This past week’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, “Breaker of Chains,” included a scene that was disturbing in both content and plot discrepancy from the books. George RR Martin has addressed the changes, and the scene in particular, on his blog. Discussing what he’s come to call the “butterfly effect,” where any change the show makes to the book’s plot will have long ranging effects as the series progresses. SPOILERS IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP WITH LAST SUNDAY’S EPISODE “BREAKER OF CHAINS”
This is what George RR Martin had to say about the changes to his story, which you’ll oddly find in the comments section of his blog:
I think the “butterfly effect” that I have spoken of so often was at work here. 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.
While in the Sept of Baelor, Cersei mourned for her loss, and Jaimie acted on what he wanted. Yes, it was a disturbing rape scene full of incestuousness and anger. It wasn’t that brother and sister Lannister were having relations, that’s happened a lot, it’s that this coming together happened in a way that varied greatly from the books.
HBO’s Game of Thrones has returned Jaime Lannister to King’s Landing at an earlier time frame from the books. Cersei’s brother being broken doesn’t stop her from wanting him as much as he does her, but the show has taken the plot of her finding him a different man who wasn’t there when she needed him most in a slightly different direction. In the book it was that he wasn’t around to protect their son, Joffrey. In fact, it’s Jaime’s ineptitude at the wedding feast that has me, in particular, upset at the changes.
The other problem is that Jaimie becomes -- in both the books and show -- a good bad guy. He is an atrocious and despicable man early on, unlike his brother Tyrion who we root for immediately. But then we get chapters with Jaime's POV, and we begin to see his intricacies and honorable ways. His relationship with Brienne shows his worth, and his self doubt shows his humility. It’s a fascinating exploration of character that is underappreciated by casual fans. Jaime and Cersei's sexual encounter in last week’s episode occurs in the book from Jaime’s POV, and it involves a consenting Cersei. There is no rape in the book, only the desire of two people in love who’ve been apart for too long. Cersei knows it’s wrong, but she is hungry for Jaime and allows him to have his way with her.
Director Alex Graves told Vulture that the scene was meant to be "consensual by the end." Perhaps editing took that context away, but anyone who thinks a woman saying “no, don’t.” is consensual should be kicked in the nuts as hard as possible. Whatever the case is for the change, accidental poor directing or deliberate plot change, this is the first time when a book change has caused such controversy. Blogs and forums are dedicated to book fans lamenting the changes to their beloved story, but this time around they’ve taken the progress Jaime made in an entire season and put him right back to being a horrible brute. “The things I do for love,” indeed.