While everyone may still be talking about the Purple Wedding and Joffrey’s death, a scene from the latest “Game of Thrones” episode, “Breaker of Chains,” may be even more shocking.
Warning: Full “Game of Thrones” season 4 spoilers. If you did not watch “Breaker of Chains,” stop reading.
After Tywin ushers Tommen away from his mother and his dead brother, Jaime shares a moment with his sister, and lover, Cersei and their deceased son. As the siblings mourn, the scene turns into a sexual encounter. Jaime forces himself on Cersei, and she is fighting against his advances throughout the rape.
Many reviews for “The Breaker of Chains” have focused on Jaime’s rape of Cersei because it’s a shocking “Game of Thrones” plot turn as well as a dramatic departure from what occurs in the book, “A Storm of Swords.”
Some “Game of Thrones” spoilers ahead, but I will be vague enough in describing any plot points from “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance with Dragons.” In George R.R. Martin’s third novel of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series, Jaime has just returned to King’s Landing when he hears the news of the Purple Wedding and Joffrey’s death. He finds Cersei at the sept and the siblings, meeting for the first time since “A Game of Thrones,” have consensual sex. The only doubt Cersei has involves continuing the relationship now that their father, Tywin, is in King’s Landing. Jaime is willing to give up everything to marry Cersei, but she quickly dismisses this plan.
That’s the last time Jaime and Cersei have sex and their relationship quickly deteriorates, aided by Jaime’s falling out with his father. Jaime will make a few decisions that will affect his family and he soon leaves King’s Landing and later refuses to help Cersei when she is in trouble.
In the AV Club’s review of the third episode of “Game of Thrones” season 4, Todd VanDerWerff is not sure why series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss changed the scene to have Jaime rape Cersei. VanDerWerff says there could be an argument that in the “Song of Ice and Fire” book series, the events are told through the perspective of various characters and the sex scene is told through Jaime’s point of view. Jaime could be describing the scene differently from what actually happened, but there is little evidence in later books that would indicate he raped Cersei, argues VanDerWerff.
Benioff and Weiss, who wrote “The Breaker of Chains,” may have used Jaime’s rape of Cersei as a way to show women as powerless to stop men from treating them like property, but it also destroys the character of Jaime, not only with his relationship Cersei, but his recent attempts at redemption. “Game of Thrones” season 3 featured Jaime protecting Brienne twice, including his thwarting the rape of his companion, and there have been many examples of Jaime’s loyalty to Cersei.
The AV Club has a long feature on the rape scene in “Game of Thrones” that discusses the change as it relates to character and story development. For the author, Sonia Saraiya, the “Game of Thrones” series has gotten it wrong twice when it comes to handling rape and the change to the scene may have done just for “shock value.”
Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall interviewed “The Breaker of Chains” director Alex Graves and discussed the rape scene. Graves said, “Well, it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who plays Jaime, also weighs in on the controversial scene. Speaking to the Daily Beast, saying, " It’s an act of powerlessness." For Jaime, it was his last, desperate, attempt to get Cersei back.