In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die, and you’re either bad or you’re worse — amirite? If there were a contest, or awards for worst person, we’d have to round up at least half the major players, and even after a certain someone received the “Mother’s Mercy,” we probably won’t need our hankies nearby very long.
***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for characters through Season 5 ahead!
Maybe some actors delude themselves into seeing the best in the characters they play, but not Lena Headey; she’s never lost sight of who and what Cersei Lannister is. Despite her confession and “atonement” walk, who really expects a Lannister to change? For someone like Cersei, that experience will only harden her and fuel the vengeance fires; this Lannister will surely pay her debts.
“[Cersei’s telling herself] ‘This is going to be all right.’ That’s what she believes, more than anyone else in the world, ‘You will survive. Otherwise, you’ll just kill yourself. So she’s either going to die, or these lessons are going to help her in some way.”
(That look as NuMountain carried her off…)
Headey admits she doesn’t understand those who might find Cersei sympathetic:
“It’s funny, because I don’t play to redeem her here or play to be liked, do you know what I mean? And it’s funny when some people say that they love her now. Our makeup lady, Jane Walker, is always, ‘I just love Cersei! I just feel for her! And I champion her.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay …’”
As George R. R. Martin notes, “Never underestimate the charisma of an actor or an actress, and how they portray the part. Just seeing someone or hearing their voice can go a long way towards making a character more sympathetic. Sometimes it goes beyond words. And Lena is a very sympathetic actress. Great face. She can project sincerity. A different actress wouldn’t be able to sell it.”
But, Cersei Lannister is far from Game of Thrones’ most terrible character, and though some of the worst (Viserys, Joffrey, Craster,
Walder Frey [pending], etc.) have already gotten their comeuppance, Season 5 had no shortage of candidates:
While she acknowledges Cersei’s faults, Headey knows her character isn’t the worst — although she has had people walk up and say, “You’re a fucking bitch.” (Headey says she takes it “as a compliment.”) As for attaining that worst person in Westeros title, Headey seems to know just who that is, and what she’d have to do to win it: “Maybe I need to go flay some people!”
Ugh. If there’s one reason to watch Season 6, it’s to see Sansa dispose of that nasty bastard.
Bonus: Here’s George R. R. Martin discussing both the religious and political ramifications of Cersei’s penance walk.