'Game Of Thrones': When Is A Rape Not A Rape?

Tags: Emilia Clarke - Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - George R. R. Martin

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Epic Spoilers Alert!

The internet’s gone batsh*t crazy over the Game of Thrones ‘rape’ scene on Sunday night’s episode Breaker of Chains. Joffrey, he of the snivelling and sadistic tendency, is finally dead and while his mother Cersei, stands by his body, his Uncle/Father Jaime enters and that’s when stuff gets freaky.

Game of Thrones
 What would Tyrion Lannister make of his brother Jaime's forceful advances on their sister?

So, this is the CliffNotes of what happens in the books. Jaime gets pretty aroused by the whole sister/lover/dead son/nephew thing and immediately tries it on with Cersei. Cersei, semi-mourning, but also sort of turned on, at first refuses Jaime, arguing “Not here. The septons…”, before acquiescing, “Hurry…quickly, quickly, now, do it now.” So all pretty consensual sex there between the incestuous twins.

What happened on the TV series was, undeniably, pretty different. While beating at his chest and pushing him off, Cersei consistently tells Jaime to stop, while he carries on anyway. Pretty forcefully.

Unsurprisingly, fans of the show were confused by Jaime’s sudden rape of her sister/lover, since that’s exactly what it seems like is going on. In turn, fans of the books argued that the series deviated from the original tone of the consensual sex scene.

Lena HeadleyLena Headley in 'Game of Thrones'

Here’s what GoT director Alex Graves had to say about it, “It becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.” We somehow feel that Graves has mixed up power and brute force, although he wouldn’t be the first.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, also fails to see how the scene could be misinterpreted. “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.”

The problem seems to be the fact that everyone else is crying ‘Rape!’ but nobody from GoT seems to be listening. Perhaps it’s case of art imitating life, but it’s worrying how the production team doesn’t seem to recognise the difference between portraying aggressive consensual sex and rape. It’s that old ‘She said ‘no’, but she meant ‘yes’’ chestnut, that is so often heard in rape trials as a valid excuse.

Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams and Rory McCann in Game of Thrones

A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin explained on his blog, “In the novels, Jaime is not present at Joffrey’s death, and indeed, Cersei has been fearful that he is dead himself, that she has lost both the son and the father/ lover/ brother. And then suddenly Jaime is there before her. Maimed and changed, but Jaime nonetheless. Though the time and place is wildly inappropriate and Cersei is fearful of discovery, she is as hungry for him as he is for her. The whole dynamic is different in the show, where Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer, and he and Cersei have been in each other’s company on numerous occasions, often quarreling. The setting is the same, but neither character is in the same place as in the books, which may be why [producers] played the sept out differently. But that’s just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.”

How did you interpret the uncomfortable scene on Sunday night's episode?

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