After six Game of Thrones seasons of deception and ruthless ambition, Cersei Lannister has finally taken control over the throne of Westeros – and her actress, Lena Headey, has quite a bit to say about the path that her character has followed.
Headey hasn’t been able to decide whether or not she can actually sympathize with her Game of Thrones character or not, but she’s very happy to have been able to deconstruct the “Evil Queen” archetype with her character:
“I love playing Cersei. I’m very intrigued to see what happens to her! She’s so layered, endlessly. Every time you think you know her, there’s another depth of insecurity or fury or resentment or drive or grief. [A Song of Ice and Fire author] George [R. R. Martin] gave David [Benioff] and Dan [Brett Weiss] the map. And David and Dan and Dave [Hill] and Bryan [Cogman] write great episodes year after year… I don’t know if I sympathize with her. I admire her.”
Headey also noted that, in spite of her ambivalence toward actually thinking of her character as sympathetic, she’s defensive of Cersei all the same. Headey also noted that the sexism present in Westeros is a big drive as to what moves her character forward:
“I’ve always really fought for her, especially early on, because she had seemed just to be a self-serving manipulator. As we’ve grown to know her a bit more, we see that she’s a woman surviving in a really s–tty world desperate to be heard, saying something seven times when a man says it once. I get people saying what a great performance, and that’s obviously a very nice thing to hear. But it’s changed a little bit, because at the beginning, people were like [in American accent] “Oh my God, you’re such a bitch!” What’s moving is that people love her now and want to be on her team.”
One last thing that Heady made note of was her character’s infamous incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime and how it compliments her character:
“With Cersei and Jaime, we’ve always talked about it — Cersei’s always wanted to be him. Therefore, for her, that relationship is completion. There’s been an envy, because he was born with privilege just for being a man. I think their love was built on respect. He truly loves her, he’s truly in love with Cersei, but I don’t think her love was pure love, I think it was respect and a kind of need.”
Since Game of Thrones is rapidly advancing toward its conclusion, it can be safe to say that Cersei Lannister’s story is bound to take some interesting changes in direction in the penultimate season – and whether or not she’ll make it to the final season is something worth speculating on.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16, 2017. The series stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish, Liam Cunningham as Ser Davos Seaworth, Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Conleth Hill as Varys, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, John Bradley as Samwell Tarly, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark, Jerome Flynn as Bronn, Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, Hannah Murray as Gilly.