There’s a lot of meta knocking around that boils Cersei down to a failed mother and failed queen, that she tries to be everything and succeeds at nothing because, as a woman, you can’t have it all.
Even though, we’re told that we can.
But, that’s reductionist and weirdly totally missing the point of Cersei Lannister: Queen-Regent, Politico, Mother, and Lioness of Casterly Rock.
Because, as much as Cersei is not in any universe a good person—boy-howdy, is Cersei not a good person—she’s also so much more than a lot of the characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) universe are—a dark mirror of how, but for the grace of the Thing High Atop The Thing, goes all the women in it.
Pretty much all we know about Cersei for the first three novels comes from other people’s perspectives and expectations of Cersei: Cersei is trapped in Ned, Tyrion, Catelyn, and Sansa’s (even Arya’s) lenses of who and what she is and how they see her.
Cersei, Robert’s Wife.
Cersei, The Cold, Hostile Older Sister.
Cersei the Benevolent, Gentle Queen cum Cruel, Sadistic Queen-Regent.
Cersei, The Woman Who Killed Ned.
We don’t get Cersei’s perspective of herself until A Feast for Crows, and by then, Cersei is spiraling into instability.
And, really, can any of us blame Cersei for her paranoia and distrust of everyone around her?
“There’s a lot of meta knocking around that boils Cersei down to a failed mother and failed queen, that she tries to be everything and succee...”
- Ned:Oh my gods, Cersei's been sleeping with her brother!
- Ned:Her children are bastards!
- Ned:Bran was crippled because he found out!
- Ned:Who should I tell first about this outrage?!
- Ned:I know how about Cersei