George R.R. Martin Weighs In on Last Night’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Rape Scene

By April 21, 2014

Spoilers ahead.

If you spend any amount of time on the internet today, you’ve probably read dozens of headlines about “that scene” from last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones.” We discussed it briefly in our recap, and got into a bit more in our podcast about the show, but now George R.R. Martin himself has weighed in on the topic.

Martin took to the comments section of his website (via io9) to delve into the controversial scene in which Jaime Lannister rapes his sister Cersei right next to the corpse of their son.

As for your question… 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.

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.

There are a lot of heated opinions flying around about the scene in question, and I’m shocked that there are people out there who don’t recognize Jaime forcing himself on Cersei like that as rape, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the showrunners altered the sequence from the books specifically to kickstart this larger discussion. They have to be aware that their show is one of the most talked-about things on TV. Maybe I’m being too kind to them, or giving them too much credit, but by putting Jaime back on the path to likability and allowing the audience to invest in his redemptive arc, I think they knew that there’d be a huge discussion happening about his actions in last night’s episode.

Now we know where Martin stands, but what do you think about all of this? Sound off below and let us know.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.