Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reconsidering Cersei Lannister

I'm taking a moment to consider why exactly I don't deeply sympathize with Cersei Lannister.  She's lost very nearly as much to the game as any of the other contenders.  Two people she cared very deeply about died within two books.  She had a loveless arranged marriage.  She's a mother who is motivated to protect her children.  She's a woman who is attempting to hold her power against men who would rather she not have it.

Those traits all point to a character I should like.  And yet, she kills with so little thought over such petty purposes.  She tries to take revenge on people who have done her absolutely no harm.  She sees everyone around her more as a potential threat than a person.  And despite all her loses, despite all the deep personal grief a person in her situation should feel, she's motivated only by rage, jealousy, and thirst for power.  She's not angling to get her daughter back from the Martells.  She's not focused on investigating the recent murders.  She has no interest in the threats the Wall is facing.

And because of all of this, she is left in the dark against ever increasing dangers around her.  She believes she can hold power by force and by cloak and dagger tactics.  But death is coming for King's Landing from all sides, and she's too foolish and selfish to notice it.  She dismisses the idea that there are dragons in far away lands.  She dismisses the fears of the brothers of the watch.  She is oblivious.  And because of all of that, there will be even more war and death.  Stannis Baratheon at least has the sense to see that the iron throne is worthless in a winter full of white walkers.  But instead of sending help to the wall, she plots against their efforts.  She does not care about their purposes.

And I think that's the real reason I hate Cersei Lannister, more than any of the other things she's caused to happen. 

I'm only halfway through this book, and I can already see that it's only going to get worse for them all from here.