Game of Thrones Has a Rape Problem
Jaime Lannister's uncomfortable scene
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 21, 2014 1:50 PM CDT
Khal Drogo didn't rape his bride in the books, but he did in the show.   (AP Photo/HBO, Helen Sloan)

(Newser) – How did Game of Thrones top last week's [SPOILER ALERT] death of King Joffrey? By having his dad rape his mom next to his corpse. But while that first shocker drew cheers, this one is drawing fire. Here's what people are saying:

  • In the book version, Cersei Lannister resists her brother Jaime's advances at first, but soon shifts to egging him on in almost porn-worthy fashion: "Hurry, quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime. … Yes, my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you're home now."
  • This is the second time the show has inserted a rape that wasn't in the books, making it "hard to shake the idea that Game of Thrones, the show, doesn't see a problem with pushing a scene from complicated, consensual sex to outright rape," writes Sonia Saraiya at the A.V. Club. Since it's hard to see what statement is being made here, it looks like the show is "falling into the same trap that so much television does—exploitation for shock value. And, in particular, the exploitation of women's bodies."
  • "I couldn't help wonder if it was yet another instance of rape-as-a-plot-device," writes Hayley Krischer at Salon. The writers appear to be using the scene to sever the characters' relationship forever, but "I can’t help but wonder if there could have been another way Jaime could crush Cersei, emotionally and physically, without having to overpower her sexually with his massive Kingsguard armor."
  • It may just be a badly shot scene; the episode's director, Alex Graves, tells Alan Sepinwall at HitFix that the sex "becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on."
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, echoes that sentiment. "I think that, for some people, it’s just going to look like rape. The intention is that it’s not just that," he tells the Daily Beast. "It’s about two people who’ve had this connection for so many years, and much of it is physical .... It’s him trying to force her back and make him whole again."
  • If that's the intention, the show "completely failed," writes Amanda Marcotte at Slate. "It's as straightforward a rape scene as you'll get on TV. … Graves' inability to see what he's put out there compromises Jaime's character, and, frankly, makes a joke of a very serious, very violent act."
  • Margaret Lyons agrees. Her headline on Vulture: "Yes, Of Course That Was Rape on Last Night’s Game of Thrones." And anyway, "the [director's] idea that a rape could be 'consensual by the end' is grotesque and dangerous."
  • "For the first time, I'm concerned that Game of Thrones has made a mistake it can't take back—and one that sets a troubling precedent for the show's future," writes Scott Meslow for The Week.

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Apr 22, 2014 5:11 PM CDT
I know people are not that smart when it comes to reading between the lines but, the person who wrote this article was not saying that there shouldn't be rape in Game of Thrones, the novels OR the TV show. What critics are getting mad about is the fact that the TV writers wrote rape scenes that WEREN'T in the books, but kept the relationship between the abusers and the victims as in the books. And I'm gonna quote some fellow bloggers here to show how it didn't even fit: "Yes because Jaime would totally rape Cersei. The Jaime that felt sick at the sound of hearing Rhaella Targaryen raped. THE JAIME THAT GOT HIS HAND CUT OFF SAVING HIS FRIEND FROM BEING RAPED." And to which I add that Jaime wanted to kill King Robert because of how he treated (and raped) Cersei. Why "only 2 rapes", as some users put it, matter is because there is a goddamn difference between a character doing something bad and then have the viewer being told by the writers that what they're doing is a big no-no (see the murders, stealing, etc.), and a character doing something bad but hear the actor and the writers say that is was not really that bad, or that "WOOPS Cersei gave consent at the end but we just didn't show it LOLZ." There is already too many assholes these days trying to define rape as it is, don't add it in TV shows who pose as feminist and edgy material. It is extremely irresponsible to have added rape scenes where consensual sex was taking place, because the writers never explained their decisions. Same with Daenerys and Drogo: "He stopped then, and drew her down onto his lap. Dany was flushed and breathless, her heart fluttering in her chest. He cupped her face in his huge hands and looked into his eyes. "No?" he said, and she knew it was a question. She took his hand and moved it down to the wetness between her thighs. "Yes," she whispered as she put his finger inside her." And then in the show: rape. We are simply asking: WHY TURNING CONSENSUAL SEX SCENES INTO RAPE?
Apr 22, 2014 2:29 PM CDT
Know what happened in the times of swords and kings and plagues? Lots of rape and murder. Not only that, but the scene is clearly a incestuous and violent couple being the incestuous violent characters they are.
Apr 22, 2014 1:02 PM CDT
I thought about viewing this show - but after partially reading this - the big wigs can FORGET IT! NOT INTERESTED IN SMUT!