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SPOILERS FOR SEASON 4 EPISODE 2! DO NOT READ AHEAD IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE EPISODE OR READ THE STORM OF SWORDS

After the royal wedding ceremony AND before Joffrey dropped dead (10 to 20 hours est.), was Cersei Lannister no longer the Queen Regent during this short period of time?

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Cersei stopped being Queen Regent when Joffrey married Margaery. This is evidenced in the episode, around 39 minutes in, when Prince Oberyn Martell introduces his paramour, Ellaria Sand, to Cersei and Tywin. He says:

I don't believe you have met, Ellaria. This is the Lord Hand Tywin Lannister and Cersei Lannister the Queen Regent. I suppose it is former Queen Regent now.

This indicates that she is no longer the Queen Regent. Of course, following the death of Joffrey, and the passing of the throne to Tommen, she once again continues to be Queen Regent.

  • On the other hand, Oberyn Martell would definitely bend the truth if doing so would anger a Lannister. – Dacio Apr 18 '14 at 16:25
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    @Dacio I considered that, but if she were still the Queen Regent then Cersei would definitely have retorted. But as such she remained silent. – Moogle Apr 18 '14 at 16:29
  • I assumed what he meant was that she was no longer the Queen, which is something that is reflected in the books, where Cersei is very upset about Maergery being called "the Queen". Regent is anyone who rules in place of the king, not a special title connected to being Queen. – TLP Apr 19 '14 at 13:54
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    But she would still Queen. Just not THE Queen. This would be the case in real life. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was still Queen, even after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Elizabeth_The_Queen_Mother – Moogle Apr 19 '14 at 14:05
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Yes, Cersei was (probably) still Queen Regent.

The "Regent" part of her title means she is ruling on behalf of a King who is underaged. She would not stop being Queen Regent unless Joffrey became an adult, or someone else replaced her in the job.

This would seem to be in contradiction with Oberyn's remark that Cersei is the "former Queen Regent", mentioned in Moogle's answer. There are a few possibilities:

  1. Under the laws of the Seven Kingdoms, Joffrey was considered to be an adult as soon as he was married, so the regency came to an end. This seems unlikely -- if he isn't considered old enough to rule, then being married should make no difference.
  2. Joffrey was still underage, and Cersei was still Queen Regent, but Oberyn either misunderstood her position, or deliberately pretended to misunderstand, and took the opportunity to insult Cersei.
  3. [Edit:] Joffrey had already come of age before he was married. So in principle, Cersei had not been Queen Regent for some time. However, given Joffrey's youth and mental instability, and Cersei's greed for power and disregard for the letter of the law, she might have held onto her authority as Regent and perhaps even continued to use the title.
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    I lean heavily toward #2: she's still legally Queen Regent, but with Margaery and Joffrey now married, her actual power in the kingdom was being usurped by the Tyrells. – KutuluMike Apr 18 '14 at 14:43
  • I've added a third possibility based on @MichaelEdenfield's answer. – Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 18 '14 at 17:14
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tl;dr: Cersei's position as regent ended when Joffrey turned 16, but exactly when that happened in the show isn't clear. It certainly had nothing to do with Joffrey getting married.


In the novels, Cersei is still Queen Regent at this point in the story. Joffrey won't be considered an adult until he is 16, and in the novels he's only 14 when he gets married

and dies, at which point she is Tommen's regent.

In the show, the question is a lot more complex. Most of the underage characters in the show are several years older than their book counterparts (largely because of Danaerys being only 12 when she marries Drogo and gets pregnant). Thus, by this point in the show, Joffrey should already be 16, which means, he shouldn't have a regent, he is King in his own right. I'm not exactly sure of the time scales in the show, but it possible that Cersei had no right to name herself regent in the first place.

Out of universe, I'd have to chalk this up to a continuity goof on the writer's part, stemming from their age advancement of Joffrey. In universe, there's no real explanation for Cersei's title, or why Oberyn thinks she "lost" it, in any official capacity.

However, I can make a guess, based on the political maneuvering at King's Landing, that something like this is happening:

  • Cersei desperately wants to be Queen, so when her husband dies, she takes the opportunity to name herself regent for Joffrey, deserved or otherwise. Given her connections both inside and outside King's Landing, no one argues with her.
  • Joffrey's behavior clearly indicates that he's not mentally mature enough to be King, regardless of his physical age, so when Cersei, and later Tywin, act on his behalf as Queen Regent and Hand to undo some of Joffrey's screw ups, people just listen to them.
  • Now, however, there is another powerful woman in Joffrey's life -- Margaery -- whom he is starting to listen to more than his mother. This diminishes Cersei's control over Joffrey, which was probably never official to begin with.
  • As soon as Margaery marries Joffrey, she becomes Queen, and gains some official authority. This, plus Joffrey's obvious support for her, basically pushes Cersei into the background.
  • Oberyn was basically making a dig at Cersei, letter her know that he understands the dynamics going on in the King's court, and how much power she is losing there.
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    The episode in question was scripted by George RR Martin, so I don't think it was a "continuity goof." :-) For the purposes of the show, Joffrey wasn't necessarily an adult at age 16. IIRC, historical regencies have sometimes continued until the monarch was 18 or 21, especially if (as in this case) there were some doubts about his or her mental fitness to rule. (Conversely, the Kings of France were legally considered men at age 13.) – Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 18 '14 at 16:58
  • I am almost positive that somewhere in the novels it's mentioned that sixteen is considered the age of adulthood in Game of Thrones, and that regencies (royal or otherwise) end at that point. And, IMO, the continuity goof happened way back in Season 2 when Cersei named herself regent to a king that, as far as I know, was already of age. – KutuluMike Apr 18 '14 at 17:00
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    As you say, being legally an adult and practically in charge are two different things. A good example is King Louis XIV of France -- crowned at the age of 4, legally an adult at age 13, but didn't take personal control of government until age 23. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIV_of_France – Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 18 '14 at 17:08
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The line of succession falls to the other recognized children of Robert and Cersei: Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella Baratheon. Tommen is the younger, but I believe he gets precedence for being born with a Y chromosome. Myrcella may not officially be in the line, I forget if/when George Martin explains the role gender plays in Westeros Succession. I know it's different among other lands.

At any rate, Cersei is mother to them both, so she would still be the Queen Regent, and you can bet that she wants to remain in power. However, as Shevliaskovic points out, the line of succession is muddied by the events immediately prior to your question. I'm not sure they get around to answering the exact situation before the end of A Storm of Swords, other than to overtly indicate some tensions between Baratheon/Lannister and Highgarden.

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    it's definitely Tommen who is next in line. In Westeros in general it is the firstborn male who takes precedence. However, Dorne follows different rules... – The Giant of Lannister Apr 18 '14 at 10:02
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    The system is known as "male-preference cognatic primogeniture". – Moogle Apr 18 '14 at 13:42
  • @Moogle hmm, I probably would have called it a patriarchy out of ignorance. – Dacio Apr 18 '14 at 13:48
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Cersei was not Queen Regent because the King's Wife, Margaery, was an adult (16 years old). That means that she would be queen Regent.

The whole point of Cersei as Queen Regent was to rule the Kingdom (with Joffrey) until he comes of age. Since he got married to a girl that was already of age, Cersei 'was no longer needed'.

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    A regent is someone who (by appointment) rules temporarily because the monarch is somehow incapable. In this case Cersei was regent because Joffrey was still a child. Once he came of age he became ruler in his own, and Cersei no longer regent. Then that other stuff happened. Point is, Margaery doesn't become regent in this scenario. – Mathias Ose Apr 18 '14 at 10:09
  • @MathiasOse That should perhaps be an answer. – TLP Apr 18 '14 at 10:47
  • @MathiasOse: I pointed out something similar in my answer. – Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 18 '14 at 14:13

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