Out of all of Game of Thrones’ villains, none have produced as many memorable quotes so far into the series as Cersei Lannister. As vicious as they come and intensely ambitious, the Queen of Westeros has a wealth of brilliant quotes depicting all sides of her.
Here are the 24 best Cersei Lannister quotes in Game of Thrones.
1. “Everyone who isn’t us, is an enemy” – Cersei Lannister
While discussing politics with Joffrey, the topic arises of whether or not the Stark’s are enemies. Cersei reveals just how elitist she is in regards to holding her house above everyone else’s, claiming anyone outside of their circle is an enemy.
2. “When you play the Game of Thrones you win, or you die. There is no middle ground” – Cersei Lannister
Perhaps the single most iconic Game of Thrones quotes there is. Cersei describes the brutal game that the high lords of Westeros play. In the pursuit of power, you either win or you die.
3. “Power is power” – Cersei Lannister
After Baelish smugly tells Cersei that knowledge is power, the queen demonstrates a wicked display of her power. She tells her guards to move forward, seize Baelish, and cut his throat. At the last moment she tells them she’s changed her mind. They obey each of her commands totally, and have Baelish’s life in their hands for a moment when they have a knife to his throat. After this, she simply says to Baelish that power is power.
4. “You want to be hand of the king? You want to rule? This is what ruling is. Lying on a bed of weeds ripping them out by the root one by one before they strangle you in your sleep” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei gives a lesson to Tyrion on the horrible ordeals ruling can demand. This is, however, her response to Tyrion questioning her about the Gold Cloaks murdering babies just because they are Robert’s bastards. So, not really an excuse, Cersei.
5. “You think the piece of paper father gave you keeps you safe? Ned Stark had a piece of paper, too” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei is outraged, as one might have guessed, when she discovers that Tyrion plans to wed Myrcella off to Dorne. She tells him that the piece of paper he has officiating him as Hand of the King doesn’t protect him from her. Ned Stark came at her with a piece of paper, too, after all.
6. “One day I pray you love someone. I pray you love her so much, when you close your eyes you see her face. I want that for you. I want you to know what it’s like to love someone, to truly love someone, before I take her from you” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei’s reaction to Tyrion shipping her only daughter away to Dorne is probably what you’d expect from an ambitious, bloodthirsty queen: she prays that Tyrion finds himself in the situation she was in with Myrcella so she can take his love away from him. This is said while he’s hiding Shae from Cersei, so the words linger with us as we realise what Cersei will do to Shae if her presence is found.
7. “The more people you love, the weaker you are. You’ll do things for them that you know you shouldn’t do. You’ll act the fool to make them happy, to keep them safe. Love no one but your children; on that front a mother has no choice” – Cersei Lannister
After Cersei finds out Sansa has flowered and is able to bear Joffrey’s children, she gives Sansa a deep lecture about love, telling her to avoid loving anyone but her children, as a mother has to, as attachment will only limit and endanger you.
8. “Do you know why Varys is so dangerous…because he doesn’t have a cock” – Cersei Lannister
Tyrion’s reasonable answers to Cersei’s question are shot down by her point; Varys’ danger comes from his lack of a penis. She uses this logic to imply that she, too, is one to be considered incredibly dangerous, which we sure know to be true.
9. “And if he dies, there isn’t a man alive who could devise a more painful death for your little cunt” – Cersei Lannister
Before revealing to Tyrion the whore she has imprisoned, she tells him that she’ll be treated gently enough so long as no harm comes to Joffrey in Stannis’ sacking of the city. If he dies, however, well – you can see Cersei’s cruel intentions with the woman she expects is Tyrion’s secret lover.
10. “The gods have no mercy, that’s why they’re gods” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei becomes increasingly sour while waiting inside for the battle to end with the other women of the court, resulting in her mocking Sansa for praying to the gods for mercy, claiming that, being gods, they have no mercy. It offers a window into her way of thinking; that to have no mercy is to become like the gods.
11. “If you ever call me Sister again I’ll have you strangled in your sleep” – Cersei Lannister
Not one for affection, clearly, is Cersei. At the wedding between Sansa and Tyrion, Margaery approaches the Queen Regent to tell her she looks radiant and telling her they’ll be Sisters soon. After a lengthy walk and a chilling retelling of what happened to House Rain, the former second most wealthy family in the seven kingdoms, just as the Tyrells are, who got destroyed for rebelling against Tywin Lannister, Cersei coldly tells Margaery what will happen should she call her Sister again.
12. “An unhappy wife is a wine merchant’s best friend” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei rocks into Tyrion’s chambers and saunters over to the wine, asking him how married life is for him before dropping this amusing quote.
13. “Think I’d let that old lecher put his hands on me? Smells like a dead cat” – Cersei Lannister
Jaime overhears Cersei thanking Qyburn for assistance with some symptoms of hers, though she doesn’t reveal what these are. He follows up by asking if she let him touch her, surprised as she never let Pycelle anywhere near her. This quote is said next and reveals the extent of dislike everyone seems to have of Pycelle in a rather funny way.
14. “What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?” – Cersei Lannister
In her stroll with Oberyn through the gardens of King’s Landing, Cersei begins talking of how neither her nor Oberyn could save their loved ones, Elia and Joffrey, despite their power, which leads her to this quote.
15. “Margaery will dig her claws in, you will dig your claws in and you’ll fight over him like beasts until you rip him apart. I will burn our house to the ground before I let that happen!” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei tries one last time to get out of her marriage to Loras Tyrell that would see her shipped to Highgarden and away from Tommen in King’s Landing. She describes what would happen if she left, before revealing the extents that she would go to in order to prevent that, which happens to me revealing her relationship with her brother, Jaime, which would cripple the family. It works, and she is released from her marriage.
16. “Tyrion may be a monster but at least he killed our father on purpose. You killed him by mistake” – Cersei Lannister
The two Lannister children left in King’s Landing after Tywin’s death at the hand of Tyrion, Cersei and Jaime, discuss his passing and its meaning together over his corpse. Cersei blames it on Tyrion, as she should, but then also ropes Jaime into it as she knows it was he that set Tyrion free that night.
17. “Look at me. Look at my face; it’s the last thing you’ll see before you die” – Cersei Lannister
After Cersei gets imprisoned by the faith for the things that Lancel has told the High Sparrow, she makes this very direct threat to the women who jailed her.
18. “I thought if I could make something so good, so pure, maybe I’m not a monster” – Cersei Lannister
As Tyrion has said previously, Cersei does love her children. So when Myrcella is brought back to King’s Landing dead, we hear the unfiltered thoughts from Cersei Lannister. Included in these is this quote, where she acknowledges her spitefulness and cruel nature by referring to herself as a monster.
19. “The High Sparrow seized power knowing full well we’d bicker amongst ourselves instead of seizing it back. And here we are, well done to us. And now the future of the seven kingdoms rests in his dirty, peasant hands” – Cersei Lannister
For maybe the first time in Game of Thrones, Cersei puts her differences with someone, Olenna Tyrell in this case, aside and focuses on the bigger picture. This quote is her saying this and is definitely a powerful one.
20. “I choose violence” – Cersei Lannister
Confronted by the Faith militant inside the red keep, Cersei refuses their command to meet with the High Sparrow in the Sept of Baelor. As Cersei walks away the Mountain stands in front of the Faith to block them from seizing her. Lancel warns Cersei to tell him to back down or there will be violence. This is her response.
21. “I drink because it feels good. I killed my husband because it felt good to be rid of him. I fuck my brother because it feels good to feel him inside me. I lie about fucking my brother because it feels good to keep our son safe from hateful hypocrites” – Cersei Lannister
Speaking to Septa Unella who is destined to die without seeing anyone Cersei doesn’t want her to see, she is able to open up about what she does to make her feel good, revealing some rare insight to her thoughts.
22. “So we fight and die or we submit and die – I know my choice” – Cersei Lannister
With their options laid out in front of them regarding the war with Daenerys – which includes fighting and dying or submitting and dying – Cersei says with steely defiance that she knows which of the two she would choose, and that Jaime should too.
23. “If anything goes wrong kill the silver-haired bitch first, then our brother, then the bastard who calls himself king. The rest of them you can kill in any order you see fit” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei prepares to head to the dragon pit in King’s Landing to meet with Daenerys and her envoy. She instructs Ser Gregor on what to do if things go wrong, and this her list of order.
24. “No one walks away from me” – Cersei Lannister
Cersei reveals her plans to Jaime of why Euron fleed the dragon pit – to ferry the Golden Company over to Westeros – and tells him that no one walks away from her.
Almost rivalling Cersei for his love of the game and brutal streak, Lord Baelish’s best quotes are similarly captivating. Cersei’s brother Tyrion combines comedy and wisdom through his best quotes.
Image credit: HBO