George R.R. Martin Responds to Last Night's Controversial Game of Thrones Scene (SPOILER)
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 04.21.2014
Martin weighs in on a change from the books...
So, if you watch last night's episode of Game of Thrones than you saw a rather disturbing moment on the screen. There's a spoiler tag in the headline but here's one more: if you haven't seen the episode yet, we are discussing a significant event that happened within it.
During the episode, Jamie Lannister rapes his sister (and incestuous lover, though that had cooled at this point) Cersei...and within the tomb where their son Joffrey lies dead, no less. The way that the scene was depicted by director Andrew Grant was markedly different than the scene as presented in the novel, where Cersei's consent or lack thereof is a bit more ambiguous. Grant has said in an interview that "it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle" and went on to explain why, but many people (including yours truly) believed the scene to be filmed in a very unambiguous way.
Now, George R.R. Martin--the author of the books upon which the series is based--has weighed in on the change, taking to his personal blog to address the change. Martin's comments are presented below:
I think the "butterfly effect" that I have spoken of so often was at work here. 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 Dan & David played the sept out differently. But that's just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.
Also, I was writing the scene from Jaime's POV, so the reader is inside his head, hearing his thoughts. On the TV show, the camera is necessarily external. You don't know what anyone is thinking or feeling, just what they are saying and doing.
If the show had retained some of Cersei's dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression — but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline.
That's really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing... but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.