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Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 3 has Sex And Violence

Apr 21 2014, 3:10am CDT | by , in News | Also on the Geek Mind

Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 3 has Sex And Violence

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Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 3 has Sex And Violence

Spoilers through Season 4 of ‘Game of Thrones’ follow.

HBO’s Game of Thrones hasn’t shied away from the violence and cruelty of its source material.

When it comes to sexual violence and the depravity and ickiness of some of the show’s characters, I’d argue that the adaptation is in some ways taking it all a bit further than the books.

Whether that’s the torture of Theon Greyjoy—much more explicit onscreen—or Joffrey’s treatment of prostitutes, Game of Thrones the show is unflinching in its portrayal of just how lousy it must be to be a woman in Westeros.

But Sunday night’s episode—Breaker of Chains—throws in a new twist. It’s one thing when Joffrey Baratheon or Ramsay Snow does something despicable. These are truly despicable people, and we eagerly await their comeuppance (well we wait for Ramsay’s; Joffrey got his a week ago.)

Jaime, on the other hand, was on the path to redemption. His time with Brienne changed him. But tonight we saw Jaime force himself upon Cersei. Whether the show meant it to come across that way or not, what we saw was a rape.

No doubt there’s room here for some ambiguity. But therein lies the problem. The show is trying to mimic the source material even though all the stakes are changed. And it doesn’t work.

In the books, Jaime returns to Kings Landing just after Joffrey has died. Cersei learns of his missing hand in this scene. And Jaime ravages her without ever uttering the line “Why did I fall in love with such a hateful woman?”

Here’s the book’s version (chapter 62 for those who care to know.)

Jaime hasn’t seen Cersei in months at this point (longer perhaps, I don’t recall) and there’s no bad blood yet between them. Both are grieving over Joffrey’s death. She kisses him gently, and then…

There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons…”

“The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. She pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger, about their father, about the septons, about the wrath of gods. He never heard her.

And so on, and so forth. You get the picture. Jaime isn’t angry at Cersei, he isn’t violent toward her. Cersei isn’t telling him to stop because she doesn’t want to have sex, she’s telling him to stop because she’s worried they’ll get caught.

In the show, on the other hand, we’re given a very different set up, a very different dynamic, and an entirely new meaning to the scene. I found it troubling. I’m not sure how Jaime 2.0 is reconciled against this Jaime.

But enough about that. We could likely debate it for days to come, and many likely will. Moving on….

The rest of the episode was better, was quite excellent actually. We’re given a motif to follow, various sets of chains wrapped around our swelling cast of characters.

At the Wall, Jon Snow is chained to his duty, unable to meet the raiders south of the Wall but just as incapable of sitting still when news reaches the Crows that the traitors are still alive to the north.

Meanwhile, Sam is chained to his oath of abstinence and to his cowardice and inability to protect Gilly. And, of course, Gilly is chained to her vulnerability as a woman in a man’s world and the rough lot that entails.

We also get a glimpse at just how brutal and terrifying the wildings are, including red-haired Ygritte. The cannibalistic Thenns might as well go work for Roose Bolton.

Tyrion has more literal chains—manacles, as it were—in his lock-up in Kings Landing, for a crime he didn’t commit. There’s a touching scene between him and his squire, Podrick Payne, that might just twist the chain motif on its head for a moment. Podrick, against all self-interest, is loyal.

He is bound to Tyrion by love and admiration, and won’t betray him even though it could mean his own death. Loyalty is a kind of chain, too, and no less deadly, but maybe worthwhile nonetheless.

Sansa, on the other hand, has fled one prison but may very well have found herself in another.

Out of the lion’s den, to be sure, but onto a ship with Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.

In a lovely scene he reminds her that everyone—everyone—is a liar, and then promises her she’ll be safe. It’s the sort of talking out of both sides of one’s mouth that only Littlefinger can pull off.

And in the East, Danaerys has come to Mereen, where she promises to break the chains of that city-state’s slaves and bring justice to their cruel rulers. Here we have a nice moment for the new Daavos, who takes out the champion of Mereen with a well placed dagger to his horse’s eye.

Very Bronn in execution, though my money’s on Bronn if it ever came to a fight (though this could just be me playing favorites.)

Last, but not least, we have perhaps the oddest couple in the show at the moment: Aria and the Hound.

Sandor Clegane is at once Aria’s captor and her rescuer. She is free to ride her own horse, but unable to strike out on her own and survive. There are chains here, too, though they’re harder to define.

I love everything about Arya and Sandor in the show. The dynamic is perfect. Arya is witty and clever. The Hound is the eternal, war-weary pragmatist.

I can’t help but think they both have so much to learn from one another, and neither ever will. Though Arya is learning, bit by bit, what it means to survive. “How many Starks do they have to decapitate for you to learn that,” Sandor sneers at her. And he has a point.

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. Well that’s just as true on the road, and stealing silver from a farmer is a small crime compared to what goes on in war-torn Westeros every day.

An episode devoted to the concept of captivity and freedom and how the two concepts aren’t always totally at odds. Perhaps that could have played out in the scene between Jaime and Cersei better, but for my part at least I found that a stain on an otherwise captivating episode.

One final note: King Tommen really would be a good king. Tywin is a cruel, utilitarian ruler, but with the right tutelage Tommen would likely be a just, wise, reasonable and sane king. Tywin is ultimately driven by self interest and the preservation of the Lannister line, and he would steer Tommen toward that long-term vision. Joffrey was psychotic, spoiled and rotten to the core. Tommen is none of those things.

But as I noted last week, kings don’t tend to last all that long in this show. My money isn’t on Tommen’s longevity.

Follow me on Twitter or FacebookRead my Forbes blog here.


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