GoT's Jamie-Cersei controversy: Changing sex scenes to rape is not ok

When it comes to Game of Thrones, there are many things about the series that can leave you frustrated and angry. Like when is George RR Martin going to finish the sixth book (he took his own sweet time with book number five), why are all the Starks dying, who is Jon Snow's mother, is Daenerys Targaryen getting on the throne soon, will we ever get to know about Prince Rhaegar... The list is endless.

Given its popularity, there's no surprise when  Episode 2 of Season 4 of the series became the most downloaded torrent of all time. The latest episode, however has the fans, the ones who've read the books before hand, up in arms. The  AV club's  Sonia Saraiya has also put out the actual text from the book in this post.

The episode titled "Breaker of Chains", shows a rape scene between the twins Jamie and Cersei Lannister. In the actual book series, it's not really a rape scene, even though Cersei doesn't say yes in the beginning, but she eventually does tell Jamie that she wants to have sex with him.  In the series however, Cersei is only saying 'No' and 'That's wrong,' while Jamie doesn't stop.

Director Adam Graves has however defended the scene and told HitFlix that "Well, it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle. Nobody really wanted to talk about what was going on between the two characters, so we had a rehearsal that was a blocking rehearsal."  

 GoTs Jamie-Cersei controversy: Changing sex scenes to rape is not ok

Jamie and Cersei in this scene. Image from HBO

Fans are clearly upset  and no one is accepting Graves' explanation that this was 'consensual' by the end. The deviation from the books has caused a massive upset, and given that Jamie had a become a more loved character since he saved Brienne from getting raped, this latest side of Jamie is unlikely to go down well.

One angry fan has even re-written the script for the show and released it online, with Cersei rejecting the sex.

Where Graves' defence is concerned, almost all the media reaction to it has been negative. According to Salon's Amanda Marcotte, writes, "If Graves intended to depict consensual sex in the end, he completely failed. This wasn’t even one of those terribly clichéd scenes where a man starts raping a woman only to find that she comes around to thinking it’s hot. Cersei is still kicking and protesting when the camera cuts away. It’s as straightforward a rape scene as you’ll get on TV, unless you buy the ridiculous myth that a woman can’t be raped if she’s consented to sex with a man before."  

Where the power struggle defense is concerned, it's deeply problematic for Graves' to argue that it was consensual by the end, thus signifying that forcing yourself on a woman is a-okay as long you manage to extract consent by the end. And as Marcotte points out that's not what happens in the scene: Cersei never says yes.

Add to that to Graves' comment that the rape "ultimately results in a turn-on,"  is just plain wrong, because it seems to hint that somewhere rape can be enjoyed.

This is not the first time  that the show's creators have made changes from the books.   Previously the scene between Dany and Khal Dhrogo was changed to one from consent to rape, points out Saraiya in AV Club.

Saraiya argues, "Rape is a tricky thing to use as character development, for either the victim or the rapist; doing it twice raises a lot of red flags. It assumes that rape between characters doesn’t fundamentally change the rest of their story—and it assumes that the difference between consent and rape is, to use the parlance, a “blurred line.""

Martin has also responded to the scene in a blog post and said, "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... 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."

But what critics are right to point out is that the rape scene will alter the relationship between Jamie and Cersei drastically, which again deviates from the original story.   Where the story accuracy is concerned, Jamie's love for Cersei has been constant, unwavering, and by showing a rape scene between the two, the dynamic of that relationship has changed drastically.

Updated Date: Apr 25, 2014 12:49:10 IST