Director Alex Graves on Game Of Thrones' controversial scene

News Simon Brew
22 Apr 2014 - 07:14

SPOILERS: The latest controversial moment from Game Of Thrones season 4 is discussed by George R R Martin and director Alex Graves.

This contains major spoilers for Game Of Thrones season 4 episode 3.

Few shows have an ability to ignite the internet in the manner Game Of Thrones can at the moment. And in this particular instance, it was about a scene in the latest episode, which we're not going to discuss until the other side of the picture. If you keep scrolling down, you're in spoiler territory.

The controversy has come as a result of the sex scene that took place in the latest episode, between Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei (Lena Headey). Specifically, in George R R Martin's A Storm Of Swords, the brother and sister's act appeared consensual. In the television adaptation, it did not.

As such, there's been debate about whether we're supposed to take from the episode that Jaime raped Cersei. Furthermore, if that's case, why the diversion from the books on such a major moment? However, in a piece over at Vulture, the director of the episode, Alex Graves, has argued that it was intended to be consensual.

Graves admits that he didn't read the scene in the book, saying that "I was doing the scene our writers wrote", adding that "Lena is very conscious of wanting to focus on what the show is doing rather than worrying about something in the books that may or may not affect her".

When presented with the version that appears in the books, Graves argues that "what was talked about was that it was not consensual as it began, but Jaime and Cersei, their entire sexual relationship has been based on and interwoven with risk. And Jaime is very much ready to have sex with her because he hasn’t made love to her since he got back, and she’s sort of cajoled into it, and it is consensual. Ultimately, it was meant to be consensual".

Yet, as the Vulture piece points out, there's more than a little ambiguity in the cut that appeared in the episode. Graves argues that "It’s my cut of the scene. The consensual part of it was that she wraps her legs around him, and she’s holding on to the table, clearly not to escape but to get some grounding in what’s going on. And also, the other thing that I think is clear before they hit the ground is she starts to make out with him. The big things to us that were so important, and that hopefully were not missed, is that before he rips her undergarment, she’s way into kissing him back. She’s kissing him aplenty".

Yet the cut of the scene in question doesn't seem consensual by the end. In the transmitted version, Cersei seems to resist, then get drawn in, and then objects again. 

But whilst the passage from the book seems less ambiguous, George R R Martin, on his blog, has argued that "the whole dynamic is different in the show". He said that in the book, he was "writing the scene from Jaime's POV, so the reader is inside his head, hearing his thoughts". In effect, Martin appears to be suggesting that it only appeared consensual in the book because of the point of view that moment was written on.

He says too of his chats with showrunners David Benioff and D B Weiss that "we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection". And he signed off by saying that "the scene was always intended to be disturbing... but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons".

Our review of the episode is here. Given what's being discussed here, please be particularly thoughtful in your posts in the comments below.

George R R Martin blog.

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