George R.R. Martin Comments On Controversial Game Of Thrones Scene

Posted: Apr 23 2014, 2:14am CDT | by , in News | Also on the Geek Mind


George R.R. Martin Comments On Controversial Game Of Thrones Scene

Spoilers through Season 4 of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the books it’s based on follow.

We’ve already discussed the weird scene in last Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones.

What was once a disturbing, but ultimately consensual, sex-scene in the book, transformed into a rape scene between Jaime and Cersei Lannister on the HBO show.

Or, at least, it appeared that way. There seem to be multiple interpretations from the show’s director and producers, though this is not as important as what viewers took away.

Indeed, the scene rubbed many the wrong way—not just because it was a rape scene or because it was a departure from the source material, but because it changes so much about how we view the characters involved and their story arcs—especially Jaime’s.

Granted, this is a man who casually throws little boys out of tower windows, but he did at least appear to be changing for the better during the previous season. So what now?

The author of the books, George R.R. Martin, has offered up his own observations on the scene in the comments of his blog:

“I think the “butterfly effect” that I have spoken of so often was at work here,” Martin writes. “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 “butterfly effect” is the idea that small changes earlier in the show necessarily result in a cascade of changes later on down the line.

He continues:

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.

It’s hard to imagine being in Martin’s shoes.

On the one hand, you have this enormously successful series of books that’s being adapted into an enormously successful television show—that’s all pretty gratifying and exciting.

On the other hand, it must be the tiniest bit discomfiting at times to have your work changed so drastically. It’s one thing to introduce new scenes between non-POV characters, or to cut material that simply won’t fit. It’s quite another to have a major character do something like this, potentially altering their entire story and character arc.

But he seems to take it with all due grace. The show isn’t his baby, after all, it’s Weiss and Benioff’s now. Nor does he comment on the characters specifically, or what this might mean for them.

The books and the show are divergent; in some ways, both great and small, they are not the same story at all anymore. Episodes like this one really enforce that idea, and as the “butterfly effect” continues, we’ll only see the two narratives split further down their separate paths.

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