Lena Headey reflects on Cersei Lannister's arc in 'Game of Thrones'

Lena Headey reflects on Cersei Lannister's arc in 'Game of Thrones'

The following text contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5! She died in the arms of her twin brother and lover, Jaime (Nikokaj Coster-Waldau).

Then, despite Tyrion's best efforts to convince her to chill, she officially declared it time to attack King's Landing regardless of the people inside and sent the Unsullied ahead, telling Grey Worm to wait for her outside and he'd know when it was time to strike.

We've always known that the final confrontation between Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) would be fierce and terrible, but no one could have possibly predicted this sort of carnage. Many members of the show's cast have improved over the years, but Headey has been winning raves from critics from the very start - since the early episodes of season 1 Headey has perfectly delivered Cersei's uniquely toxic mix of pride, vindictiveness, impatience, cunning, and spite. The actress didn't think it was in Cersei's character to give in so quickly. Yet thanks to the show's textured writing and Headey's delivery, Cersei has never been anything less than a fully realized character.

Headey said the ending was especially great for Jaime's arc. She was a slave then, working for a cruel master who Daenerys burned after taking control of his troops, setting Missandei and the rest of the slaves free. "And until the very, very last minute, she is, as ever, in denial of what's actually happening". After looking particularly angry and flustered on last week's episode, she decided it was time to absolutely decimate the whole of King's Landing as well. He kills Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbeck) and tries to lead her to safety through a secret passage. Rather than just executing the two of them, Cersei has Ellaria and Tyene chained up in the dungeon, facing each other, and, in true Batman villain style, poisons Tyene with a kiss.

"I think that when she says, 'Let it be fear, ' she's resigning herself to the fact that she may have to get things done in a way that isn't pleasant, and she may have to get things done in a way that is terrible to lots of people", Weiss explained, as Benioff confirmed Dany "chose violence". "I wanted her to have some big piece or fight with somebody", she says. "The more we talked about it the more it seemed like the ideal end for her", Headey says.

After they left Winterfell together, Arya told the Hound that she didn't intend to return home, so if she were to go down fighting, or perhaps even win in a bout with the Mother of Dragons and stick around to help clean up the mess, that would certainly make good on that promise.

"I think the important thing is that Jaime had a chance at freedom [with Brienne] and finally liberated himself from Cersei, which I think the audience will be thrilled about", Headey said.

"It's the most authentic connection she's ever had", she continued. "Ultimately they belong together". The things I do for love.

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