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'Game of Thrones' author: Controversial Cersei scene 'meant to be disturbing'

April 21, 2014 at 8:15 PM ET

Spoiler warning: Don't read if you didn't watch Sunday night's "Game of Thrones" episode.

Sure, last week's "Game of Thrones" earned plenty of buzz and headlines, due to a certain event at a certain wedding of a certain bratty young king. But this Sunday's episode was not without controversy either.

IMAGE: Game of Thrones
HBO
Lena Headey, who plays Cersei on "Game of Thrones," was a participant in a controversial scene from Sunday's episode.

In one scene (last chance to duck out before spoilers), one-handed Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) pushes his sister-lover Cersei (Lena Headey) down on the floor next to the dead body of their evil son, thank-the-Seven-he's-dead Joffrey. While she protests, he rips her gown and rapes her.

Naturally, the scene created controversy online. 

Slate's Amanda Marcotte wrote, "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."

And The Onion's AV Club, among others, pointed out that Cersei is a willing participant in the book version of the scene, though she objects to the setting (a "sept," the "Game of Thrones" version of a church). In the televised scene, she is only seen protesting and even sobbing.

Author George R.R. Martin wrote about the scene Monday on his website, saying in the book, "Storm of Swords," "(Cersei) is as hungry for (Jaime) as he is for her." The dynamic, he writes, is different on the show, which played with the amount of time Jaime has been home.

"If the show had retained some of Cersei's dialogue from the books," Martin writes, "it might have left a somewhat different impression." He went on to say, "The scene was always intended to be disturbing ... but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons."

Episode director Alex Graves spoke to critic Alan Sepinwall before the episode aired, and Graves called it, "one of my favorite scenes I've ever done." He didn't deny the scene started out as rape, but told Sepinwall, "it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle."

Graves also told New York magazine, "it's a very, very complicated scene," and that close watchers will see Cersei holding on to Jaime and kissing him back, and that she's using her twin brother for her own selfish reasons, needing him to go after their other brother, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). 

"She’s largely using Jaime and he hasn’t figured it out yet," Graves said.

Follow Gael Fashingbauer Cooper on Google+.

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