‘Game Of Thrones’ Crew React To Controversial Rape Scene

Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones caused some intense fan reactions and as a result, author George R. R. Martin responded on his blog to questions that fans have been emailing him about the change in the controversial scene everyone is talking about. The director of the episode, Alex Graves, showrunner David Benioff, and cast member Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have also discussed the scene.

Warning: Spoilers for both the Game of Thrones show and Martin’s A Storm of Swords follow.

In Episode 3, Breaker of Chains, a rather disturbing scene from A Storm of Swords gets changed ever so slightly on the show and it’s not exactly for the better. Game of Thrones has always shown controversial and downright awful scenes such as knights trampling little boys, tortured prostitutes, bloody weddings, and little girls stabbing grown men through the throat (just last week).

Yet when Jaime Lannister can’t take his sister Cersei’s rebuffs any longer and forces himself upon her, this seemed to become a tipping point for a lot of Game of Thrones fans. The scene was shot in a way that definitely gave off a rape vibe, with Cersei vocally objecting the entire time and appearing to struggle against his advances because first, they’re at the Sept of Baylor and second, they’re standing at the corpse of their son. Sure, the sadistic King Joffrey might have giggled and laughed at it if he were alive, but that’s Joffrey.

Game of Thrones book readers are objecting because show Jaime had begun his character arc into the hearts of fans earlier than he does in the book and this scene seemed to effectively trash all the work they’d been doing to turn the tide of opinion on him. The scene in the Game of Thrones books does happen, but with decidedly less rape tones to it. The sympathy you feel for him still makes you uncomfortable, but you have a better understanding of it.

Alex Graves, the director of the Game of Thrones episode, commented on the scene recently with Vulture, “The consensual part of it was that she wraps her legs around him, and she’s holding on to the table, clearly not to escape but to get some grounding in what’s going on. And also, the other thing that I think is clear before they hit the ground is she starts to make out with him. The big things to us that were so important, and that hopefully were not missed, is that before he rips her undergarment, she’s way into kissing him back. She’s kissing him aplenty.”

Graves treads into awfully tricky territory with a comment like that, making it sound like he believes her consent at the start is consent for the entire scene.

Author Martin was a little more diplomatic, explaining that the changed timeline in the Game of Thrones show is mostly to blame. “If the show had retained some of Cersei’s dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression — but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books. […] I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline,” said Martin. “That’s really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing… but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.”

Cast member Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister, tried to explain as well, “This is almost the last thing left now. It’s him trying to force her back and make him whole again because of his stupid hand.” Which, basically, sounds like rape.

What was your take on Game of Thrones’ latest controversy?

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