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The ‘Recreation of Thrones’ Intercourse Scene Cannot Be Each Rape and Not Rape

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

Sunday night time on Recreation of Thrones, Jaime compelled himself on Cersei. This was problematic for various causes: they’re siblings; they had been having intercourse subsequent to their son’s lifeless physique; and mentioned lifeless son was the product of their incest. However the largest drawback with that scene was that Jaime raped Cersei … and a number of the folks on the Recreation of Thrones solid and crew who’ve been interviewed concerning the episode don’t appear to acknowledge it as such.

Margaret Lyons over at Vulture has already completed an important job of explaining why, precisely, that scene was rape. (Cersei says “No” repeatedly, to which Jaime replies, “I don’t care.”) Within the piece, Lyons quotes two of the Recreation of Thrones of us hedging in opposition to really calling the assault rape.

Director Alex Graves instructed Alan Sepinwall at HitFix: “It turns into consensual by the top.”

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who performs Jaime, instructed the Day by day Beast: “There are moments the place [Cersei] provides in, and moments the place she pushes him away. However it’s not fairly.” When requested if Cersei was raped, he answered, “Sure and no.”

The scene was sufficient to make everybody squirm, and it raises questions like, why did the script writers determine to diverge from the e book (during which the intercourse was consensual — however nonetheless creepy for all the explanations listed above)? And can they deal with the Cersei’s response to the incident with nuance and sensitivity? We’d even ask why we maintain seeing a lot rape on TV. (I’ve my very own theories.)

However first, we should take a second to acknowledge that this incident isn’t a “grey space.” If a lady or man doesn’t consent to a sexual act, and the opposite particular person forces her or him to proceed, it’s rape. An incident can’t be each rape and “not rape.” There isn’t a “sure and no” about it. A rape can’t “turn into consensual on the finish.” You don’t persuade somebody over the course of the act that they really consented.

Lots of people — particularly quite a lot of younger folks — watch Recreation of Thrones, and I think about a lot of them learn interviews with folks like Graves and Coster-Waldau after the present. So it’s necessary that public figures like these ought to be aware about how they reply to and describe these points. How will victims of sexual assault be affected when a director and an actor in one in every of tv’s hottest reveals query whether or not no actually means no?

I think about that Graves and Coster-Waldau’s interpretations of the scene are linked to the widespread false impression that an individual can’t be raped by his or her vital different. Jaime and Cersei are (nonetheless twisted it is likely to be) a pair, and subsequently some would possibly falsely assume that each one their intercourse should be consensual. However it’s not. That was rape. And I imagine it’s necessary to acknowledge that, in any other case we danger delegitimizing assault.

To his credit score, George R.R. Martin — who wrote the Tune of Ice and Hearth books upon which the Recreation of Thrones TV sequence is predicated — responded to followers’ considerations on Monday within the feedback part of his personal weblog (Martin was not concerned in writing the script for this episode):

Although Martin by no means explicitly calls the scene rape, he does specific remorse that the way in which it was introduced on display has upset folks, which is a step in the proper path.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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