A wonderful article by Lidiany CS discussing some of the theories on this blog appeared on the Game of Thrones Brazil site (GameofThronesBR.com). Not only is the article extremely well written, the best part is it introduces a new idea I’d never thought of before: Lucrezia Borgia being an inspiration for Cersei Lannister!
Lidiany does an excellent job of drawing a parallel between Lucrezia and Cersei. It fits very nicely.
I’m including a rough English translation of the article below. For some reason Chrome’s Google Translate feature won’t work on the web page containing Lidiany’s article, so I had to run each section through Google Translate’s web page. To save you from having to go to this trouble, I added the article below – hopefully Game of Thrones Brazil won’t mind too much. (Note to GoT Brazil, please contact me if there is an issue.)
Here is the roughly translated article. To encourage people to Game of Thrones Brazil site and not steal their traffic, I’ve excluded all the images except the one of Lucrezia Borgia. However, the images are really worth seeing. To see them, please go to http://www.gameofthronesbr.com/2013/08/a-historia-por-tras-de-game-of-thrones-inspiracoes-para-cersei-lannister.html.
History Behind Game Of Thrones: Cersei Lannister Inspirations
By Lidiany CS
The site “History Behind The Game of Thrones” has an interesting proposal to analyze some facts and historical events that may have inspired Game of Thrones. Some time ago, the author published a series of posts about possible inspirations for Cersei Lannister. According to Jamie Adair, author of the site, the ruthless, cruel, vindictive and manipulative Cersei, may have been inspired by two queens who had different roles in the War of the Roses: Elizabeth Woodville (Elizabeth Woodville) and Margaret of Anjou (Marguerite d ‘Anjou).
Elizabeth was the daughter of a family of minor nobility who fought against Edward IV. Like Cersei, Elizabeth was supposedly extremely seductive with icy blue eyes and long golden hair, not unlike the hair of Lena Headey in Game of Thrones. In fact, as pointed out by Tywin Lannister to Lady Olenna (House Tyrell), Cersei is the most beautiful woman in the Seven Kingdoms. And so was Elizabeth Woodville.
Legend has it that Elizabeth Woodville met Edward IV by intercepting him on a hunting trip. She was a commoner and her husband died fighting for Lancaster (which rhymes with Lannister), the reigning house overthrown by Edward, so when the husband Elizabeth died, she lost her property. According to the stories, Elizabeth besieged the king under an oak, a supposed symbol of the occult. Seeing her great beauty, Edward was bewitched. He wanted Elizabeth so much that tried to rape her. However, Elizabeth resisted, threatening to stab herself with a knife instead of sacrificing her honor. To win her, Edward agreed to marry her in secret. For a long time, he did not let anyone know that he was married. This secret marriage, not unlike the marriage of Robb Stark, was calamitous and eventually lead the dynasty to ruin.
Before her marriage, the Earl of Warwick, Edward’s right arm went to France to arrange a marriage between Edward and a French princess. When he returned Warwick, Edward finally had no choice but to reveal the truth: he was already married. Warwick was painfully humiliated by having to tell France that the marriage treaty would be broken and never forgave Edward. Rumors circulated until Edward’s mother, Cecily Neville, threatened to denounce him as illegitimate.
The stories of Elizabeth and Cersei differ slightly in that direction: while the husband Cersei Lannister was not interested in her, Edward IV married Elizabeth out of lust. But like Cersei, Elizabeth was constantly betrayed by her husband. However, there is no record that Elizabeth cheated on her husband.
Despite this difference, both women had many traits in common. Both were known to put their needs and those of her family above all. As Cersei said: “Anyone who is not us is an enemy.” Likewise, the two women were housewives power. Moreover, both suffered from rumors and gossip – even stories may have been true. Cersei is plagued by rumors that she slept with her brother. Although there were stories of incest between Elizabeth and his brothers, several other stories about as defamatory as it were scattered.
During the life of Elizabeth, it was rumored her family orchestrated the fall of the former mayor of London, Sir Thomas Cook, simply because they wanted a tapestry he possessed. The controversial story says that after the mayor refused to sell a tapestry for the Queen Mother, his family brought him down with a trumped-up charge of treason. While in custody, the brothers of Elizabeth sacked the mayor’s mansion – destroying all their possessions and their wealth and stealing the tapestry. Elizabeth may also have instigated her husband to murder his brother in court.
According to Jamie, none of these stories have been proven and Elizabeth Woodville fans may not like to see her portrayed this way.
Interestingly, the BBC recently launched a series called The White Queen trilogy adapted from the Cousins’ War series (The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Lady of the Rivers) by writer Philippa Gregory. The drama tells the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of three women: Margaret Beaufort, Anne Neville and Elizabeth Woodville!
Margaret of Anjou
Historians have portrayed Margaret of Anjou as a manipulative woman, haughty, arrogant and power-hungry. Margaret was a queen consort away from political events to see the position of her husband, as well as your child’s and your own risk. When York captured Henry VI, Margaret took her son Edward of Westminster and managed to flee to Wales. Assisted by Jasper Tudor, half-brother of Henry VII, she organized the resistance and mobilized an army. After some initial setbacks, Margaret was the winner of the Battle of Wakefield, fought on December 30, 1460, where the combined armies of the Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury were destroyed and their leaders captured. Showing no mercy, the queen condemned Richard of York and Salisbury for high treason, had them beheaded, and ordered that their heads were displayed on the walls of York. After suffering a heavy defeat, Margaret was spared a charge of high treason and consequent death sentence, being only imprisoned in the Tower of London and later imprisoned in Wallingford Castle. Years later, the King of France paid a sum for her release and Margaret returned to Anjou, where she died in 1482.
Unlike Margaret, Cersei is not a foreign queen, but this story has many similarities with the story of Cersei and the Lannisters.
Recent historical research has changed the interpretations of both Margaret and Elizabeth Woodville. Even if the women’s negative qualities were the inspiration for Cersei, the women may have been wronged over the years.
Margaret of Anjou is also a character in the book Philippa Gregory, The Lady of the Rivers.
Besides Margaret and Elizabeth, a possible inspiration for Cersei is Lucrezia Borgia, the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI and sister of the despot Cesare Borgia. Like Cersei, Lucrezia was forced to marry for political reasons and accused of incest. Also, like Cersei, Lucrezia had great power and influence due to the situation of her family in Rome. One of her husbands, Alphonsus Biscegli, was possibly killed as the result of a conspiracy created by Cesare. The Borgia family itself, conspiracies, intrigues and power struggles and Ignition may have been an inspiration for the Lannister family.
Lucrezia was portrayed recently in the Showtime series The Borgias by actress Holliday Grainger. The drama inspired by the family’s story emphasizes the various offenses with which the Borgias were accused. Despite having had a good reception, the series ended in its third season.
While we await the fourth season of Game of Thrones recommend these two series: The White Queen and The Borgias and Philippa Gregory’s books.