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Cersei's "plan" and fake drama about Jon

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11 hours ago, John Meta said:

This thread has me wondering about irrational actions by characters in a story. When I read the initial post, I thought about it for a few minutes, then came to the conclusion that there's no way for me to know what's going on in Cersei's mind. I don't know her thoughts, so can't actually form any kind of judgment on the rationality of her actions.

But that in turn made me wonder, should characters in stories always act in extremely consistent logical fashion? Should characters always be expected to perform and think and act as though the are mental giants incapable of even a hint of poor judgment; characters whose logic is always flawless as a computer? I think about people and generals and kings in our real history who made the worst decisions, enacted the most irrational plans, and judged in the most incompetent fashion.

Since this thread is about Cersei, it brings to mind discussions I've had where I said "She has lost her mind" and I was not being facetious. When Cersei blew up the Sept, I thought "She is the Mad Queen". So I'm not sure what her plans are here, I don't have access to her actual inner thoughts; but if a person says "Why is she is acting and thinking like an irrational person" (as some in the thread propose) I feel like seriously responding "Because she's flipping insane, where have you been the past seven seasons?" And I'm not meaning to be, offensive by saying that, it's just a counterquestion of "You think this character is rational?"

But again, the larger question is, why does every decision made by every character have to be forged in the flaming fires of searing logic? People in other threads have defended having characters die with unresolved character arcs as "realistic" and not "bad writing" (and I won't argue they're wrong as long as we're using the same criteria for determination), but then, isn't it "realistic" to have many instances of characters making poor decisions, acting illogically based on impulsive natures borne out of emotion, and not out of reason? If every character's actions and thoughts were always based on the precision logic of emotionless computing machines, isn't that about as "unrealistic" as a story could be? Do you see what I'm saying?

Of course characters' decisions can be irrational, nobody is asking for "emotionless computing machines".

Lots of characters make emotional and illogical decisions. And that's fine. But it has to make sense from a storytelling perspective. We as an audience have to be able to understand why an irrational decision was made. In others words internally logical character decisions (whether the character's behavior is "logical" from an in-universe perspective) are not always necessary, as human beings are capable of making emotional and illogical choices, but externally logical decisions (a character's behavior making sense based on what the story has established about them and about the world) are necessary.

Cersei's actions regarding the truce don't make any sense, either internally or externally. Her initial acceptance of the truce, then refusal of it because of Jon, then re-acceptance of it, only to then reveal she was planning on feigning it and betraying them from the very start, none of that has any sense to it whatsoever.

If that was her plan, she'd have just enacted it. No reason to create this whole roller coaster of drama. It is completely irrational, and the problem is that in this situation, the irrationality has no reason to exist. There is no reason for her to act irrationally on this point. It's insanity, in fact, more than just irrationality. She has a plan, a plan she is enacting with Euron from the beginning (since he pretends to be a coward and leaves, and we later find out this was all a set-up), and yet she decides to go back and forth like 3 times and throw a fit over Jon's refusal to stay neutral, instead of just going ahead with the fucking plan.

The writers have not established why she would do this. And therein lies the problem. The roller coaster has no reason to exist from the perspective of character motivation. It exists for the audience to be fucked with, so the show can surprise us with Cersei, first by making us think it's going well, then by making us think it's fucked, then by making us think she's back on board, and once more by showing us her true intentions.

The point is just to toy with us, even though there is no reason for the character to act this way. That is the definition of bad writing.

Contrast this with an example of a character being irrational that isn't illogical from a story perspective : Cersei's betrayal. Cersei's decision not to go North is completely irrational. As Jaime says, no matter who wins in the North, they're going to destroy her after the war is over. In this case, however, it makes sense for Cersei's character that she would act in this irrational way. It is established in both book and show that she is selfish, unhinged, cruel, and that she is both short-sighted enough and evil enough to be willing to let the living and the dead kill each other without her feeling the need to intervene.

Cersei makes lots of irrational decisions that aren't bad writing, because it makes sense for her to act in that way. Irrationality is a part of her character, to an extent.

The problem with her fake drama over Jon is that it is an act of irrationality that deliberately goes against her own plan and wastes time for no reason. It doesn't make sense for her to act in that way, instead of just doing what she was planning from the beginning.

This is the difference.

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On 8/30/2017 at 7:03 PM, Hoo said:

Before storming off, Cersei gets up and says:  Then there is nothing left to discuss.  The dead will come to the North first.  Enjoy dealing with them!

That's truce.  She storms off, rejects the offer, and the truce has taken place naturally.  She is not going North to fight the wights and suffer casualties.  Truce is a natural consequence of Dany pulling her army to fight the wights.  No need to ask for it.  They asked for joint forces, and did not get that.

They weren't asking her to go North though. Go back to Episode 5, and go back to the dragon pit scene. In both instances, you'll see that what Jon and Dany want is for Cersei to say that she won't take advantage of Dany's absence to further her dominion of the South.

They want Dany to be able to go North without worrying about what Cersei might do in the meantime. A truce. They aren't asking her to pledge her army to the cause.

Cersei says that she'll grant the truce, if Jon promises to stay neutral once the war with the dead is over. Jon refuses, so Cersei refuses the truce and storms off.

The implication is that she is refusing to pull her armies back, and that she will take advantage of Dany's absence.

When she returns, she gives them more than what they asked for, because she pledges her army.

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3 hours ago, NickStark2494 said:

Cersei's actions regarding the truce don't make any sense,


3 hours ago, NickStark2494 said:

There is no reason for her to act irrationally on this point. It's insanity, in fact, more than just irrationality.

Okay, and putting Geoffrey on the throne isn't insane? Blowing up the Sept isn't insane? I'm still wondering why you expect flawless reasonable actions to come from a person who, as you state below, has been sufficiently demonstrated to  be "unhinged"

3 hours ago, NickStark2494 said:

That is the definition of bad writing.

Where did you get that definition of "bad writing"? Are you meaning to say that ever time a character doesn't act with precision logic, it is "bad writing"? Do you think that Cersei and Jamie having sex in Winterfell in a tower instead of behind closed, locked doors in season 1 was "bad writing"? Jamie pushing Bran from the tower "bad writing"? Because these are both insane actions; the nadir of illogic. Pretty much the entire story of GoT is riddled with characters doing the most irrational things, which things forward the plot. Pretty much describes not only every story ever written, but reality as well. Is everything under the sun "bad writing"?


3 hours ago, NickStark2494 said:

It is established in both book and show that she is selfish, unhinged




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I'll say that watching the scene, Cersei's drama with Jon I wouldn't claim to be "fake". The expressions she's making is clearly showing, embarassment, wounding and anger. If I were to speculate, it looks like Cersei came out with full intent of making an honest truce. This would be based on Jon acknowledging her request to stay out of the fight, which would be an indirect honoring of her as his "queen" and a respect of her wishes, and an act of fealty to her rule. When Jon says, "I cannot serve two queens" he basically embarasses her, wounds her and angers her all in one fell swoop. Truce is off. Now she's going on emotion and impulse, both having to be restrained in the presence of Dany's show of force. Next, Tyrion approaches and she decides to tell them what they want to hear just to get them off her doorstep. So it progresses from "I will accept truce" to "Screw you and your truce" to "Just go away now to the north"

Euron's going to get the Golden Company was always a secret move, truce or no truce.

Now, I can't be sure this is exactly the inner workings of Cersei's mind because we don't have that information and, frankly I don't think it's even necessary. All we know is what we're shown and it's all we need to know. At any rate, Cersei is volatile, impulse-based, and chaotic. Her actions reflect this. All of these characters are flawed, and realistic, and make gargantuan errors; just like real people do.

You want to know why Jon Snow went to capture a wight? Dany answered that directly in a scene: because he's an idiot trying to prove he's more hero than Jorah. Dany plainly explained why Jon went to do such an "stupid" thing, and Jon even admitted he was sorry he ever went there.

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