George R. R. Martin Compares Jaime Lannister to Woody Allen, Joffrey to Hitler
WARNING: Very slight Game of Thrones book spoilers ahead. It's been a good day for people involved with Game of Thrones giving interviews to Rolling Stone . George R.R. Martin, the man behind the titanic Song of Ice and Fire franchise, sat down with interviewer Mikal Gilmore— and the in-depth conversation reveals not only Martin's choice for who killed King Joffrey (hint: it's not who we'd hoped it would be), but also what Martin's plans for Jaime are, a topic of particular concern, considering the rape scene from Sunday's episode.
In the interview, Martin says he hopes to use the character of Jaime as a way to explore redemption.
One of the things I wanted to explore with Jaime, and with so many of the characters, is the whole issue of redemption. When can we be redeemed? Is redemption even possible? ... Woody Allen: Is Woody Allen someone that we should laud, or someone that we should despise? Our society is full of people who have fallen in one way or another, and what do we do with these people? How many good acts make up for a bad act? ... I want there to be a possibility of redemption for us, because we all do terrible things. We should be able to be forgiven. Because if there is no possibility of redemption, what's the answer then?
As you've probably read by now, in the books, Jaime and Cersei still have sex next to Joffrey's corpse, but it is consensual- in the show, it is unmistakably rape. It is possible, then, that Martin is referring to a version of Jaime who did not assault his sister in a vulnerable moment (especially since he says he regrets the way that scene played out on the show). But we can't ignore the fact that it happened, and that no matter what the intention of the scene was, Jaime will never again be the same in the eyes of the fans.
In that way, Woody Allen actually is a fairly good analogue for Jaime. He is a once-beloved figure whose despicable actions have resulted in a seemingly, deservedly permanent fall from grace. But Martin has some problematic ideas about what "redemption" entails. For instance, it may (may being the operative word) still be possible to appreciate Woody Allen's films, he will never again— I hope— be lauded as a human being. No amount of decent acts are ever going to prevent the words "child molester" from being associated with Allen's name. I will never be able to think of Jaime Lannister again without immediately thinking "rapist". For Woody Allen's, does redemption mean "forgetting"? What about for Jaime? I will be sorely disappointed in Game of Thrones if it moves on from this act without addressing it, so I certainly hope that's not the case.
Martin goes on to bring up another example that's sure to be polarizing:
In the books – and I make no promises, because I have two more books to write, and I may have more surprises to reveal – the conclusion that the careful reader draws is that Joffrey was killed by the Queen of Thorns... The reason I bring this up is because that's an interesting question of redemption. That's more like killing Hitler. Does the Queen of Thorns need redemption? Did the Queen of Thorns kill Hitler, or did she murder a 13-year-old boy? Or both? ... That's what I want the reader or viewer to wrestle with, and to debate.
I don't think Lady Olenna needs redemption for killing Joffrey. In fact, I think she needs a high five. Joffrey was a violent, psychopathic, detestable tyrant, and he was only going to get worse. He needed to be stopped. But Hitler? I don't think it's fair to compare the fictional boy king fans loved to hate to the very real dictator responsible for the deaths of millions of people.
Clearly, Martin is not familiar with Godwin's Law.
The interview is a long but fascinating read, and it brings up some controversial points I'm sure we'll be talking about for a long, long time.