It’s dangerous to psychoanalyze people, especially if we’re not actually qualified to do so. (A semester of Psych 101 you half-remember from a decade ago doesn’t count.) Which is exactly what makes it so fun to apply the rigors of the DSM-5 to fictional characters: after all, nobody’s hurt if you decide Fred Flintstone is suffering from Boulderline Personality Disorder or something.
In that spirit, a Reddit user claiming to be a clinical psychologist has applied their professional acumen to one of the more tormented psyches on modern TV: Cersei Lannister from Game Of Thrones. After a brief disclaimer, in which they point out that this whole exercise is just silly fun, and that the “diagnosis” should in no way be extrapolated to anybody else, user Rain12913 rips into the issues underpinning the good queen’s hostile relationships with others, and her famously explosive temper. His or her conclusion? A classic case of narcissistic personality disorder:
“Suffice it to say, Cersei doesn’t view others as real, complete people. Instead, she views them as either “all good” or “all bad” (this is known as splitting, and it is a defense mechanism). Her tendency to split is reflective of her inability to view herself as a person who has both good traits and bad traits. Most of us are able to view ourselves in shades of gray: we’re capable of good things and bad things, we have strengths and weaknesses, etc. Instead of embracing this reality, Cersei must either embrace the belief that she is a worthless, damaged, and hopeless person, or the belief that she is impeccable, gifted, and perfect.”
Rain12913 also digs into Cersei’s much-vaunted love of her children, which, they posit, is really just a reflection of her love for herself. “Her one true love in life is her twin, who looks just like her,” they write. “Loving one’s twin is the ultimate form of self-love, and it is sort of a perfect embodiment of what it means to be narcissistic. As soon as Jamie departed in the first season, she was sleeping with her cousin who, again, was just another extension of herself. She can’t even bare to not have sex with herself during Jamie’s departure.”
Obviously, this is all just fan theorizing, but at least it’s well-thought out, and lines up pretty well with Cersei’s fiercely protective attitude toward anyone she categorizes as “her.” Plus, it’s not like Westeros isn’t desperately in need of some mental health treatment. Here’s hoping we can follow Cersei’s faux-diagnosis up with a Red Wedding PTSD group, for instance, or an antidepressant prescription for poor old Dolorous Ed.