Despite the brutal deaths featured in Season 5 of “Game of Thrones” – and there were quite a few – the most difficult scene for fans to watch this year might have been Cersei Lannister's finale walk of shame. However, Lena Headey, the actress who plays Cersei, was far from upset.
The former queen had her long hair chopped off, was stripped naked and was made to walk the streets of King’s Landing to get back to the Red Keep. The scene was agonizingly long and Cersei’s treatment at the hands of the city’s people was rough enough to almost make you feel bad for the murderous, deceitful royal, but Headey welcomed the moment.
“I love it. I love what's happening,” Headey told Vulture before the episode. "It won't be Cersei being seductive or sexy. It's better for her regality and her feistiness to not bare her flesh until she has to, when it's out of her control."
Headey went on to discuss how the most intimidating aspect of the scene, from a performance standpoint, was losing her character’s trademark long hair.
"If I put the wig on, that's massive. That's an immediate feeling," Headey said. "It's really important. What was slightly daunting was what was going to be taken away. It can change how you feel, but it can't change how she is."
Why did the scene have to be so long? The episode’s director, David Nutter, told Variety that it was important for viewers to feel the duration of Cersei’s ordeal.
“What was important was to sell this journey,” said Nutter. “It wasn’t the kind of thing where she could walk down a set of stairs and the next minute she’s at the Red Keep. We needed to sell the fact that she was having to go through the sewers of King’s Landing and see what she’s brought to the fore with respect to the hate these poor people who live in this world have for her. That’s what was important for her walk of shame. To be with her in this entire journey, to be quite moved by it. It wasn’t the kind of scene you could cut to or do a short version of. It was important to do it right and uphold the integrity of the sequence.”
What comes next for Cersei? With the show caught up to all the action in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, her next move remains unknown. She was last seen being carried away by Qyburn’s (Anton Lesser) Frankenstein/Gregor Clegane monster, looking very determined to get revenge on those who had just humiliated her in public. Fans will have to wait to find out what happens.