Game of Thrones rape scene: George R. R. Martin says 'whole dynamic' was different in the book

Author says dropping Cersei's dialogue changed the tone of the scene

Game of Thrones season 4 episode 3 "Breaker of Chains" has seen more fallout than the infamous red wedding, attracting headlines like 'RAPE OF THRONES' and suggestions that the series hasn't so much jumped the shark as mercilessly humped it to death.

*Spoilers*

The episode saw Jaime rape Cersei on an altar as her dead son Joffrey lay feet away, a scene depicted in Martin's novels but in a markedly different fashion.

Firstly, here's scene as it was described in A Song of Ice and Fire:

'She kissed him. A light kiss, the merest brush of her lips on his, but he could feel her tremble as he slid his arms around her. “ I am not whole without you.”

There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons…”

“The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. She pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger, about their father, about the septons, about the wrath of gods. He never heard her. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference.

“Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “ Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’r e home.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh. He could feel Cersei’s heart beating in time with his own, and the wetness of blood and seed where they were joined.'

And here's how it went down in the HBO show:

After the episode aired, Martin was asked about the differences in the scene on LiveJournal, responding:

"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.

Read more: Has Game of Thrones jumped the shark?

"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."

The episode's director, Alex Graves, also waded in, giving The Hollywood Reporter a Joffrey-centric defence of the scene:

"I'm never that excited about going to film forced sex. But the whole thing for me was about dead Joffrey lying there, watching the whole thing. (Showrunners) David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) loved that, and I was like, I wanted to make sure I had Jack in there as much as I could. Of course Lena and Nickola laughed every time I would say, “You grab her by the hair, and Jack is right there,” or “ You come around this way and Jack is right there.”

"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?"

Amid the cries of misogyny, now all that remains is for show creators Benioff and Weiss to speak out…

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