinking about how she punished the washerwoman for shrinking her clothes. The reader knows that she's just getting fat but Cersei is giving an entirely different story! She may seem like she has moments of brilliance but we can't trust her POV at all.

Cersei's lifespan has certainly been improved by her lack of cunning. If she had been a smart person, she would have continued with her father's plans of taking the Tyrell's on as necessary allies instead of pushing them away. She would have shored up Dorne support and used the Tyrells and Martells and their bannermen to make a quick end to the war and worked for peace before the approaching winter. She would have made herself loved by the smallfolk. But if she did all of that, surely Varys would have disrupted it all by shooting her with a crossbow just as he did Kevan Lannister. Cersei's idiocy helps her live another day.

#65 mutiny! he cried

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:08 AM

I agree with LLL; Cersei hasn't changed and she was always a bit of a hotheaded idiot. It's fairly clear she thinks more on direct revenge and humiliation than long term, unlike say, Tywin.


-slap-
"i shall wear it as a badge of honor."
"good, now shut up before i honor you again."

hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa

#66 Biglose

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:54 PM

Actually I have to say I have a totally different approach to it.
Generally Carsei shares one characteristic with Dany. They both are protected by a golden writer shield. No matter how stupid their plots/moves are, the participants and luck always plays into their favor.
On the other hand the Starks are beaten with an "every move you made comes back to bite you"-curse (even if you have not done a thing). (And yes, getting rid of Tyrion would have been a good idea on the long scale, but well "character shield")

The wildfire is one other fine example. Tyrion comes along and saves the day, because well because. (Using it like she thought of, would probably have burned the whole city.)

So for the first part, the guys she was plotting against did pritty much nothing. (Well, exept for Ned stark, who made the stupid call not to tell the king right away. That was really stupid. Even if you just read to THAT page. )

I won't comment on the time after the murder of her son and father, because those had significant impacts on her and it can't really be expected to be totally rational afterwards. So using that to make a statement is rather silly.

So what it burns down to is, that there are no genious plots on her part. She just gets away with everything. Nobody is even considering to use anything she screwed up against her or doing anything against her.
(Killing Lady could have blown up totally in her face, because Ned stark should be able to judge her intentions on this action alone. Killing a dog, which is dear to a child just for the heck of it... Somebody like that I would not trust...But character shield...)

#67 NotSoGreat Jon Umber

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:19 PM

compared to the likes of Tyrion, Littlefinger or Tywin, yes she is an idiot..... compared to pretty much anyone else, she is not. She is extremly arrogant and paranoid, and that leads her to make stupid decisions, but she is not an idiot... she CAN and does manipulate a lot of people throughout the books.

Only with her vagina...

#68 Last Eye of Bloodraven

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:51 PM

She is extremely idiot.
I've tried to find one logical reason (no matter how small) for several of her actions and could not.
When she decided to have Bronn killed I was forced to accept that she has Forest Gump's IQ or less.
She's only alive and got away with some plots is because she constantly has help, is completely amoral and because she is an idiot.
Nothing better than a paranoic idiot to be manipulate.

#69 voodooqueen126

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:28 AM

Idiot, no. Competent ruler, again no. There are a lot of characteristics that are necessary to be a competent and successful ruler. Cersei does not lack for basic intelligence, or even education - there are several scenes wwhere she explains historical events or political developments or long-dead "players" to people who are ignorant of them, so it is clear that she has had at least a decent education and basic, possibly even higher than average, intellect.

The problem is not that Cersei's brain doesn't function properly; the problem is that she doesn't use it. She knows the history of Westeros, but seems incapable of applying its lessons to her own actions. She allows her passions and prejudices and fears and arrogance and sense of entitlement to inform her decisions - which are quite markedly made on the spur of the moment in most cases - and that it her downfall every time.

The reason she seems to do better with someone "more intelligent" guiding her actions is not necessarily that the advisor is smarter than she is. It is that they get her to stop for a minute and THINK. When she actually pauses and takes the time required to consider an action all the way through, weighing its pros and cons and possible outcomes, she often makes the wiser decision. It's when she hatches ideas born of anger or fear or vengeance, and then pursues them diligently without giving them any further thought (beyond how to force them to happen), that she creates one disaster after another. An idea pops into her head, and if it suits her more base and destructive characteristics and goals, she goes full steam ahead with not a thought for flaws or possible holes in the plan.

If anyone had ever taught her self-restraint or self-control, or logical problem solving skills, or managed to get the concept of "look before you leap" drummed into her pretty skull, she would probably do just fine at achieving her goals. Which, frankly, is a rather terrifying thought. Westeros should probably thank its seven gods that no one ever taught Cersei how to perfect a plan before executing it.

I would say she is rather poorly educated: Jon Snow who lives up in the North and was the bastard son, yet he knew that to alienate the Iron Bank was a stupid mistake. Arya who also lives up in the North notes that she reads High Valyrian (in AFFC) and also notes that Sansa, was better at her in every subject except maths.
From this we can infer that both of Ned Stark's daughters read High Valyrian. Yet Cersei gives no such indication, though Tyrion does.
As someone else said, the thing about Ossifer Plum is just something teenaged girls would remember.
There could be several explanations for this lack of education:
cultural: Tywin, failed to educate her because she was female, so Cersei received an education similar to Sansa's (which seems to have consisted mainly of learning good manners and romaunts*).
Now Cersei, whilst she can be charming, is actually quite ill mannered (since as Sansa demonstrates, much of what consists of 'good manners' is actually ironclad self control). So I would say that Cersei was one of those people who delibaretly ignored her Septa/primary teacher: I am sure you all knew someone like this at school: the person who didn't study and also made life miserable for other people, yet whenever attempts where made by teachers to discipline them, this person's parents would come to the school to defend their perfect darling angel. /bang.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':bang:' /> /ack.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':ack:' />
Of course this works out to the child's detriment in the long term, since they end up learning nothing, nor do they learn how to interact with people.
Anne Bronte's "Agnes Grey" actually described such children from the governesses perspective, and I think Cersei was rather similar to the girls described in "Agnes Grey".
So not only was Cersei's education poor to begin (due to her gender) but she also failed to learn whatever useful lessons that her poor education did offer (namely that the art of being female is controlling ones every impulse).
As to why I think she was unwilling to learn from her Septa, and furthermore in her years as Queen, failed to pick up a book and read about history, much less apply those lessons onto her political situation.
I would argue that this comes down to emotional dysregulation/borderline personality disorder with narcissistic elements rather than having a low IQ. I would say Cersei's IQ is about average.
I think that unless your IQ is very high, I doubt that learning is its own reward. So for children with an average IQ, the incentives for learning are A)pleasing parents/caregivers, /cool.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> not being embarrassed in front of their peers, in later adolescence c) career oppurtunities. The first two, involve earning the love of other people and I would say stem from empathy, which Cersei, like most Lannister's seems to be quite low on. Furthermore Cersei's narcissism (a Lannister trait) compounded by her social position meant she really didn't feel the need to please her teacher by being likable, whilst the fact that she was the only beautiful daughter of Tywin Lannister meant that Cersei didn't feel the need to be studious** to gain the friendship of her peers (of which she had few of anyway), nor does she seemed to have liked her peers much to begin with. I would say this narcissism could be an explanation as to why Cersei didn't feel the need to pick up a history book in later life: she felt she was too special, beautiful, important, clever etc, so that nobody else had anything useful to teach her.
So whilst her narcissism meant that she failed both to learn what was useful in the education that is offered to Westerosi girls, namely socialisation-leading-to self-control, and to self educate in later life, thus making up for the deficits in female specific education.
Of course her lack of empathy meant that she failed to read people properly.
I would say the emotional dysregulation meant that self-control was harder for her anyway (and the narcissism meant that she felt she had no incentive to learn self-control). Of course it lead to all her other silly mistakes: her paranoia leading her to persecute Margaery, her collapse on the night of the blackwater (where she was outdone by a 12 year old girl), her nastiness to Tyrion leading to his alienation, her all-good/all-bad view of Jaime, thinking that sex as a weapon actually works (it doesn't unless the man is your husband or a 16 year old boy).
So IQ is neither here nor there, but personality disorder certainly a huge weakness.


*which were btw often written in verse, which I think makes them harder to comprehend but easier to memorise.
** Remember that Cersei's studies didn't consist of boring maths, physics, science or other socially alienating subjects, but would've consisted of religious education, good manners, music, poetry/literature, which I would say serve to make socialisation easier, rather than harder.

#70 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:44 AM

Yes, Cerseis narcissm is her problem. She can't secondguess because that would imply an error in her first thought. So she always acts on her first thought and honestly, first thoughts are mostly shit.
"Hurt my boy" - "Maim the beloved daughter of the second most powerful man in the Kingdom and best friend of the King"
"Get HS approval" - "Arm him"
"Don't like daughter in law" - "Get her executed"
...

#71 gougef

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:11 AM

"Cersei only looks clever when compared to Ned and Robert who both cheated off Hodor in order to get through high school."
Holy shit that made me laugh so much.


The answer is always "Hodor."

#72 Lord Paramount of Essos

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:16 AM

she is very sharp. IT shows from the lines and the 'cerseisms'. She just has terrible judgements, that doesnt have to do necesserily with intelligence

#73 Vastro

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:33 AM

She is not an idiot but not clever either. she thinks she's manipulating others but ends up manipulated by others (varys, littlefinger).

#74 Adelstein

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:58 AM

I don't think Cersei is stupid necessarily, but she's not anywhere near as clever as she thinks she is, and she lacks any sort of patience or judgment of character. Tyrion and Jaime have a good handle on her.

I agree that it's not something new in the fourth book; she's shown many signs of it in the early ones. It's just that in AFfC we get to see her acting without anyone (Tyrion, Tywin, Kevan, Littlefinger) restraining or contradicting her, just half-competent toadies.

#75 Trebuchet Penguin

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:30 AM

I think it was pretty idiotic how she dismissed Barristan and then let him waltz out of there.


You mean, dismiss The Barristan then ordering the world's most incompetent toady to accost a LC of Kingsguard who killed the last of the Blackfyres and is still alive after so many years in a job that is almost guaranteed to kill you?

Cersei is an idiot. She only got the win over Stark because he had to be suicidal honorable to his proven enemy who likely killed Jon Arryn the last hand [At the time it was the general consensus after reading Lysa's letter to Catelyn.] Stark's fall is mainly attributed to his broken leg and that stupid honor.

And The Usurper? A fat man who sweated in his silks. What sort of subtlety and wit would you expect from him?

Queen Cunt's only ability is her 'inexhaustible purse'. Burning the Tower of the Hand, Fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleback and Moon Boy for all I know, replacing the small council with her own shady men and fighting the Tyrells.

#76 danm_999

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

You mean, dismiss The Barristan then ordering the world's most incompetent toady to accost a LC of Kingsguard who killed the last of the Blackfyres and is still alive after so many years in a job that is almost guaranteed to kill you?

Cersei is an idiot. She only got the win over Stark because he had to be suicidal honorable to his proven enemy who likely killed Jon Arryn the last hand [At the time it was the general consensus after reading Lysa's letter to Catelyn.] Stark's fall is mainly attributed to his broken leg and that stupid honor.

And The Usurper? A fat man who sweated in his silks. What sort of subtlety and wit would you expect from him?

Queen Cunt's only ability is her 'inexhaustible purse'. Burning the Tower of the Hand, Fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleback and Moon Boy for all I know, replacing the small council with her own shady men and fighting the Tyrells.


It's not even just her.

Varys and Littlefinger are deliberately keeping her in King's Landing because they know she fucks things up so badly.

#77 Elder Sister

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 10:09 AM

It's not even just her.

Varys and Littlefinger are deliberately keeping her in King's Landing because they know she fucks things up so badly.


I think that's so astute (probably because I think that as well!) and it really condenses the whole problem with Cersei. She is an idiot in that she has no idea how she is perceived by others, how her actions will be interpreted, and what the long term ramifications will be. She's a poor long term strategist because she's impatient, deluded, and clouded by emotion. An example would be her treatment of the Tyrells. She could have cultivated them as allies, while continuing her own agenda, but she's too dumb to realize that her open disdain of them will have immediate ramifications. Instead of using them, she makes enemies of them, only they are smart enough to pretend otherwise.

#78 voodooqueen126

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 11:11 AM

I think that's so astute (probably because I think that as well!) and it really condenses the whole problem with Cersei. She is an idiot in that she has no idea how she is perceived by others, how her actions will be interpreted, and what the long term ramifications will be. She's a poor long term strategist because she's impatient, deluded, and clouded by emotion. An example would be her treatment of the Tyrells. She could have cultivated them as allies, while continuing her own agenda, but she's too dumb to realize that her open disdain of them will have immediate ramifications. Instead of using them, she makes enemies of them, only they are smart enough to pretend otherwise.

Not only is she clouded by emotion, but she is clouded by bad emotions. Namely narcissism and all the rathe anti-social emotions that leads to.

#79 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:26 PM

Yes, Cerseis narcissm is her problem. She can't secondguess because that would imply an error in her first thought. So she always acts on her first thought and honestly, first thoughts are mostly shit.
"Hurt my boy" - "Maim the beloved daughter of the second most powerful man in the Kingdom and best friend of the King"
"Get HS approval" - "Arm him"
"Don't like daughter in law" - "Get her executed"
...

I've forgotten the second part of my post /blushing.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':blushing:' />

It's the comparison to Jaime, who acts exactly like that - up until the point where he lost his swordhand. The swordhand that defined him in a way. The swordhand upon which his self image was based. And with his self image shattered he started thinking.
The equivalent of Cersei would be her looks and her perception as beautiful Queen. Which has been shattered by the Walk of Shame. I'm curious if she will start thinking now, too.

#80 The Drunkard

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:42 PM

And then Jaime and Cersei meet up again as a totally well-adjusted couple due to their experiences. I see it now.

(They also die abruptly, I see that too)



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