Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones” titled ”Breaker of Chains” contained one of the most controversial and talked about sex scenes to appear in a television program. On the Red Carpet posted a discussion of the scene on April 21 that explored the thoughts and feelings of those closest to the scene – the actors, director and author of the books on which the series is based. If you have not watched the episode, be warned there are spoilers ahead.
The scene in question took place between Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The siblings-cum-lovers are the parents of the slain King Joffrey, whose body lays an altar in the room. Cersei is grieving when Jaime enters the room. She demands he avenge their son’s death. Jaime, who has been longing for her but holding his urges at bay, can wait no longer and takes her, albeit against her will, right there.
Coster-Waldau admitted it had been a difficult scene to shoot. When asked if he felt the scene was a rape scene, he replied, “Yes, and no. There are moments where she gives in, and moments where she pushes him away. But it's not pretty."
He explained that it took some time for him to wrap his own head around it knowing that no matter what, for some people, it will look like rape.
In the George R.R. Martin "Song of Ice and Fire" novels, the scene does take place in the third book but in a somewhat altered telling. It is not, in fact, a rape at all. In "A Storm of Swords," Jaime asks Cersei to marry him and wants to have another son “in place of Joffrey."
Coster-Waldau tried to explain Jaime’s psychology:
"To understand the psychology behind it, and why he goes as far as he does, was really difficult. To me it became, 'When does physical desire take over?' It's one of those things where he's been holding it back for so long, and then out of anger he grabs her, and instinct takes over, and he lets loose. He says, 'I don't care.' He wants to not care. He has to connect to her, and he knows this is the most [expletive] way for it to happen, but in that moment, he knows it's all he can do. It's an act of powerlessness."
Director Alex Graves saw the scene from an entirely different perspective. For him, it was more about the fact that their son, Joffrey, is lying there, dead, while the whole thing takes place. Joffrey was their everything, their first born, their sin and lust, their love. Without him, what’s next for them?
Author George R. R. Martin wrote the scene differently than it was portrayed on television. In the book, Jaime is not present when Joffrey dies. Cersei has had no word from Jaime and fears he, too, is dead. Then he appears, maimed and somewhat different from the man she had known but still her Jaime. Though Cersei is afraid of them being discovered together and well aware that the timing and location are immensely inappropriate, “she is as hungry for him as he is for her."
Martin believes the scene would have been received better by some if it had retained some of the original dialogue.
"If the show had retained some of Cersei's dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression," he wrote, adding: "The scene was always intended to be disturbing... but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons."
Some of the uproar is attributed to fans disliking the departure from the books while others were upset by what seems an unnecessary act of violence toward a woman. With Jaime seemingly on the road to redemption since last season, some felt it was out of character for Jaime. Others see the act as the culmination of Jaime’s frustration with Cersei and his longstanding habit of solving problems with violence. In that light, the act seems wholly within his character.
Where do you stand on the incestuous rape scene between Jaime and Cersei Lannister on Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones”?