While it was as gripping as expected, Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones" contained a cringeworthy, ultra-controversial sex scene that viewers may be at this very moment still struggling to block from their minds.
The third episode of season 4 saw Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) grieving over her slain (evil) teenage son, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), who had been poisoned at his own Royal "Purple" Wedding. His dead body lays on an altar. Enter her brother -- and (eek) her lover and the boy's father, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). She tells him he must avenge their son's death. He decides this would be an opportune moment to recreate a scene from the first episode of season 1, only this time, it did not appear to be consensual on her part.
What "Jaime" said ...
Coster-Waldau told The Daily Beast (warning: website contains expletives) that the scene was "tough to shoot." Asked if it constituted a rape, he said: "Yes, and no. There are moments where she gives in, and moments where she pushes him away. But it's not pretty."
"It took me awhile to wrap my head around it, because I think that, for some people, it's just going to look like rape," Coster-Waldau told the Daily Beast."Game of Thrones" book spoiler: "Game of Thrones" is based on George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the incestuous sex scene does occur in his third book, "A Storm of Swords," although not as a rape. In fact, in the novel, Jaime asks Cersei to marry him and "make another son in place of Joffrey." He is believed to also be the father of her daughter Myrcella and Tommen, who is set to become king in place of Joffrey.
"To understand the psychology behind it, and why he goes as far as he does, was really difficult," Coster-Waldau said. "To me it became, 'When does physical desire take over?' It's one of those things where he's been holding it back for so long, and then out of anger he grabs her, and instinct takes over, and he lets loose. He says, 'I don't care.' He wants to not care. He has to connect to her, and he knows this is the most [expletive] way for it to happen, but in that moment, he knows it's all he can do. It's an act of powerlessness."
What the director said ...
Director Alex Graves also weighed in on the subject, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
"The whole thing for me was about dead Joffrey lying there, watching the whole thing," he said. "I wanted to make sure I had Jack in there as much as I could. Of course Lena and Nikolaj laughed every time I would say, 'You grab her by the hair, and Jack is right there,' or 'You come around this way and Jack is right there.'"
"He is their first born. He is their sin. He is their lust, and their love -- their everything," he added. "If he's gone, what's going to happen?"
What George R. R. Martin said ...
The author of the books on which the show is based was asked about the sex scene on his Livejournal page.
"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," Martin said. "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 author also said he wrote the sex scene from Jaime's perspective.
"If the show had retained some of Cersei's dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression," he wrote, adding: "The scene was always intended to be disturbing... but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons."
(Pictured above: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appears as Jaime Lannister and Dean-Charles Chapman appears as Tommen Baratheon, Lena Headey as his mother, Cersei Lannister, and Jack Gleeson as his brother and her eldest son, the late King Joffrey Baratheon, in scenes from "Game of Thrones," season 4, which premiered in April 2014. Credit: Helen Sloan / Macall B. Polay / HBO)