We need to talk about Jaime Lannister: Why rape isn’t a suitable plot device
WARNINGS: The following article contains spoilers through the the fourth book in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series (Feast for Crows), as well as through season four, episode three of Game of Thrones. Additionally, please note that we are including a trigger warning due to this article’s discussion of rape.
Due to one short but extremely controversial scene, last night’s Game of Thrones, the third episode of the fourth season, has caused quite an uproar amongst many fans of two characters in particular – those being Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Of course, this isn’t the first time the show has made questionable changes with our favorite incestuous twins, but personally I feel that the line they crossed in Breaker of Chains is one that will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to bounce back from.
Admittedly, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Cersei (I mean let’s not lie, she’s both awesome and completely maddening), but Jaime Lannister has been one of my favorite Song of Ice & Fire characters since I read his first point of view chapter in A Storm of Swords. That said, do I think that he’s a ‘good guy’? Of course not. Like so many of the other great characters in this series, he’s morally gray. He pushes Bran out of a window, attacks Ned and kills Jory, incessantly mocks Brienne, threatens to send Edmure Tully’s unborn baby to him via trebuchet…the list goes on and on.
Game of Thrones season two – “a ‘monster’ who loves killing”. This was the reasoning given for one of the show’s added scenes that season – a scene that was decidedly not in the books – in which Jaime brutally murders his cousin Alton.
All of that may be old news, but more recently, when Jaime was in despair over having just lost his hand, he still went out of his way to stop the Brave Companions from raping Brienne (and earned himself a beating in the process).
To say that all of this pales in comparison to the way Jaime thinks of and feels about Cersei isn’t even right; the man who experienced the aforementioned situations would not rape a woman – any woman – and that’s that. But apparently consensual incestual sex (while Cersei was on her period, to boot) wasn’t ‘edgy’ enough for the show.
Additionally, the director of Breaker of Chains apparently believed that he was depicting an at least somewhat consensual sex scene; he stated that “…it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.” Unfortunately, this belief of Alex Graves is just as problematic as them simply wanting to make the sept scene more ‘edgy’ than it is in the books – if not more problematic, because Cersei resisting Jaime’s advances, saying ‘no’ and fighting back until the end, never once uttering the word ‘yes’ – is not a sex scene Graves or Game of Thrones or HBO should be proud of. It’s just another example of the rape culture that we live in.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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