The True History Behind Cersei’s Game of Thrones Walk of Shame

When you look at history some of the things are true and most are word of mouth.


Contains spoilers for the season five finale of Game of Thrones

When Game of Thrones has Cersei Lannister take a naked walk of penance after her imprisonment at the Sept—an act that actress Lena Headey has said is so humiliating that nobody would ever deserve it—part of the point is that she’s all alone. In a crowd of the clothed masses, she is naked. A ringing bell draws attention to her plight. She leaves a single trail of bloody footprints. But, despite all that, she’s not actually alone: Cersei is part of a long history of medieval “walk of shame” participants.

George R.R. Martin has cited one particular such walk as an inspiration for what happens to Cersei: Jane Shore, a mistress of King Edward IV of England, who did her penance in 1483. Edward had fallen and Richard III—against whose rise she had conspired—took the throne that year. Though…

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