Cersei Lannister

Brunhild: The Original Queen Cersei

We are delighted and honored to have this article by historian and novelist John Henry Clay. Dr. Clay is a lecturer in medieval history at Durham University and the author of The Lion and the Lamb, an epic novel of Roman Britain. If Cersei is ever brought to trial, chances are that her list of crimes will be topped by the murder of her husband, King Robert Baratheon. No doubt she’ll plead her innocence. After all, she didn’t exactly murder Robert. She…

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“Pay for Dinner?” “I Incest”: Anne Boleyn, Lucrezia Borgia, & Cersei Lannister

Between The Borgias, The Pillars of the Earth and Game of Thrones, we have seen rather a lot of incestuous relationships in medieval settings on television in the last few years. We even had a recent allegation of incest in The White Queen. The Pillars of the Earth producers made the decision to add an incestuous relationship between mother and son, William and Regan Hamleigh, which was not actually depicted in the book. Considering Pillars has a set of fictional…

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Introducing the Anne Boleyn Series: Margaery, Cersei, and Melisandre

Over the next few weeks, in honor of Anne Boleyn and some of the Game of Thrones characters she may have inspired –we will be running a series of articles and interviews with historians about her. George RR Martin appears to have taken threads of factual — and counterfactual  (the opposite of historical events) — aspects of Anne’s story and woven them into various Game of Thrones characters like Cersei, Margaery, and Melisandre. Each character represents a different facet of…

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Cersei and Margaret of Anjou (part 2)

This post continues from Margaret of Anjou’s Influence on Cersei Lannister. Like Cersei after Robert’s death, Margaret had to unofficially function as the head of government. When Henry VI went “mad” and lapsed into an unresponsive state for nine months, Margaret tried to hold the various factions together to prevent other claimants from usurping Henry. In Cersei’s case, the Baratheon brothers and Robb Stark both threatened to oust the Lannisters from the throne.  In Margaret’s case, the disaffected Richard of York…

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Margaret of Anjou’s Influence on Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister shares many personality traits (and some story lines or events) with Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI—the “Mad King” defeated in the first phase of the Wars of the Roses. Both women were good-looking, commanding, indomitable, and fiercely devoted to their children, regardless of their flaws. Rumors of infidelity plagued the two queens. Their subjects despised them and they had few loyal followers. In addition, both women had a permissive attitude towards their reputedly monstrous sons….

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Rethinking Cersei Lannister

George RR Martin may draw inspiration for Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones’ ruthless, cruel, vengeful, and manipulative queen, from two different queens in Wars of the Roses: Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret of Anjou. In Cersei Lannister: The Evil Queen We Love to Hate, I discussed the similarities between Cersei and Elizabeth Woodville. However, I’ve stubbornly resisted acknowledging any similarities between Cersei Lannister and Margaret of Anjou. However, I received quite a few great comments and emails on this topic—thank you very…

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 3, Episode 8

Tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones (Season 3, Episode 8 “Second Sons”) had three major events: Gendry’s disgusting leeching, Daenerys’ near assassination by the dashing sellsword Dario Naharis, and Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion. For the purpose of peering into the history behind this Game of Thrones episode, this post focuses on the Tyrion’s marriage. Tyrion’s noble behavior at the wedding feast reveals how he towers over the peers who laughed at him hours earlier as he struggled to put the…

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The Seriousness of Arranged Marriages: No Jane Austen Novel

Episodes: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” Season 3, Episode 7 As Season 3 winds up, arranged marriages are becoming an incredibly important theme. Tywin Lannister wants to marry Tyrion to Sansa Stark and prevent the Tyrells from becoming Lord in the North. Robb Stark pleaded with his uncle to marry Lord Frey’s daughter so he can regain the lord’s military support. In the HBO interactive features from this week’s Game of Thrones, George RR Martin talks about the political importance…

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More on Cersei and Elizabeth Woodville

This post continues from my previous post on Elizabeth Woodville and Cersei Lannister. Elizabeth, like Cersei, had her share of sorrows. Elizabeth was the mother of twelve children, including the heir to the throne, the blonde-haired Prince Edward.  After Edward IV died, his brother Richard (later Richard III) effectively kidnapped Prince Edward and imprisoned him in the Tower along with his brother. Neither boy was ever seen again. While Elizabeth experienced grief, she also shared in the moral ambiguity seen…

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