During last week's Game of Thrones we saw a soft and depressed Cersei who looked completely devastated, so vulnerable she was willing to talk about Joffrey's nature and her wedding to Loras and how much she misses her daughter Myrcella to the last people you'd ever imagine.
Or was she? While she is truly sad about Joffrey’s death, in the last few episodes we have seen that she also wants Tyrion dead, she wants to avenge her son with all her heart and by any means necessary. So why are we seeing such a melancholic and soft Cersei all of a sudden? Is she really showing her emotions to other people besides Jaime? Or is she showing them want they want to see?
During the episode she talks to three people:
First she talks to Margaery, what everyone thought was going to be a fight between Cersei and Margaery over Tommen was actually a very productive conversation for both women, although I think Cersei was the one who got most out of it.
In this scene Cersei does two things: she gains the favor of the Tyrells, specifically Mace Tyrell who is going to be one of the judges in Tyrion’s trial, and she also makes Margaery thinks she won’t be an obstacle in her marriage with Tommen.
Considering how protective Cersei is it was really surprising to see her asking Margaery if she wants to marry Tommen and become queen one more time, but actually it makes total sense, if Tywin has decided to keep his alliance with the Tyrells there is nothing she can do, but Margaery doesn’t know this, so why not make her think she actually wants her to marry her son and that she will marry Loras and that way make sure the Tyrells are on her side during Tyrion’s trial?
Her face right before she says Tommen will need help and that she is not enough says it all, she hates what she is doing, but she also needs the Tyrell on her side.
She is so good Margaery believes her (although to her credit she is really suspicious at the beginning) and let’s her guard down, allowing Cersei to see how much she wants to be queen
Next one on the list is Tywin.
Here she plays the obedient daughter, instead of complaining about the Tyrells she sets a date for Tommen’s wedding and her own, showing her father she won’t fight his decisions anymore.
The result is interesting: so far Tywin had always treated Cersei very harshly and refused to tell her his plans, but now he is explaining to her why they need the Tyrells and that the Lannisters are not as rich as they used to be. It reminded me a little of his scenes with Arya in season 2.
(By the way, I don’t believe the Lannisters are poor or broke, just that they no longer have their main source of income and they need to be careful with their expenses until they find another, and that Tywin has added the last war costs to the debt the Crown has with the Iron Bank).
Next thing Cersei does is attack Tywin’s weak point: the importance of the Lannister family and its legacy. She understands the importance of family, she is actually the only heir left to Tywin after Jaime’s refusal to leave the King’s guard and Tyrion’s imprisonment.
Tywin refuses to talk about the trial with her, but she doesn’t even need to talk about the trial to make sure Tywin is on her side; all she has to do is mention the Lannister legacy that Tyrion supposedly has put at risk with his actions.
And Tywin has no freaking idea if she is just lying or if he just found the heir he needs, but either way, he is impressed.
And last but not least, Oberyn Martell, the man who hates the Lannisters more than anyone else.
We go from exchanging insults during Joffrey’s wedding to a nice chat about children and revenge, quite a change that comes from nowhere (or so it seems), especially when you think how much Cersei despises to show weakness in front of others.
They talk about his daughter Elia, and Cersei seems to be understanding, she offers some advice about why his daughter may be difficult and soon the conversation turns to Oberyn’s sister and vengeance.
When you can’t protect your family, you avenge them, and if Tyrion killed Joffrey, then its clear what Cersei must do. How can Oberyn, a man who still feels the need to avenge his sister after 20 years, not agree with Cersei on this?
Then Cersei changes the topic and starts talking about Myrcella, her only daughter, who is living in Dorne with the Martells.
We see a Cersei who loves her daughter and misses her, just like Oberyn with his daughters who inspire him to write poetry.
And here we have a moment of pure honesty:
Cersei knows that all women suffer sooner or later, how can they not, when they live in a world where they are seen as merchandise to create alliances and have babies? When they have to fight to be seen as human beings with rights? No matter their position or where they live, the women of Westeros are destined to suffer. Of all the scenes she has in the episode, I believe this is the most sincere one, the one where she shows how she feels about her daughter and how much life has hurt her, because she also was a happy little girl laughing in the sun once.
But the moment of weakness is over soon and Cersei focuses on Myrcella and the present she has for her:
Cersei’s gift to Myrcella not subtle, she asks Oberyn to send her a boat because she loves the open water, while this might be true, there is no need to give her a ship to sail the coast of Dorne, the Martells can provide one if Myrcella wants to go for a ride. But if she wants to leave the Martells and go home, she might need her own way of traveling. I wonder if Cersei is sending a crew along with the boat...
And with a last mention to her daughter, she leaves Oberyn, who looks quite surprised to see the Queen talking about how much she loves her children in front of him, someone who could use that information to hurt her and the Lannisters. Or maybe he just understands where Cersei is coming from because he also loves his children and knows what it is to need justice after someone you love is murdered. In just one episode Cersei acts like the wife, the daughter and the mother, all to gain the sympathy of the judges before the trial starts, because the trial is her chance at revenge, because she needs Tyrion to be judged guilty, and if that means she has to be nice to the Tyrells, obey her father, and show Oberyn her most vulnerable side, so be it.
This last episode Cersei was playing the game hard. And for now, it looks like she is winning.