Cersei and Shiv and female leadership in a male-dominated family

Look, I never liked Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) because she always expected more from her. I see her go through the humiliation of all women: ignored, silenced, ridiculed, and betrayed, of course, I want to see her win, but because she thinks she is superior and is often just mean. Be it with her brothers or with her husband, she thinks she is more upright, intelligent, and prepared than the rest. And she is not.

Being the only woman in Succession‘s (relevant) history, it would be natural to root for her, but I can’t. That she dreams of revenge? Perfect. I just don’t know if it’s good, but Shiv reminds me of Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) in Game of Thrones

The Lannisters, like the Roys, were the wealthiest and most powerful family in Westeros, and Twyin’s firm rule determines not only how each of his three children will fare in the future, but whom they marry, separate, betray, or kill. All “for House Lannister”. In a medieval universe, a woman only had one value: to provide children, and, preferably, men. Cersei, Jamie, and Tyrion were never enough for Twyin. Cersei for being female, Jamie for being uninterested and unbrilliant, and Tyrion for having dwarfism. Even with an openly evil parent, the children wanted his approval, loved to witness each other’s humiliation, anything so that they would feel loved by Twyin. Unsurprisingly, he ended up dead at the hands of one of them.

Cersei, we know, has ambitions to be Queen. Married to a drunken, abusive, incompetent King Robert Baratheon made her even more frustrated at being put up as a trophy. After all, she was created by Twyin F * Lannister, but being female, she couldn’t be smart or capable. For a stage of the story, she heard insults from all sides, silent. She did indeed make mistakes, but not all of them did. For example, her son’s mistakes, and the insufferable Joffrey were 100% blamed on her for “not controlling him”, so when it was convenient, she “ruled”. The exposure to which she was often placed by her father and brothers encouraged enemies to also treat her with contempt and even underestimate her. One of the rare MISTAKES she actually made was allowing religious fanaticism to gain ground in King’s Landing, not realizing that she would be an easy target. She went through the walk of humiliation and was rejected until she decided to blast all her enemies. When she took the crown for herself, she missed no more.

Cersei was more strategic than Tyrion, more effective in resolving the Kingdom’s economic crisis than any monarch before her, and effectively nullified Daenerys Targaryen, who had three dragons. Cersei died destroyed but never defeated.

Shiv tried to have a career on her own but fell into her father’s manipulation and is now trapped from which she can’t escape. Even with an agreement signed between the three, she was often ignored by her brothers, and betrayed by them. Not that they see it that way, because since they had the position, they decided and then let you know. What would be wrong there? The quickness with which they adjusted to their previous roles justified Shiv’s decision to betray them when the opportunity came. As insecure and self-absorbed as they are, she hears the same thing as Cersei: ‘You think you’re smarter than you really are. Unlike Cersei, Shiv’s mistakes are hers alone.

In America Decides, Shiv was exposed in her strategy of taking a hit on Ken and Roman when, in her hubris, she created no allies. More so, her decision not to be transparent with Ken the moment he opened his heart kind of backed up the fact that she’s just not ready for what she wants. When Cersei plotted with Littlefinger to dispose of Ned Stark, she negotiated compensation. Shiv acts before closing the plan, and precisely with a clearly elusive person like Lukas Matsson. Her risk was greater than his, she struggled to define that she wanted to be CEO and didn’t notice the red spotlight when he left the environment BEFORE agreeing. Cersei did something similar to High Septon, but never after. Not even, Jaime, did she trust 100%.

The difference in the narratives is in the antagonism. Cersei was “villainous”, but Shiv is something in between. In two episodes we will see how the dispute will end. I somehow anticipate that, like Cersei, Shiv will see his reign crumble on her head… I just hope not literally.


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