Many, many shades of gray. Last April, Game of Thrones aired a sex scene that caused immediate controversy, but the show’s star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is standing by the content, saying in a new interview with HuffPost Live that the story can be interpreted in various ways.
The HBO show raised eyebrows in its fourth season, when Jaime Lannister had very rough sex with his twin sister Cersei Lannister in front of the corpse of Joffrey Baratheon — a move many saw as rape. Coster-Waldau, 44, told HuffPost Live that he was expecting discussion about the boundary-pushing scene, but did not see it as rape.
“We knew… I mean, you read it, and you go, ‘Wow, that’s…'” he said of the script, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin‘s vast book series. “You know, it’s in the books [but] in the books it was a little different.”
“I thought it was gonna be a lot of debate,” the Danish actor continued. “I thought it was gonna be them having sex in front of this dead boy and it became about something else, which is fine. I think people can take whatever they want to take from a show. The intention was never… we never even thought that would be seen as rape because of the history of the show and especially these two characters — they’ve had a romantic relationship for more than 20 years. It’s been a very physical, very secret relationship under a lot of pressure. They’re both in extreme pain here, and in need, and it became this physical expression of that.”
The shocking scene caused a strong reaction as soon as it aired in April 2014, and is still inspiring debate. As HBO prepares to air Game of Thrones‘ fifth season premiere on Sunday, April 12, Coster-Waldau celebrated the show for making viewers think and analyze.
“I think sometimes… to make it about saying it was rape or not rape, I’m not going to go into that discussion,” he said. “It’s that thing where people… I think what people love about the show is that it’s not just one thing or the other. There’s not just black and white. It’s complicated, like we are.”
“Again, I can only say that our intention was different,” Coster-Waldau added.
Watch the Jaime Lannister actor talk Game of Thrones in the video above!
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