As Game of Thrones was heading into its eighth and final season a couple months back, every fan of the show was placing their bets on which main characters would find themselves dead before the big finale. And the name the character that nearly everyone agreed was going to meet her end in the final season was Westeros' evil queen Cersei Lannister. But when her death did come, it was surprisingly disappointing to most viewers. Now, the actress behind Queen Cersei is opening about about that final scene, and Lena Headey's reaction to Cersei's Game of Thrones death is the same as the fans', she revealed in a new profile in The Guardian.
Cersei Lannister's death scene quickly became one of the several controversial moments in the final season of Game of Thrones among the show's fandom. For the entirety of the series, fans expected Cersei's death to as epic as her calculated tyranny has been. But Cersei was not engulfed in the flames of one of Daenerys' dragons or stabbed by her brother Jaime in a shocking moment of betrayal (as most fans were expecting). Instead, in the penultimate episode of the series, Cersei was unceremoniously crushed by falling debris along with Jaime while seeking shelter from Daenerys' King's Landing attack in the Red Keep's cellar.
The relatively anticlimactic death surprised viewers who were expecting Cersei and Jaime to get a much more epic and meaningful send-off. And it turns out, the scene surprised Lena Headey as well when she first read it.
In the new interview, Headey said that she was just as invested in the stories and characters on Game of Thrones as the fans were, and admitted that she has some of her own gripes with the final season that she is looking forward to telling to showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss over a drunken dinner. Her main concern was that she wanted Cersei to have a "better death."
I will say I wanted a better death. Obviously you dream of your death. You could go in any way on that show. So I was kind of gutted. But I just think they couldn’t have pleased everyone. No matter what they did, I think there was going to be some big comedown from the climb.
It sounds like Lena Headey had the same expectations for Cersei's final scene as most of the fans did, so it is no wonder that she was a bit let down to find out that her character was going to die simply by being crushed under a pile of rocks.
That death scene not only received criticism for downplaying Cersei's importance, but also for wiping clean Jaime's character arc through the recent seasons of the series. After seemingly reforming and becoming a good man on his journeys with Brienne of Tarth, Jaime threw his virtuous new life to the wayside at the last moment to instead return to his toxic relationship with Cersei, dying together with her. The death scene and the episode that contained it was notably the most criticized moment of the final season.