Can you give your thoughts as to Cersei's reasons behind the split with Jaime? I like your writing!
This is a follow-up to this post. (And thank you, anon!)
Right, so. Cersei spends books 1-3 growing ever more afraid. First she loses Jaime, then her father puts Tyrion (her hated valonqar, supposedly) in a position of power in contention with hers, then Tyrion arranges for her firstborn to marry Margaery (a potential “younger and more beautiful queen,” far less controllable than Cersei deems Sansa), then her father starts making noise about getting Cersei remarried, then Joffrey’s murdered. Through all that fear, she pinned her hopes on Jaime, thinking that Jaime would save her -
- and he does not. He refuses to murder Tyrion, he refuses to argue with their father about her remarrying, he refuses to agree with her about Tommen marrying Margaery. He’s just like everyone else who let her down. He’s just like everyone else who doesn’t understand. This helps shake Cersei out of her romanticisation of their relationship (for a while; she goes back to it while held captive by the Faith), her crushing disappointment rolled into her paranoia. If Jaime is not with her, he’s against her.
This is not to underplay how Jaime’s loss of his hand affected her. As far as Cersei’s concerned, Jaime is her, but male, and without his sword hand, he can’t fit her idea of male. It’s an idea that’s very much centred around violence, and ableist as hell. (We also see this idea of masculinity as violence in her idealisation of Joffrey’s “fierceness.”) Without his sword hand, Jaime refuses to act as Cersei’s sword. He can’t stop her from slapping him. He’s considerably clumsier. As she says about the similarly afflicted Mark Mullendore, what good is half a man?
Then Jaime starts making other choices about his appearance that compromises this “her, but male” ideal. He grows a beard, lessening his resemblance to her, and starts electing to wear white, prioritising a Kingsguard identity over a Lannister identity. So not only is he “half a man” as far as Cersei’s concerned, these decisions about his appearance make him less her.
These reasons for stepping back really go to show how poisonous Cersei’s idea of a relationship is. But if there’s one thing we learn about her in AFFC, it’s that she has no idea how to cope with disagreement.
↳ “Permit me to share some womanly wisdom with you on this very special day. 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.”