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Is Cersei Lannister really evil in Game of Thrones?

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I’m digging an old post up about Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. Is she really an evil character, or is she misunderstood?

As a word of warning, I wrote this back in 2015. So we’re looking at, what, around Season 5 of the series? It doesn’t take into account her actions in the final seasons. I always said, though, once Cersei lost her children, she had nothing else to really live for. She was always going to go dark.

Many people view Cersei Lannister as the evil character in Game of Thrones, but I don’t think it is that simple. Sure, she has done some horrible things, but there are feelings there.

When someone asks about the evil characters in the show and books, I think of people like Joffrey Baratheon and The Mountain. These are the people who simply do not care what other people think about them, or how they hurt the people around them. They are also sick and twisted, causing pain for pleasure.

Cersei isn’t evil in Game of Thrones. She is a survivor.

Before anyone jumps on me for this view, I’m going to ask you to put yourself in the time period that Game of Thrones is roughly set. While there is no confirmation, I’d say that it is set in the Middle Ages. The other view is that it is in a dystopian future that has lost all knowledge and capabilities of the technological world of today. But I prefer setting it in the past since there’s never a mention of anything technological that once came before.

In the Middle Ages, women were considered as a lesser being. They weren’t allowed to vote, or even own property unless they were left a widow. Even then, as soon as they married, that property would go into the hands of their husbands. They were daughters, wives, and mothers, and that was all.

Cersei knew her place as a woman but knew that that could put her in a dangerous situation. After all, she was married to Robert Baratheon because her father used her as a pawn, as many fathers did in the Middles Ages. She did everything she had to so she could survive the world around her.

After Robert’s death, the pain she cause was to show her authority as queen regent. As soon as her father came to King’s Landing, she started losing that power and you could see her unravel bit by bit as she lost more and more power. That continues as she loses her children.

Putting yourself in that time period, do you think her actions were that of an evil person? Weren’t they actions of someone just trying to survive and keep herself on top of the power pile?

It is very easy to put modern-day feelings on people in history, but it isn’t fair. The same applies to Cersei Lannister. Yes, if she did the things in a modern-day time frame, she would certainly be an evil character. But you need to remember that the time period in the Middle Ages was very different. Noblemen and royals would act in ways that would never be considered suitable today. It’s not fair to hold them against modern-day principles.

So, Cersei is not an evil character in Game of Thrones. She is just a survivor.

Okay, if you go by the final seasons, she was evil and didn’t care about anyone but herself (and sort of Jaime), but I wrote this before all that.

MORE: Do you need to watch Game of Thrones to understand House of the Dragon?

What did you think of Cersei in Game of Thrones? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Game of Thrones* is available to stream on HBO and Max.