Why is Cersei Lannister a bad ruler

Why Cersei makes a better ruler than Jon or Daenerys | 2021

This article contains spoilers.

Cersei Lannister is a certifiable nut job. In the Game of Thrones season six finale, she took the concept of "sweet vengeance" too far, brutally burning hundreds and gleefully drinking wine while screaming. The event itself was not a surprise, but it was wonderfully atmospheric; Cersei's calm demeanor was a deterrent and no one could have suspected that this would trigger Tommen's suicide or Cersei's rise to the Iron Throne. Now that she's in the highest and least comfortable seat in Westeros, clad in Karl Lagerfeld's villain collection, that can't do any good. Or it can

Let's examine their competition. Besides Cersei, the two main claims to the throne come from Daenerys, who is on his way to King's Landing with fire and blood in his eyes, and Jon Snow, the new king of the north and the new son of Lyanna Stark (and Rhaegar Targaryen).

As we discussed earlier, Daenerys is not a seasoned ruler. She has a habit of invading places where she does not know the customs by imposing her will on them and leaving them worse than before. She has no real experience of learning about and getting to know the local customs - she said she would be in Meereen, but see how that turned out. She made a detour to burn some khals and Meereen sucked.

Sure, with Tyrion by her side, she'll understand King's Landing better. But, as we've seen time and again, she underestimates how terrible a ruler his father was. Barrison Selmy had to remind her of this in season 5; Tyrion reminded her of this in Season 6. Westeros residents won't rush to hug another Targaryen. And as we saw from Sam's uncomfortable family meal in "Blood of My Blood," ordinary Westerosi citizens like Sam's brother don't even believe that there are white walkers. The presence of dragons will therefore cause mass panic among ordinary people.

Jon Snow (Stark? Targaryen?) Is the other logical choice, but he's already shown he's way too decent to be a good king. His actions in the Battle of the Bastards - which put themselves in danger for the apparently futile hope of saving Rickon - show that he still has heart to brain, as does his move in the season 6 finale to send Melisandre away. Sure, killing Shireen was a horrific act, but logically, Melisandre is an invaluable asset. To win the Game of Thrones you have to be able to put cold logic before decency.

Jon is too damn heroic to survive in King's Landing. He's also as unskilled as ever in PR and has to rely on a 10 year old girl to wage his rhetorical battles for him.

Cersei caused panic with mass murder, but people are fine with a threat they know. You've dealt with Wildfire and compassionate Lannisters before. You can do it again. As crazy as Cersei is, she knows how King's Landing works. She is cold and ruthless where Jon is too heroic and has a better resume than Daenerys. That doesn't mean she'll be a great ruler - poor Margaery would have been the best, or Lyanna Mormont. Westeros is really good screwed up with her in power.

But of the three contenders for the Iron Throne, the mad woman is a smarter choice than the two more idealistic young rulers. That's the kind of thinking that only makes sense in Game of Thrones.