The final episode of "Game of Thrones" season six, "The Winds of Winter," gave us the somewhat surreal image of Cersei Lannister sitting on the Iron Throne.
After torching hundreds of people with wildfire, which directly led to her last living child, Tommen, committing suicide, Cersei has finally become the Mad Queen. That look on Jamie Lannister's face, one of shock and fear, after he entered the throne room at King's Landing confirmed as much.
According to an alleged clinical psychologist, Cersei's role as the Mad Queen may be more than just a nickname.
Reddit user Rain12913, who claims to be a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyzed Cersei Lannister in a very impressive breakdown. First, Rain12913 began by addressing the fact Cersei is a fictional character, writing,
Therefore, what I'm doing here is just loosely applying these terms to a character who simply displays the behaviors and characteristics of a particular diagnostic label that we use for real people.
Now, for Cersei's psychoanalysis:
Cersei is a classic narcissist. As such, she lacks the ability to truly empathize with others. Despite this obvious reality, people seem to be falling into the trap of thinking that Cersei really does genuinely love her brother and her (late) children. While she certainly says that she does quite a bit, and while her behavior may seem to suggest that she does, it is highly unlikely that such a narcissistic character is capable of true love. If anyone is interested in a more babble-heavy explanation then I could get into object relations theory in explaining this concept, but suffice it to say, Cersei doesn't view others as real, complete people. Instead, she views them as either "all good" or "all bad" (this is known as splitting, and it is a defense mechanism). Her tendency to split is reflective of her inability to view herself as a person who has both good traits and bad traits. Most of us are able to view ourselves in shades of gray: we're capable of good things and bad things, we have strengths and weaknesses, etc. Instead of embracing this reality, Cersei must either embrace the belief that she is a worthless, damaged, and hopeless person, or the belief that she is impeccable, gifted, and perfect. With narcissists, the latter strategy seems to prevail, at least on the surface. This is why people so often fall into the trap of thinking that narcissists really think they're the best. They don't, however, even if they're not even conscious of it. Deep down, they're certain that they fall into the former category, so if they don't embrace the latter (that they're perfect), then they will be "destroyed," in the sense of facing psychological collapse. This is a way of coping with and protecting against emotional pain, hence the term "defense mechanism."
Rain12913 continues, writing how Cersei is unable to actually love anyone.
You might think that narcissists are incapable of love, since they often seem to be quite incapable of having empathy for others. You may be right, in a certain sense (although remember, we're talking about extremes here, whereas real people fall throughout the spectrum). However, there is a sort of narcissistic love in which the narcissistic person loves others as an extension of him/herself. In this scenario, the narcissistic person experiences a fragmentation of the self in which the other becomes a part of the self. This is almost always seen with family members or lovers. Rather than loving this other person as a separate entity who has their own strengths and weaknesses, the narcissistic person splits them into the "perfect" category, and considers them to be an extension of him/herself. You see this in the way that Cersei thinks about Jamie and her children. They are her blood, and they share a part of her. As such, they must be perfect, like she is. In fact, Cersei isn't even capable of loving someone who isn't herself. Her one true love in life is her twin, who looks just like her. Loving one's twin is the ultimate form of self-love, and it is sort of a perfect embodiment of what it means to be narcissistic. As soon as Jamie departed in the first season, she was sleeping with her cousin who, again, was just another extension of herself. She can't even bare to not have sex with herself during Jamie's departure. Although this sort of love may seem like "regular" love (in that she expresses warmness towards her children, wants them to be happy, and violently looks after their interests), it is a hollow love. Just as easily as narcissistic people merged these other people with themselves, they can split them away and cast them back into the "other" position. They will then split this person to the "bad" category, and disown them. Again, this is a defense. Rather than accepting the reality that the person is capable of having strengths and weaknesses (which would mean that they are imperfect as well), they simply stop believing that the other person is reflective of themselves. After that, they may not even experience any sense of loss or mourning.
This alleged clinical psychologist goes on to use Cersei's reaction to Tommen's death as proof of the above analysis. By the end of season six of "Game of Thrones," Cersei appears incapable of feeling human emotion.
Her detachment from the world makes her one of the most dangerous figures in Westeros, which sets us up for major fireworks in season seven.