When it comes to sexual faux pas in TV, movies, comics and other, I usually leave things to the more eloquently spoken folks to bring these discussions to the table. I wanted to break that sort of rule for a moment to discuss the latest episode of Game of Thrones (aka S4 E3). If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones yet and don’t want to have anything ruined for you, I urge you to look away at this time. I normally do my absolute best to avoid spoilers but in the case of what I’d like to address, it’s necessary to bring up plot points from the show.
Game of Thrones is easily one of my favourite shows on TV right now and when it’s done, I’m betting it’ll be up there with my favourite shows of all time. Part of the charm behind the series is everything seems so black and white at first. Certain characters are bad and you hate them while other characters are good and you love them. You root for the good guys and hope for swift deaths to the bad guys. There’s no grey area where you really love a character because they’re so horrible. George R.R. Martin creates these characters so you will loathe them and vice versa.
As the show progresses, the grey areas show up and redeeming qualities appear, all for a few characters. For instance, if you had told me when I first started watching the show that Jamie Lannister would become one of my favourite characters out of EVERYONE, I would’ve laughed at you. Sure, the actor playing him (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is handsome but he’s a loathsome character and he’ll surely stay that way.
Here’s the problem: Jamie is in the process of showing change for the better in the books and the series. You see him change while he’s headed to King’s Landing with Brienne and you hear his side of the story and come to understand why he’s called Kingslayer. You feel for him as you realize how harshly you judged such a man. Of course, there’s still the whole incest thing, but it’s weird how you kind of get past that and find yourself grossly rooting for him to get what he wants. You see Jamie finally care for another person when he goes back to save Brienne from the bear without even a second thought for his own well-being. A man acting like the knight he is, gallant and selfless… and this is all after losing his sword hand.
In the books, they do a better job of conveying what’s going on with Jamie on the road and when he returns to King’s Landing, but that’s not my gripe with what happened in the series this past week. Books and TV/movie adaptations will never be the same so I’m not comparing. There is one major difference in the book vs. the series that I believe has altered the character of Jamie Lannister and not for the better.
The second episode of this season saw the tyrant Joffrey Baratheon murdered at his own wedding feast (yay!). This episode shows a lot of Cersei’s understandable rage and sadness. She knows that her son is a little monster but she loves him all the same because he’s HER little monster. Jamie shows up to pay his respects and sends everyone away so that he can have a moment with Cersei. Since Jamie has returned, Cersei has been a stone cold b*tch and has done nothing but emotionally abuse him. Something that she’s truly always done but he’s never taken to heart. The entire time that Jamie was away, he longed for Cersei (eww, but also sort of weirdly awww!) and now that he’s returned to King’s Landing, she wants nothing to do with him. While Cersei is mourning beside the body of her dead son, she reaches over to Jamie to kiss him. The kiss quickly escalates and turns into Jamie aggressively grabbing at Cersei, emotionally abusing her and tearing her clothes. Cersei is telling Jamie to stop and saying that it’s not right over and over again. Jamie doesn’t stop. It winds up with the two of them on the floor, beside Joffrey, while Cersei begs for him to stop and Jamie doesn’t.
The result is an incredibly disturbing incestual rape scene that left me beyond words.