For day 8 of ramble month spuffy_noelle asked me to ramble about Cesare/Lucrezia. Thus I've decided to use this as an opportunity to fill another day of that wrong shipping meme wrought from the pits of hell. It's going in this slot now for reasons of trolling and being literal. LBR, I prefer that my ships actually do happen (not least because teh sex), so let's go with a relationship that DID go there but would probably have been better off not doing so.
Why can I not be happy?
I will make you happy.
The above quote perhaps sums up why I am so weak to this ship, insofar as at core it basically combines my bullet-proof kinks of huntsman/queen and possessive destructive love in a gloriously incestuous package. At the same time, it is kind of the perfect story about incest in that it depicts the corruption of an initially functional and mutually fulfilling familial relationship into something completely twisted and abusive.
There can be no argument brooked as to the fact that at the beginning of the series, Cesare is Lucrezia's rock. He is her constant, her hero, her best friend, etc. etc. It is deeply unfortunate then that Cesare is unfortunately fucked in the head. (#sociopath) Of course, Cesare hides his darkness from his little sister, both because he wants her to keep adoring him and because he doesn't want her to be touched by the ugliness of their family dealings. There's a certain Madonna complex at play in his attitude towards her, but obviously the show dismantles that image completely. When their relationship crosses The Point of No Return, it does so because of Lucrezia. It could be no other way.
It's hugely important that Lucrezia is the one to initiate it (= teh incest sex), for the reason that the life of Lucrezia Borgia is one marked by a lack of agency. She was forced to grow up too fast in unimaginably cruel ways; she is trapped in a system determined to rob her of choices. Ergo, as a character, she is adamant about exercising control over her own life, be it by declaring she will never marry again or by deciding to keep two dudes on the go at the same time.
So, yes, in this case, teh incest sex = reclamation of her life after being nudged into another politically-motivated marriage.
It is fabulous/horrible then that the series ends with Cesare claiming possession of Lucrezia ("And mine", be still my rotting heart) while cleaning her bloody hands -- hands made bloody after euthanizing her unfortunate fiancee whom Cesare, of course, just mortally wounded. The role reversal is a beautiful thing tbh. Not just in the "fall" of Lucrezia, but also the shattering of her illusions about Cesare. He who was once her most trusted guardian, who would murder anyone who harmed her to protect her freedom, is now the reason her husband's blood is on her hands. Finally, she sees him as he is, in the dark -- and at this point, she's in too deep to get out.
IN CONCLUSION: My pain will go on.