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[Book Spoilers] Cersei Lannister Changes.


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#41 gogorath

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:47 PM

Lena Headey has been crushing the character. It's tough to say how different it is from the books, as we don't get a Cersei POV yet. We see her public persona but not her private thoughts.

I am fairly excited for her plotline going forward. A descent into paranoia and (some level of) madness, culminating (for now) in that final Cersei chapter of ADwD -- wow. That's going to be a fun story to watch.

TV and movie writers like to have all their major characters have arcs -- progressions from A to B. It's not shocking that Cersei is presented more favorably than in the book -- as she ends up going a bad direction and Jaime is given extra ways to make him look less interested in morality, given where he's going.

#42 teemo

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:48 PM

I think Lena Headey should read the books. She thinks she gets Cersei, but how can you without not reading the books? I know Gwendoline Christie put her heart and soul into her part, reading the books and preparing in every way possible, and Headey didn't even bother reading them. I think that should be a requirement if you have a main role in the show :\ She's a good actress, but....

Anyway, I think that Cersei was always crazy, even pre-AFFC. She was able to keep her craziness under wraps a bit better, but she was still not all there. She didn't suddenly develop a personality disorder after Joffrey died. Cersei has been mentally ill for a long time before AFFC. Even LF in ASOS talked about how Cersei thought she was a game player, but actually wasn't. We don't know the entirety of her plotting and scheming before her POVs, but I imagine that her inner thoughts weren't much prettier. And her inner thoughts in AFFC were ugly.

And book Cersei can be empathized with, I don't need the television show to make her more so. Just because she is mentally unstable and does awful, cruel things doesn't mean she can't be empathized with. What about Theon? A good example was her horrific "walk of shame" through KL. She is obviously a deeply disturbed, depressed individual and there are layers to her like everyone else in the book. The writers don't need to "humanize" her, Cersei is human already.

#43 Fantôme

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:38 PM

Maybe an oversimplification, but I think the fact that people say about a tv character "so and so would never......., ie Cersie would never confide in Tyrion" speaks to the lack of range some of the book characters. A lot of it is the untrustworthy narrator angle for sure, but since that was all we had, some chacter seem to have a narrow range.


I don't agree. "Cersei would never have confided in Tyrion" is based on the facts that she hates and despises the disgraceful dwarf brother she blames for their mother's death, her pride, her intelligence in being careful not to confide to anyone a terribly dangerous secret she'll try to keep till the end, which also has to do with her love for her children since it would be the end of them and various other reasons. The fact that people can say she wouldn't do that doesn't have to do so much with her having a narrow range but more with the fact that after reading about her for five books we begin to "know" her. I don't see how Cersei confiding in Tyrion and talking about sins and doubting Joffrey's sanity makes her more complex. It removes or replaces a layer from the character to make her more conventional, it's not an amelioration imo.
Same goes for that change in first season about her child with Robert that she supposedly lost when in the book she aborted.While I understand why they would change it for the sake of the show, I didn't like it because Cersei's deep hatred for Robert is an important and interesting part of her character which is not groundless ; he was unfaithful, she never wanted to marry him, she wanted Rhaegar, apparently she was maritally raped by him.
Cersei is an interesting character and the reasons for her quite deranged mind such as the fact that she would obviously rather have been a man are fascinating imo. There are some people who like her in the books. Of course they are not as numerous as those who like Ned for example but this is normal and there's no need for every character to be super popular. Besides most people like hating Cersei and personally I don't think I would enjoy the books or the show as much if I liked everybody.

#44 House Snow

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:33 PM

I think you are missing my point. I'm not saying that your desription of her is wrong-its not but it is a description of a character with a pretty narrow range of emotions. That book cersei was either too dense to know Joff was crazy or just didn't want to admit it doesn't matter since it still leaves as this character that you pretty much describe in one word-crazy. Show cersei actually has real motives for what she does, where book cersei was based on a silly prophecy and an unseen childhood. I'd rather have the cersei that makes a bit of sense. Like I said too many of the femal characters in the books had motives that didn't ring true.

Edited by House Snow, 15 May 2012 - 08:35 PM.


#45 nara

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:40 PM

/blink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':blink:' /> Cersei?in Feast?Really?I don't think he did. I'm genuinely curious of how you got that impression however .The only chapter that ever seemed to want to make Cersei sympathetic imo was the walk of shame.


Nothing solid. Just based on the fact that every other character is sympathetic in their own POVs. The point being that if you see something from another person's perspective, you get a better understanding of why they think and act as they do. Doesn't mean you agree when them or that they are less horrible, but that you understand them better, and that creates a bond with the character. This applies to other stories too, not just ASOIAF. I felt that GRRM's writing of Cersei's POVs was the worst writing in the series...until ADWD--I thought he nailed her emotions there.

#46 pleonasm

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:16 PM

Nothing solid. Just based on the fact that every other character is sympathetic in their own POVs. The point being that if you see something from another person's perspective, you get a better understanding of why they think and act as they do. Doesn't mean you agree when them or that they are less horrible, but that you understand them better, and that creates a bond with the character. This applies to other stories too, not just ASOIAF. I felt that GRRM's writing of Cersei's POVs was the worst writing in the series...until ADWD--I thought he nailed her emotions there.


Agreed. When I first saw that Cersei was going to get a POV in Feast I was pretty excited. After all, Jamie's POV provided tons of fascinating insight into his character and motivations. Instead, Martin presented her as a complete unhinged one note black hat. It was impossible to reconcile those POV's with a character who for 15+ years was able to pretty successfully navigate the waters of Kings Landing.

I'd argue that tv series has actually improved upon the character of Cersei Lannister. She still is a twisted dark character, but she is now a fully realized human being. Kudos to Beninoff, Weiss, and Headly on that one!

#47 Maria Underfoot

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:28 AM

Right now, Cersei seems much more likable to the audience than Jaime.
And that is an affront /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

#48 sarah.jenice

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:51 AM

I don't think that early book Cersei isn't as crazy as later books Cersei. I think that Joffrey dying and Maggy the Frog prophecies starting to come true really threw her off the deep end. Are they making her more sympathetic? Yes. But, non book readers, mostly, know she is a total bitch and is putting on a mask.

With t.v. you need to over dramatize some things. Cersei being a bit more sympathetic makes her losing it after Joff dies more believable. People know she is capable of pulling off some pretty bad stuff, but once she's set off the deep end, she is worse than Joff. That's what, I think, we will see in the end...if we get there.


This is exactly how I feel. I actually like that they've given more depth and sympathy to Cersei (and Catelyn, too), and I think they will use it to really show Cersei lose it over Joffrey and Tywin's deaths.

They've shown how much she hates Tyrion, and I can't agree that they've softened her up too much because her calmly telling Tyrion about his trying to be funny because of his big joke in ripping her mother open and causing her to bleed to death was pretty unforgettable. I am also thinking that Shae (the funny whore) will actually be taken by Cersei because there is no other whore she could think Tyrion was in love with (please don't throw Ros at us HBO) and that will cause the huge riff between them before the battle. On that note, does anyone see show Tyrion threatening to do to Tommen whatever Cersei has done to his captured whore? I couldn't miss how Tyrion ensured Tommen was taken back to the keep before the riot, and I would find it hard to believe Tyrion would threaten Tommen's wellbeing even if Shae was in danger.

Cersei has been given some better qualities like worrying about screwing Joffrey up, but she has also been pretty awful. Book readers know a lot more and can color our opinions of her from knowing what she becomes, but I don't think show watchers will forget that this is the woman who conspired to have King Robert killed, arrested Ned Stark leading to his death, ordered all of the Northern men in King's Landing killed, is holding Sansa captive and forcing her to marry Joffrey while fully knowing how brutalized Sansa will be, and has been treating fan-favorite Tyrion horribly all season. If we wrap it up with her trying to have Tyrion killed, telling Sansa Illyn Payne is waiting to take their heads if they lose the battle and later show her downward spiral with the deaths of Joffrey and Tywin, I think she won't lose too much of book Cersei.

All in all, I am happy with how she is portrayed.

#49 Raksha the Demon

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:25 AM

I don't agree. "Cersei would never have confided in Tyrion" is based on the facts that she hates and despises the disgraceful dwarf brother she blames for their mother's death, her pride, her intelligence in being careful not to confide to anyone a terribly dangerous secret she'll try to keep till the end, which also has to do with her love for her children since it would be the end of them and various other reasons. The fact that people can say she wouldn't do that doesn't have to do so much with her having a narrow range but more with the fact that after reading about her for five books we begin to "know" her. I don't see how Cersei confiding in Tyrion and talking about sins and doubting Joffrey's sanity makes her more complex. It removes or replaces a layer from the character to make her more conventional, it's not an amelioration imo.
Same goes for that change in first season about her child with Robert that she supposedly lost when in the book she aborted.While I understand why they would change it for the sake of the show, I didn't like it because Cersei's deep hatred for Robert is an important and interesting part of her character which is not groundless ; he was unfaithful, she never wanted to marry him, she wanted Rhaegar, apparently she was maritally raped by him.
Cersei is an interesting character and the reasons for her quite deranged mind such as the fact that she would obviously rather have been a man are fascinating imo. There are some people who like her in the books. Of course they are not as numerous as those who like Ned for example but this is normal and there's no need for every character to be super popular. Besides most people like hating Cersei and personally I don't think I would enjoy the books or the show as much if I liked everybody.


/agree.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':agree:' />
And as much as I dislike her as a person, book-Cersei is more interesting and entertaining a character than the muted, quiet Cersei in the TV series. Book Cersei was capable of self-control, mostly when Robert was alive, but the intensity of her hatred for him was demonstrated by her refusal to bear any of his children. Make her accommodating and reasonable enough to give Robert one child, and you've started to defang the lioness. Cersei is a volatile, burning-angry and power-hungry woman who is also a mother, not just a sad, vulnerable mother who happens to have made a few little mistakes along the way. And the real Cersei would rather die than divulge or imply vulnerability to Tyrion.

#50 camradio

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:19 AM

I think it makes sense that they are making Cersei more likeable. In the books you get her POV and you understand that she does what she does to lookout for her family. Since its TV they have to make the character likeable some how so they make her nicer. Joffrey was always a little shit.

#51 Librarian of Lannisport

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

One thing I always found facinating about book Cersie was how her POV made me dispise her. Up until then, I always had some sympathy for her. Raised to be proud and repeatedly told she was better than others, she's then traded like a mule to a womanizing jackass in love with another woman. One who doesn't even WANT the power she has always be taught to crave. (Tywin does value power over honor). Yes, she was always self-centered and self-absorbed. But she also was very alone in that her father saw her only as a commodity and never seemed to care about her happiness, needs or wants.

Book Cersie did breakdown and cry in front of Tyrion once. When he went to comfort her, she pushed him a way very cruely. And she did express frustration over trying to control Joffery, but she excused his behavior by calling him 'strong-willed'. And she NEVER talked about his cruelty.

In Tyrions chapter about sending Marcella off to Dorne, when they were at the dock, Tyrion thinks to himself after a very mean comment Joffery makes to his brother about crying 'Can't she see what he is?' and he marvelled at her refusal to see Joffery for the monster he was.

She made excuse for her psyopathic son up until the end. :-(

#52 mcb

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:00 PM

I think it makes sense that they are making Cersei more likeable. In the books you get her POV and you understand that she does what she does to lookout for her family.


What? No. We've known she cares about her family (husband excluded) since Book 1, it was perfectly clear. Actually in her POV chapters she seems less loyal to her House, what with psychological abuse of Tommen and childish tantrums thrown at Jaime or Kevan.

#53 eyeheartsansa

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 02:52 PM

I kind find that I like all of the feminine TV female characters more then their book counterparts. I prefer the more rounded versions of them as opposed to the kind of one dimensionality (Cersei-crazy, Catelyn-Hardass, Brienne-Nieve, Margery-sweet). George wrote males and tomboys better IMO.


I'm not sure you're giving George enough credit here. Most of his female POVs, especially Cercei, are far from one-dimensional the way you're describing.

#54 SerMixalot

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 07:33 PM

GRRM is a master at character development, giving realistic motivations to his main characters

#55 Fantôme

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 07:52 PM

I think you are missing my point. I'm not saying that your description of her is wrong-its not but it is a description of a character with a pretty narrow range of emotions. That book cersei was either too dense to know Joff was crazy or just didn't want to admit it doesn't matter since it still leaves as this character that you pretty much describe in one word-crazy. Show cersei actually has real motives for what she does, where book cersei was based on a silly prophecy and an unseen childhood. I'd rather have the cersei that makes a bit of sense. Like I said too many of the femal characters in the books had motives that didn't ring true.



Guess we'll have to agree to disagree because for me, if book Cersei is crazy it's not nearly enough to summarize her. In fact I think show Cersei is much more simple to describe.And yes, in the show Cersei and her motives are easier to understand and relate to but for me that's damaging to the character. It's not supposed to be easy to love or relate to Cersei ,and it's more interesting this way. Like they did with Catelyn and her reaction to Ned's departure, they're making her a conventional female character. How is that better? I didn't feel like any of the female characters' motives in the books "didn't ring true". They were just more complex , not as basic and obvious as the show's characters' ones.Well, I suppose it's a matter of opinion and we just read the books differently.

Edited by Fantôme, 16 May 2012 - 07:54 PM.


#56 nara

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:13 PM

I think Lena Headey should read the books. She thinks she gets Cersei, but how can you without not reading the books? I know Gwendoline Christie put her heart and soul into her part, reading the books and preparing in every way possible, and Headey didn't even bother reading them. I think that should be a requirement if you have a main role in the show :\ She's a good actress, but....


I was also disappointed when I heard that she hadn't read the books, but I've reconsidered. Since she hasn't read the books, her interpretation is based on the scripts and the director's direction. Good or bad, the series is different from the books so she should be acting based on that material. Also, if an actor knows too much about the future of her character, she might act too much like the future character, not the current character. People evolve based on their experiences, so I wouldn't want to see her behave too much like her future self without the benefit of her experiences. Finally, not bothering to read the source material is such a Cersei move that I had to smile!

#57 teemo

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:19 PM

I was also disappointed when I heard that she hadn't read the books, but I've reconsidered. Since she hasn't read the books, her interpretation is based on the scripts and the director's direction. Good or bad, the series is different from the books so she should be acting based on that material. Also, if an actor knows too much about the future of her character, she might act too much like the future character, not the current character. People evolve based on their experiences, so I wouldn't want to see her behave too much like her future self without the benefit of her experiences. Finally, not bothering to read the source material is such a Cersei move that I had to smile!


Well, it's very difficult to see how unhinged Cersei is if you don't read the books, because she has no POV until book 4. It's actually really difficult to tell what's going on in a lot of the characters heads' without reading the books (I'm looking at you, Jon Snow). Sometimes I wonder if she thinks that Cersei is a troubled and broken woman, but a good person deep down. I really think it's bad not to read the books if you're a main actor in its television series, especially since it's supposed to be a somewhat faithful adaptation of the books. And Cersei is Cersei, she's crazy in books 1-5. I do see your point, however /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> Headey has done a fine job so far, and I can imagine her playing a crazy woman.

Edited by hk47, 16 May 2012 - 09:22 PM.


#58 House Snow

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:53 PM

^ Reading the books wasn't going to somehow change the script. She was nt given lines that would make her look crazy so why would should act crazy??

#59 Fragile Bird

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:58 PM

One thing I always found facinating about book Cersie was how her POV made me dispise her. Up until then, I always had some sympathy for her. Raised to be proud and repeatedly told she was better than others, she's then traded like a mule to a womanizing jackass in love with another woman. One who doesn't even WANT the power she has always be taught to crave. (Tywin does value power over honor). Yes, she was always self-centered and self-absorbed. But she also was very alone in that her father saw her only as a commodity and never seemed to care about her happiness, needs or wants.


I know this concept always comes up, but Cersei was groomed by Tywin from the age of 6 or 7 to marry Rhaegar, and she was bitterly disappointed it didn't happen. To think that she was traded like a mule to Robert is, I think, a bit of a fantasy created by an unreliable narrator. I'm quite certain from what we see of her character she was very happy at 17 to become queen, her attitude changing after she was securely married. And this is why I don't like the sympathetic portrait being painted of Cersei. She was a ruthless 9 year old, she was a ruthless 15 year old, she was a ruthless 17 year old. And I don't think she was less ruthless in the 15 years between her marriage and the start of AGOT. I find the softening of her character unbelievable - my reading of her discussion with Sansa after Sansa's "flowering" in the book was much, much more cynical and brutal than the wiser-older-woman portrayal in Episode 7.

#60 Patchface12

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:49 AM

l dunno. In the preview for next week's episode, I saw Tyrion say to Cersei "you'll pay for this" and her smiling evilly. I think she was just trying to let his guard down with that whole "for our sins" bit.