All right, now I am just gonna dive right in and explore the most controversial aspect of S4E3, namely the scene where Jaime forces himself on his twin sister Cersei. That bit provoked an outrage on the Internet, mainly because it wasn’t in the book. Yep, in A Storm of Swords the said sex scene is more ambiguous, because she says no in the beginning, but eventually agrees. (That “gray area” reminded me of the scene in True Detective where Rust fucks Maggie. He basically slut-shames her after the deed–does it mean that he is being sexist, or is his behavior a sign of extreme distress?) Adam Graves, who directed the GoT episode, has said that “…it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for [Cersei and Jaime] ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.” That actually doesn’t make any sense in terms of character development, as he implies that they always were like that, and every interaction they have inevitably results in them getting the hornies for each other. I believe there are other issues at play as well.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I find it very significant that the same episode had Jaime raping his sister and The Hound stealing from the poor. Both of those characters became unquestionable fan favorites after Season 3, and until the last episode the only thing you heard about them was “Awwww…” Looks like the showrunners decided to add some moral ambiguity to remind us that those two guys can be vicious assholes–“Hello-o-o! That same dude threw Bran out of the window, you guys! And the other one killed Arya’s little friend!”
(GoT actually prides itself on being the show where everyone, except a few extra virgin asswipes like Joffrey, is “gray area.” One of the trailer songs even goes, “Every single one of us, the devil inside.” Actually, that is more hype than reality, and the main offender so far has been Tyrion, who is nowhere near as ambiguous as in the book. On the TV screen he is a total sweetheart, but on page he hits Shae and fucking COOKS A GUY IN A BOWL OF BROWN. Benioff & Weiss have so far treated him like a holy cow, and I wonder whether they will ever tarnish his reputation like they did Jaime’s.)
“Stop,” you might think. “Didn’t you just mention Bran? Doesn’t that mean that Jaime’s reputation was already tarnished?” And that brings me to a potential change from the book. The person you see raping Cersei is actually supposed to be Jaime 2.o, as it is heavily implied that after the whole shebang with Brienne he did, in fact, become a better person. The scene where Qyburn cut off the rotten flesh was like a bridge from Old Jaime to New Jaime. And the sexual assault does not sit well with that change. Does it mean that TV Jaime, as opposed to book Jaime, hasn’t changed much, and his story will differ from the book as well? Or he will have an internal nuclear meltdown after the rape, repent profusely, and thus accelerate his transformation into Jaime 2.0? Or maybe the scene symbolized his exorcising of Cersei from himself, his overpowering her as vengeance for the years she exerted power on him? In all cases, the show needs to deal with this somehow, as simply proceeding with Jaime’s story as it is in the book would be an inconsistent development.
(Side note: you can extrapolate what I just said on The Hound as well. His “turning point” was probably the “Fuck the king” bit).
So far, I have only talked about Jaime, but the rape scene also introduces changes into Cersei’s character development. The show has already made her far more sympathetic than she is in the book (just one example–originally it was her who ordered the murder of Robert’s bastards, as opposed to Joffrey on GoT). Her being an assault survivor has probably earned her compassion from many an audience member. I wonder, does it mean that we will not see Cersei as a straighforward villain? Because in books 4 and 5, her journey was the polar opposite of Jaime’s. Yes, she was always a bitch, but after Joffrey’s death her rapid descent into evil built almost Walter White-like momentum. Or again, the showrunners might make the assault into a cause for her total disillusionment in Jaime and eventual madness.
My final verdict is as follows–it remains to be seen if that assault was unnecessary plot-wise or not. If it was put there to herald a “book to show” change in character development, or to change our attitude towards Jaime and/ or Cersei, then it makes sense. What I don’t want to see is GoT ignoring the consequences of the rape, because it would confirm the audience’s worst suspicions–that the scene is there to just “titillate” the viewers in a nasty way. That simply would not be smart, yo.