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Someone Finally Asked Lena Headey About That Controversial Game Of Thrones Scene

What It Says On the Tin

Lena Headey is a powerful actress. Whether she’s playing a time-traveling momma, or Ma-Ma, you can’t help but be captivated by her when she’s on screen. Headey, of course, also stars as Cersei Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones and was one of the actors involved in a scene making some major waves with fans. We’d already heard what the director, executive producer, George R.R. Martin, and actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had to say on it but Headey has finally been asked for her opinion on the subject. 

In the discussions we’ve had, folks have been wondering what Headey had to say about the scene many consider to have included a rape. An interviewer from GoldDerby did a live Google Hangout with the actress just yesterday and brought it up. Now, to be fair, Google Hangouts are always a bit awkward thanks to the technology involved but this one is worse than usual considering the topic of Headey’s thoughts on “Breaker of Chains” were broached. The video is embedded below but we’ve transcribed it here as well for your consideration.

GoldDerby: There was a massive scene that got a lot of talk, not last night but last week on Game of Thrones involving you and your brother. I guess King Joffrey was around, his cold body was around

Headey: Innocent bystander for the first time ever.

GoldDerby: Yes! The one time he’s not the one causing the mischief. I just wanted to ask, for that scene with Nikolaj, what was your reaction to that scene? When you got it I read online that you had mixed feelings about that scene. Whether that’s true or not I guess you can clear up for us. How did you find, how was your reaction to that scene?

Headey: I think, you know, I don’t know if I’d describe it as mixed feelings, that sounds kind of a bit blasé but I…you know, it’s very important to me and I love Cersei and I…you know, David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] write beautifully for us and Brian [Cogman], and…there’s my phone.

[pause for phone ringing]

GoldDerby: In case you don’t know the scene I was just talking about…Oh, you’re back, Lena?

Headey: I’ve returned. Yes, so, you know, we spent a long time rehearsing it with Alex [Graves], the director, and myself and Nik and Jack [Gleeson] and you know, of course 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 [Editor’s Note: I would disagree.]. 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.

GoldDerby: I read and heard sort of two opinions sort of about this scene. Some people say, “well in the book it was a clearly consensual scene and they’ve gone off from the book said.” Others have been, “no, it sort of ended up being consensual in the show as well.” Do you have an opinion on that, whether this was a consensual act or not?

Headey: [Thinks about it.] This is a really tricky one because, you know, either way, anything I say I’m going to get slaughtered for.

GoldDerby: Yes. How did you play it? As an actress approaching it…

Headey: 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 it’s tricky, man, because we could go into this for a long time, I could get personal, we could…you know what I mean? It’s a real fucker of a situation. And I also think, you know, without being too much of a twat about it, we’re talking about a show with dragons, incest, babies taken by zombies, you know…

GoldDerby: Do you think it was the right direction for the show to take with that scene? Do you think it was done…

Headey: Yes! I do, 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.


From my view, there’s obviously a few problematic things said in this chat but it also reads (and plays) as a woman who really doesn’t want to land on either side of the fence. Obviously Headey also has a different view of the whole thing than viewers had simply from being on set the day of and hearing whatever intention was behind the scene. And I think that’s what it boils down to for her at least. While Graves called it “forced sex” and Benioff admitted Jaime was forcing himself on Cersei, for Headey’s part, her character wanted Jaime in that moment. But wanting to have sex with someone doesn’t constitute consent if that consent isn’t expressed and, unfortunately for a lot of us, that’s not the impression we took away from the scene.

There’s obviously a lot of discussion to be had about Headey’s perspective but how do you feel about what she had to say?

(via several email tipsters)

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."