I recently wrote about my excitement for the reunion of Jamie and Cersei Lannister in King’s Landing, not because I want to see siblings smooching (ik!) but because their interactions will reveal so much of what the characters have been through whilst separated.
Let’s just run through the basics first:
Jamie & Cersei Lannister, son & daughter of Tywin Lannister & Joanna Lannister (deceased). Brother & sister to Tyrion Lannister.
Twins – Cersei was born first with Jamie following, clutching her heel. She was used primarily as a pawn by her father who planned to marry her to Rhaegar Targaryen but after the rebellion she was married to Robert Baratheon. Jamie took a role in the Kingsguard, much to his father’s annoyance, meaning he could remain in the capital and Cersei’s side and would not be obliged to marry at his father’s behest.
(This is a very quick run through – you can read more about their time before Robert’s rebellion the characters’ respective wiki pages)
So – Jamie and Cersei – together in the capital, very much in love and hiding their relationship for obvious reasons. Cersei orchestrates Robert’s death and Joffrey becomes king – awesome right? Everything was going so well until Joff chopped off Ned’s head. The war begins and the twins and lovers who’d spent so long working to stay together are torn apart.
I feel sorry for Cersei.
I know it’s not a popular opinion but I feel that she bears an immense weight, mostly alone. Yeah she’s a bitch a lot of the time but I think that’s her way of disturbing the power balance that is tipped so favourably towards men. Her resting bitch face and constant threats make her feel less vulnerable as a person and as a player in the game. Cersei builds up a wall of emotional armour- without Jamie as her trusted confidant and bodyguard she has to put her low cunning to use and make new alliances whilst trying to guide Joffrey.
Jamie loses his one defining trait – his legendary sword hand – which makes him question even more who he is and who he will be remembered as. Alongside Brienne, he reflects on family, duty & honour (points if you know whose motto that is) and actions past, present and future that define the man he is and could be.
It’s during this time we start to think “Hey, Jamie aint so bad” and his character arc really starts to become very interesting.
Jamie reflects the harsh realities of the fighting whilst Cersei reflects the politics. Both have experienced the trauma the war has caused but in extremely different circumstances. The two, inseparable twins have spent some of the most testing times of their lives apart from one another without the person who would usually support them and both are affected immensely by it.
Now Tyrion’s in trouble
It’s clear that Jamie and Cersei haven’t always seen eye to eye when it comes to Tyrion. Cersei is full of hate whilst Jamie actually does love his brother – book readers have been given quite a large glimpse into the brother’s history together which may yet still be revealed in the show.
Their chats over lunch have far fewer insults & threats than Tyrion and Cersei’s. In fact, their comfort is clear to see as well as hear and as someone who has learned to exploit talents that don’t involve a sword Tyrion is very kind and generous to his brother in offering support. More so than Cersei, certainly.
With Tyrion in prison, accused of murdering Joffrey, we can see the taut string between Cersei & Jamie being pulled even tighter. Jamie is Joffrey’s father but he has never been given the opportunity to be a father to him. His emotional distance from his children means he is instantly drawn to Tyrion’s defence. Cersei aint gonna like that.
Cersei: “Avenge him ….avenge our son. Kill Tyrion.”
Jaime: “Tyrion’s my brother. Our brother. There will be a trial, we’ll get to the truth of what happened.
Jamie & Cersei in the Sept
This scene caused rumblings of discomfort amongst viewers & readers alike and I’d really prefer to stay away from the debate surrounding whether it was consensual or not. What I will say is that the decision to bring forward Jamie’s timeline so that he is already in King’s Landing is what seems to have thrown so many things out of whack.
In the books, Jamie has just arrived back in King’s Landing and Cersei – in her grief & emotionally vulnerable state is so overcome with relief to see him again. Likewise, Jamie is returned with the woman he has spent so much of his life staying close to. The sex is much more of a reunion of two people who love eachother (however creepy it is) than a build up of tension, of want & rejection, that is shown in the show.
As ever, we must defer to the mighty GRRM to explain it best –
“The whole dynamic is different in the show where Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer, and he and Cersei have been in each other’s company on numerous occasions, often quarreling. The setting is the same, but neither character is in the same place as in the books, which may be why Dan and David played the sept out differently. But that’s just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.
Also, I was writing the scene from Jaime’s point of view, so the reader is inside his head, hearing his thoughts. On the TV show, the camera is necessarily external. You don’t know what anyone is thinking or feeling, just what they are saying and doing.
If the show had retained some of Cersei’s dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression — but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline.
That’s really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing… but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.”
So where will they go now? Both characters have grown to be very different in the time they have spent apart and will Cersei’s supposed upcoming nuptials to Ser Loras Tyrell will we see the two characters drift even further apart?