SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “GAME OF THRONES” S4 E3 EPISODE: “BREAKER OF CHAINS”
Last night’s third episode of the fourth season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” had some scenes that will be talked about, such as a wilding attack in which a young boy watches his slain mother and father being cut up for cannibals.
Yet it is one disturbing scene in particular that is drawing quite a bit of notice for both its shock value and its departure from the books.
The act in question? Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) rapes his grieving sister and lover Cersei (Lena Headey) in a sept (basically a church) right next to the body of their dead son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) lying on an altar. It wasn’t on top of the corpse, but it looked like it could have gone that way at one point.
The scene in question is in the books, but on the page it is ultimately consensual (if rough) sex scene between the two obviously damaged individuals. On the screen, while both remain clothed, there is no suggestion of consent before the scene ends.
In fact it actually goes out of the way to show Jaime as something of a monster, a bit of a reversal considering he has spent much of the past season-and-a-half effectively being redeemed, but a cold reminder to fans that Jaime is still capable of bad things like his attempted child murder in the pilot.
What’s surprising is the episode’s director Alex Graves tells Hitfix that he sees the scene as “[becoming] consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.” Graves was also asked by THR why it was so important to have Joffrey’s body in the scene:
“He is their first born. He is their sin. He is their lust, and their love — their everything. If he’s gone, what’s going to happen? Jaime is still trying to believe as hard as he possibly can that he’s in love with Cersei. He can’t admit that he is traumatized by his family and he’s been forced his whole life to be something he doesn’t want to be. What he is — but has to deny — is he is actually the good knight, like Brienne.”
In stark contrast the show also featured a five-way orgy between two male and three female characters that was portrayed as nothing but good fun until the visiting Tywin had to interrupt the scene with politics.
Fan reaction on social media has been swift and not kind to the rape scene, though most seem to be waiting to see how the story pans out in subsequent episodes. Either way Cersei and Jaime are still speaking in next week’s episode judging by the promo.