What if I told you that Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) are basically the same person? I know you may think I’m crazy, after all I’m comparing the Mother of Dragons to the Mother of Monsters. Well, really just one monster – Joffrey – but Mother of Monsters just has such a nice ring to it, so I'm going with it. Nicknames aside, these two characters are much more alike than you realize.
The reason why fans may not notice the similarities between Daenerys and Cersei is because of the narrative of the show. Game of Thrones paints these two characters in two extremely different lights. Daenerys is our supposed hero, who will slay the Army of the Dead with her dragons and restore peace to Westeros by “breaking the wheel.” Meanwhile, Cersei Lannister wants… well, power. Cersei had lost everything – her father, her children, her dignity – and thinks ultimate power may protect her from losing any more of the very little she has left. This is the narrative of the show, because we need a “good guy” and a “bad guy.” However, these two characters just so happen to have much more in common than you may realize. In particular, Cersei and Daenerys have similar intimate relationships, similar tactics when handling an enemy, and similar histories.
Honestly, if Daenerys and Cersei were to grab a couple bottles of wine and actually talk to one another, they may realize they are pretty much the same person. Don’t believe me? Well, here are 16 times Daenerys and Cersei were literally the same person. I won’t say I told you so, but… you know.
16 Let's Start With The Way Daenerys Targaryen Uses Firepower
When Daenerys Targaryen's back is against the wall, she turns to firepower. Because, why not? The girl has three full-grown dragons, so firepower is clearly the upper hand she has in every single situation.
The first time we see Daenerys use this particular firepower is in the House of the Undying. At this point, that skinny guy who looked like a ghost (Pyat Pree) had Daenerys in chains. It looks like he's won, that is until Daenerys orders her dragons to set his skinny ghost butt aflame. From that point, we mainly saw Daenerys use her dragons on the slavetraders of Essos. For the most part, the audience reaction was something like, 'Yeah, these dudes totally deserve to be set on fire.' Since Daenerys was setting slavetraders on fire, there was a certain moral ground she would stand on. I mean, they were slavetraders, guys!
In season six, Daenerys faced the Khals of the Dothraki, during which time Daenerys really had her back against the wall. There was even talk of r*ping her and letting their horses r*pe her and, like, I don’t think the Dothraki were kidding. So clearly, Daenerys burned these dudes to the ground. Season seven then saw Daenerys use her dragons in warfare, even burning to death the handsome Dickon Tarly.
While the way in which Daenerys uses fire to beat the odds may change from time to time, you can always count on her to burn everything to the ground when she's desperate.
15 Cersei Lannister Also Uses Firepower When She's Desperate
Like Daenerys, Cersei Lannister also uses firepower when her back is against the wall. In particular, Cersei saw no way out of her trail by the High Sparrow. It was at this point, Cersei, with the help of Qyburn, blew up the Sept and a major portion of King's Landing. It was this explosion that set a chain of events into motion, which landed Cersei Lannister on the Iron Throne. Not only did Cersei burn her way out of a sticky situation, but she burned her way into being the most powerful woman in Westeros.
What's interesting is that Daenerys' firepower is usually seen as a power move, leaving the fans rooting for more. On the other hand, Cersei's firepower moment is seen as evil, leaving the fans eagerly awaiting her death. But, why? Burning your enemies is burning your enemies, which is essentially what both women did. Daenerys burned slavetraders and Cersei burned religious extremists, yet Cersei is the only villain. Weird, right? All I'm saying is that it seems like Cersei gets a lot of hate for doing the same exact thing Daenerys has done in nearly every season.
That said, perhaps people are more down with Daenerys using fire because it comes from her dragons and can be seen as natural, while Cersei's wildfire was anything but natural.
14 Daenerys Has Gotten Some Savage Revenge On Her Enemies
Let it be known, Daenerys does not take too kindly to enemies. Since birthing dragons, Daenerys has pretty much set all her enemies on fire. All say she has to say is “Dracarys” and BOOM, they’re roasted.
Daenerys did get a much slower, much more painful revenge on one particular enemy before her dragons were birthed: Mirri Maz Duur. This was the season one witch, who used blood magic to kill Daenerys’ unborn child and put Khal Drogo in a vegetative state. So, Daenerys clearly had some justifiable reasons to be angry with this witch. In an act of revenge, Daenerys burns Mirri Maz Duur at the stake. This is harsh, especially considering the fact that Daenerys could have easily had Mirri beheaded. But Daenerys wanted Mirri to suffer.
Cross Daenerys, and die by fire one way or another. That’s the basic rule.
13 Cersei Is The Reigning Queen In The Art Of Revenge
Daenerys' revenge on Mizzi Maz Duur was child's play compared to the kind of revenge Cersei Lannister likes to give her enemies. In fact, Cersei Lannister loves revenge. Like, she might love revenge even more than wine or doing it with her twin brother.
In particular, Cersei got revenge on Unella, the famous "Shame" nun. Cersei poured wine all over Unella. This was the last time we saw Unella, so who even knows what else Cersei or the Mountain did to Unella. In season seven, Cersei Lannister got revenge on Ellaria Sand, who poisoned sweet, sweet Myrcella. In this case, Cersei got revenge by poisoning Ellaria's daughter, which seemed like a fair trade. It seems Cersei's favorite mode of revenge is inflicting the same exact pain or wrongdoing done to her, which is kind of poetic.
The difference between Cersei and Daenerys is that Cersei takes much more pleasure in getting revenge on her enemies. However, that doesn’t change the fact that both of these women will invoke awful punishments for any crimes against them.
12 Both Queens Asked Jon Snow To Bend The Knee, Because Duh
In season seven, both Daenerys and Cersei sent Jon Snow letters, in which they asked Jon Snow to bend the knee. I mean, obviously. This is just what you do when you're in charge and how you actually stay in charge. Though, both letters were worded much, much differently.
In Cersei's letter, she told Jon Snow “to bend the knee to his rightful Queen or suffer the fate of all traitors.” That is an obvious call back to Ned Stark, still believed to be Jon's father, as Ned was beheaded once he was considered a traitor.
Meanwhile, the letter sent from Tyrion, on Daenerys’ behalf, was a little different. In fact, it suggested an alliance: “My queen commands the combined forces of Dorne and the Reach, an Ironborn fleet, legions of Unsullied, a Dothraki horde and three dragons. The Seven Kingdoms will bleed as long as Cersei sits on the Iron Throne. Join us. Together we can end her tyranny. I appeal to you, one bastard to another — for all dwarves are bastards in their fathers’ eyes.” Notice something missing? That’s right, Daenerys was like let’s be buddies. Then, Jon Snow got there and she was like, “BEND THE KNEE NOW!”
The true difference in their letters is that Cersei was upfront with her desire for Jon Snow to bend the knee, while Daenerys got Jon Snow to Dragonstone before demanding this.
Furthermore, some (uh, Sansa Stark) worried Cersei would have beheaded Jon Snow upon his arrival to King’s Landing, but that seems unlikely. Cersei, who is very politically minded, knows she needs all the allies she can muster at this point in time. Also, Cersei had previously schooled Joffrey on making an enemy of the North, saying it’s too large and wild to be conquered by outsiders. Cersei’s diplomatic enough to not behead Jon Snow and make an enemy of the North. At least, not yet.
Long story short, both queens asked Jon Snow to bend the knee, just in very different ways.
11 When We Meet Daenerys, She's Assaulted By Khal Drogo
Remember what a loving, sweet relationship Daenerys and Khal Drogo had? Y'know the same relationship that started with Khal Drogo r*ping Daenerys on their wedding night. Drogo then continued to force himself on Daenerys until she gets some 'intimacy' lessons from her handmaid. After this, Daenerys and Khal Drogo seem to have a much less 'agressive' relationship. In fact, the two really did grow together in a way that seems like love. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that Khal Drogo totally r*ped Daenerys on their wedding night.
Unfortunately, Daenerys isn't the only character who was r*ped on her wedding night. Poor Sansa Stark was brutally r*ped by Ramsay Bolton on their wedding night, all while Theon Greyjoy watched. Is it just me, or does Game of Thrones have the most horrifying weddings ever?
10 Likewise, Cersei Is Assaulted By Jaime
After Joffrey’s death, Jaime and Cersei 'do it' right next to Joffrey's corpse. Seriously, they were right next to their son's corpse. It was super weird. While Cersei objects to the deed next to their son's corpse, Jaime physically has s*x with a protesting Cersei. Again, RIGHT NEXT TO JOFFREY'S CORPSE.
What’s interesting is the similarities between Daenerys and Cersei's scenes. Both Daenerys and Cersei felt affection – at some point – for the men r*ping them. Both women also continue to 'do it' with those men. It’s also notable that neither of these scenes actually happened in the book and are a pure invention of the show.
So maybe the books are a happier place?
9 Daenerys Targaryen's Visions Of Her Future
Both Cersei Lannister’s and Daenerys Targaryen’s futures were revealed to them through magic.
In season two, Daenerys enters the House of the Undying, which is where that skinny, ghost looking guy (again, Pyat Pree) chained up Daenerys. Before that though, Daenerys sees a slew of visions, likely foreshadowing future events. Notably, Daenerys saw the throne room in King’s Landing, but covered in snow. So, uh, that’s probably a sign of things to come.
During these visions, Daenerys finds herself surrounded by snow, until finding a tent containing Khal Drogo and her son… y’know the dead. Daenerys sees snow and the dead, much like how the Army of the Dead and winter are coming for Westeros. Fans theorize that Daenerys seeing Khal Drogo and her son while it's snowing may mean that she'll meet her fate during winter.
In the books, the time Daenerys spent in the House of the Undying is loaded with quite a few visions and prophecies, but the show cut it short. Still, the few visions on the show still seem to foreshadow upcoming events.
8 Cersei Lannister Was Told A Prophecy About Her Future
Season five opened with Cersei Lannister’s famed prophecy, in which Cersei visits Maggy the Frog, a witch who can see the future. In this scene, the witch tells Cersei she will marry the king and become the queen, which came true when Cersei married Robert Baratheon. The witch goes on to say Robert will have 20 children, while Cersei will have three children, all of whom will die. All of this came true as well.
The only part of the prophecy shown on the show that hasn’t come true yet is a new queen casting down Cersei and taking all she holds dear. Though, it seems like Daenerys will possibly fulfill this part of the prophecy.
Like Daenerys’ time in the House of the Undying, Cersei’s prophecy was cut short for the show. In the books, the witch goes on to tell Cersei that a “little brother” will choke the life from her. Leading many people to theorize that Jaime Lannister will be the little brother to take down Cersei, making him the Kingslayer and the Queenslayer.
During the course of the show, Cersei has let her prophecy affect her mental state much more so than Daenerys has let the visions affect hers. Still, it’s interesting that both these characters were shown glimpses of their future.
7 Cersei's Arranged Marriage To Further Her Family Name
Both Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen were forced into arranged marriages to further the family name.
In Cersei’s case, Tywin Lannister married her to Robert Baratheon after he claimed the Iron Throne. Of course, this marriage was ice cold. Like, Cersei and Robert's marriage was even colder than the Night King. The reason for this chilly relationship was because Robert was still very much in love with Lyanna Stark, Ned's late sister. This adoration for the dead Lyanna left Robert unable to love Cersei.
Feelings aside, this marriage furthered the Lannister name. Before thrusting Cersei into the position of queen, House Lannister was rich, but not royalty. And that was the goal: to become royalty. In fact, Tywin had tried to have Cersei Lannister marry Rhaegar Targaryen – y’know Jon Snow’s biological father – but the Mad King thought this marriage was beneath the Targaryens. Oh, what a different world it would have been.
Also worth noting is the fact that Cersei Lannister is only in the position of power she's in now because of her marriage to Robert Baratheon. Had Cersei not married Robert, and lived through his death and the deaths of all their children, she wouldn’t be sitting on the Iron Throne.
6 Daenerys' Arranged Marriage To Further Her Family Name
Like Cersei, Daenerys endured an arranged marriage to further her family’s name. Of course, Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s marriage was much warmer than the marriage between Cersei and Robert. Nonetheless, it was still an arranged marriage.
Viserys, who was maybe the world’s worst brother, married Daenerys to Khal Drogo. Viserys' plan was to command the Dothraki and take back the Iron Throne. This didn’t really work out the way Viserys planned, as he ended up dead and Daenerys ended up with all the power.
Somewhere along the line, Daenerys kind of lost a majority of her Dothraki army. (Seriously, what happened there?) But Daenerys gained it back in season six, by killing all the Khals and claiming all the Dothraki armies for herself. This means neither Daenerys nor Cersei would be in the place they are in now without having had these arranged marriages, which were meant to further the family name but, incidentally, furthered their own aspirations as well.
5 Daenerys Has Dealt With The Death Of A Child
First comes marriage then comes babies, right? That was the case with both Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.
Daenerys was pregnant with Khal Drogo’s son, who was the stallion that would mount the world… or, like, whatever weird stuff they kept saying about that baby. Mirri Maz Duur then used blood magic to take Daenerys’ unborn baby’s life. Though, Mirri didn’t just do that for fun. She’s not completely evil. Mirri only killed Daenerys' unborn child after the Dothraki killed her husband and r*ped her. Not that that makes killing a baby okay, but… you know, it’s worth mentioning.
Daenerys never actually got to know this unborn baby, but she did get to know her other three babies: her dragons. Daenerys considers them her children, which is what every annoying dog mom ever says too. Season seven saw the death of Viserion, leaving Daenerys mourning the death of her dragon baby.
4 Cersei Has Really, Really Dealt With The Death Of A Child
Cersei Lannister may be the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms for now, but she will always be the rightful Queen of Dead Children. That's right, Cersei Lannister is the queen of losing all her children ever. All three of her children died, as was predicted by Maggy the Frog. Joffrey was poisoned by Olenna Tyrell, with the help of Littlefinger. Myrcella was poisoned by Ellaria Sand. And her youngest son, Tommen, committed suicide after Cersei Lannister blew his main bae Margaery.
At the end of season seven, Cersei was pregnant again. But, um, with her track record, we all likely know the outcome for that baby.
In the all cases of Daenerys and Cersei’s late children, the mothers have gotten revenge on the perpetrators. In Daenerys’ case, she burned Mirri alive for her unborn son. Daenerys has yet to avenge Viserion's death, but we'll almost certainly see that in season eight. In Cersei's case, she forced Ellaria to watch her own daughter die. Cersei also, unknowingly, avenged Joffrey's death by poisoning Olenna Tyrell. So poetic, right?
3 They Are Both The Product Of In-Breeding
Both Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister are the product of in-breeding, which is pretty prevalent in Game of Thrones.
It shouldn’t shock you to hear that she’s inbred, because almost all of the Targaryens were inbred. Incest is pretty much the thing the Targaryens are known for. In Daenerys' case, the Mad King (Aerys II) married his sister, Rhaella. Rhaella – his sister-wife (ew) – bore Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys, which makes me feel all kinds of weird.
Cersei Lannister, on the other hand, is the product of cousins. Yep, ol’ Tywin Lannister married his cousin – Joanna Lannister – for love. I should note that marrying a cousin is a generally accepted practice in Westeros. It's still funny, though, that Tywin was so angry about Cersei and Jaime's trysts, y'know since he married his cousin. I mean, I know kissing siblings (twins, no less) are worse than kissing cousins, but it’s all incest, right?
2 Cersei's Long-Term Relationship With A Family Member
Let’s talk about one of the things that people really, really don’t like about Cersei Lannister: her long-term sexual relationship with her twin brother. In fact, this is the longest standing relationship on the show, as we were introduced to the twincest in the very first episode.
The first episode ends with Bran seeing Jaime and Cersei getting it on, resulting in Jaime’s pushing Bran from the tower window, which set into motion many of the events of the show. During the course of the show, both Jaime and Cersei have become more and more public about this twisted relationship, with Cersei even flaunting it now that she’s queen. Even though the two have had some semi-sweet moments (if you ignore the fact that they're twins), fans have not grown to love or root for the relationship.
Season seven ended with Jaime finally stepping away from this twisted ordeal, but that doesn’t change the fact that Cersei and Jaime spent most of the show boning each other.
1 Um, Daenerys Totally Did It With Her Nephew
This is yet another case of ‘it’s okay when Daenerys does it, but not when Cersei does it.’
In season seven, Daenerys finally met Jon Snow, who is believed to be the bastard son of Ned Stark. Of course, the whole audience knows Jon Snow is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This makes Daenerys Jon’s aunt. Yes, they are aunt and nephew and, even in the world of Game of Thrones, an aunt and nephew hooking up is taboo. This didn’t stop most of the audience from rooting for Aunt Dany to 'do it' with her nephew Jon.
One could argue that since Daenerys and Jon don’t know they are related, it’s not gross. Which, okay. Sure, but will they continue to 'do it' after Jon finds out his true parentage? Because if so, that’s pretty darn similar to Cersei and Jaime’s affair.
At the end of the day, the narrative of Game of Thrones paints Daenerys in a positive light and Cersei in a negative light, but don’t be fooled. These too are much more alike than they are different.