Critics’ Reactions to the Jaime/Cersei Rape Scene in Episode 4.3 of Game of Thrones
"I wonder, then, if the rape was on some level a misguided attempt to give Cersei even more pathos, a la the convenient backstory rapes that have become depressingly common on prestige TV (and Scandal)…I wonder if TV Thrones‘s writers just have a tendency to change problematic book sex scenes into clear scenes of unconsensual sex.” - Hillary Busis, Entertainment Weekly
“Game of Thrones has a rape problem.” - Kevin Spak, Newser
"In the original depiction, Jaime never says “Why have the Gods made me love a hateful woman?” — a line that the TV show added in, which in context makes Jaime look like an abusive rapist (the gods made me do it!)”- Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
Jaime forced himself upon Cersei despite her demands to stop. “It’s not right,” she cried, to which Jaime snarled, “I don’t care.”…we can never unsee that godawful scene. - Leanne Aguilera, E! Online
"If this scene really just is a miscalculation in direction (and potentially the writing of Benioff and Weiss, neither of whom have yet commented on it) and doesn’t get any payoff later in the season, then it truly deserves all the criticism it has been receiving.” - Terri Schwartz, Zap2It
The director who shot the scene and the man who acted in it both believe it wasn’t necessarily nonconsensual sex— an attitude that isn’t totally surprising in a society that’s deeply confused about what constitutes consent, and that doesn’t always recognize sexual violence for what it is. -Tara Culp-Ressler, ThinkProgress
So then Jaime … well … no other way to put this, really. He rapes his sister beside their corpse of their murdered son. This is the same guy who protected Brienne from a similar fate last year. - James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly
"…the show’s overall treatment of women as disposable objects onto whom physical and emotional violence are relentlessly enacted. Sexual violence is so pervasive on the show that nearly every woman on the show has been raped or threatened with rape. The show, and the books, reveal the disturbing and cavalier facility with which rape becomes a narrative device.Rape is used to punish. Rape is used to make a woman more sympathetic or to explicate their anger or other unlikable qualities. Rape is used to put women in their place.” -Roxane Gay, Salon
"The entire scene in the sept was an exercise in Cersei’s belittlement. She watched her father degrade and dishonor (albeit truthfully) her firstborn’s legacy and then manipulate her youngest into serving as his marionette. Then, on the floor next to the body of her dead son, the only man she’s ever taken into her confidence abused that trust in the most vile way imaginable.” - Hillary Kelly, The New Republic
"A giggling dead body would have at least taken our attention away from, you know, the raping." - Johnny Brayson, wetpaint
"Whether the show meant it to come across that way or not, what we saw was a rape.” - Erik Kain, Forbes
"The scene, which has Cersei pleading “stop it” repeatedly and struggling against Jaime, appears far from consensual." - Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times
In the show there’s no other way to interpret it as unambiguous rape. Jaimie isn’t loving when he tries to have sex with her in the show, he’s shown as being angry and hateful, cursing her for being a wicked woman. There’s no point in the scene on the show that we can see Cersei consent, which makes the whole scene significantly different from the book. Some readers have pointed out that the rape in the show is damaging for Cersei’s character arc since she had to endure the marriage to Robert Baratheon in which he essentially engaged in marital rape, Her consensual sex was always with Jaimie who made her feel safe. Jaimie raping her in the show completely destroys their relationship and destroys the trust she has in Jaimie leaving her without anyone. - AJ, the Digital Times
The rewritten scene also takes away all of Cersei’s agency. In the original text, Cersei chooses to have sex with Jaime, grotesque as it and the setting may be — because she wants to, or because she uses sex to manipulate, it doesn’t matter. Cersei has power and control. The scene in the show deprives her of all of that. - Amelia McDonell-Parry, The Frisky
His response is not to stop loving her, not to stop believing that he is victim to the gods. Instead, Jaime rapes his sister, passing that sense of unendurable pain on to her. He must know that this is the worst possible way that he could hurt her. Jaime knew that Robert raped Cersei, and in the novels, he wanted to kill Robert for it. Not only does raping Cersei remind his sister of her repeated, humiliating violation, Jaime is poisoning their own relationship, the thing that had been Cersei’s antidote to the miseries of her marriage. It is an exceptionally cruel thing for Jaime to do. - Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post.
It’s hard to shake the idea that Game Of Thrones, the show, doesn’t see a problem with pushing a scene from complicated, consensual sex to outright rape. It would be easier to accept that idea if it were clear what the show was trying to do with those changes. - Sonia Saraiya, AV Club
If Graves intended to depict consensual sex in the end, he completely failed. This wasn’t even one of those terribly clichéd scenes where a man starts raping a woman only to find that she comes around to thinking it’s hot. Cersei is still kicking and protesting when the camera cuts away. It’s as straightforward a rape scene as you’ll get on TV, unless you buy the ridiculous myth that a woman can’t be raped if she’s consented to sex with a man before. - Amanda Marcotte, Slate
This isn’t the first rape scene in Game of Thrones—far from it. And there’s been controversy over the show’s use of rape before. But what makes this scene the most upsetting one yet is that the director didn’t realize he was filming a rape scene…Whether or not the creators intended this to be a rape scene is irrelevant; they made one anyway. And worse, they made one that encourages the most dangerous thinking about rape imaginable. - Laura Hudson, Wired
"How will victims of sexual assault be affected when a director and actor in one of television’s most popular shows questions whether no really means no?" - Eliana Dockterman, Time Magazine
I’ll go ahead and say it: Jaime Lannister has become a rape cliché. He’s the boss, like every other on-screen rapist we’ve ever seen. - Hayley Krischer, Salon
"I’m not opposed to shows depicting sexual violence, but rape-as-prop is always distressing…Rape and abuse have consequences for the victims who carry those traumas with them. While I don’t know exactly how the show will depict the aftermath of Jamie raping Cersei, GoT does not have a strong track record of acknowledging or exploring the lingering effects of surviving sexual assault." - Margarey Lyons, Vulture/New York Magazine
"I can’t think of any comparable defense for the rape scene in "Breaker of Chains," which feels like a naked and ill-conceived attempt to push Game of Thrones into even darker territory. …I’m concerned that Game of Thrones has made a mistake it can’t take back — and one that sets a troubling precedent for the show’s future.” - Scott Meslow, The Week
The Game of Thrones Rape Scene Was Unnecessary and Despicable….The fact that showrunners might be asking us to overlook this for the sake of character development is downright insulting and says a lot about how we treat victims, especially the ones who come off as unlikable. - Madeleine Davies, Jezebel.com
Is “Game of Thrones” Obsessed With Sexual Assault?…Frankly, there are some weeks when “Game of Thrones” doesn’t seem worth the effort. - Sam Adams, IndieWire
Divided Family: Through Music, Cubans Trace Their Roots To Sierra Leone
It is often said that music has the power to bring people together. That sentiment is definitely an understatement when it comes to the Afro-Cubans community Ganga-Longoba of Perico.
Cuba’s Ganga people have been singing the same African chants for generations, but it wasn’t until an Australian researcher took interest in the songs, that they were able to trace their chants to a remote village in Sierra Leone, 170 years after the slave trade.
“When I first filmed the Ganga-Longoba, I believed their ceremonies were a mixture of many different ethnic groups,” says historian Emma Christopher, of Sydney University. “I had no idea that a large number of Ganga songs would come from just one village. I think that’s extremely unusual,” she says.
After tracing their roots back to Sierra Leone, four Cubans made the trip to the African country to delve more into their history. Christopher captured the moment for the documentary They Are We.
"Cuba was cut off at a time when other nations in the Americas were going through black pride and fighting for some justice for what happened to their ancestors," says Dr. Christopher, who points out that the island’s 1959 revolution declared racism ‘solved’. That left a lot of Afro-Cubans adrift, not knowing how to celebrate where they came from and be proud of it," she says.
Whilst many Cubans of Spanish descent have rushed to seek out their ancestry—and passports—Afro-Cubans have been far less anxious to do the same. Organizing a reunion for the divided “family” wasn’t easy given restrictions on traveling from Cuba at the time, and limited resources. But eventually, four Cubans did make their ancestors’ voyage in reverse - to Sierra Leone.
“When I opened my mouth to sing, they just stood there staring,” Elvira Fumero recalls of her arrival in Mokpangumba. “Then it was like an explosion. They started to sing the responses, and dance with me. And I knew then that this was where the Ganga came from,” she says, smiling.
For Alfredo Duquesne, visiting Sierra Leone changed everything.
"It was as if I’d just left the previous weekend. I touched the soil and thought: ‘This is it. I’ve come back,’" he says, describing himself now as ‘at peace’. "At last I know where I come from," Alfredo says. "I’m not a stranger anymore."
Is this not all the same if a black african girl were to be dating someone from the Middle East? It's all the same stuff, isn't it?
I think this is a really interesting question actually, because it implicitly tries to compare and contrast the effects of the Arab slave trade with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Are the power dynamics of a black African woman dating an Arab guy in the Middle East similar to that of a white guy in the US or Europe dating a black woman from their country?
(Image description: Egyptian slavemaster and Waswahili slave)
What we do know is that the Arab slave trade predated the European trans-Atlantic slave trade by several hundred years. We also know that there is a very long history of a complete denigration and dehumanization of black people in Arab countries. In Islam, it was illegal to enslave a member of faith. But black skin was so associated with slavery in the Arab world that these rules were regularly bypassed to enslave Muslim Africans anyway. Also, most of those enslaved were African women who were sold into sex slavery for Arab men.
The poetry and writings of Antarah ibn Shaddah, a black pre-Islamic folk hero confirm that antiblackness in some form or other in the Arab world is entrenched and goes back far more than a millenium. Born in 525 AD to a noble Arab tribesman and an Ethiopian slave woman, Antarah was subjected to regular humiliation, including the betrayal of his father who denied his paternity and considered him to be another slave living in his household. It was only much later in his adult life that his father acknowledged his paternity and liberated him from slavery. And the legacy of this dehumanizing antiblackness continues to this day in the Arab world. More than 200,000 South Sudanese were enslaved during the Second Sudanese war alone. 150,000 Ethiopians were just deported on a whim by the Saudi Arabian government. And black Africans are regularly subjected to dehumanizing treatment and brutality across the Arab world.
(Image description: Arab captors with black Zanzibar workers)
In all it is estimated that at least 8 million Africans were subjected to the Arab slave trade. Other estimates range north of 20 million. These numbers are comparable to those of the trans-Atlantic slave trade depending on the scholars you read. There are large black communities in the Arab world today as a legacy of this slave trade and recent migration. Numbers of descendants from original slaves were limited by an incredibly high death rate and the fact that black African male slaves were regularly castrated and made into eunuchs for their Arab masters. Black people in the Arab world include former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, who was of Egyptian and Sudanese Nubian ancestry
(Image description: Portrait of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat)
Sadat was regularly ridiculed as being “Nasser’s black poodle" and people insisted that he "did not look Egyptian enough.” All despite the fact that Arabs didn’t colonize Egypt until the 600s AD and so could be identity checked themselves by black Egyptians.
If you would like to see more examples of the rampant antiblackness in the Arab world, see these tweets.
Within the Arab world today Arab supremacy is a basic fact of life with incredibly dehumanizing effects on black Africans and indigenous Amazigh peoples in particular. And especially when we consider the fact that the Arab slave trade targeted black African women especially for sex slavery, the parallels in the power dynamics between a black woman and white man in the West and a black African woman and an Arab man within the Arab world today are likely a lot more similar than one might realize at first glance.
Raleigh Ritchie - Bloodsport