If I lived in Westeros, I’d want to go back in time and meet Cersei Lannister as a young girl.
(General TV series spoilers; no book spoilers.)
I’d like to meet the girl who grew up with Jaime as a twin brother, only to find her life diverging from his the day he was given a sword and she wasn’t.
I’d like to meet the girl who began to be taught that her only value lay in her beauty, or who her father was, or who she would marry and the children she would have.
I’d like to meet her before she began to use sex with Jaime as a way to rebel and as a way to bind him to her; a way to get a vicarious taste of the power and glory he was able to experience as a warrior.
Before she became the woman who lives a life fueled by anger and fear; who walks the halls of a castle never her home and plays the game of thrones because it’s the only path to power she knows.
Cersei is like all of us as she arrays herself in her finery each morning. She’s more successful than most at hiding her fear; her beauty and ruthlessness aid her with the facade she cultivates. But her internal monologue is an unending, desperate stream of rationalization and self-justification. She tells herself she is powerful and in control, while living a life she can never, ever admit isn’t suited to her.
Yes, Cersei, come to me when you are young. Let me be the witch in the woods, and instead of telling you your future I’ll tell you that your choices play a role in it. Slip away from your lessons again and again; be part of the life of the forest as you make your way to my hut.
There I’ll put a quill in your hand, Cersei, or a brush, or a sword, until you start creating things that say your name without all the modifiers you’ve learned to attach to it. Slowly, you’ll develop a secret world no father or husband or rival could ever touch.
Then, when the time comes, you’ll make choices. They won’t be easy ones. Perhaps you’ll decide, in many cases, that obedience is your best option. But you won’t be a victim, because you won’t feel like one. And you won’t have to act out like one.
How much will you change your world now, Cersei?
How much could we change ours?