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Episode 143: Breaker of Chains

Episode 143 for the week of April 20th, in which we review the third episode in the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. We are joined by Katie (Lady Griffin) and Michael (Mordion). We cover the elephant in the sept, coin Jon/Viper, and speculate on Tywin’s sex talk.

Notes: Like almost all episodes of APOIAF, this episode has spoilers for all published books in George RR Martin’s ASOIAF series. As of April 23rd, we have a bunch of listeners attending Ice and Fire Con 2014 along with 2 podcast hosts: one more full weekend ticket remains available.

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24 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Rodrik Harlaw

    Probably all the rocks were poisoned, but at least 2 of them (the 2 at both ends of the necklace) were (1 is not enough), Since there are two proper ways of wearing a necklace, and the QoT took the rock at the left end side of sansa.

    Iirc, in the books Margaery was drinking from Joff’s cup, so she had to be part of the plot.

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  2. Heartsbane

    I don’t know how you can say raping Cersei is irredeemable and attempting to murder a child or needlessly killing a family member is not. I think the Jaime scene is being judged to harshly just because people are disturbed. It’s not just that he’s angry, it’s that Cersei is trying to use sex to get him to kill his brother so he’s taking that away from her. It’s different and paints Jaime in a worse light for sure, but it’s consistent with how they’ve developed both characters. Saving Brienne from a bear doesn’t equate to him not raping his former lover because she’s trying to manipulate him. At the end of the day the show has been consistently different with Jaime and Cersei so it’s worth seeing how they deal with the aftermath rather than assume the intentions or how they’ll handle it.

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    Katie

    You’re right that his previous actions don’t prevent Jaime from becoming a rapist. I didn’t read Cersei’s grief-stricken kiss as her trying to manipulate him, but that’s your view. In any case, it’s consistent with Show Jaime’s anger to use force when she pulls away from him.

    The thing about being irredeemable, though….

    There are certain things in fiction I am willing to forgive. I’m with Sean T. Collins about being firmly against capital punishment in the real world but still fist-pumping when Janos Slynt gets his head chopped off. Fantasy murder and maiming are abstract enough that I can read them as morally wrong while still glossing them over. I am fortunate enough to have never witnessed a child get pushed out a window or a guy strangled with chains, so those things rarely upset me.

    However, many many MANY readers and viewers have felt the consequences of sexual violence, enough that the filter of escapist literature becomes irrelevant. It is virtually impossible for me to want to empathize on any level with someone, fictional or not, who has committed an act of rape. That person might still be a human being with complex motivations and feelings, but I lose all interest in exploring them the moment they become a rapist. Show Jaime is now a rapist (creative intentions or not), and unless I scrub my brain of that scene and dismiss it as bad art, I can’t take interest in anything he does without feeling hypocritical.

    Another reason why the change disturbed me (and a lot of people) was because it made me reconsider the consent of that scene in the book. As someone who has always loved Jaime, it’s terrible to think I might have misread his character grossly enough to whitewash an act that is, for me, unforgivable. I *want* to believe the scene in the book is consensual, but even that logic is distressing and makes me more than a little uncomfortable for defending Jaime when he possibly doesn’t deserve it.

    Show Jaime and Book Jaime are two different beasts, but this was a case where Show Jaime tainted my feelings on Book Jaime, and that was not a pleasant thing. Maybe it needed to happen, and it’s definitely made me reconsider a lot of things, but still, unpleasant.

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    Katie

    p.s. – I pray to god this is the last post I ever make on this subject. -_-

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    Rodrik Harlaw

    There was sexual assault in the book scene as well. EVENTUALLY it led to consent, but it started with a NO and followed with some objections (which from Jaime’s POV were marginalised, unjustly), and only before the penetration Cersei gave her OK.
    So “both” Jaimes used sexual assault, and according to your take on it, people who suffered sexual assault, shouldn’t like book Jaime as well?
    The parallels don’t end here – the way Alex Graves directed it there is EVENTUALLY consent in the TV scene, as well. It’s more subtle but it’s there.

    In regards to the Jaime’s arc: I don’t think the arc needs to be smooth (It wouldn’t be realistic) – after the trauma he has been inflicted in the Riverlands (and some more in KL), a relapse to old Jaime makes a lot of sense. A man who stopped drinking for 10 years, might seek a drink if he lost he’s sole daughter.

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    Katie

    I’m not about to tell anyone which characters they should like, especially not based on any trauma they may have suffered. (It is my *personal* reaction that sexual violence is usually the line I draw between characters I care about and characters I don’t). I was simply clarifying why some people react more strongly to Jaime raping Cersei than, say, Jaime pushing Bran out a window.

    And yes, you’re right, Jaime assaults Cersei in the book as well. I don’t think you can even read Cersei’s OK as consent because the option to say no isn’t present. That wasn’t my take on the scene when I first read it years ago, but it was upon re-read (and something that has changed slightly since we recorded the podcast).

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    Rodrik Harlaw

    OK, I was confused earlier with the “many many MANY readers and viewers”, but I understand now that it was just your attempt at rationalizing the uproar over the net.
    I’m not sure that’s why the web trembled (I’m pretty sure that even women who didn’t suffer sexual assault were deeply disturbed), but lets leave it at that.

    I concur. I didn’t write it at my previous message so my point would not be lost, but it definitely felt that her ‘ “Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now” ‘, was very much the result of her realization that she might manage to push him off (thus avoiding the act), but he’s so intent upon “sleeping” with her, that while trying to do so he would make enough noise to rally half of KL to the Great Sept.

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    aryastark7330

    This sums up my feelings too. I thought I was pretty sensitive about this issue, and it’s terrible to think I glossed over it when I first read it because I was so invested in Jaime’s redemption. I have some sympathy for Cersei but I’ve always been more invested in Jaime since ASOS and maybe that’s my own biases and projections rather than in the text if that makes sense. While I don’t deny that Jaime has done some awful things, I always viewed him as one of the few people in this world who has empathy and respect for women and whose experiences made him very hardline about this issue because of what he witnessed Aerys do to Rhaella and Robert do to Cersei. He hangs the man who rapes Pia in AFFC and still recognises it as rape despite everyone else thinking it isn’t because she had had sex with so many other people. He jumps into a bear pit to save Brienne from rape and comes to respect has as a person. But that doesn’t preclude him from raping Cersei even if he doesn’t think that he did, or even if Cersei doesn’t view it that way either. My first reaction to this scene in the show was to resent that they had ruined my view of Jaime, but maybe that’s unfair. Generally in fiction I am not interested in the redemption story of rapists being privileged over the victim so this has definitely made me reconsider if I’ve been whitewashing Jaime this whole time.

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    kadayi

    Agreed with your analysis Rodrik. I thought the pod dropped the ball on this one big time. It was all about the outrage and the salacious accusation of GRRM himself not being happy with the scene (which is a questionable statement in itself given he only posted because he was being pestered elsewhere) and placing the opinion of a jobbing director over that of the showrunners/writers themselves. Absolutely no effort made whatsoever by anyone to comprehend why the writers changed up the encounter was complete /facepalm. How hard is it to go ‘if this has changed why? What are the narrative payoffs likely to be? Where is it likely to lead? ‘ Instead we’re treated to a ‘OMG they ruined Jaime’ circle jerk, like saving Brienne somehow makes up for all the frankly heinous shit the guys done over the years. Woeful.

    Bowl of brown.

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    Rodrik Harlaw

    It’s Heartsbane’s message you’re referring to; Not mine :-)

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    Rodrik Harlaw

    …meaning I don’t see any fundamental difference between Book and TV depictions.

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  3. Shellfish

    Michael’s “no fucking shit!” outburst during the duel discussion really cracked me up.

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    Mordion

    Haha, consider it partial recompense for, “I like knights.”

    Reply

  4. kadayi

    From the forums: -

    http://hbowatch.com/rape-in-the-great-sept-of-baelor-an-analysis/

    Reply

    Harry

    That was a great read, thanks. I’ve changed my opinion on this scene for like 5 times now and this post sums everything up. Never expected the tv show to fundamentally change my opinion of a main character in the books.

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  5. Pod's Plight

    Vikram’s back and forth with Tywin was even better on here than the one on DragonCast.

    Reply

  6. Poe to the Pulps

    Great episode, enjoyed listening to it.

    Reply

    Kyle

    Thanks for listening!

    Reply

  7. Is Winter Coming?

    Completely agree with Katie’s comment about the Arya scene. I got the vibe too that it felt like I was watching Maise and not Arya.

    Reply

  8. Lex

    Jaime scene aside, I thought this episode was amazing. Maybe one of my favourite of the series so far. The acting and dialogue was off the charts. And besides the rape(?), the rest of the Sept scene was amazing too.

    Reply

    Rodrik Harlaw

    I have quite the opposite opinion on this episode (-:
    I thought the Jaime-Cersei scene (including the Tywin-Tommen interchange) was the scene that made the most since in ep403. Even the redundancy in the addition “Orys the first” didn’t bother me much (I can suspend that the show has a slightly different history).
    Every other scene was either unrealistic (Slaver’s bay acoustic, for example) or plain stupid (Sam doesn’t think Gilly is “safe” at the Wall and sends her south, forgetting the band of wildlings coming from that direction, for example).
    I still enjoyed the episode, but it had allot of problems, and Jaime-Cersei scene was not one of them (and it was actually pretty honest to the book).

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  9. Rogue4

    Sorry friendos. But in the context of what this show is, has been, and BEEN ACCEPTED AS by ALL up to this point, the drawn out concern trolling over the scene in question just couldn’t be more ridiculously disingenuous. One heinous brutal violation in a show that unabashedly serves up a steady stream of em. For what this show IS (and WE ALL KNOW IT IS), rape is special… just like everything else.

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  10. Stephen

    I always had the feeling that Cercei was always in control in the book. Cercei view her sex as her sword. I remember when Cercei bemoaned that fact she could not seduce Stannis. Cercei’s relations with Lancel, the Kettleblacks and Moonboy ( I just realized that line will not be the HBO version, how sad) is all examples of how much Cersi is in control of her sex. In the Jaime/Cercei dymanic, it was always Cersei in control.

    Reply

  11. Evel

    You guys called it on the Bran and Jon scene :D Well someone did I forget who but high fives!

    Reply

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