Game of Thrones: Why Is Cersei’s Hair Still So Short? – Vanity Fair
As is the case with any pop culture property as popular as Game of Thrones, there’s been a lot of nit-picking of perceived plot holes and continuity errors during this highly watched season. The most frequent questions and widespread confusion this year usually have to do with the passage of time, and how long it takes one character (cough Euron) to get from one place to another. Game of Thrones executive producer Bryan Cogman took to Twitter to urge frustrated fans to approach Season 7 a little differently:
And those looking for certain markers to count the passage of time on the show may find themselves disappointed. Gilly’s baby—born in Season 3, Episode 3—still appears to be pre-verbal. Meanwhile, another favorite marker, Queen Cersei’s hair, has proven equally confounding. She and (the late) Tyene Sand had similar lengths in Season 5, Episode 10, when Cersei was brutally shorn for her Walk of Shame.
But in Season 7, Episode 3 Cersei’s hair is still cropped—yet Tyene’s is brushing her shoulders.
What are we to make of Cersei’s short crop? Here, once again, Cogman has the answer:
The notion that Cersei might have a very good reason to choose to keep her hair short has, seemingly, not occurred to even the most engaged Game of Thrones writer. Hot takes on the regal pixie have ranged from the ponderous (“we need to be reminded that she is Permanently Scarred By What Happened”) to the facetious (“Cersei is stuck in some kind of head-related time warp, and while everyone else is allowed to change, her hair is stuck in time”).
There is certainly some merit to the former take, especially when considering this quiet Season 6 premiere moment, in which the Queen silently assesses the Septa-inflicted damage on her head—using a gesture familiar to millions of women who have debated whether their latest cut was a huge mistake.
But the short hair is just one part of a new look for Cersei that is very much in keeping with everything we know about the Lannister queen. As Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton pointed out to Vanity Fair last year, Cersei’s new regal wardrobe is a nod to the Lannister men in her life. The short hair allows Cersei to trade in soft robes in pink, red, and gold for what Clapton describes as the “squared shoulders” and shorter hems that invoke her father Tywin’s “strength.” She added: “The silver shoulders are decorated in a similar manner to Jaime’s gold hand—the one person that she still has something with.” Every aspect of Cersei’s look is intentional, said Clapton: “There is no ‘decoration’ to Cersei.” She also pointed out that with all her children dead and her role as a mother behind her, the Lannister queen has now been “reborn.” But reborn as what?
Cersei seemed pleased enough in this week’s episode when Iron banker Tycho Nestoris called her “your father’s daughter, indeed” and the Queen has always been occupied with the notions of masculine power. Actress Lena Headey said in a 2014 interview: “She envies her brother. She believes he can protect her and do what she’s not allowed to as a woman.” In the books, Cersei’s frustrations over the advantages afforded her male twin, Jaime, are a much more prevalent part of her character, but the show has hinted at it as well—in moments like this Season 1 scene opposite King Robert:
That episode, “A Golden Crown,” has a rare distinction in the history of Thrones; it’s only one of four total episodes in the series thus far to be written by a woman—Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Jane Espenson. Another moment featuring Cersei’s desire to move more freely in the world of men comes in the Season 2 episode, “Blackwater,” written by no less of an authority than George R.R. Martin himself.
Little did Cersei know, dressed then in quasi-military drag of a golden breastplate, that one day she would rule the Seven Kingdoms with an iron fist and a hardcore look to match. In our modern world, short hair doesn’t necessarily have to equal masculinity, nor does a masculine aesthetic necessarily equal power. But in Cersei’s world—where she spent a good part of her life being treated as little more than a prize to be won or a famous beauty to be emulated—this haircut choice is an extreme and decisive one. Even though she’s not the first Thrones blonde with a thing for Jaime to make this bold stylistic choice.
The show has gone one step further to underline Cersei’s hair as a choice, rather than a continuity error. In Episode 3, we saw that Bernadette, a long-serving handmaiden to the queen, has adopted the same look as her mistress.
She’s not the only one. Blink and you might miss an entire flock of Bernadettes just over Jaime’s shoulder as he and potential future brother-in-law Euron had the most awkward sex chat in the show’s history (and that’s saying something).
In other words: not only is Cersei’s look intentional, but it has inspired a full-blown pixie-cut craze in King’s Landing. Personally, I’m a fan of the Queen’s current look—and it is, at the very least, a massive improvement over Season 1 wig crimes perpetrated against Lena Headey.