Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms: A G.O.T. R.O.I. & S.W.O.T. Analysis - Cersei Lannister
The number of characters jostling for the Iron Throne fluctuates faster than the relevance of Dorne. For seven full seasons now, it hasn’t really changed hands; the Baratheon-but-really-Lannister line has held it from Winter is Coming to The Dragon and the Wolf. With a handful of Starks in Winterfell, the Night King leading a zombie army, and Dany commanding a Dothraki horde, an Unsullied army, and
three two dragons, we’re closer than ever to a real power shift. But who’s best positioned to wind up on top of the special spiky seat when all is said and done? I’ll turn to my whopping 10 years of corporate experience to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis for each character and predict the ROI (return on investment) for the kingdom should they end up in the hotseat.
Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite wine aficionado, Cersei Lannister.
Being the one in charge of King’s Landing is a heck of an advantage, as any other candidates will have to forcibly remove her before taking her place. Unless the city turns on her (apparently no one minds the explosion of the Sept of Baelor), any would-be occupant will need to pry Cersei’s butt off the Iron Throne before claiming it for themselves.
We haven’t really seen the full power of the Zombie Mountain, as he’s mostly been murdering drunk commoners and standing around ominously. He dealt with the Faith Militant without much trouble, but they’re not exactly well-trained. It remains to be seen how he’ll fare against someone in his own class (please let the Cleganebowl happen), but a giant undead dude is a nice card to be able to play.
Come at the King (Queen, Queen Mother, Queen Regent, Dowager Queen), You Best not Miss
When the show started so many years ago, Cersei was the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. There may be some technicalities about the number of kingdoms now, but she’s now sitting on the Iron Throne without a pesky husband. We’ve seen a long list of people take their shot, but only Cersei remains. She makes sure her competitors don’t get a second try to take her out.
I guess she isn’t really denying the existence of an existential threat as much as saying she doesn’t care enough to try to ward it off. She’s happier dying on the Iron Throne than risking its symbolic power to help the human race survive. If the Night King decides to head south instead of west, though…Cersei will be woefully unprepared.
It’s not that Cersei isn’t clever, it’s that Cersei isn’t nearly as clever as she thinks she is. She always has a quick comeback and moves faster than her opposition, but her long-term planning is suspect. If someone comes at her with a patient approach, they should be able to bait her into a series of mistakes.
Enemies of my Enemies
Cersei’s best chance for success is having the White Walkers and the Stark-Targaryen alliance weaken each other to the point of obsolescence, and cleaning up the wreck from there. If the Night King heads straight for Winterfell, that’s…actually kind of likely. Dany’s dragon advantage is just 2:1 in that fight, and it’s difficult to determine if enough obsidian weapons have been created to give the living a fighting chance. Heck, no one even bothered firing an arrow when the White Walkers arrived at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
Even if you aren’t fully convinced the Valonqar prophecy refers to Jaime (I am), Jaime had always been Cersei’s staunchest ally. She’s treated him with a mixture of love and disdain, and he finally had enough last season. He’s headed north, and if anyone knows how to defeat Cersei when the battle there is settled, it’s her twin brother.
With Jaime out of the picture, Cersei’s best ally is…Euron Greyjoy? You can’t trust a man who dresses like Euron does, and it’s usually unwise to trust a Greyjoy at all. Any union of these two is bound to end in disaster for one, if not both.
Return on Investment
I think we’ve seen the ROI Cersei offers. The realm is bankrupt (at least they paid off their Iron Bank debt!), food supplies are low with Winter coming, war has been raging for quite some time, leaving the population depleted and much of the land ravaged. There isn’t much volatility here, just a line that keeps trending down. ROI: -20% to begin with, rapidly accelerating to -100%.
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