A universal feeling no one ever wants to experience is that of disappointment. It can be a quiet feeling, a monstrous one, or something in between. Regardless of the veracity of the feeling, disappointment is fundamentally rooted in a loss of expectation, positivity, and hope. That feeling that can easily sink one’s stomach, heart, and mind into an experience of heartbreak is arguably worse than sheer anger. With anger, there is at least the heat of the passion to latch onto. With disappointment, there is just a sense of coldness and isolation.
That feeling of disappointment is compounded even further when the source of that negativity is someone we know and respect or even love. It can be an idol who inspires us but whose reality is less than inspirational. It could be someone we look up to but who does not share that respect towards us. It could, perhaps worst of all, someone who is a part of our family and an individual whom we are convinced will never abandon us, will never betray our side.
In “No One,” Game Of Thrones is committed to reveling in the sheer disappointment its characters are facing at the hands of those in whom they had placed a significant degree of trust and faith in. Cersei (Lena Headey) finds herself reeling after she is confronted with disappointments that threaten to undermine a significant part of whom they are.
The Walk of Shame, or the Mother’s Mercy as the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) so unashamedly calls it, breaks and isolates Cersei from the annals of power and authority within King’s Landing. She is broken at that moment but there are two degrees of hope she has at her disposal. One is the sheer, brute physical power Cersei has in the form of the zombified Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). The second is some political power through Tommen (Dean Charles-Chapman), her lone surviving child.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) once remarked that Cersei’s love for her children is her best trait, along with her cheekbones and that is arguably true. At a certain juncture, Cersei gave up on having any semblance of a real relationship with Robert (Mark Addy) and her children became her greatest source of joy and hope, even more so than Jaime. The dark prophecy from Maggy the Frog (Jodhi May) added a fervent nature to that love, adding a dark dimension to Cersei’s love for her children.
Joffrey’s (Jack Gleeson) death at his own wedding deals the first blow to that love. Myrcella’s (Nell Tiger Free) death leaves Cersei broken. Tommen by default becomes her last pillar of support, but the complications arise from the simple fact that Tommen was never educated in court realpolitik. He is, for all intents and purposes, a child being pulled apart in three different directions by rival royal families and a fanatical religious order.
Cersei’s confidence in the physical prowess of the Mountain is well-earned, established from the season four sequence where he is executing prisoners and reveling in the bloodshed he is unleashing. She chooses violence and he summarily breaks apart a member of the Faith Militant as easily as if was nothing more than a thinly crafted clay pot. That moment of triumph, however, is quickly revealed to be a major setback for her.
The Faith Militant recognizes that if the Mountain was allowed to compete as Cersei’s champion in her trial by combat, her win is inevitable. The High Sparrow, one can surmise, acts quickly upon that information to avoid the public display of triumph Cersei would achieve from that inevitability. When Cersei arrives in the Red Keep to hear Tommen’s address, one is not sure what she is expecting but certainly Tommen throwing her ace under the bus is not one of her expectations.
Cersei’s acute disappointment at Tommen outlawing the practice of trial by combat is layered and deep. She is disappointed that her chance at a surefire victory was taken away from her and now her future is cast in doubt. That disappointment, however, is deepened because her victory is taken away from her by her only remaining child. The writing for Cersei always emphasized her relationship with her children and that this throat punch lands as sharply as it does is due in large part to that consistency.
It is at this moment when Cersei’s disappointment transforms her into a fundamentally different individual, for the critical part of her that is tied to her children breaks. She at last accepts in her disappointment that the dark prophecy uttered by Maggy the Frog will come true. Tommen, even if he was not going to physically die at that given moment, died for Cersei. He had arguably fundamentally abandoned her and even more terribly in her mind, irrevocably condemned her to a terrible fate.
Akash Of the Andals