Expelling a monstrous matriarchy : casting Cersei Lannister as abject in A Song of Ice and Fire

Patel, Charul (2014) Expelling a monstrous matriarchy : casting Cersei Lannister as abject in A Song of Ice and Fire. Journal of European Popular Culture, 5 (2). pp. 135-147. ISSN 2040-6134

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In the fantasy genre where the female characters are so often in the minority, it is disturbing that George R. R. Martin chooses to reinvent the traditional male fantasy hero with female characters that are presented as monstrous for attempting to gain power in a patriarchal society. This article will be discussing Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (1999–), examining the character of Cersei Lannister and the reasons as to why she cannot gain power in a patriarchal system. In the first part of this article, I will depict how Cersei gains power by creating what I term ‘political prostheses’, which serve as substitutions for her female body and create a masculine armouring through which she can take part in the political field and patriarchal society. As I will demonstrate in the second part of this article, unlike the other mother characters, Cersei’s monstrosity comes about through the amalgamation of incompatible images of womanhood, which is complicated further by incest. Consequently, as I will emphasize in the last part of this article, Cersei is expelled from society at the end of the last published book through a ritual that can be read as one of abjection.

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Journal Article
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Journal of European Popular Culture
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13 Feb 2015 13:39
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15 Jul 2024 15:02