The Royal Minorities of Game of Thrones

  • Charles E. Beem
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


In Game of Thrones, Queen Cersei Lannister labours to preserve her power and autonomy during the minority reigns of her two sons Joffrey and Tommen Baratheon. This chapter argues that the characters of Cersei, Joffrey, and Tommen are highly reflective of a pantheon of characters from medieval European history, who, in their characterizations, demonstrate the relationship between family and power in Game of Thrones. In the process of constructing the dynamic elements of the storyline, royal minorities represent an obvious historical model to create the sense of dynastic instability that is at the core of Game of Thrones. Minority reigns by their very nature represent an inherently unstable form of kingship, an office best served by the authority of a capable and adult king or queen. The minority reigns of Cersei’s two sons Joffrey and Tommen replicate the dynastic instabilities endemic in historical royal minorities. Cersei’s eventual possession of the Iron Throne has few analogues in history, and her performance as queen and mother during the minorities of her sons was complicated, mirroring the experiences of many queen mothers of medieval Western Europe. Despite her lust for power, Cersei appeared to sincerely love her children and mourned their deaths, which, ironically, paved her way to supreme power. In the final analysis, Cersei, like her son Joffrey, also slides into caricature, thirsting for power and revenge, the epitome of the wicked queen. Cersei, more than any other male character in Game of Thrones, epitomizes the savage and remorseless quest for dominance in the “game of thrones,” played against the background of her two sons’ minority reigns.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. Beem
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeUSA

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