Jamie, Cersei and 'That Scene' (Episode Three: 'Breaker of Chains')
On this much everyone seems to agree: In both the show and the books on which it is based, Jaime and Cersei Lannister's encounter by the body of their murdered son Joffrey is disturbing. But as written by showrunners David Benioff & Dan Weiss, played by actors Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and directed by Alex Graves, the sequence certainly appeared that what we were witnessing was not merely inappropriate, incestuous, and rooted in psychologically troubling sexual power dynamics — but an outright sexual assault. As such, the scene touched off a perfect storm of overlapping controversies: the show's treatment of women, sex, and sexual violence; the role of rape culture in prestige television generally; the filmmakers' and actors' intent versus the scene's execution; whether depiction equals, if not some sort of tacit endorsement, then at least exploitation; the nature of adaptation in the face of a fervent fan culture that values fidelity to the source material. None of those debates have been settled.