Thu
Mar 20 2014 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 8

George R R Martin A Song of Ice and Fire Feast For CrowsWelcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 8 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 12 (“Cersei”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

Chapter 12: Cersei

What Happens
On the morning of Tommen’s wedding, Cersei is in a foul mood, enraged by the necessity of the alliance with the Tyrells, and even more by their insistence that Tommen share his bed with his new bride, even if the marriage cannot be consummated yet. Jaime comes and assures her that all possible precautions have been taken to ensure Tommen’s safety, but Cersei is morbidly sure that Tyrion is still hiding in the castle somewhere, plotting to kill Tommen just as he did Joffrey. Jaime is contemptuous of her paranoia, as he is of her plans to burn the Tower of the Hand and move the court to Casterly Rock. Cersei tells him acidly that she merely wishes for that last. After he leaves, she wonders how she could ever have loved him as she had.

The ceremony is small and sedate compared to the panoply of Joffrey’s wedding, and Cersei is furious at the haste of it, as well as that the Queen of Thorns had successfully campaigned to have Tommen cloak Margaery in Baratheon colors rather than Lannister crimson. Afterward, Kevan Lannister comes to tell her that he is going to Darry to wed Lancel to his new bride, and asks if it is true that Sandor Clegane has joined Beric Dondarrion’s crew. Cersei has heard of the rumors, but says she is not sure. Kevan is upset that she has named other Lannisters her castellan and Warden of the West, but she tells him if he brings them Sandor’s head, Tommen will be grateful. Kevan comments, “When a dog goes bad, the fault lies with his master,” and leaves.

In an effort to appease her, Jaime tells Cersei that Lady Olenna and most of the rest of the Tyrells are leaving the next day, when Mace Tyrell leaves for Storm’s End, but Cersei is skeptical, and points out that Ser Loras will still be there. Margaery offers Cersei affection and condolences for Joffrey, but Cersei thinks her a filthy liar and barely restrains herself from slapping the girl. At the feast, Lady Olenna complains loudly that she had wanted to hear “The Rains of Castamere.” Olenna reminds Cersei of the sorceress Maggy the Frog, and the prophecy she had made to Cersei:

Queen you shall be, the old woman had promised, with her lips still wet and red and glistening, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.

Cersei doesn’t think Margaery is more beautiful than she, but thinks “the world is full of fools” who might think otherwise. She sees that Jaime is as nervous as she, and overreacts when Tommen coughs at too much wine. She leaves before anyone can see her cry, only to be followed by Lady Merryweather, who tells her that Cersei’s maid Senelle is a spy for Lady Margaery. Suspicious, Cersei asks why she would tell her this, and the Myrish woman replies that her loyalty is to her husband and son, not Highgarden. Cersei recalls that she had testified to Tyrion’s guilt at his trial, and promises to reward her if her story pans out.

She returns to the feast. Jaime assures her again that Tommen is safe, and Cersei replies that no one who wears a crown is ever safe. She realizes there is no one she can rely on, even Jaime, and that she must sweep them all away and replace them with her own people. Later, Jaime asks her for a dance, and she rejects him harshly, as she does Mace Tyrell and Lancel. She makes note of the handsome Bastard of Driftmark, Aurane Waters, and his resemblance to Rhaegar Targaryen. She sees Ser Kevan talking to Mace’s son Garlan, and wonders why. Rather drunk, she calls the assemblage outside to light a candle to celebrate the union.

Outside, she gives the signal to the pyromancer Hallyne, who shoots the Tower of the Hand full of wildfire, setting it ablaze. Most of the onlookers cheer. Cersei thinks of all the Hands she had known through the years, and decides it is her day now to guide the kingdom. Soon the tower collapses, and Lady Olenna suggests it is time for the king and queen to go to bed. Cersei agrees, but stays to watch the tower burn.

Commentary
Jeez, Cersei.

I completely cannot figure out whether to be pleased or upset to watch Cersei as she systematically burns all her bridges, both literally and metaphorically.

I guess, though, that I would have to come down on the side of “pleased,” intellectually, because I doubt I would have even slightly sympathized with her before we got in her head. Plus I can’t deny that I recognize that I feel compelled to some extent to extend her a certain amount of automatic sympathy simply because she is a woman. Which, by the way, really pisses me off.

It pisses me off because it circles back into that problem of women (or any minority) not being allowed to be judged on their own merits. Because I know that Cersei being a terrible person is going to be used as an excuse to legitimize the misogyny she rails against, just because she also rails against things that, unlike the purely sexist bullshit she gets, are legitimate strikes against her.

That said, I recognize that bias (if not actual discrimination) runs both ways, and that I have to be careful on my part not to fail to judge her as she deserves, just in the opposite direction. Er, if that makes any sense.

Bleh. I don’t think I am articulating this very well, but what I’m trying to say is: Cersei sucks, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t sometimes have a legitimate point. And also: Cersei sucks, so let’s remember that sometimes she doesn’t have a legitimate point.

This may seem like an obvious statement, but I have seen way too many times the dirty debate tactic which gleefully points to one error or flaw in a person’s stance and uses it to declare that therefore, everything that person says is worthless. And in the same way, there is the tactic which seizes on one particular point of a person’s stance which is undeniably true, and uses that to declare that therefore, everything that person says must also be true.

Clearly, both of these tactics are bullshit, but I am frequently astounded (and depressed) by how often people fall for one or the other. This is also why I generally tend to refuse to watch news channel “opinion shows,” regardless of political bent, because doing one or the other of the above tactics is pretty much their bread and butter, and it makes me want to kill things every time.

Soooo, my point is… um. My point is… my point is that Cersei sucks, but so does patriarchy! Yeah!

Or… you know, something like that.

But whatever, because lookit, you guys! There was a marriage in ASOIAF, and the only thing that died in it was a building! Holy crap! IT’S AMAZING, Y’ALL. I feel like we should have a round of applause for all the survival on display here!

Though this does inevitably bring up the question of whether Melisandre’s curse on all the non-Stannis kings of Westeros still stands, or if it was only concerning the crop o’ kings that was extant at the time of said cursing. Meaning, is Tommen exempt for being a Johnny-come-lately, or is his tragic and bizarre death also just a matter of time?

Dunno. I guess we’ll find out!

But, he got through his wedding alive, which is more than Joffrey or Robb can say, so... so far so good, right?

Speaking of which, Lady Olenna complaining about there being no “Rains of Castamere” played at the feast is the most bitchily awesome display of “fuck you” bad taste ever. I believe the relevant phrase is OH NO YOU DID NOT, GIRL. Because, wow.

[Jaime:] “There can be no danger of a consummation. Tommen is much too young.”

[Cersei:] “And Ossifer Plumm was much too dead, but that did not stop him fathering a child, did it?”

Her brother looked lost. “Who was Ossifer Plumm? Was he Lord Philip’s father, or… who?”

He is near as ignorant as Robert. All his wits were in his sword hand.

Uh, I hope I’m not supposed to know who Ossifer Plumm is, because I have no clue. His name is hilarious, though. It’s like what you’d call a cop while drunk.

But aside from that, Cersei is really not doing herself any favors by alienating Jaime, methinks. Seriously, girl, he was like your ONE sure-fire ally, but you keep this up and he’ll be a worse enemy than all the rest combined – if he isn’t already.

(Well, except that he’d already freed Tyrion behind her back. But then again, that wasn’t so much in defiance of his loyalty to Cersei as it was an acknowledgment that his loyalty to Tyrion was equal in weight. Which just goes to show you what you get for loyalty, huh Jaime?)

I have no idea what’s up with the rumor about Sandor Clegane hanging out with Beric, because even if Sandor survived that seems highly unlikely, but I’m guessing someone in Beric’s crew is just using Sandor’s helmet. I will probably be proven wrong about this in due time, but for now I’m running with it.

Re: Maggy the Toad’s prophecy: ugh, that’s annoying. Believe it or not, I would like it if occasionally things in Cersei’s life weren’t attached to her being a woman, and this prophecy is such a… I don’t know, obvious type of bait that I want to roll my eyes at it. Because of course we’re going to have Cersei prophetically threatened by another, younger, prettier woman, so that we get that same old tired thing of how women can only be rivals with each other and it’s only about their youth and beauty (i.e. their market value to men), and blah blah beentheredonethatcakes.

That said, it’s probably not Margaery. If only because that would be just way too obvious. My money’s on Sansa, personally.

Also, just to continue the stereotype: Lady Merryweather is soooo playing an angle here. It’s perfectly possible that her angle is nothing more than “get in good with the queen regent in the hopes of garnering yummy perqs,” but going on previous experience I’m going to assume it ain’t nearly that simple. I also keep inadvertently picturing her as being adorably frumpy and winged, which I’m pretty sure is wholly inaccurate.

Lastly, I have no idea why this chapter made such a point of noticing this Aurane Waters guy and how he looks vaguely Targaryen-ish, but it totally did, so I am… er, also making a point of noticing him. Which I just did. Even though I don’t know why. So… okay.


And… now we’re stopping. Because! Have a week! See you next Friday! Whoo!

135 comments
Kat W.
1. Kat W.
Thanks Leigh, enjoyable as always!

Can hardly wait for you to get a bit farther.....
Scott Silver
2. hihosilver28
Leigh, I like what you said about various stances of priviledge and that influencing how you view characters. Because I loathe Cersei...to the point that I miss many of the fully legitimate gripes that she has. To have your perspective makes me consider my own. And that's good for me. I still loathe Cersei, but it isn't utterly and completely as it was previously.
Kat W.
3. Black Dread
Cersie sucks and she has no legitimate point. She is the Queen. All she has to do for the next 10 years or so is BE THE QUEEN! She effectively rules the realm and will do so until Tommen comes of age. She doesn't have to scheme, lie or use sexual favors or anything else to get her way, she is the queen.

She is just too twisted and stupid to realize it.
Peter Stone
4. Peter1742
Leigh: Ossifer Plumm was Brown Ben Plumm's ancestor.

Who's Brown Ben Plumm? Remember that mercenary fighting for Dany who boasted of an ancestor with a six-foot long cock?

And spoiler:

People: please don't spoil the joke for Leigh. She's smart enough to figure it out without spelling it out for her. And if you don't get the joke, think harder.
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl
There was a marriage in ASOIAF, and the only thing that died in it was a building

Unless Tyrion was actually still inside it, as Cersei feared.

Uh, I hope I’m not supposed to know who Ossifer Plumm is, because I have no clue. His name is hilarious, though. It’s like what you’d call a cop while drunk.

I can't recall if we heard the story, but we have met someone claiming to a relative, Brown Ben Plumm from Dany's storyline.

My money’s on Sansa, personally.

And not the queen with the dragons across the Narrow Sea?

Waters is the bastard surname of Kings Landing, so they are probably hinting that he's an unknown Targ bastard.
Kat W.
6. Dragonriding Moogle
"Cersei sucks, but so does patriarchy" hee, so true. I also think Cersei has an incredible amount of internalized misogyny, which comes from the culture itself as well as her own power-mad nature. I could see certain aspects of her character being a huge problem if there weren't so many other women in the story. And it's not like the men aren't pretty damned flawed in this series, too.

So, I definitely don't see Cersei's character as misogynistic...some of the comments about her can be that way, but I actually rather like seeing a female villain who isn't just a cardboard evil. Some of her thoughts do veer quite sharply towards that "all women are jealous of each other" trope, but I'd find it kind of unrealistic if there weren't any women in the series who were affected in that particular way by their society. And I'm still giving "most jealous character" award to Theon.

Possible "younger and more beautiful" queens? Sansa? Dany? Myrcella? or maybe it is Margaery after all..i don't know!
Kat W.
7. TG12
Yeah, you've put your finger on why Cersei is tough. She's a real piece of work (and getting progressively worse/more paranoid), but she's also kicking against a patriarchal system, so it makes filtering it all out tough.

Also, I'm glad that you took note of both Maggy the Frog and Aurane Waters, the Bastard of Driftmark (and his alleged resemblance to Rhaegar).
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
8. Lisamarie
I actually just had a weird thought about my Grandma. Hear me out :)

Because of my particular state in life, I tend to be a little sensitive right now to things regarding harm coming to children. So as much as I loathe Cersei, I have been able to feel twinges of sympathy for her - such as when she sees Tommen choking and panics and then has to go and cry. Joffrey was horrible, but still - your child dying in front of you while you can't do a thing about it must have the potential to seriously twist and eff up a person in a big way (not that Cersei wasn't already a bit cracked, but I think this really pushes her over the edge).

My grandma was an interesting woman. I've got a lot of fond memories of her, but she definitely had a mean and manipulative streak (think the mother in Everybody Loves Raymond, but not in a funny way). She was definitely devoted to her family and the idea of being an Italian matriarch, she just twisted it sometimes. And when I hear stories of her life, there were times that it seems she was born in the wrong era. She was very bright in school, but had to take care of all her siblings. I also don't think she took very well to her husband trying to tell her what to do, heh. Which is not to say she was anti the motherhood/family matriarch role, she embraced it, but she defiintely got burned as values changed and her children didn't end up showing her the same respect (in her mind) that she felt she was entitled to because she had done it when SHE was a child, etc . Anyway, my aunts are considerably older than my father (the beloved boy child!) and she had a few miscarriages and stillbirths in between. My oldest aunt commented that you just can't go through something like that without it twisting you in a way, and posited that could be a small part of what drove her behavior (especially given that she already had that tendency).

Not to say my grandmother is like Cersei, heh. Just that I suddenly saw this slight connection regarding losing a child, as well as having limited roles as a woman and how that can start to shape you. It doesn't excuse Cersei, and it doesn't excuse the times my Grandma shot her mouth off in a mean way, but...kind of interesting to think about, I guess.
Kat W.
9. Black Dread
She's kicking a patriarchal system because she wants absolute power. Certainly not because she cares about other women or anyone advancing through merit.
Sky Thibedeau
10. SkylarkThibedeau
This Maggie the Frog Prophesy seems so tacked on for no useful purpose. I can't recall it mentioned in any of the previous books. It was the first part of lameness that made me think George should have gone ahead and did his 'five years later' as he originally intended. The first three volumes were so awesome but AFFC just drags the saga down with side trails like this one and the Iron Born.

@6 I think a lot of Cersei's misanthrophe comes from being married to Robert and having Tywin as a father. Jamie is probably the only decent male she knows besides Tommen and Jamie has his flaws to say the least.
Adam S.
11. MDNY
I read the prophecy differently. I'm actually rather surprised that you thought of Sansa, becuase if there is ANY would-be queen out there who is younger and more beautiful than Cersei, I would say she is currently in Slaver's Bay. My first thought was that Dany is the queen in the prophecy, but Cersei dismisses Dany as a threat and thus focuses all her attention on Margaery, ignoring the real threat to her power (as everyone else has done).
The Ossifer Plumm reference is related to Brown Ben Plumm's reference to Dany about his ancestor who had a 6 foot cock....
Chris Nelly
12. Aeryl
Oh, and all the points to Lady Olenna again, who knows just how to irritate Cersei, and delights in doing it.
Kat W.
13. DougL
Well, Cersei is crazy and really loves fire. Olenna is awesome.
Chris Nelly
14. Aeryl
@10, Well we can't tell if it's useful or not, but it can't have been mentioned sooner than this, because Cersei's the only person who knows it. Introducing new character POVs is always going to give you new information, and make you recontextualize everything.

For example, knowing this prophecy, you can now understand Cersei's hostility to Sansa(though Cersei did TRY to be nice at first), because then it was Sansa who was the queen to be.

And it's also serving the story nicely, IMO, in the fact that it's blinding Cersei to other threats, which is par for the course for most prophecies in these books. A character hears a prophecy and becomes so blinded by what could happen, they lose sight of what is happening. I love the exploration of that hubris.
Kat W.
15. Lyanna Mormont
Cersei is such a shipwreck. Drinking, alienating people left and right, going paranoid over prophecies, burning down buildings with wildfire, making plans to surround herself with "her own people" - and who might that be, Cersei? Who would you put your trust in?

(Actually, Robb survived his own wedding just fine. It was his uncle's wedding that killed him. Well, okay, his own wedding was the cause of it, but...)
Kat W.
16. zambi76
I'm sorry, but at some point it's just: Cersei sucks. Peroid.

Roll over to read: Aurane Waters looking like Rheagar Targaryen thing will be thought of and elaborated on again by her later hence this introduction.
Sky Thibedeau
17. SkylarkThibedeau
@11 Everyone in Westeros ignores Dany because she is so far away everything that comes to them is rumor. It's like us and the Crimea or the Spratley Islands. Both are too far away for anyone to pay attention as more rumors come out than knowledge even with our 24 hour news cycle.
Kat W.
18. Mrs V
Long time lurker, first time poster. And I just want to put in my two cents re: Cersei.

I don't think that Cersei's faults have anything to do with the fact that she is a woman and I don’t think they’re environmental – I think that’s how her brain was wired and it wouldn’t matter if she was born in 21st Century Manhattan. I would hate to have her as my manager.

She has a blind lust for power, just like her father, and just like Viserys, and just like so many other terrible men who have come before her in this story, other stories and in real-life.

She expects to get respect simply because of her title, instead of earning it. And when she's not respected, she uses threats of death but in doing so, she loses any and all allies she could have.

She thinks she's the smartest person in the world and only wants a bunch of yes-men on her counsel. If they don't agree with her, they've committed treason and she’ll have them killed.

And as far as the prophesy goes, of course she’s concerned with her looks. Cersei must always be the most powerful and the most beautiful in the land, and it would never occur to her that anyone could ever be smarter than her. And that’s why she’s so stupid.
Kat W.
19. Lyanna Mormont
@ 10 - We never heard of the prophecy before we got into Cersei's head, much the same way we never heard about Mad King Aerys planning to burn King's Landing until we got into Jaime's head.
Kat W.
20. zambi76
I also think the prophecy stuff is about the good old "self-fulfilling" trope more than anything and am not nearly as bothered by it as many in ASOIAF seem to be.
Rafael
21. Ryamano
@14 I've never thought about that, considering the Sansa-Cersei relationships. It makes sense.
Kat W.
22. Lyanna Mormont
@ 18 - I don't agree that Cersei's faults have nothing to do with being a woman in that environment, although I do agree that the "faulty wiring" was probably always there. I think her flaws have been exacerbated by the constant struggle to be taken seriously. Her already unstable/unhealthy mind was fertilized by the manure of Westerosi patriarchality, so to speak. Of course, she also uses it as an excuse for every single time things don't go as she'd hoped, but it's hardly uncommon for anyone who doesn't want to face their own mistakes to blame the circumstances.
Kat W.
23. Black Dread
@22 - Yes! Nobody has ever taken her seriously because she's an idiot. Cersie, being an idiot, attributes it to her being a woman.
Kat W.
24. zambi76
What was GRRM's example for the unpredictability of prophecies again?

King gets prophecy about such and such castle will be his death.
King immediately has that castle burned (and probably all inhabitants, because it's the only way to be sure) to the ground.
Sometime later king gets hit on the head by a falling sign with that castle engraved as he leaves an inn and dies.

Heh. I for one love that shit.
Kat W.
26. Mrs V
@ 22

I see your point, and maybe her problems are exacerbated by her mental illness. But I think that if she was born a man, she'd be somewhere between Tywin and Joffrey. And I think she's wrong that no one takes her seriously because she's a woman. I think they don't take her seriously because she's not that smart. Lady Olenna is a very smart, cunning, powerful woman and therefor people take her seriously. She runs that family, even if she allows her son to think that he runs it.
Adam S.
28. MDNY
It's not that no one takes Cersei seriously. It's that no one just lies down and licks her boots, and she views anyone not being a lickspittle to be treasonous. And that is one worldview that I think we can safely say she passed on to Joff.
Chris Nelly
29. Aeryl
@18, What you are ignoring is that both Tywin and Viserys were given the respect they desired, without earning it. This is Cersei's entire point.

@23, Viserys was an idiot, and yet, those invested in the monarchal power structure of Westeros gave him that respect. Again, you are proving Cersei's point. If you are a man, and you have the title, you get the respect, even if you are an idiot. If you are a woman, you have to be perfect, beautiful, polite AND deferential, and have the title, to get the respect.
Kat W.
30. Lyanna Mormont
@ 23 - But at the same time, there are/were people who never took her seriously because she was a woman, and who never would've listened to anything she said, no matter how intelligent, because she is a woman.

They're not mutually exclusive, is my point. She can be stupid and discriminated against because she's a woman. And actually being discriminated against is what gives her a ready-made excuse, and ensures she never learns anything from her mistakes because she's convinced it's not her fault, it's just discrimination... And down the spiral goes.
Janice Boyd
31. scaredicat
Everyone in this world would be a LOT better off if they stopped paying attention to those prophecies. They never mean what you think they mean...

It's ironic that Cersei is finally in a position where she truly has power. She's flailing around looking for something to fight against. Fighting for power is not the same thing as being in power. It calls for very different skills - something I am not sure Cersei even realizes.

And she really, really needs to lay off the booze.
Valerie Varner
32. varnerv951
I am a first time reader, and I FINALLY caught up with you all.

My guess is that the prophecy regarding Cersei being replaced by a "younger, prettier" woman is Dany... Which kind of dismays me, since who knows HOW long before Dany gets to Westeros, or even if she does? I do NOT want to be in Cersei's head for that long. Ugh.

Also - I despise Cersei. I don't have really strong feelings for most of the characters... I didn't hate Jaime, I wasn't shocked by Ned, Tyrion isn't my favorite, but I DO despise Cersei and Theon. Being in the heads of those two characters? No bueno.... Ugh.
Steven Halter
33. stevenhalter
Chapter 12 - Cersei:Tommen's wedding is on. So far, weddings haven't exactly been happy affairs in these books. Cersei is in a rage probably somewhat from fear of something going wrong but probably mostly from not getting her way.
In addition to wedding plans, they have been dismantling the Tower of the Hand and Cersei is going to burn it down as part of the wedding celebrations. Finding the secret crawlways seems like a good idea, but burning it down seems a tad excessive. Hopefully King's Landing is not dry--actually the rain they mentioned at the start of the chapter could be quite a good thing.

Ouch--Lyle Crakehall lacks some subtlety:
"Westeros has two queens now, and the young one is as beautiful as the old one."
Heh, Olenna is ever a source of amusement and the not so subtle barb:
Lady Olenna complained loudly. “I was hoping for ‘The Rains of Castamere.’”
Snow White, much?:
Queen you shall be, the old woman had promised, with her lips still wet and red and glistening, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.
Although I'm sure GRRM will put a spin on it, so Margaery seems way too obvious. Dany would seem to be a likely young beautiful queen.

Maybe Cersei will send Margaery a poisoned apple--certainly poisoned looks.
Then Cersei gets upset at Tommen's slight choke. Now, she is very much allowed to feel hesitant after Joff's death and this part of her emotional state is somewhat understandable. Somewhat due to her incapability to see that maybe Joff doesn't deserve quite so much concern. But Tommen does, of course.
Lady Merryweather's news is almost certainly a plot of some sort. Although, just whom the plot is from remains to be seen.

Well, it wasn't exactly a happy marriage but at least no one died, so, um, Yay?
Kat W.
34. Bill D5
I have my own theories about Cersei in this chapter, namely the reason for her paranoia. Rather than a reaction to oppression, it's more likely due to her own evil. In the first place, when I see an example of genuine oppression enacted against Cersei, I might actually believe she has a gripe. I mean, from where, exactly, do these rights she believes she is being cheated out of, derive? Marrying a man who had conquered a kingdom without her help? Managing to wriggle out of the womb ahead of Jaime? Really? The "rights" that sexism would deprive her of are all rights that only would only have accrued through the institutions of the patriarchy, namely, primogeniture and the rules of marriage as practiced in Westeros. What the patriarchy giveth, the patriarchy taketh away!

Jaime might have been just as capable a warrior absent the wealth and privilege of the Lannisters. Tyrion might have been just as intelligent and intellectual. Both of them might have actually been better men without the entitlement issues distorting their judgments and warping their personalities. Cersei, for damn sure, would never have been a queen if she had been born to a lesser House or to merchants. It's one thing to complain when sexism holds you back in an ostensible meritocracy (i.e. the corporate "glass ceiling" ), but it's quite another to complain about sexism holding you back from entitlements and privileges that accrue through inherently iniquitious practices.

Giving Cersei slack for being a woman in the patriarchy is like being sympathetic to Sara Paulson in "12 Years a Slave" because her husband is unfaithful to her. Cry me a river, you slave-abusing bitch (also, everything was her fault in the first movie where she co-starred with Chiwetel Ejiofor, amiright Browncoats?). We are strictly discussing slight discrepancies among the most privileged, so I'll save my pity, thank you.

I believe is the real motivating factor behind Cersei's discomfort with the wedding is her own subconscious self-awareness. It's human nature to suspect others of our own failings. Murderers fear being murdered, traitors fear being betrayed, and liars doubt what anyone tells them. So too, will a queen who cuckholded her royal husband, and crowned her bastard in place of his rightful heir, suspect her daughter-in-law of the exact same thing!.

Cersei is worried that Margaery, now bound to Tommen in a consumated marriage in the eyes of the world, will take a lover, and pass off all of her offspring as Tommen's. That was the point of her argument with Jaime. He was scoffing at such an occurence, because he believes that no one will believe a boy that young could have gotten Margaery pregnant. Cersei responds with an historical incident wherein a widow claimed her child was her husband's even though the child had clearly been conceived after his death. According to Brown Ben Plumm, his ancestor married a Targaryen princess during the reign of one of the Aegons. As a princess, and thus a close relative of the king, the Widow Plumm presumably was able to get away with her claim, despite everyone plainly realizing it was bullshit.

With Margaery and Tommen now having spent a night together, no matter how innocently, there is now deniability for her claim that any subsequent children she bears were fathered by him. We see both Sansa and Tyrion thinking that no one will believe their own innocence in their spouse's supposed murder of Joffrey, no matter what the truth of their marital situation.

Just as the marriages between Sansa & Tyrion or Ossifer Plumm & his princess, or even Cersei & Robert, for that matter, add credence to the story put out by those in power, so too would the marriage and "consumation" between Margaery & Tommen lend support to her childrens' claim to the throne, whatever the truth of their paternity. 20-30 years from now, we could see Tyrells fighting to uphold the claim of Margaery's child against the Dornish for Myrcella's, because Margaery's kid was conceived when Tommen was like, 10 or 11. But the marriage and the fact that they literally slept together when he was 8 will be enough of an excuse for those inclined to support the Tyrells out of loyalty or greed or ambition. In the same way, men like Kevan support Joffrey & Tommen despite accepting the truth of Stannis' claim, because they can point to the fact that Cersei and Robert were married and therefore he is the most likely candidate to have sired her children.

Cersei is paranoid about Margaery, not because of anything that was done to Cersei, but because of what Cersei has done to others. What goes around comes around, and Cersei is afraid of a bunch of Tyrell bastards displacing her own grandchildren from the throne she stole, fair and square!
Kat W.
35. Mrs V
Actually, I don't think that Viserys or Tywin were respected. I think they were feared. And then they were murdered. And they deserved it.
Valerie Varner
36. varnerv951
Also - I am not proud to admit this, so please don't make fun of me, but I don't get the joke about "The Rains of Castamere." Can someone please let me in on it?
Kat W.
37. Mrs V
@ 35 - Yes! 100%!
Kat W.
38. Crusader75
Cersei is willing to feed into the rumors of her children's true parentage by using Lannister cloak at the wedding rather rhan a Baratheon one? Her vanity is still outvoting her political cunning. Martin continues to deconstruct, while Cersei blames much of her problems on outside societal forces, her main obstacles to success are her own vanity and paranoia.
Chris Nelly
39. Aeryl
@26, Exactly, Lady Olenna doesn't exercise VISIBLE power in the way Cersei desires to, which is why she gets away with it.

Plus, Highgarden, like Dorne, is much more eglitarian, so it's not quite fair to compare how women are treated there, vs how Cersei was treated.
Nathan Martin
40. lerris
As far as a younger, more beautiful queen goes... My nomination is for Brienne of Tarth.
Kat W.
41. zambi76
It was played a hundred times at the wedding of Marg and Joffrey (the singers contest) varnerv951 and Olenna made a scathing remark about it there too.
Drew McCaffrey
42. PallonianFire
@29 I fervently disagree that Tywin never earned the respect he got. Viserys earned nothing, but he really didn't get much respect, either.
Deana Whitney
43. Braid_Tug
@ 29, your comment:
@18, What you are ignoring is that both Tywin and Viserys were given the respect they desired, without earning it. This is Cersei's entire point.
I think you are forgetting the 30+ years of service both did for various kings before the books even started. Tywin had already established himself as a man who got things done. He's also an asshole, but he got things done.
He was a coldly logical person with hints of genius.

Cersei wants blind obedience thinking that is what Daddy got from everyone, because that's what he got from his children.

His Children:
Jamie - nice guy of the family, was the golden boy so didn't really have to work hard to achieve his "rewards" in life.
Cersei - The girl who wanted all of Dad's approval & respect but was only able to get a slim helping. Then married to an idiot, who was given power because of his war hammer.
Now has power and doesn't really understand how people work, but still maintains that drive to succeed above all others. With no understanding.
Tyrone: Genius, but looks like a "monster" so disregarded his whole life.
Kat W.
44. Mrs V
@ 39 - Ok, I totally get your point now. Cersei does want visible power, and The Queen of Thorns runs things from behind the scenes. Not acceptable to Cersei.

@ 30 - yes, you are also right. A lot of her issues are exacerbated by the fact that since she is a woman; she could never have visible power in Westeros. And that makes her desparation even worse.

I still think she sucks though, and she'd be a terrible ruler if Westeros allowed it or if she was born as a man. She'd just be less whiney.
Lauren Hartman
45. naupathia
I think the thing that irritates me most about the whole "but we should feel bad for Cersei because patriarchy!" is that Cersei would still be a terrible person. Other women have obviously done rather well for themselves and NOT been murderous piles of bat-sh*t insanity. Cersei has had SO much given to her -- she comes from a wealthy family and is literally Queen -- and yet she mucks it all up and you want us to feel bad because men disregard her "just because she's a woman"? Really?

I'm pretty sure Tywin even told her to her face that he doesn't trust her not because she's a woman but because she's not as smart as she thinks she is. See, people do see beyond her gender. She just refuses to accept that she's a terrible person and so she blames it on gender. This might have held water were she actually trying to lead and better the country. But she's not.

And this comes back to my first point in that people trying to excuse her behavior because you feel society MADE her that way are wrong. Other women in this series have come out fine. Imagine Catelyn as queen instead - you can bet she'd be running things ship shape without the massive chip on her shoulder.

And it looks like @34 said it better than I ever could.
George Jong
46. IndependentGeorge
@29 - What you are ignoring is that both Tywin and Viserys were given the respect they desired, without earning it. This is Cersei's entire point.

I disagree with both of these examples. Tywin had most certainly earned the respect that his fathere had pissed away. The Lannisters at that point were a joke, and Tywin's reputation largely came from him restoring it to its former glory.

When exactly did anyone show Viserys any respect? Illyrio flattered him to his face and manipulated him behind his back. Jon Arryn (and therefore Robert) ignored him. Nobody paid him the least attention until Drogo pledged him his army, and even then - the assassin was sent after Dany, not Viserys (word of his demise didn't make it back to Westeros until COK).
Chris Nelly
47. Aeryl
@36, That's the "Lannister Victory" song, it was played prior to the attack on Robb's men at the Red Wedding.

@34, Nothing you'ce said is wrong, but just because you haven't "seen" blatant examples of how Cersei is oppressed by her gender, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. As have been pointed out, many people who are way more stupid and evil than Cersei get respect, just because they have the right name, and a penis.
Yuliya Bagriy
48. Aviskase
Aren't anybody afraid after this chapter? Really?! GRRM clearly pointed out Cersei transformation into the Mad King. In the previous chapters she agreed to experementing on a living man. Now she likes wildfire. What will be next? Cersei believes that this girl is a spy - will she burn her alive?
Kat W.
49. Icchan
Because of course we’re going to have Cersei prophetically threatened by another, younger, prettier woman, so that we get that same old tired thing of how women can only be rivals with each other and it’s only about their youth and beauty (i.e. their market value to men), and blah blah beentheredonethatcakes.
Y'know, I just had a thought here - Martin doesn't serve those cakes. What if the beauty thing (and I don't know) isn't physical attraction but inner strength and the one who she'll get unseated by is Brienne? We've seen the kind of loyal, dedicated, honest, and wise woman she can be - she'd make a damn good queen no matter what she looks like, and we all know how those prophecies are NEVER what they seem on the surface.

Especially when it plays right to Cersei's vanity and misdirecting everyone, because George R. R. Martin would do that about the same time Olenna teases Cersei about Joffrey's death.

(too soon? I hope so!)
Chris Nelly
50. Aeryl
While I agree that Tywin "earned" it, you have to remember that Cersei sees herself as the equivalent of Tywin. She's duplicitous, scheming and intimidating. That's all she saw of him. She never saw the other ways in which Tywin was an effective ruler, because he never bothered to teach her.

And Viserys believed people respected him, until he met the Dothraki. Whether that is the reality, is beside the point, his perception was that he was respected. If Cersei percieved herself as respected, that would solve a LOT of problems, actually.

To be clear, I'm not defending Cersei, only trying to present her perspective. It's obvious she is just not up to the task of being queen, for a multitude of reasons, some of them related to her gender, like the fact that she was never raised to rule, and never taught to compromise or make alliances.

She does often attribute a lot of her problems to her gender, incorrectly, but that doesn't mean she's never actually been held back because of her gender.

More elaboration in the spoiler thread.
Kat W.
51. Andreq
Re: the Maggy the Frog prophecy. I read that as it was taking what Cersei held most dear.

When she went to see the woman, her entire ambition in life was the marry Rhaegar and be the Queen, and her entire self worth (blame it on society as you will) was tied up in the notion that she was the most beautiful woman in the Kingdoms, and still is. So I took the prophecy not to be a reinforcement of stereotype on Martin's part, but as a commentary on how she'd lose all the things that she personally held most dear and cherished in life.
Kat W.
52. Athreeren
I'd say that the beautiful woman is Daenerys personally, because Targaryen are famed for their looks, but it's understandable that Cersei would think more about Margaery than Daenerys, who is half a world farther. But I find it baffling that she would not even consider her rival to be Myrcella, though Tyrion just showed that one could be both a Lannister and a kinslayer (I don't think anyone else was surprised about that though). Cersei's paranoia has such blinders...
Marie Veek
53. SlackerSpice
@47: It also was played quite a few times at Joffrey's wedding, probably to curry favor with the royal family.
Kat W.
54. Rusty_Patti
Lady Olenna's complaint about wanting to hear “The Rains of Castamere” is a humorous call back to Joffrey & Margaery's wedding. There was a competition among 7 singers.

The first three or four singers at that wedding all sang it and and at one point another singer began a different song. The Queen of Thornes said something sarcastic along the lines of, "Crap, I wanted to hear the Rains of Castmere. It's been at least on hour since I heard it last."
Steven Halter
55. stevenhalter
Aviskase@48:Yes, and Jaime even makes the comparison. Mad Queen Cersei seems to be the story that is being set up here. Maybe something will undermine that expectation at some point Or maybe she just will turn out to be mad, bad and dangerous to know.
Steven Halter
56. stevenhalter
Rusty_Patti@54:In addition, it is (I think) a pointed reminder that the Freys as the provider of the bride played “The Rains of Castamere” at the Red Wedding for very unfortunate consequences to the family of the groom.
Kat W.
57. Gregor Lewis
@34-Bill D5.

And there it is!
Be very careful now. You've made cogent points explicating both Cersei's intelligence (or should that be 'ability to relate to low cunning'), especially as compared to Jaime.

You've also properly pointed out whence Cersei comes by some of the 'understandings' she has. Do not allow your suppositions to be reframed by those looking to score cheap points and playing for 'gender equality applause'.

Cersei is the very definition of unearned power. The male examples given above, (except Viserys, don't know why he was included, when he was clearly signposted as a scarecrow being manipulated by others), however gross, stupid, lecherous, paranoid insane they turned out to be (if these epithets aren't ringing any Cersei resonant bells yet, they will soon enough) EARNED whatever power they inherited by succesfully holding and defending their position, or, they EARNED whatever power they won by succesfully prosecuting a war, in their own defence AND in their own name.

The patriarchal society didn't give them anything but the opportunity.

Opportunity to rule is something Cersei has always had, she has just used it inconsistently enough, suffering what would be humiliating failures, to give her the paranoid inferiority complex we see emerge through her railing at the impotence of her gender ... when she has had and still does have, every opportunity to confound the stereotypical expectations, instead of wallowing in them.

Put bluntly Cersei herself blames her failures (those she acknowledges, be it consciously or unconsciously) on two agencies:
1)Others too stupid to see what she does.
2)Her womanhood.

It's never just HERSELF.

There is no self-reflective introspection here, and that has everything to do with being Cersei & nothing to do with being a woman.

IMO, this is what causes the unnecessary (in Cersei's specific case) 'rage against the patriarchal machine'.

_________________________________

A couple of quick notes of juvenile humour if I may:



Yummy perqs? Hmmmmm ... I wonder what is being signposted here.

@43 -Braid_Tug

I know this is just a spelling mistake, I make millions of 'em meself, but ...
... "Tyrone"?!!!

Where's Maury Povich and his envelope?
"Tyrone! You are .... Not the Father!"

I was left stunned by how quickly my mind flashed to 'blaxploitation talk-shows' from Westeros as soon as I saw "Tyrone"
_______________________________________________________
One last thing on a serious note. Aeryl, you made some of the points I rail against above, and in a further comment you refuse to accept the invalidity of your argument in Cersei's specific case.

Maybe I'm wrong, but so is co-opting a storyline with an agenda that doesn't fit. I agree with many of the points of gender prejudice you and others have raised previously, but not wrt Cersei's situation, state of mind, upbringing, results of her efforts.

The entire premise of the argument doesn't fit, IMO.

grl
Chris Nelly
58. Aeryl
@57,
EARNED whatever power they inherited by succesfully holding and defending their position,

How did Randall Tarly earn and hold his power? By being scarier and more psychotic than everyone around him. Mace Tyrell? Ned? Robert? Through war.

Cersei's trying to Tarly's way, and it's not succeeding. Why? Because she's a woman. Because when she does, it's just a woman being crazy, whereas when Tyrell does, he's a man doing what a man does. She is FORCIBLY excluded from doing it the other men's way, because she is a woman.

I've been very clear, I don't think Cersei is 100% right, but she has a point. There are things she does that are celebrated by other characters when done by a man. She sees this. You don't. Cersei's not the blind one here.
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter
Gregor Lewis@57:They all inherited their power and thus hold quite privledged positions. Once in such a position determining how much is earning things versus having many random factors aligning to enable the holding of said position becomes a very tenebrous pursuit.
Kat W.
60. Jeff R.
It really only takes two huge disasters for the general meaning of "The Rains of Castamere" to switch over from "The Lannisters are bad-asses" to "This song is really, really bad luck to play at a wedding".
Tom Smith
61. phuzz
Re Maggie's prophecy. Predicting that Cersei will be queen isn't a massive stretch. She's the eldest daughter of a powerful family, so there's a good chance that she's end up marrying into the royal family.
Telling her that she'd be usurped by someone younger and prettier is just the best thing to say to wind her up. After meeting her for five minutes and getting pissed off with her Maggie has worked out the perfect dig which will prey on Cersei's mind for YEARS. And it worked.
Oh it might be an actual prophecy, but even if none of the events of the last few books had happened and she was still married to Robert, Cersei would still hate her daughter in law, because that's the sort of person she is.
Sasha P
62. AeronaGreenjoy
Whoa, Cersei and Sansa really are two of the most divisive ASOIAF characters.

@22 -- Good metaphor.

@34 -- Wow! I never realized those implications of Margaery "bedding" Tommen already, thinking only that it was needed to cement their marriage's legally-binding status.

@45 -- That Tywin-Cersei exchange was in the show. Was it in the books as well? (I just don't remember)

@51,61 -- Those further details on the Maggy Incident might be spoilery at this point.

Rennifer, Illifer, Tristifer, Ossifer...rather a pattern in new character names in this book. (Later, there'll be a Bonifer too)
Rob Munnelly
63. RobMRobM
Busy chapter. Sorry I haven't been able to comment until now - busy day.

Kevan - that is a true "mic drop" exit line. Ouch. Almost Queen of Thorns-worthy.

Cersei - agree there is a poignance there. She has been discriminated against - i.e., Jaime got a sword, she got a sewing kit, against her will. No doubt she could make great leadership positions and a large portion of Westeros would either dismiss her or treat her just as a pretty girl. The patriarchal culture is not that accommodating. But...she is making a whole bunch of mistakes on her own, creating the very distinct possibility she is losing influence because she doesn't deserve it. She is also showing disturbing evidence of being seriously crazy - permitting medical experiments by Qyburn is just wrong, and she is treating anyone who disagrees with her as a traitor. Really nice character study in any event, but I wouldn't want to work with her or under her.

Re unearned male respect - not sure I'd use Tywin (too competent and self-made), Tarly (a huge *sshole but apparently competent) or Viserys (not respected) as examples. Mace Tyrell on the other hand...


Bastard of Driftmark - Driftmark is an island off the coast not far from Dragonstone. Could be some non-Targ Valyrian ancestry? Could have some Targ intermarriage? But if Cersei had an early crush on Rhaegar and Jaime is not as awailable as he was, no surprise the handsome Rhaegar clone is attracting her interest. Let's see how it goes, shall we?

Mel's curse - in text, it was limited to Joff, Balon and Robb, and not generalized to all Kings...so Tommen should be all set!!

The wimpy wedding -"There was a marriage in ASOIAF, and the only thing that died in it was a building!" +1 . As was pointed out upthread, Robb's wedding was just ducky, as was Tyrion's and Sansa's (more or less). Some other weddings (Tully-Frey, Joff-Marg) not so much.

Maggy's prophecy - that's funny, I always assumed mentally that it referred to Marg. I didn't think about the "too obvious" trope, and now I'm half convinced Dany is the one to replace her ...except that she's going to come in Fire and Blood, so displacing Cersei likely is going to be the last thing on Dany's mind. So...probably Marg (or Sansa).

Lady Merryweather - yeah, I think she's the opposite of frumpy. Gorgeous exotic foreign chick from across the Narrow Sea. Agenda? Have to see.
George Jong
64. IndependentGeorge
@58 - How did Randall Tarly earn and hold his power? By being scarier and more psychotic than everyone around him. Mace Tyrell? Ned? Robert? Through war.

Cersei's trying to Tarly's way, and it's not succeeding. Why? Because she's a woman. Because when she does, it's just a woman being crazy, whereas when Tyrell does, he's a man doing what a man does. She is FORCIBLY excluded from doing it the other men's way, because she is a woman.

You're actually making Cersei's exact mistake - you're conflating the methods for an end in and of itself, and think that a show of power equals power itself. Robert's great strength wasn't his ability to swing a hammer; it was his ability to turn his defeated foes into allies (something that Stannis lacks).

Gregor Clegane was scary and psychotic, but Stannis doesn't call him the finest soldier in the land. That's what he calls Randall Tarly, whose professionalism Jaime trusts enough to suggest him as Hand even though he's a Tyrell bannerman. Cersei thinks only in terms of force and self-interest; she doesn't understand Tarly's fundamentally lawful tendencies, or how to use that to turn him against the Tyrells, because she cannot conceive anything beyond force and self-interest herself.

And here's where we get to spoiler territory:

//Tyrion says in DWD that Tywin's strength wasn't gold, but the series of alliances he forged... which Cersei dismantles. And when Jaime is in the Riverlands, he follows consciously follows Tywin's technique by... letting his subordinates initiate the strategic discussions, takes their words seriously (even when dismisses them), and leads by example. In SOS, Tywin chastizes Joffrey for his unwilligness to show mercy to those who submit; Jaime follows his example by offering generous terms to the Tully bannermen.

Randall Tarly is blunt, harsh, brutal, merciless... and ultimately fair. The smallfolk are actually grateful for his presence, because he provides justice. He doesn't rob his own smallfolk, he put his soldiers to work actually rebuilding the town, he actually investigates charges brought before him. For all the his sexism in blaming Brienne for the wager, he also puts a stop to it immediately.

It's the difference between Ramsay and Roose Bolton. How frightening is it that of everyone in these books, it is Ramsay that Cersei's thought process most closely resembles.//

Cersei sees that these men won respect through warfare, and so she creates her own enemies to try and do the same. What she misses is that it wasn't war that won those men respect, but their means of waging it. She copy the means her father employed, but completely misses the nuances of the methods. And in a final irony, the only people who actually follow that kind of thinking... are the Ironborn.

Think back to Varys' riddle in GOT: if it's soldiers who have the power, why do they serve kings? While it certainly helped, neither Tywin, nor Robert, nor Randall Tarly derive their power solely, or even primarily, though force of arms. Cersei sees only the sword, and not any of the forces which direct it.
Kat W.
65. Gregor Lewis
@58
Aeryl.
Really?
You want to argue that the end-point that only was able to happen because the 'victim' empowered the agency which 'inflicted' her punishment ...
... because the privileged upbringing she had, ensured her the education she obviously ignored in said empowerment ...
... because she was BLIND to the dangers she was putting herself in, expecting blind obedience, despite clear evidence to the contrary she had access to ...

When we get to Tarly in the read, I will express my views on his 'methods' & misogyny, but, lest I wasn't sufficiently clear earlier ...
... Specific to Cersei's situation and the opportunities she has/had, her downfall was her own, not a result of gender oppression.

Spare me the 'men who #!*¡ around... Women get ¡!*#@# 'argument ...

It doesn't fit here.
Robert was clearly signposted as a lecherous sot, held in contempt, ridiculed and a parody of his assumed former self.
Cersei clearly bested him and Ned. In her own agency, with incidental assistance from their obliviousness. What is that telling us about Cersei's gender oppression?

Two 'great warriors' undone by a WOMAN'S lucky break ... Or was it by CERSEI's superior acumen and understanding of ALL the dangers in the situation & her preparation to go to ANY lengths to protect her children.

When I assess or analyse how certain 'contemporary issues' are dealt with through tropes in fantastic fiction, I do it through the prism of how it refracts and gets through to me as a reader.

The way Cersei's situation, as opposed to Catelyn, Brienne and Asha for example is presented, IMO is antidotal to the blinkered approach the others perpetuate.

Tell me, truly Aeryl, since Cersei's victory in GOT, where was her will flouted or gainsaid because she was a woman?
True her father tried, just like he tried to get Jaime to accept stewardship of Casterly Rock.

Did he succeed?

Tyrion bested her in an even contest of wits and wills because he was smarter, not because his male privilege gave him a better education than her. Her opportunities in life (being nine years older, spending more time in proximity to their father), in situation (sitting in on ruling council meetings, often in Robert's absence) were superior to his, but Tyrion's own victimisation (real and perceived) seemingly ensured he paid more attention during the opportunities he did have.

Once again because he was smarter, not because he was male.

I am being specific for a reason and have no interest in co-opting Cersei's larger narrative for an argument that is valid elsewhere, but not at all with her.

Hence my agreement with most previous points of clearly signposted gender bias and entitlement.

With respect Aeryl, I am not blind at all, I just don't wear blinkers.

grl
Agnaldo S.
66. Greenseer
@8 I have been able to feel twinges of sympathy for her - such as when she sees Tommen choking and panics and then has to go and cry. Joffrey was horrible, but still - your child dying in front of you while you can't do a thing about it must have the potential to seriously twist and eff up a person in a big way (not that Cersei wasn't already a bit cracked, but I think this really pushes her over the edge)
Even with that, I cannot feel any empathy for Cersei. In ACOK, she ordered murdering the daughter of Robert. Even as a mother, she saw the baby with only one obstacle in your path for power, as when Jaime saw Bran and threw the window.

Yes, Cersei and Viserys are very similar. They believe that others should respect them because they are noble and their rights are more legitimate than the others. More specifically, Cersei sees that, by to be a woman, does not have the proper respect. However she will never get this, since it is a bad leader. Even the parents himself thought it a bad ruler. She has her cruelty, but not his cunning.
How Petyr said: she is stupid, cannot handle the power (even always wanting more), his way of governing is using her beauty and money Lannister, but only the first is really her, and soon end.

Dany is a great leader. She did not have a father to teach him, instead a foolish brother who abused her in their frustrations. She saw charges for being a woman, but she overcame.

@ 26 Olenna Tyrell may be able to be like Varys and Petyr in their Machiavellian acts. The son is a fool. The rise to power of the house Tyrell has undoubtedly his hand, but she is not satisfied yet.

Also bet in Sansa to overthrow Cersei. I do not believe that LF does not have in mind to obtain the Iron Throne and have Sansa as Queen.

Driftmark is the seat of the house Velaryon. Both Targaryen and Velaryon are descendants of Valyria. In ACOK, the Velaryon backed the cause of Stannis.
Rob Munnelly
67. RobMRobM
Aeryl and GRL - can you guys take a deep breath and back off on tone? Getting a little uncomfortable in here. *wipes brow.*
Bridget McGovern
68. BMcGovern
Things do seem to be getting overly heated and somewhat personal, here, in terms of tone--if we could dial it back and keep the discussion as civil as possible, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, all.
Kat W.
69. Gregor Lewis
Apologies if I have offended.
I was trying hard to be case specific & it looks like I failed.
I see others above (i won't name them lest they are tainted by association with me) have made a more generous argument and more intelligent too, refuting what I have made people uncomfortable refuting myself.

Please remove my comments if you feel they overstep. My intention was exposure, not offence.

Apologies again.
grl
Kat W.
70. KingofFlames
Tywin absolutely did earn his power, that's the whole point of The Rains of Castamere. The Lord initially laughed at him, but 'a lion still has claws' And nobody respected Viserys, except Dany briefly.
Kat W.
71. Gregor Lewis
@59 Steven Halter.
Fair point mate.
Sorry I didn't initially reply.
Got sidetracked ...
... Yeah well ... First things first -
- 'tenebrous' : I wanted to agree with you from the off, just because I loved the use of the word (i had to look it up just to make sure I understood).

The reason why I wrote it the way I did was, because of the notion of the comparison of what IMO, seems to be societally accepted in Westeros as compared to our contemporary understandings and expectations now.

Of course I accept there are a number of factors (micro) involved that could give the lie to the notion that 'landed gentry' or INHERITED aristocracy is EARNED.

What I was trying to emphasize was a focus on the general expectation (macro) in the society presented in ASOIAF that no matter how you got something, it remained yours so long as you could defend it.

Given the events, most of those being used as examples in Westeros have had to do just that, through attack or pure defense.

Of those still alive that we know enough about, only Mace Tyrell seems to be purely an empty vessel, filled as a result of the confluence of events - rich lands, intrepid ancestors & progeny, sworn lords of proven extreme martial prowess - while he is portrayed as a fortunate, blustery buffoon, dangerous for his position rather than in himself.

Speaking of windy, that went on a bit ...
grl
Kat W.
72. Senary
@39: Err...where does it say that Highgarden is more eglitarian? I thought that only applied to Dorne?
Pirmin Schanne
73. Torvald Nom
@70: I think you're misunderstanding that line of the lyrics - that statement still comes from the Reynes (who incidentally also had a lion on their coat of arms).

@71: huh, funny, I had simply assumed Steven Halter had meant to say "tenuous" - I'm unclear as to what would be obscure about such an undertaking.
Kat W.
74. Underbelly
While Cersei has been compared to many people in these comments there is one person who I am surprised that wasn’t mentioned: Tyrion.

This comparison only truly makes sense if you believe that Cersei was ever competent (I think we can all agree that she most definitely is not in this book and probably the previous one). You are all selling her short I think in her previous accomplishments—if you look at it from her desired goals. She hid a torrid and scandalous love affair form her husband and the kingdom for 13+ years, she brought down/killed two Hands of the King, and even had the King(!) himself murdered. All so she could setup her son on the throne and who she has made sure was loyal to the Lannisters (I would argue that his madness isn’t nurture so much as nature). For the first book and a half it was Cersei and not Tywin or Jaime who was the main Stark villain—and she was winning! Give her some due props in the competence arena.

So the comparison to Tyrion. Tyrion is also competent but we notice his skillz in a much clearer way (probably because we root for him and he doesn’t kill/torture Starks). However, he too is overlooked because of his deformity and any success/intelligence he might have is looked at as base cunning. Tyrion must overcome people’s perceptions with shrewd scheming and threats (Bronn anyone?). Plus he ostracized himself from the very people that should have been his greatest allies—the other Lannisters. Not much different from Cersei at all. We just like him and hate her too much to see it.

The crazy part that I am sure most of you picked up on: these books just made me compare being a woman to having a disability/handicap. Westeros is messed up.

I am going to call my mother and tell her I love her.
Agnaldo S.
75. Greenseer
@63 Mel's curse - in text, it was limited to Joff, Balon and Robb, and not generalized to all Kings...so Tommen should be all set!! The wimpy wedding -"There was a marriage in ASOIAF, and the only thing that died in it was a building!"
The attempt to burn the son of Robert by Stannis was a whim of a blind and fanatical woman. Same is the case of leeches who allegedly overthrew Three Kings. It was just a mere coincidence. Since the end of ACOK that the conspirators were planning the deaths of Robb, psychopath Joffrey and possibly Balon.

Dany proved that this story of royal blood does not make any sense. Nothing was clearer to Dany that the burning of Maegi Mirri Maz Duur was responsible for awakening a dragon. I doubt that Tommen will die because of “the curse of the leech with royal blood."
Steven Halter
76. stevenhalter
Torvald Nom@73:It is a difficult undertaking to sort out what anybody has really earned versus what has really just come to them mainly through their accumlated privileges. For example, if you take away Tywin's gold, how well would all his negotiations have gone. Hard to tell and thus the path to finding out is obscure--tenebrous.
Sasha P
77. AeronaGreenjoy
Cersei is reminiscent of Viserys in her spectacular failure to adapt. Viserys's thoughts went from "Everyone must obey me because I'm a Targaryen prince!" to "These savages only respect violence, so I'll threaten them with violence when they're not allowed to fight back!" Cersei thinks something like "Everyone around me (including me) got powerful through backstabbing treachery and/or noble birthright, and Father kept them in line through uncompromising sternness, so I must be equally uncompromising and privilege-exerting while presuming that everyone is plotting against me." Coincidetally, both of them focus on antagonizing their powerful in-laws.
Kat W.
78. a1ay
What if the beauty thing (and I don't know) isn't physical attraction
but inner strength and the one who she'll get unseated by is Brienne?
We've seen the kind of loyal, dedicated, honest, and wise woman she can be - she'd make a damn good queen no matter what she looks like, and we all know how those prophecies are NEVER what they seem on the surface.

Interesting. Because the prophecy doesn't say
Queen you shall be, until there comes another queen, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.

It just says "until there comes another". And we've been assuming that means "another queen" but in fact, in this sort of slightly archaic language, it could just as easily mean "another person". And Brienne's certainly younger. And while she's not as beautiful as Cersei right now, that could change...
Kat W.
79. Black Dread
@74. Underbelly - Nope. The comparison doesn't work for me.

Besides being far more intelligent, Tyrion is brutally honest in his self-examination. He also has a sense of humor and doesn't mind some self-deprecation. I've noticed in real life those things typically go hand-in-hand. (Hard to make a joke about yourself when you admit no flaws)

While her craziness seems to be accelerating, I see no evidence that she ever had any real humor looked inward.
Rob Munnelly
80. RobMRobM
GRL@69 - it's fine. Just sometimes when things get said directly by a couple of posters who care about the subject matter it starts to spiral in bad directions. I'm glad it didn't here, thanks.

@76 - very hard in fact, especially when you look at Tywin's father, who was a loser despite having access to the family gold. Tywin's ability to dig out from the reputational hole created by his father seems impressive and praiseworthy, even if he was brutal in accomplishing it.
Chris Nelly
81. Aeryl
@64, Robert's great strength wasn't his ability to swing a hammer; it was his ability to turn his defeated foes into allies.

I disagree with this statement so much I can't quantify it. It's been made obvious the ONLY reason Robert became king was because of the smidgen of Targ blood he had and he was a great warrior. Everyone else fell in line, because that's what you do when you've had your ass handed to you.

Cersei sees that these men won respect through warfare, and so she
creates her own enemies to try and do the same. What she misses is that it wasn't war that won those men respect, but their means of waging it. She copy the means her father employed, but completely misses the nuances of the methods.

This is do agree with. AGAIN, I'm not saying Cersei is right. You assessment of her misperception is spot on. But again, the reason she doesn't see this, is because she's a woman and she was never taught to do this. If Joanna had lived, maybe it would have been different.

@65.

If you want to address what I said in the spoiler thread, say it in the spoiler thread, don't bring it here. I can't even understand exactly what you are talking about at the beginning of your comment, because you have to be too obtuse.

Tell me, truly Aeryl, since Cersei's victory in GOT, where was her will flouted or gainsaid because she was a woman?

She was ordered to marry Willas against her will(that only stopped because Tywin died), she had to send her daughter to Dorne, she was poisoned to keep her from having a say in Jaime's rescue, she was forced to allow Tommen to marry Maergary. And that's off the top of my head without having actually reread the books in some time.

@72, It's between the lines. The most obvious factor is the acceptance of homosexuality, which is an indicator of less rigid gender roles.
Kat W.
82. a1ay
It's between the lines. The most obvious factor is the acceptance of
homosexuality, which is an indicator of less rigid gender roles.

We have zero evidence that Highgarden is any better in this regard than, say, the North or the Vale or the Riverlands, because we haven't seen any obviously gay characters there, so we don't know whether they'd be accepted or not (speculation about Brynden Tully aside). Nor do we have, as far as I know, any evidence that Renly was poorly thought of by Northerners (or the Vale men, etc) because he was gay.
And it is also a bit of a non-sequitur to say that because a culture's accepting of gay men, it must be more egalitarian in its treatment of women. Massive counter-example here: various ancient Greek societies.
Michael Duran
83. MRHD
Re: Maggy the Frog. Yes, a lot of people think it was an uneccessary addition to throw "lolz prophecy" into the story in this way. Hopefully this is a fantasy cliche that gets turned on its head later in the series. Assuming it plays out to be true, Dany is the obvious answer of the younger queen to the readers. However, Leigh's thought that it is Sansa is a popular theory among those who think that Dany is too obvious.
Deana Whitney
84. Braid_Tug
@ 77: thank you. You said it better than I could / tried.
Agnaldo S.
85. Greenseer
@81 I disagree with this statement so much I can't quantify it. It's been made obvious the ONLY reason Robert became king was because of the smidgen of Targ blood he had and he was a great warrior.
I do not agree. Of things that led the Baratheons to the Iron Throne, the Targaryen blood was of minor importance. Robert comes from a culture (Stormlands) who had enough knowledge about war (against Dorne). And also, one of the characteristics of Robert (and Renly) is the ability to make friends and allies, otherwise he (and Renly) would have never been able to join as many armies around and having overthrown the Targaryen dynasty. The same applies to Renly in ACOK.
But again, the reason she doesn't see this, is because she's a woman and she was never taught to do this. If Joanna had lived, maybe it would have been different.
Again, I quote Dany. Considering that she is a woman, of course. She has not had the same opportunity to Cersei, but has now developed into a great leader. She managed to lead a people who only accept the authority of men who achieve power through force.. And yet it is not compared to Cersei. Both are Queens.
She was ordered to marry Willas against her will(that only stopped because Tywin died), she had to send her daughter to Dorne, she was poisoned to keep her from having a say in Jaime's rescue, she was forced to allow Tommen to marry Maergary.
Tywin already saw Cersei as a bad ruler. Therefore, he preferred to the son he so despised (Tyrion) in power.
To the contrary of what Cersei thinks, to be able to remain in power of a nation as large as the Seven Kingdoms, you should make alliances. Being too proud, this is something she will never understand and acknowledge.

Even before you start to be the Mad Queen, would be crazy to leave the Seven Kingdoms in your hands.
Kat W.
86. a1ay
And also, one of the characteristics of Robert (and Renly) is the
ability to make friends and allies, otherwise he (and Renly) would have never been able to join as many armies around and having overthrown the Targaryen dynasty.

This is also one of the characteristics of being a great warrior. Aeryl's sounding very dismissive of this aspect of Robert, and she shouldn't be, because it's not just about being very good at pushing men off horses with sticks (thank you Lady Oleanna), it's about intelligence and empathy, leadership and communication, trustworthiness and building coalitions. Yes, not every great war leader makes a great king, but there's a significant amount of overlap in the skills required , just as there is with the skills required to run any other large organisation.
Chris Nelly
87. Aeryl
Again, I quote Dany. Considering that she is a woman, of course. She has not had the same opportunity to Cersei, but has now developed into a great leader. She managed to lead a people who only accept the authority of men who achieve power through force.. And yet it is not compared to Cersei. Both are Queens.

But Dany has a)Dragons, which is why the misogynistic people accept her as queen, and b) she lived a life so downtrodden that has granted her the compassion that makes her a good queen, that Cersei never got. There are different types of education.

SPOILER

I've been mostly leaving Dany out of this, because as ADWD goes along, she starts to demonstrate some of Cersei traits and ends it embracing "fire and blood" instead of freedom and compassion, so I don't see her status as the series "Good Queen" lasting.

End Spoiler

As far as Robert's "ability" to make alliance, to comment would be speculation spoilers, so I'll comment over there.
Kat W.
89. Maddy1990
Errgh the Maggy the Frog prophecy is one of my least favourite things. It's like Martin decided she needed this really specific reason to be paranoid, instead of just letting her be how she is through all the other myriad reasonable explanations (I mean, Cersei isn't reasonable but you know what I mean). I'm going to rename her Maggy the Toad.

I like your theory that it's Sansa though - just because it would be hilariously ironic since Cersei doesn't consider her a threat at all and just thinks she's super dumb and vapid. Suck it Cersei!

I love Kevan just not giving a shit and just straight up letting Cersei know how terrible and incompetent she is. And Olenna is my favourite not giving a shit character ever. Cersei burning the tower = she has officially gotten a ticket straight to crazytown.
Rob Munnelly
90. RobMRobM
I actually like the Maggy the Frog prophecy and it's several implications for Cersei and the rest of the Lannisters. It also has interesting implications for other bits of prophecy scattered throughout the series which I don't want to discuss too much for spoiler reasons.

Nice to see that Leigh has retained her talent for really getting discussion rolling on a gender-related subject. We're seriously kicking butt relative to Way of Kings and HP re-reads....
Kat W.
91. Gregor Lewis
@81
I've already adressed this, but once more I go, into the breach.
The last word we had on Cersei's marriage was she would NOT do it.
Tywin's relationship with Jamie had already broken down over what he would NOT do.

IMO that was signposted for Cersei ... a thematic match, for her twin.

Jaime has always been portrayed as the idealistic one of the two, Cersei as the pragmatic one. Her 'love' for Jamie is gradually unravelled as non-exclusive, while his takes on almost pious form. She is prepared to make allowances, he is ready to finally not do so. In fact he always has been.

Again IMO, the thematic schism between Tywin and his 'golden children' was set, the pre-existing schism with Tyrion, his 'child of punishment' just circumvented it.

"She was ordered to marry Willas against her will(that only stopped because Tywin died), she had to send her daughter to Dorne, she was poisoned to keep her from having a say in Jaime's rescue, she was forced to allow Tommen to marry Maergary. And that's off the top of my head without having actually reread the books in some time. "

ALL of the other instances you mention were equal battles she lost on her merits as Cersei, to Tyrion, who at no stage devalues his sister because of her gender. He is just prepared to think hard and work hard to outflank her.

Tyrion genuinely believed Cersei was a bad parent and was intent on protecting his niece and nephew, while forging alliances at the same time.

Tyrion also engaged in dirty tricks because he genuinely respected Cersei's ability to interfere and successfully disrupt his plan to free Jaime.

He never undervalued, or undersold her because she was a woman. Nor is it represented that way in the books.

As for Robert, his hedonism is clearly signposted as so debauched that he has become a parody of his 'assumed former self'. I use those three words advisedly - first, because even Robert himself explicates the notion that he was a failure ... a disgraced and disgraceful failure due to his 'vices'.

Ned does not celebrate them, AND he hopes Robert means what he says and rediscovers the 'virtues' Ned had assumed he could bring to bear once he became King.

As a reader we are rather more pessimistic, if not dismissive of Ned's hopes because of the way Robert has been signposted.

If one looks at how the characters are presented without prejudices of their own from beyond the story itself, one can clearly see where the in-story prejudice comes in.

I agree, it undeniably exists and is perpetuated throughout, in the eyes of Catelyn, Asha and Brienne. But never through Cersei.

Tyrion tried very hard not to fall for it when she tried to play him off, as if that was the case. She certainly has fooled herself into believing so.

But I believe there is enough in the books to allow a reader to see it more clearly, in Cersei's case.

grl
Julian Augustus
92. Alisonwonderland
Sometimes I wonder if Aeryl is really trolling. Here's what he says in post #81:
But again, the reason she doesn't see this, is because she's a woman and she was never taught to do this. (emphasis added)
He has spent post after post arguing that westerosi society is misogynistic and that Cersei is discriminated against just because she is a woman, and then he supports that argument by stating that the reason Cersei has a misperception about the nature of power and leadership is because she is a woman (!!!). I sure don't know what to think.
Agnaldo S.
93. Greenseer
@86 Yes, not every great war leader makes a great king, but there's a significant amount of overlap in the skills required , just as there is with the skills required to run any other large organisation.
Yes steel was Robert, therefore, being made to war. When suspended, began to rust. Cersei helped a lot herein. Robert the end became complacent with the acts of Cersei and also began to fear the Lannister. The greatest warrior of the kingdom became fat and afraid of shadows on the wall.

Cersei has become increasingly like Robert. However, the fear is of Tyrell, who are like the Lannisters: always wanting more power. What an irony.
@87 Dany has a)Dragons, which is why the misogynistic people accept her as queen
I think Dany began to to transform into a queen when was still with Drogo. Cersei would not change with a lion.
Chris Nelly
94. Aeryl
Tyrion also engaged in dirty tricks because he genuinely respected
Cersei's ability to interfere and successfully disrupt his plan to free
Jaime.

To be a bit crass, bullshit. Every other person in KL he "genuinely respected" he engaged in a battle of wits, Varys, Littlefinger, Pycelle. He treated Cersei with the same regard as Janos Slynt, someone he saw as lesser. If Cersei had been a MAN of noble birth, he'd have never done it.

Ned does not celebrate them, AND he hopes Robert means what he says and rediscovers the 'virtues' Ned had assumed he could bring to bear once he became King.

Ned doesn't celebrate them, but other people do. That is only in regards to how Robert acts towards being King, actually giving a fuck how the money is spent, stop throwing pointless tourneys, and stop letting the Lannisters run the realm, and nothing to do with his lechery, which is of course, ignored.

I agree, it undeniably exists and is perpetuated throughout, in the eyes of Catelyn, Asha and Brienne. But never through Cersei.

No, no woman EVER, is "exempted" from the bullshit of the partiarchy, Cersei carries it's burdens as much as the other women characters, you just refuse to see it. Just because I despise Ann Coulter doesn't mean I cannot acknowledge that while she's used the sexist construct of the "women's pedestal" somewhat to her own advantage, but that doesn't mean the pedestal isn't prison, and it's certainly not one she constructed.
Kat W.
95. Maac
For the first time in...a decade? 1.5? ...I am wondering if "younger and more beautiful than she" might mean Sansa all along. (She's already played a role, where Dany is still quite far off.)
Kat W.
96. Gregor Lewis
I REFUSE to agree with blind attempts to co-opt a narrative that will be the strongest, most prominent part of the book the Read has only just started going through.

For the rest, I see clearly and although I have made mistakes ...
... Cersei was in fact forced to wed Tommen to Margaery - something she absolutely didn't want as a mother, but something her intellect (however compromised by paranoia & fear & grief) eventually enabled her to come to terms with.

Cersei the Woman and Mother will not countenance losing another son, she is deathly afraid of it.

Cersei the Ruler & Politician accepts it is what needs to happen, given the preacrious balance of power that exists.

That is what I SAW in that part of the story.

It appeard egalitarian enough to me.

grl
Kat W.
97. Lyanna Mormont
@ 92 - Your added emphasis is misleading you. The argument is pretty clearly that because Cersei is a woman, she was never taught this, and that's why she doesn't see it.

@ 91 - "If one looks at how the characters are presented without prejudices of their own from beyond the story itself, one can clearly see where the in-story prejudice comes in."

Nobody is without prejudice. Not you, not Aeryl. Nobody is able to approach a story completely without prejudice. The assumption that one can is dangerous, because then everybody who disagrees with one's own interpretation becomes "obviously" prejudiced by the mere fact of disagreeing, and that's a very slippery slope...

In other words, could you two please tone down the 100% certainty and righteousness and instead throw in an occasional "I think" or "It seems to me"? It would improve the tone of the discussion greatly.
Chris Nelly
98. Aeryl
@96, You can refuse all you want, but the points I am making only become more apparent as the narrative continues.
Chris Nelly
99. Aeryl
@92, I am woman, please, don't misgender me.

I am saying that she was never taught that, because she's a woman, not that being a woman makes her genetically predisposed to not learning this. A better way to phrase that probably would have been, "she was never taught to do this, because she's not valued in that capacity, since she is a woman"

And no, I am not a troll. I've been commenting on this read, and on Tor.com, for well over a year.
Rob Munnelly
100. RobMRobM
Aeryl - several people have asked, but can you bring the tone down a notch or two? Your points are sound and discussion is fascinating but the manner of presentation is more offputting on this topic than we typically see out of you.
Bridget McGovern
101. BMcGovern
Moderator, here, stepping in again--I think Lyanna Mormont @97 makes a good point, and for the record, I don't think anyone in this discussion is participating with the intent of trolling. Clearly, there are some strongly held opinions being expressed in this thread, but it's essential to to keep disagreements respectful and avoid taking (or making) things personal. This is a general request to please tone down the rhetoric a bit and remember that we're all fans/readers trying to discuss this series in good faith, even when interpretations differ.
Bridget McGovern
103. BMcGovern
Comment at 102 unpublished--double post from further up in the thread, for some reason?
Julian Augustus
104. Alisonwonderland
@103, I was suprised when my post apologizing for mis-gendering Aeryl was subsituted for my earlier post when I clicked 'preview comment'! I deleted it and re-wrote the post to what I actually intended, but the revised post didn't appear either! Some glitch in the site software, perhaps?

In case this post actually shows up, here's what I wanted to say to Aeryl @99:
Unless it is specifically stated, I don't usually bother to check the gender of posters, as I have always believed in looking at the ideas expressed in the post, not at the poster. To the extent that I used the conventional "he" as a pronoun instead of actually checking whether or not it fit you in particular, I admit to laziness, and I apologize. No offense intended.
Chris Nelly
105. Aeryl
@100, I will try, as I never like to come across as hostile unless someone's really angered me, and Gregor Lewis has not done that, though I'm a bit miffed he feels it's his place to decide if any particular woman, fictional or not, has experienced sexism.

@104, Thank you. I will add that there is a lot or cultural baggage that goes along with the whole "he is a neutral pronoun" asumption, but this thread isn't the place to go into all that, considering.
Matt Spencer
106. Iarvin
@94 Aeryl states
No, no woman EVER, is "exempted" from the bullshit of the partiarchy
"EVER" is a very strong word. Do you mean no woman under a patriarchy is exempted? Because there are non-fictional matriarchies that have existed, and some that still do exist nominally - see the Iroquois League. I think that a woman under a matriachical society would be largely exempted from patriarchical problems!
I'm a bit miffed he feels it's his place to decide if any particular woman, fictional or not, has experienced sexism.
Whose place is it and why? Is it GRRM's? Is it only the place of women such as yourself? Why wouldn't it be his place to argue for or against Cersei experiencing sexisim?
Julian Augustus
107. Alisonwonderland
Lyanna @97:
@ 92 - Your added emphasis is misleading you. The argument is pretty clearly that because Cersei is a woman, she was never taught this, andthat's why she doesn't see it.
But, consider the differences between Tyrion and Cersei. I would argue that, if anything at all, Cersei would have received better instructions in the nature and uses of power than Tyrion, as, clearly Tywin abhorred Tyrion and didn't want him anywhere near Lannister power. I would also note that, initially, Tywin left Cersei to rule the realm as Queen Regent, and it is only when he felt that she was seriously messing up that he, reluctantly I might add, sent Tyrion to salvage what he could. He thought Cersei was perfectly capable of ruling the realm until she proved otherwise, and her being a woman did not even enter into his calculations.

It seems to me that simply ascribing Cersei's screwups to the fact that "she is a woman and therefore was never taught how to be a leader" is far too simplistic and, in my opinion, is a disservice to women in general.
Steven Halter
108. stevenhalter
A notion just entered my head on another angle to the prophecy. Arya is being trained by the faceless dudes. If this completes, she could eventually wear any face she would want, including, say Cersei (after going suitably all stabby on her).
A many-faced Arya could lead to many interesting plot twists.
Kat W.
109. Gregor Lewis
Everybody's talking which is the main thing I suppose.
I am glad my last post didn't go through, so I could read the last few comments and adjust what I was going to say, hopefully without inflaming Aeryl or anyone else.

@97
I understand your point, its just that I felt those phrases were implied in direct responses. Elsewhere I've been careful, ostentatious even with 'IMO' so as to leave no doubt, but having seen it on screen, I get the idea re-softer tone, as you present it.

As for prejudice. I respectfully disagree. When experiencing the Arts, I like to exercise empathy, leaving my prejudices (of course, I have lots of 'em) at the door ... So to speak. Otherwise I would have thrown these books away as examples of hedonistic excess and promotion of misanthropic paedophilic pursuits.

But this is artistic fiction no? And one must maintain empathy with all characters and situations to appreciate the totality of the story. That's what I try to do.

GRRM is a good enough writer, supreme even, to incite me to love, hate, laugh, cry, hope, despair - some more than others - in the moment, within the flow of the story, with actions and events that would positively horrify me in real life.

But I'm in his created world with empathy, not prejudice or agenda.

@94
One last specific point. The comparison of the actions of Tyrion towards Cersei - in slipping her a 'superpowered' laxative, which he felt guilty about, but felt he needed to do in order to ensure his plan for freeing Jaime went ahead, and did her no lasting harm - as compared to Janos Slynt - who he threw in prison for corruption he had proof of, condemning him to at least exile - is ...

No I am not going to stoop to insults, but perhaps this explanation may help.

Tyrion was genuinely worried Cersei would override him on Jaime because ALL his decisions as Hand that she was privy to required her tacit approval to proceed.

Tyrion understood that and for the most part made presentations to the Council when he was certain Cersei's intelligence would allow her to recognise his own, instead of her prejudice against him overriding.

Tyrion knew wrt Jaime, that wouldn't happen. He could not win, so he ensured she wasn't present, and yet relatively unharmed.

Where does he show the same consideration for Slynt?

grl
Agnaldo S.
110. Greenseer
@107 I would argue that, if anything at all, Cersei would have received better instructions in the nature and uses of power than Tyrion, as, clearly Tywin abhorred Tyrion and didn't want him anywhere near Lannister power.
Tywin was a bad father, but we are not talking about the monster father of Sam. Tywin always saw Cersei and Jaime as children of gold, but do not think he put aside Tyrion as you are trying to say. Tywin had already given opportunity for Tyrion before in Castely Rock.
I would also note that, initially, Tywin left Cersei to rule the realm as Queen Regent, and it is only when he felt that she was seriously messing up that he, reluctantly I might add, sent Tyrion to salvage what he could.
Tywin saw that Cersei was committing foolishness in government and who was also being manipulated by Council members. Tywin knew that Tyrion it would be useful for House Lannister when she gave him power, and I think was not given reluctantly.

Cersei grew up at the court of King's Landing watching his father govern and was also Queen (although not being part of the council before). Clearly, she learned to govern. However, all it does is the result of pure whimsy.
@109 as compared to Janos Slynt - who he threw in prison for corruption he had proof of, condemning him to at least exile - is
Tyrion sends Janos Slynt for Wall, because do not need him and for his participation in the murder of the daughter of Robert, ordained by Cersei.
Kat W.
111. Lyanna Mormont
@ 107 - The post you were quoting wasn't about Cersei compared to Tyrion. And either way, I wasn't involved in that discussion; I just wanted to point out that the emphasis which was added completely changed the (IMO fairly obvious) original intent of the sentence. Honestly, I don't see the point of Cersei vs Tyrion debate - they're both discriminated against, just in different ways, and arguing about which of them had it worse sort of defeats the point. They both get a raw deal due to Tywin being a horrible father (while at the same time they're incredibly privileged compared to many others in Westeros), and surely there's room to acknowledge more than one type of discrimination?

I don't get how it's a disservice to women to say that one particular woman was discriminated against and therefore wasn't politically trained. Nobody's saying she would've been a perfectly brilliant politician if she had been. It's just that she was never given the chance. Jaime was, and that's the comparison that's more relevant than Tyrion, IMO. Cersei grew up knowing that there were opportunities offered to her twin brother that would never be offered to her simply because she was a girl/woman, and it played a significant part in shaping her attitude and her view of the world.

@ 109 - It's the Internet. What one person considers obviously implied, another doesn't see at all. Hell, that happens to me often enough face to face! So much in the way of nuance is lost when you can't see someone's face or hear the tone of their voice, that it's always better to put that extra bit of effort into being polite and respectful.

And of course we should all do our best to put prejudice aside. It's just that we can't do it fully. There are so many prejudices we don't even know we carry around, and so how are we supposed to shed them? We do what we can, but we can't turn ourselves into blank slates - we always carry our culture and upbringing and experiences with us, and it shapes what we see and how we think. Nobody is neutral. Unless you're a machine...
Kat W.
112. KatherineW
It's not uncommon for characters in ASOIAF to resent not recieving respect that they've done nothing to earn: the two other most obvious examples are Viserys and Theon. Viserys got no respect, was termed "The Beggar King" and laughed at, and that was before he started riding with the Dothraki, who openly despised him. That wasn't unjust: he believe that he should get respect purely based on his birth, but he never acted in a way that merited respect. Similarly, Theon resented his father's dismissal of him as being unjust (and partly it was - he didn't choose to be given to the Starks as a hostage), but to a large degree it was fair: his sister Asha had proved herself in combat, had shown herself to be a skilled and intelligent warrior who her men could respect, and Theon had made a fool of himself immediately upon coming home and believed that his birth along made him worth of respect.

Cersei's attitudes are the same. She's done nothing to merit respect; she's taken no political actions to benefit the realm (and many - have an affair with her twin brother, murdering the king, starting a full-on war by imprisoning Eddard Stark for knowing the truth, holding a 77-course wedding while much of the country is starving - that have seriously harmed it), she's been entirely self-regarding, and she doesn't even have the minimal level of political ability to recognize the necessity of being civil to people you dislike (and that last is something even Sansa>, hardly the most politically astute person, had figured out by the second book). And unlike Robert - who, while a bad king, at least had the ability to recognize he was a bad king and leave most of the governing to competent Hands and subordinates - Cersei's self-deluded enough to think she's good at ruling, and concieted and paranoid enough to sideline anyone who isn't a sycophant.

Thus, there's no clear evidence that a man who ruled the way Cersei did would recieve any more respect than she does, and very strong indications - with the rebellion against and murder of Aerys, and the fact of his being remembered as "Aerys the Mad" - that a king who acted like Cersei did would lose support in the same way she's losing it.

So I don't think Cersei's political struggles are about her gender at all; they're about the fact that she's the worst possible combination of traits a ruler can be - she wants power and respect (therefore wants to be in everyone's faces rather than working behind the scenes), is convinced she's skilled (therefore won't delegate), but in fact is completely incompetent.

It's not as if Cersei has lived an unprivileged life. She complains (in memory) about being married off to Robert, but that marriage made her the second-most powerful person in Westeros - and possibly the most powerful, given the degree to which she was able to use Lannister power to push him to do what she wanted. She had more political power than Jaime or Tyrion ever possessed, and she had it because of being a woman. She spent her earlier life as the honoured and beautiful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and the fact that her power base is falling apart now is due to her own treason, brutality, selfishness, paranoia, and incompetence, her own choices and mistakes.

I'm not saying she never faced discrimination on the basis of being a woman. Every woman in Westeros has had to deal with that; everything we've seen of their culture has made that fact abundantly clear. But the problems she is facing now are because of her own flaws and errors. And one of the clearest indicators of that is that the people who are politically outmaneuvering her are not powerful men, but two other women who are simply better at the game - Olenna and Margaery.
Kat W.
113. unregistered_user
@94: Re Tyrion -- Tywin specifically sent Tyrion to KL to rule, and specifically to do so *instead* of Cersei. This was because Cersei had demonstrated that she was not in control by letting Ned get executed.

Had Cersei not shown herself to be an ineffectiver ruler, Tywin may not have sent Tyrion to replace her.
Maiane Bakroeva
114. Isilel
Mm, I am a bit perplexed about this controversy re: Cersei's experiences of sexism.

Did she experience it? Sure. It has been made unmistakeably clear that men in ASOIAF have incomparably more options in life than women. Even poor men have a chance - a very, very small one, but still a chance, to make a career and rise high through their own efforts.
Davos isn't the first common-born Hand, for instance - septon Barth, the Hand of Jahaerys the Conciliator, who is known as one of the greatest Hands in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, was son of a blacksmith. No woman, no matter how highborn or brilliant, could have ever been a Hand of the King.

We have seen peasant-born Pate as a student at the Citadel. Had he been great at it, rather than hopeless, he theoretically may have risen to position of an archmaester or even a grandmaester. Women aren't allowed to become maesters.
They can become septas, but all the power, such as it is, lies in the hands of male clergy. I am not even sure if septas are allowed to dedicate themselves to intellectual studies, as medieval nuns were (sometimes) able to, since the Citadel, rather than the Faith is the center learning.

There have been common-born men who became Kingsguards, and who held other offices great and small, that a women would never be allowed to occupy. Etc, etc.

Ned's talk with Arya re: what Bran could still do with his life after he was crippled is quite illustrative - his options may have been narrowed, but he still could do and be a lot of things that Arya couldn't ever aspire to - because she was female.
Not to mention that yes, men also often have to marry for the good of their families, but if they are not happy with their marriages, they are free to seek sexual fulfullment elsewhere and, of course, also to seek professional fulfillment, so their family life isn't the end-all and be-all of their existence, like it is for most Westerosi women.

"The Sworn Shield" also showed that yes, women who rule in their own right _are_ tested much harder than their male peers, that they have to be "stronger", that they have to be more capable than run-of-the-mill male lords, just to keep their place. That it is much more difficult for them to be generous and forgiving, because in a woman it would be misconstrued as a weakness and invite more attacks.

All of it is true and Cersei is right to feel discriminated against. That being said, she was optimally positioned to become a power behind the throne and she failed at it most wretchedly. It may not have been as direct a power as she may have liked, but still much more than vast majority of men could ever dream of.
And it is all on her - "but she wasn't taught to rule!" excuse is absurd when applied to somebody who had been at court for 17 years all told, had a chance to closely observe 3 different Hands and 2 different monarchs at their work _and_ had Jaime and Pycelle at her beck and call to fill any gaps in her education or inform her in detail about the running of the Small Council at which she couldn't be present herself.
That is, supposing Tywin really didn't try to teach her to play politics, which he might have very well tried in his own way, only for Cersei to miss the point. He certainly didn't go out of his way to teach Tyrion, but it didn't stop the latter.
And now that I think about it - even in Jaime's PoVs we never heard anything about Tywin teaching him, did we? Except for this one memory of Tywin telling him that weeping is unmanly. Heck, it seems that his father didn't even have an in-depth talk with him about Aerys's murder and bad PR of sitting on the throne.
Old Lord Crakehall for whom he had squired, did teach Jaime what he could, I am sure, but at the ripe age of 15 Jaime became a knight and was seemingly expected to pick up the rest on his own.

A couple of other things about the chapter: I loathe, loathe, loathe Maggy the Frog prophecy.

And isn't it funny that Cersei used to belittle Tyrion for bringing up historical precedents and book knowledge, but here feels superior to and contemptious of Jaime because of his lack of the same?
IMHO, part of Cersei's enmity towards Tyrion was that he was competing with her for the same niche. In her own mind _she_ was supposed to be the smarter one, the thinker, the leader while Jaime was the doer, the follower. Tyrion was encroaching on what she considered to be her rightful position.
Kat W.
115. Gregor Lewis
Man! I suck at debating.
I get bogged down in patently absurd minutae. I fall prey to hostility and condescension (however kindly meant - wait a second ... who am I kidding?). I engage and posit in good faith, while agendas are peddled and my right to make assertions is challenged or out and out insulted.

My ability to debate is no match for that.

Still, it is heartening to see the debate has been opened up by others more intelligent, more capable, than me, with obviously greater ability to express and clearly illustrate where things stand (as illustrated in the text, in-story), wrt Cersei.

It's why I so enjoy the totality of this website and those who participate here.

One last thing from me on Cersei. The reason I have been pleased to see such detailed and complete comments on Cersei, is because they make absolutely clear - in a way I was not remotely able to do - that what has happened and what will happen through the course of this book, should in no way be inferred to have occurred as a result of Cersei being discriminatorily victimised, in any way, as a result of her gender.

Admittedly, it appears to be a truism that there will come a time for everyone, to lie in a bed they made themselves.

And so it has always seemed to me to be, with Cersei Lannister. At every stage in her life, whatever the experience, and however it has caused her to react or feel (in the moment or on reflection), unlike other characters presented in story, Cersei has always had the station, the power, the agency, the ability and the acumen to master the situation in and of herself and by actively making use of others, not passively relying on them.

IMO, as presented in story, these are clear illustrations of Cersei's specific immunity to victimisation or oppression, that she always has the power to avail herself of.

grl
Kat W.
116. Rusty_Patti
Varys has the right of it:
"Tyrion cocked his head sideways. 'Did you mean to answer your damned riddle, or only to make my head ache worse?' Varys smiled. 'Here, then. Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.'” (CoK)

In misanthropic societies such as Westoros women are viewed as lacking any power except sexual. It didn't matter how competent Cersei was or wasn't.
Valentin M
117. ValMar
Very interesting discussion indeed.
Isilel @ 114 very nicely laid it out the way women are disadvantaged in Westeros and why the less Cersei is mentioned in conjunction with this the better for the advocates of women rights. To follow on from this...

Rusty @ 116
- "men" in the context of Varys' quote is used as in "people", as was used in, say, the LOTR. Obviously it's a symptom of the patriarchal nature of the society but we already knew that.
-"women are viewed as lacking any power except sexual". I'll go on a limb here and say that a tough old bird like Olenna would strongly disagree with this ;)
In fact, I think you strongly missunderstand the issues women (of power especially) have in Westeros and had in medieval Europe. For achieving power or influence sex would be amongst the least options if any at all for a noblewoman. Quite the opposite. Sex is the main weapon against women in power, and was in Earth's history.
Of course, in a patriarchal society like Westeros the laws make it very difficult for a woman to achieve formal and/or effective power. But there are ways, e.g. as a widow/regent. Once she was in power, her opponnents would very often attack her "morals" and attempt to pull her down or undermine her this way. Same for queens consorts and other women in high positions.
Kat W.
118. Andrada
there is an interesting thing about Cersei and her attitude to other women in this chapter that I don't think I've noticed before. every time she feels threatened by one, she is reminded of Maggy the Frog:

"Whenever Cersei looked at the old crone, the face of Maggy the Frog seemed to float before her eyes, wrinkled and terrible and wise. All old women look alike, she tried to tell herself, that’s all it is. In truth, the bent-back sorceress had looked nothing like the Queen of Thorns, yet somehow the sight of Lady Olenna’s nasty little smile was enough to put her back in Maggy’s tent again."

and

"It was a woman’s voice, flavored with the accents of the east. For an instant she feared that Maggy the Frog was speaking to her from the grave. But it was only Merryweather’s wife, the sloe-eyed beauty Lord Orton had wed during his exile and fetched home with him to Longtable."
Stefan Mitev
119. Bergmaniac
The Maggy prophecy is embarrassing. There's nothing lazier for a writer than using a prophecy to motivate his characters and few things are more overused than a self-fulfilling prophecy leading to the downfall.

I can just imagine Martin's thought process:
"How do I make Cersei go unhinged quickly? Hey, I know, I will pull a ridiculous prophecy out of my ass in Volume 4 after nothing previously indicated that such a thing existed. But since I am too lazy to come up with a halfway original prophecy, I will just copy the one from Snow White of all things. How efficient of me."
Kat W.
120. Maddy1990
Here's the thing - Cersei has experienced sexism absolutely. But that doesn't mean she is a good person. She can be both a terrible person and have legitimate complaints about certain things - they're not mutually exclusive. Not all suffering is ennobling - some people emerge from trials as better people who want to help others, some people become Cersei. I feel like Cersei is really an internalised misogynist. She thinks that she has to be 'male' and 'strong' rather than 'womanly' and 'weak' - and to her that means always acting (and thinking) like she is better than everyone else and surrounding herself with sycophants because she is so paranoid of being considered 'weak' and her power being taken away from her. Gender is an absolutely important thing to talk about when looking at Cersei, but it's not the whole story, nor even the defining one in terms of informing or justfying her actions or character. And the worst thing about this is that by her deciding to take all the worst lessons about 'masculinity', she is exemplifying all the worst stereotypes about female rulers as incompetent and irrational (obviously bullshit, but then that's the whole thing that if there's one bad female ruler, then all females are terrible, whereas if there's a bad male ruler than he's just a 'bad egg').
Rob Munnelly
121. RobMRobM
I disagree that the Maggy prophecy is rectally originated or that it is pointless. While magic started slowly but has been increasing significantly as the books have gone on (presumably amped up by the renewed existence of dragons), Martin has been very careful (so far) not to overuse prophecy. We have House of the Undying (including reference to longstanding Targ stuff covered in HOTD that Rhaegar appears to have been aware of pre-Dragons), Quaithe's big cryptic pronouncement and maybe Mirri Maz Dur (either a prophecy or an attempt to attack Dany) and maybe Mel (not sure how you should be characterize her setting things in the flames - I guess it could be prophecy but more non-verbal and subject to interpretation). Maggy is not a big extension of this and there are interesting possible debates about how it fits in with the other flavors of prophecy. Very interesting to me that all come from the East (Maggy emigrated from there) and all involve fire, blood, or both. Very interesting to see the contrast with the Old Gods' magic powers (wargs, some level of contemporaneous vision - Bran to Jon in CoK, the witch of High Heart in SOS).

Even at a human, non-magic, level, it makes some of Cersei's action more understandable in retrospect - her open hatred of Tyrion (whom she presumably fears may be the "valonqar), her extreme anger at Robert (once she figured out what was the meaning of the strange "you'll have 3, he'll have 16" portion of the prophecy), her over-protection of all of her kids (who may be in harm's way under the prophecy), her pretty nasty treatment of Sansa and Marge who may serve as potential replacements some day. She's not simply crazy - she's actively trying to prevent the prophecy from happening - which adds another layer of complexity onto Cersei.

In sum, it works for me.
Agnaldo S.
122. Greenseer
@114 Even poor men have a chance - a very, very small one, but still a chance, to make a career and rise high through their own efforts. Davos isn't the first common-born Hand, for instance - septon Barth, the Hand of Jahaerys the Conciliator, who is known as one of the greatest Hands in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, was son of a blacksmith.
We have seen peasant-born Pate as a student at the Citadel. Had he been great at it, rather than hopeless, he theoretically may have risen to position of an archmaester or even a grandmaester.
Yes, an interesting point. However, the noble blood factor is something important in ASOIAF. In fact, this is what Petyr be trying to prove.

He was the son of a small house, said of "low-birth". Nevertheless, created in a great house.
Even having been educated in the same way that others Tully, he cannot marry with a noble of "high birth". (Of course that the love Catelyn for Petyr not was reciprocal).

According to Catelyn, Petyr was like Sansa, but after the story of the marriage between Brandon and Catelyn, he decided to prove that a person could rise high, with humble beginnings. Too bad he became a bloody bastard who is smashing the Seven Kingdoms to prove a point and get revenge.

Davos soared high for their abilities, but many despise their power by not having noble blood. If Stannis gain the Iron Throne, how many Lords of Westeros will feel offended by Davos be King's Hand? (Stannis said to Davos for make new Lords. Not bad idea, however).

@121 //There are spoilers in your comments//.
Stefan Mitev
123. Bergmaniac
@121 - for all the stuff you listed there are very good reasons without having to resort to a contrived prophecy. Tyrion caused the death of Cersei's mother, murdered her father and her son (as far as she knows) and is an ugly dwarf. Robert was a moron, a drunkard, humiliated her constantly by cheating on her and not bothering to hide it even a bit, and hit her when he got angry. Etc, etc...

@122 - when was Petyr anything like Sansa? Even as a kid he was crafty and knew how to manipulate people.
Agnaldo S.
124. Greenseer
@123 @122 - when was Petyr anything like Sansa? Even as a kid he was crafty and knew how to manipulate people.
In the memories of Catelyn, Petyr looked like a good guy. I compare Sansa and Petyr because both liked to songs, nothing more.
If we note, the duel against Brandon Stark was clearly inspired by the deeds of heroes in songs.

Far as I know, Catelyn did not mention Petyr by manipulating everyone around her to get what she wanted. Even after so long, Catelyn was able to trust LF.

Apparently, if the monster that he is today existed in the past, Catelyn was not able to notice.
Steven Halter
125. stevenhalter
At this point, I tend to agree with RobMRobM@121 wrt the Frog prophecy. I like well done prophecies and to this point GRRM has been doing a good job with the ambiguousness and the follow through. So, we'll have to wait and see how this develops.
I do like that Cersei is somewhat freaking out over it. In a world where prophecies actually happen, they would tend to weigh on one's mind. If that mind is inclined to paranoia then a prophecy could very well tip it over the edge.
Dany seems to be doing better with her 3 betrayels prophecy to this point but it is still in her thoughts also.
Julian Augustus
126. Alisonwonderland
Bergmaniac @123,
The Tyrion actions you cite, however, do not explain Cersei trying to have Tyrion murdered (by Ser Mandon Moore, I think) during the Battle of the Blackwater. The Battle preceded her belief that Tyrion murdered her son and her father. So, some other motivation must be behind her attempt to murder Tyrion at that point in the story. Maggy the Frog is cliche, but it works in this case.
Kat W.
127. Lyanna Mormont
@ 126 - He had, however, sent Myrcella off to Dorne as well as kidnapped and threatened to hurt/rape/kill Tommen.

I'm not disagreeing with you about the prophecy, mind you. I think it adds a different layer to things. Just imagine that scene where Tyrion threatens Tommen from Cersei's perspective, with the prophecy in mind... what a nightmarish quality it takes on.
Kat W.
128. Andrada
@126

That Ser Mandon Moore was sent by Cersei to kill Tyrion is something Tyrion himself believes, but there is no textual proof.
Chris Nelly
129. Aeryl
@114, Isilel

And it is all on her - "but she wasn't taught to rule!" excuse is absurd
when applied to somebody who had been at court for 17 years all told,
had a chance to closely observe 3 different Hands and 2 different
monarchs at their work _and_ had Jaime and Pycelle at her beck and call to fill any gaps in her education or inform her in detail about the
running of the Small Council at which she couldn't be present herself.

I agree with most of your comment, but this I do disagree with. When Tywin was Hand, Cersei was not at court with him, she didn't observe him. When she was at court, Jon Arryn was Hand, and with the antipathy towards Lannister power he had, antipathy shared by Robert, he was not going to allow Cersei anywhere near the hands of power. Could Pycelle have passed on information? Sure(but Jaime couldn't, he wasn't on the small council yet) But she had no active training. She doesn't understand how Tywin actually ruled, through alliance and compromise, all she understands is that Tywin is forceful, demanding and imposing, and she sees that he gets what he wants, so she "learns" that to get what you want, you walk around demanding it, because if you have power, that's how it goes.

I also don't get the dislike of the Maggy the Frog prophecy. Almost every storyline in these books gets a prophecy of some sort, why does that fact that Cersei is included in that bother people so much?
Kat W.
131. Black Dread
@129 - I agree. She observed decades of leadership and never failed to learn the wrong lesson.

Did anyone teach Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, or Maria Theresa to rule? The succeeded despite of their gender with brains, key political and personal alliances, and force-of-will.
Maiane Bakroeva
132. Isilel
ValMar @117:
In fact, I think you strongly missunderstand the issues women (of power especially) have in Westeros and had in medieval Europe. For achieving power or influence sex would be amongst the least options if any at all for a noblewoman.
Yea, no. Actually, throughout history basically the only way for a woman to rise socially and have political power through their own agency, was to become a mistress of a powerful man, in best case a ruler. Sometimes, rarely, they even managed to finagle marriages out of it, but on the whole there are as many or more examples of mistresses of kings having political power than of queens ditto, when their royal husbands were still alive.Once widowed with minor sons, of course queens/noblewomen had a chance at power, depending on their countries customs. But such a situation is basically a crapshoot and certainly doesn't overly depend on a woman's agency, unless she murders her spouse.

Now, women who became official mistresses of kings and wielded political power had to posess more than just beauty/sex appeal to keep their positions for any length of time, since these relationships where seldom exclusive on the king's part, even leaving aside his marital duties to his queen. However, great sexual attractiveness (and, presumably, memorable performance in the sack) was an absolutely essential foot in the door for them.

But, again, in case of Cersei these sad truths hardly apply. She was a queen in a very fortunate position where her family had great political power within the realm and great wealth, her husband was uninterested in ruling and could have been comprehensively manipulated by a competent wife, various important people at court (Pycelle, Jaime) were loyal to her family and at her beck and call.
Even those members of the court who were antagonistic to her likely became that way at least partly because of her own enmity/tactlessness towards them. Oh, and on top of all of that Cersei also had spirit, beauty and charm, when she chose to employ it. For her, in her unique circumstances getting to wield political power should have been a slumdunk.
As a widow and Queen Regent she absolutely should have gone for regal and unatainable rather than unnecessarily slept with various men, who would have done what she wanted anyway, for reasons of rewards, family ties, etc.

Now, again, is it unfair that as long as her royal husband lived Cersei could have never wielded power openly and directly as Lords Paramounts or the Hands do? Absolutely.
And, of course, this indirect "power behind the throne" has it's limitations, too. Because look at the Queen of Thorns - a strong-willed, wily old woman, matriarch of her family, right? Yet, if she wasn't lying, she was unable to prevent Mace from committing House Tyrell to participation in the War of Five Kings, nor from having him marry her darling granddaughter to a succession of men she strongly disapproved of.

Still, Cersei failed abjectly at being a political power behind the throne while Robert lived and even more so at ruling directly, as a regent, despite having all resources to succeed at either/both.
This has nothing to do with general position of women in Westeros, though, those were Cersei's uniquely advantagious circumstances, which she managed to waste completely.

Aeryl @ 129:

Cersei had been at court for 3 years while Tywin was Hand, nor were we ever told that Jon Arryn was hostile to her before he got wind of the twincest.
Re: Jaime, it has been suggested that he may have been guarding Robert as KG back when Robert still graced the small council with his presence occasionally. And as somebody who was supposedly "trained for rule" (though not by Tywin), not to mention militarily trained, he could have helped Cersei fill any gaps in her education during the 15 years of her marriage, if she had requested it.
By contrast, Tyrion never had a chance to observe Tywin as Hand and was only an occasional visitor at court, but he managed to learn incomparably more through study of history, observation and analysis than Cersei ever did. And Tywin certainly didn't train _him_ to rule!
Training is a leg up, certainly, but it is not the end all and be all of things. We saw plenty of male characters being incompetent despite it.That is, again, supposing that Tywin didn't (unsuccessfully) try to teach Cersei.

Re: Maggy the Frog's prophecy, I hate it because of it's specificity. The rest of them seem open to interpretation and there appears to be a lot of leeway in how they eventually come to pass, so it is possible to believe that maybe they weren't completely set in stone. That they could have been fulfilled in a variety of different ways, and the exact way that they eventually played out wasn't necessarily wholly predetermined.
Maggy's prophecy, however, exactly fortells a lot of major things in a manner not open to interpretation. I don't remember if the prophecy is actually fully revealed in this chapter or if the exact wording is still to come, so I won't go into more detail at this point.
Chris Nelly
133. Aeryl
Everyone keeps creating instances where it's possible Cersei may have overheard something, seen something, that might possibly have taught her how to rule. Which you know, fine.

Except for the fact that we have it from Cersei's own lips that this didn't happen, that she was sidelined and ignored during Tywin's reign as Hand, and during Robert's reign as King. Why is so important that you find a way to discount what she has said?

And comparing her Tyrion, who actually educated himself for this, when Cersei did not, proves the point. Cersei was not taught how to do rule, she had only the legends about Tywin to go by, which were not true to fact. Now, can she be held responsible for the fact that she didn't educate herself, as Tyrion did? Sure. But seriously, stop making up interpretations of the book to deny Cersei what she claims are her lived experiences.

Maggy's prophecy, however, exactly fortells a lot of major things in a manner not open to interpretation.

I think it's you who's misinterpreting the prophecy then. It's supposed to seem pretty obvious, to midirect you, when it's also pretty obviously NOT that obvious. But we'll get there when we get there.
Valentin M
134. ValMar
Isilel @ 132

"way for a woman to rise socially and have political power through their own agency"
I wrote in too broad terms. I referred about women in positions comparable to Cersei's. High nobility, certain to be married off at very young age within the high noble circle. Little or no own agency of their own but guearanteed position at the top, sans the real political power (at the start with at least).

Also, however complex the politics of Kings Landing may seem, they are nothing compared to the mazes of the Tudor courts or the French 17th C Bourbon court (notorious for it's royal mistresses). In general, the royal mistress thing was prevalent in a later period than what is socially Westeros (pre-Black Death chivalric Europe). At least that's how it looks to me. IIRC Robert wasn't sleeping around with noblewomen, for example.

In fact, at least as far as Westeros is concerned, I believe I am correct. Whether it was about having effective power over the kingdom, or a lordship a level or two/three lower, a noblewoman in Cersei position could normally do herself more harm than good by sleeping around.

IMO, the same was true in pre-Black Death Western Feudal Europe too. In Late Medieval - Early Modern Europe with the rise of royal power this changed. But this was a time with very different conditions to Cersei's Westeros.

Agree completely of what you write about Cersei.
Rafael
135. Ryamano
People were talking about parallels between Empress Dowager Cixi of Qing China and Cersei, and I found another one:

In this chapter we discover that Cersei is afraid of her daughters-in-law due to the Maggy the Frog prophecy about another one coming to cast her down and take all she holds dear.

Empress Dowager Cixi was afraid of her own daugher-in-law's family for a number of reasons. One was that her daughter in law had the zodiac signal of the Tiger, while the Empress Dowager had the signal of the goat. Seems silly, but people believed in that in the past. Also, Cixi had kind of killed her daughter-in-law's grandfather.
Kat W.
136. Black Dread
@134 - Yep. Queen Elizabeth kept her romantic relationships on the down-low to the point that historians are still speculating. Catherine the Great was an exception but she was such a master of politics it didn't matter.
Rob Munnelly
137. RobMRobM
Re mine @121. Thanks for catching the one line that appears to go beyond current text. I had assumed it was disclosed already but didn't check.
Rob Munnelly
138. RobMRobM
All - what great discussion this week! Thanks to Leigh, thanks to all.

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