Why Jaime's [REDACTED] In Game Of Thrones Is So Goddamned Troublesome

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

WARNING: This post is rife with Game of Thrones spoilers.  You now have three presses of my “Return” key to get the heck out.
 
 
And now you have three presses of my “Return” key as a trigger warning:
 
 
Let’s begin, shall we?
So if you haven’t read the books, last night was the first time that Game of Thrones the show diverged really radically from Game of Thrones the books.  And it did so with a rape.
In the books, Jaime did, in fact, fuck his sister next to the corpse of their dead son – but it was mostly consensual, as witness from the book’s actual words:

“Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “My brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh.

In the series, that got turned into a rape.
Now, as I noted in my initial reaction, that rape is pretty goddamned boring – a cliched choice.  I’ve seen a lot of rape in films and books.  You know what I hadn’t seen? Two people, so caught up in an incestuous love affair gone sour, that they try to reconnect by fucking willingly in the room with their dead son.
“But wait!” you say.  “The show changed timelines!  Instead of this being the first time Jaime’s seen Cersei, it’s after three weeks of rejection!”  But as was noted in this Facebook comment:

A character who condemned the repeated abuse of Rhaella Targaryen, prevented the rape of Brienne, and has a man executed for raping Pia – rewritten in the show as a rapist? Yeaaah, nope.

The reason people I’m pissed off about this (in addition to the director’s clueless comments about how that scene was somehow not a rape) is because of what this rape quietly says about men.
Because you have Jaime – who is not a good man, mind you, though he seems slowly to be struggling towards some measure of goodness in the books – who has been violently against rape in every instance he’s seen it.  In a very real sense, his objection to the raping of Brienne – someone who he doesn’t even particularly like – leads directly to him getting his hand cut off.  He’s more complex than just badness.
And in the series, Jaime gets frustrated, so… it’s rapin’ time.
What the show has done is to say, “Ya know, you frustrate and tease a guy, and he’s gonna rape the shit out of you.  Only way that won’t happen is if he’s a really good and weak-willed guy, like Tyrion, and even then he’ll probably be tempted.”  What Game of Thrones is implying is that the default mode of behavior for men is rape, and unless we heavily shackle those impulses that every man naturally feels, then rape?  Gonna happen.
It’s implying in a very real sense that the only difference between a good man and a bad man is that the good man restrains his continual, gnawing urges to rape – and to that, I say, fuck that.  I don’t like what that says about me as a guy, and I don’t like what it says to guys who do feel that urge in that it tells them, “What you’re feeling?  It’s what we all go through, bro.  I’d fuck a bitch if I could, but I hold it back!”
No.  I don’t.  And so I really don’t like complex characters being reduced to “Let’s rape.”  Because that is a change, and they’ve done this before – with Daenarys and Khal Drogo.  In the book, the sex was as consensual as it could get between a fifteen-year-old girl and the war tyrant she’d been sold to, with him asking for permission and her showing him her wetness and desire.  In the series, he fucked her into the ground while she cried.
Again.  In the series, it’s what dudes do.  If we could get away with it, we would, unless we’re very nice people or kept as restrained as the Night’s Watch.  And they’re purposely slurring characterization to get that result, which is a huge change from the original books – which have a lot of rape and violence and anti-women stuff in them, but they also have nuanced characterization where some men are rapists and others – even really, really bad men – are just not interested in sex that way.
What Game of Thrones is doing is perpetrating a really catastrophically shitty message, adding something that wasn’t there, and I think that’s what people are reacting to whether they’ve articulated it or not: that sense that yeah, any guy would rape you if there weren’t consequences.
And no.  We wouldn’t.
It’s that simple: we wouldn’t.

2 Comments

  1. John Wiswell
    Apr 22, 2014

    I’ve never been able to get into the show, and one of the major reasons is that they make such questionable changes from the books, which are themselves so tenuously executed. Jaime raping Cersei is exactly the kind of thing I’m not sorry I missed.

  2. Tranquil
    Apr 22, 2014

    Thank you. I was so POd when I watched that episode today. Im only on book 4 right now, and it’s been a while since I read 3 (I only have time to read in the summers), but I could have sworn when I watched it that it was completely consensual in the book. And yes, they did the same with Daenerys, which I feel did not set her up to be the strong character she really is. Arya has also been toned down a bit in terms of her kick-assery.
    But really, Jaime in the books was really starting to grow on me as a bit of a redemptive character… while the whole incest thing is completely creepy, he really did love Cersei and seemed to be the only man who really respected her. I’m so pissed the show killed that.

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