Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones contained a scene SO TWISTED and SO WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS, it beggars the imagination. Read about the internet’s fury and hear actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s defense of his character after the jump.
So Jamie Lannister raped his sister over the body of their dead son. Cersei pleaded with him, then gave in to it a tiny bit, then pleaded with him some more, then kind of kissed him, then struggled… while 4 million viewers screamed “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.” It was BEYOND perverse. It was BEYOND disgusting. It was BEYOND horrendous. It was monstrous. It was nauseating. And the Tumblrverse has gone predictably kookoo bananas over the scene, howling that that show runners David Benioff and DB Weiss have DESTROYED the books – first with Khal Drogo’s rape of Daenarys in season one, which NEVER HAPPENED in George RR Martin’s version –and now with THIS. The consensus is that Jaimie spent the last season becoming a character you could sympathize with, a character you could root for, and all that humanizing development was basically thrown out the window last night.
The Daily Beast said “last night’s episode may have boasted the most disturbing sequence in Game of Thrones history. In fact, when you put it in context, it may be the most screwed up sex scene ever broadcast on television.” They asked Jamie’s portrayer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, about his take on it.
“It is fucked up,” Coster-Waldau he tells them. “It doesn’t get any darker than that, does it?”
“There’s a moment in the scene where the hand comes up and she has this face of disgust, and Jaime says, Why have the Gods made me love a hateful woman? He wants her, and wants everything to go back to the way it was. But there’s no way back.”
And then Jaime attacks Cersei, ripping her dress. She yells, “Jaime, not here…please…stop it!” Her objections fall on deaf ears, and he throws her first against the altar of their dead son, and then to the ground beside it.
“To understand the psychology behind it, and why he goes as far as he does, was really difficult,” says Coster-Waldau. “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,” says Coster-Waldau. “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.”
The scene plays out differently than the source material, A Storm of Swords—author George R.R. Martin’s third novel in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, upon which Game of Thrones is based. In the novel, the sex scene between Jaime and Cersei is more consensual. But here, it seems anything but.
So is it rape?
“Yes, and no,” says Coster-Waldau. “There are moments where she gives in, and moments where she pushes him away. But it’s not pretty.”
Below, the scene as it was written in the book:
Very different, huh?