At long last, somebody's asking the right questions. Entertainment website Gold Derby talked to Lena Headey about the rape scene on Game of Thrones that made us hate Jaime all over again and managed to ignite riotous responses from 'round the Internet. But while people were racing to talk about the scene and share their disappointment, we hadn't heard from Cersei ... until now. Thank the seven gods somebody finally asked Headey what she thinks of all this.
Let's recap the unfulfilling responses: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's response (it was rape and it also was not rape!) didn't help us out very much, and director Alex Graves's response did not alleviate what we were feeling about the scene, either. Headey's response unfortunately doesn't clear things up too much, either. I'm still concerned how a) people are trying to say that it's "consensual" and b) the show totally plowed forward as though it never happened.
Still, Headey gives us some insight. She said:
[...] It’s a very complicated moment for many reasons and what I will say about it is, from my stance as an actor who’s had this character for three years, four years, who knows her intimately…you know you’re standing, as a woman in absolute grief, in pain that she’s never felt before. And you know, she’s staring at the body of her dead son who’s been her sanity and her purpose and she’s joined by her brother who’s also her lover so, you know, we’ve also got bigger problems going on than the ones everyone’s talking about. And it becomes very messy. And there’s lust and desperation and you know, a need to feel something other than this searing, empty loss. And so that’s where I came from when we were filming. There was this need and it wasn’t right and yet it felt great and yet it wasn’t right and it played out the way it did. And I was really happy with it. I thought it was um, my intention was there and I think people’s reactions are right and opinions are varying.
She later talked about how she approached the scene as actress, since it seems like quite the emotional challenge:
I came from this place of grieving and a need to feel connected and alive and you know, this is the only other person, probably the only person she has ever trusted in the world. And she’s shunned Jaime and he’s never stopped loving her and in that moment she’s embracing and she’s rejecting of him in the same breath and you know, if I had not have said “not now, not here,” you know, if there were silence I don’t know how people would have reacted, you know what I mean?
But wait! Please tell us?! Do you think the sex in that disturbing scene was consensual!?!
This is a really tricky one because, you know, either way, anything I say I’m going to get slaughtered for.
Okay, well, that's not particularly helpful, but let's get to the important question: did she think that the show needed this scene? She said:
[...]I stand by it absolutely and I think that it’s an interesting turning point for Jaime’s character, massively, because we’ve kind of despised him. You know, he killed a fucking child while shagging his sister and then we fell in love with him again and now this you know, this greatly divided scene has happened and it’s getting people talking and bringing up important, important conversations.
It seems like the actors are going to have to stand by this scene like the actors in How I Met Your Mother seem mandated to stand by that disrespectfully godawful ending. The scene was rape — I'll firmly stand by the idea that on television, you've got to hear the word "yes" after you hear the word "no" in a sex scene. We viewers want proof that it's consensual if we've already been lead to believe that it's nonconsensual.
You can watch the entire video of the 19-minute conversation, which is a Google Hangout, below.