“Game Of Thrones” Turned A Consensual Sex Scene Into A Rape Scene And Ruined Everything

"Game Of Thrones" Turned A Consensual Sex Scene Into A Rape Scene And Ruined Everything
"Game Of Thrones" FAIL

Fair warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Goddammit, I am so pissed off. On last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” a climactic and much-anticipated consensual sex scene between incestuous brother-sister duo Jaime and Cersei Lannister was twisted into a violent rape scene for seemingly no reason at all, ruining the sexual tension some of us pervs enjoyed between the two and potentially screwing up the narrative for future episodes. And, to add insult to injury, both the episode’s director and the actor who plays Jaime are defending the scene as if it wasn’t a gross departure from George R. R. Martin’s original text, and are arguing that the rape was actually consensual. For the love of the Lord of Light, WHY?

To recap: King Joffrey finally met his much deserved, humiliating end, having been poisoned to death. Cersei is in mourning. Standing over Joff’s body, she and Jaime — her brother and Joffrey’s real father — are left alone. Since Jaime returned to King’s Landing, Cersei has rebuffed his advances, seemingly turned off by his missing hand. While she loves her brother, Cersei ultimately cares most for self-preservation, and Jaime’s inhibited ability to defend her has definitely impacted her desire for him. The scene from last night’s episode, as written in the books, features Cersei breaking down in front of Jaime. This is what occurs in A Storm of Swords:

She touched his face. “I was lost without you, Jaime. I was afraid the Starks would send me your head. I could not have borne that.” She kissed him. A light kiss, the merest brush of her lips on his, but he could feel her tremble as he slid his arms around her. “I am not whole without you.”

There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons…”

“The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. She pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger, about their father, about the septons, about the wrath of gods. He never heard her. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference.

“Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh. He could feel Cersei’s heart beating in time with his own, and the wetness of blood and seed where they were joined.

So, while Cersei is initially like, “Not here, brother dear,” she pretty quickly comes around and is more than down for passionate, heartbroken sex next to the body of their dead son. On the show, however, as you’ll see in the clip above, Cersei does NOT want to have sex with Jaime, fights him the entire time and repeatedly says “no,” “stop,” and that it “isn’t right,” and Jaime’s only response is “I don’t care, I don’t care,” as he forces himself on her. There’s nothing remotely consensual about it. The scene is violent. The scene is no longer a sex scene. It’s a rape scene.

“Game of Thrones” director Alex Graves doesn’t see it that way. In his view, the show’s take on the scene isn’t so different from what’s in the book. “It becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle,” he told HitFix. Excuse me? Cersei is anything BUT turned on in the scene on the show.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is also extremely confused about the matter of consent. He told The Daily Beast:

“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 fucked up way for it to happen, but in that moment, he knows it’s all he can do. It’s an act of powerlessness. …

It was tough to shoot, as well. There is significance in that scene, and it comes straight from the books—it’s George R.R. Martin’s mind at play. It took me awhile to wrap my head around it, because I think that, for some people, it’s just going to look like rape. The intention is that it’s not just that; it’s about two people who’ve had this connection for so many years, and much of it is physical, and much of it has had to be kept secret, and 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.”

I’m seriously failing to understand how Graves and Coster-Waldau can actually argue that the show accurately depicted the scene in the book or that the show’s depiction is anything but rape. And how will this affect these two characters going forward? As The Week points out, the violence in this scene stands in stark contrast to Jaime’s character progression throughout season three, which included a scene with Brienne of Tarth in which he expressed his distaste for sexual violence. Jaime even went to great lengths to save Brienne from rape. So after everything Jaime has been through, to have him rape his sister, the one person he supposedly loves, undoes all of that. It’s out of character, it’s cruel, it makes him impossible to root for in any way.

The rewritten scene also takes away all of Cersei’s agency. In the original text, Cersei chooses to have sex with Jaime, grotesque as it and the setting may be — because she wants to, or because she uses sex to manipulate, it doesn’t matter. Cersei has power and control. The scene in the show deprives her of all of that. And for what? To make things in Westeros even bleaker? Seriously, NOT NECESSARY.

Sadly, it sounds like Graves — and whoever else approved this retelling — doesn’t even get that. These two closely-tied characters had a connection that has been irrevocably altered by this rewrite, but does anyone on the show realize it? Will we see this play out differently than in the books? Or will the show try to act as if this scene was no big deal? Either way, I’m seriously disappointed.

[The Daily Beast]
[HitFix]
[The Week]

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