Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cersei Lannister: Episodes 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7

     Cersei is back home in King's Landing, where she sets the fashions of the day.

     This is the lightest and softest we see Cersei, wearing a color she usually reserves for Jaime.

     This is a very maternal scene for Cersei. Say what you will about the woman, but she does love her kids. In this scene she dresses Joffrey's wounds and gives him some decent advice about being king (although all he takes away from the conversation is "a king can do as he likes"). 

     Both her dress and hairstyle are fairly low-key compared to a lot of other stuff she wears. The embroidery on the gown is also much more delicate than her usual brocade. This scene, and this outfit, are about Cersei's role as a loving mother. Also, in this family scene, Cersei wears her Lannister Lion necklace.

"I really hope Joffrey doesn't take 'A king can do whatever he wants' the wrong way."

And now for another edition of...
The Many Faces of Cersei Lannister
Clockwise from top left: Anger; Annoyance; Concern; No Jaime that's a really bad idea for a ballad.

     Cersei panics about the possibility of Bran Stark waking up and telling his father what happened that day in the tower. Jaime is flippant ("I think we can outfox a ten-year-old") but then serious as he assures her that he will kill everyone in the entire world if that's what it takes for them to be together.
     This dress is the same blue-green as the dress she wore when she was mothering Joffrey earlier.  But this dress is a lot more revealing than almost anything else we will ever see Cersei wear. 

     Even though this dress is revealing, we don't think it's about sex. It's about vulnerability. She isn't wearing this dress to seduce Jaime; she's wearing it to yell at him for leaving a chink in their armor. A revealing dress because she's worried that they are about to be revealed, as the murderous, incestuous family that they are.

     This is a public appearance, so once again, Cersei is in full Queen of the Seven Kingdoms regalia. She wears a Baratheon antler crown, but it is overshadowed by the Lannister lions on the front of her cloak. Not much happens with Cersei in this scene, she's mostly just there to create a sort of "still life with perfect royal family" but like we said, the red and gold, and the large, prominent lions make a statement, and a pretty bold one at that. Also, some epic eye-rolling. Liz Lemon would be proud. 

     Cersei Lannister is the Betty Draper of the Westeros. Seriously, think about it: the lacquered hair, the impeccable outfits, the depression, the adulterous husband. But most of all, the outward appearance of perfection. She is what every woman in Westeros aspires to be.

Hi non-terrible children! Hi!

     This dress of Cersei's is about power, and definitely sex. (Which is fitting, because after this conversation, Ned realizes that Cersei's children may not have been by Robert.) The deep red, the Lannister necklace signifying that she is Jaime's woman, the relaxed hair (no braid helmet here; she doesn't feel she needs that particular piece of armor) - she is in control here, and fully confident that she has the upper hand.   
     She's flaunting her power in front of Ned, baiting him, challenging him to challenge her, dropping cryptic hints, and not a bit worried that Ned will rise to the occasion. She's having fun with politics here.
     Before Cersei begins wearing real armor in season two, this is her own version of protective clothing: red and gold, wealth and power, and the juxtaposition of her soft, robe-like dress with the metal at her neck and waist, holding it all together.

Cersei's really enjoying her role as Evil Queen here.

     And here is the most honest conversation Cersei and Robert ever have. They talk about the Targaryans and the Dothraki, they acknowledge that their terrible marriage is the thread holding the kingdom together. They talk about Lyanna. And finally, Cersei asks, almost tenderly, if there was ever a chance for them. Robert says no. And asks how it makes her feel. Mask firmly back in place, she says that it doesn't make her feel anything, and walks away.

     It's interesting that she goes into this scene with Robert wearing the same clothing, though it's an episode later. It draws a connection between Robert and Ned, but maybe Cersei felt she needed this protection, to feel confident going into a conversation that's almost the opposite of the one above. She is honest with Robert for the first and only time, vulnerable and in no way cryptic. But her clothes allow her to retreat quickly into her protective shell when she needs to, when Robert responds to her.

     This is Cersei's "you win or you die" dress. It's red, which is her power color. She wears it here, and later, when Ned stark confronts her. And in both those scenes, she's out to prove that no one puts Cersei Lannister in a corner. And in these two scenes, at least, she is powerful. Neither Robert Baratheon nor Ned Stark ever get the best of her.

     This is the dress she wears for Jaime - it connects her to him, and stresses her allegiance (not to her husband) in this scene. Now she wears it to confront Ned about his fight with Jaime and the fact that Cat took Tyrion captive. ("How dare you lay hands on my blood.") She and Robert and Ned argue until Robert slaps her across the face hard enough to bruise. And that is the exact moment when Cersei decides that Robert is going to die.


                                               She wore this dress in family scenes before and, though Jaime and Tyrion aren't present, this scene is about her family. They are her blood and she will protect them. If that means killing her husband and making an enemy of Ned Stark, so be it. 
     This blue-green dress also blends into the color of the room, both tying Cersei into her surroundings (she's decided Robert is going to leave King's Landing - feet first, but she ain't leaving), and diminishing her visually as Robert diminishes her power in front of Ned.
     This is another clashing outfits=unhappy marriage scene. Cersei wears a sumptuous dress in a cool blue-green while Robert is wearing a black jerkin that does its best to mimic armor.

     Now it's time for Ned to confront Cersei about her children's true parentage. She's wearing her same scarlet woman dress from her conversation with Ned that laid the groundwork for this one, as well as her conversation with Robert about their failed marriage (which failed more than Robert will ever know, as it didn't provide him with any true heirs).

     Ned has figured her out, but again, Cersei's not scared. She's so confident in her power in this situation that she tells Ned all, admitting her children are Jaime's and laughing at him. She can easily destroy him. She's left behind any remaining feelings for Robert (her cheek is still red and bruised from when he struck her), and has fully accepted her role as enemy of the crown.

     Instead of high braids here, her hair weaves into a single, long thick braid. Cersei's high piles of braids are about the power she believes she has, but thick braids=true power (see also: Dany at the end of seasons one and two). She's running this show even as she's put on Ned's mini-trial, and her hair knows it.

     And as Robert dies (and he sends her away and keeps Ned with him instead, a final token of his complete disregard for her) she's continues in her power, a Lannister through and through, ready to control the throne through her terrible son.

That's why her hair is so big: it's full of secrets.
     See what we mean about the braids getting higher? It's time to put on a show. This scene is all about securing Joffrey's right to the throne, especially in the face of Ned's (entirely accurate) accusations. She's wearing Baratheon colors and a Baratheon crown (with a green Baratheon jewel at the center). Note that she's still wearing her Lannister necklace, and that this gown is more subtly opulent than anything she's yet worn. The strings of beads that hang down the front bespeak riches as well as invoking chains of office. The cape (which still shows her arms - she's still southern fashionable even in a power coup) is imposing, and the hair that cascades from that truly impressive 'do is looser than usual, conveying a sense of ease in her new position. Joffrey may be sitting on the Iron Throne in this scene, but Cersei's the one in charge, the focal point of everyone's attention. She goes straight for Ned's throat in front of the whole court, coolly and calmly ripping apart Robert's will naming Ned as regent and ordering the death of his entire household.

Hey Cersei, you know ripping things apart doesn't make them disappear or prevent their legality right? No? Well, whatever works for you.

     Throughout it all, the mark on her cheek is still clearly visible, a bright red reminder of why this is all happening. Cersei may be awful, but much of this is also Robert's fault, for neglecting his responsibilities as a husband and a king. Winter is coming, but Robert had it coming, too.


  1. Cersei may be wearing Bratheon colours but isn't her son wearing a lion on his cape? I actually watched the scene but you can's see it very well.

    1. Indeed he is. (Cersei is also wearing her Lion necklace, thought it's mostly obscured by her hair throughout the scene.) There is also an upcoming (important) scene in which Joff and Cersei both wear their lion capes. The lion capes are important!

  2. I'm not sure if you've seen the Sesame Street episode with Peter Dinklage, but I loved how hard his outfit was trying to be Lannister. He was wearing a reddish-burgundy-ish long-sleeved shirt with gold brocade trim and red (I think) coil ribbon rim at the neckline underneath a gold robe-like thingy with subtle gold ribbon trim. The colors obviously scream Lannister, but the style and placing of the trim really brought to mind the decoration around a breastplate and the surcoat of a suit of armor.


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