9:00 am EDT, April 23, 2014

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and showrunners discuss ‘Game of Thrones’ controversy

Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and the creators of Game of Thrones discuss this week’s most disturbing scene.

Game of Thrones once again blew up the internet this week, with a scene that shocked many fans to the core. Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) spoke with IGN about the scene, in which his character sexually assaults his sister and lover, Cersei.

“We talked a lot about it, of course,” Coster-Waldau says, admitting that the question of whether Jaime’s actions constitute rape was a subject of much consideration. “[Cersei and Jaime’s] whole relationship has been… a physical one,” he says. “Their love affair over those years has been condensed to those moments of passion.”

According to Coster-Waldau, the intrinsic dysfunction of Jaime and Cersei’s relationship contributes heavily to the rape scene. The actor refers to Jaime’s line, “Why did the gods make me love a hateful woman?” as particularly telling in this regard.

“Everything here is extreme,” the actor admits. “That scene is extreme. The emotions, everything is just messed up, and then [Jaime] just wants to reconnect and becomes that weird thing.”

“We tried to have it where [Cersei] goes into it then she pulls away, she goes in then she pulls away,” Coster-Waldau said of filming the scene. Ultimately, however, “Of course, [Jaime] is forcing himself.”

Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss appear to agree with the actor’s thoughts on the scene in HBO’s Inside the Episode featurette.

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“It becomes a really kind of horrifying scene,” Benioff says. “You see that Cersei is resisting this. She’s saying no, and he’s forcing himself on her. It was a really uncomfortable scene, and a tricky scene to shoot.”

For more commentary on the controversy, take a look at A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin’s thoughts on the scene, and how it differs from his novels.

Game of Thrones season 4, episode 4, “Oathkeeper,” will air on Sunday, April 27 at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.

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