Game of Thrones inspirations: Who is Cersei Lannister inspired by?

Various characters in Game of Thrones are inspired by real people in history. Who is Cersei Lannister inspired by? We take a look.
Game of Thrones - Cersei Lannister
Game of Thrones - Cersei Lannister /

George R.R. Martin certainly took some inspiration from real English history to create Game of Thrones. This includes Cersei Lannister. You didn’t think that someone as awful and conniving as her could be just pulled from fictional thin air, do you?

Game of Thrones takes a lot of inspiration from the Wars of the Roses. While Ned Stark and Catelyn Stark are inspired by two people from the side of the White Rose, Cersei Lannister is taken from the Red Side. She is inspired by Margaret of Anjou, the wife of King Henry VI of England.

Who was Margaret of Anjou?

Margaret married King Henry VI, seeing him through his bouts of insanity. In fact, when he struggled with his mental health, Margaret ran the country. She was staunchly on the Lancastrian side, and she did everything she could to hold onto power and make sure the crown passed to her son, Edward.

Her marriage to Henry was certainly not one of love. It was a political arrangement, very much like Cersei’s marriage to Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones. It doesn’t look like Margaret ever fell in love with her husband, but she did take her position as Queen Consort seriously and she was not willing to risk the throne.

Henry wasn’t interested in ruling. He wasn’t successful as a military commander, which led to Margaret taking it upon herself to manage all of that. Yes, Cersei certainly ran the country for Robert, although he was a little more skilled in military tactics. Robert was more interested in drinking and sleeping with other women than running the country, though.

Something else that connects Cersei to Margaret is he loss of their children. Margaret only had one son, but he died before she did. In fact, he died in battle, effectively bringing an end to the Lancastrian claim to the throne.

Where the similarities to Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones end

Of course, not everything Cersei did mirrors Margaret of Anjou. While she was widowed and she did lose her children, Cersei’s story didn’t end in the same way as Margaret. Cersei refused to give up the throne. After the deaths of Joffrey and Tommen, she ended up becoming Queen of Westeros in her own right.

That didn’t happen for Margaret. Margaret of Anjou was captured by the York forces and ransomed off to France. She spent the last seven years of her life in France as a poor relative of the king. It was a major blow to her abilities to rule as a queen.

Of course, Cersei’s ending was a little more dramatic. She and Jaime died in each other arms as the Red Keep came crumbling down as Daenerys and Drogon destroyed King’s Landing.

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Game of Thrones is available to stream on Max.