Breaker of Chains

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"Breaker of Chains"
Game of Thrones episode
Game of Thrones-S04-E03-Breaker-of-Chains.jpg
Daenerys arriving with her army outside Meereen.
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 3
Directed byAlex Graves
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byAnette Haellmigk
Editing byKatie Weiland
Original air dateApril 20, 2014 (2014-04-20)
Running time57 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Lion and the Rose"
Next →
"Oathkeeper"
Game of Thrones (season 4)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"Breaker of Chains" is the third episode of the fourth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 33rd overall.

The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss,[1] and directed by Alex Graves.[2] It aired on April 20, 2014.[3]

The episode received critical praise overall, but triggered a public controversy as many interpreted the sexual encounter between Jaime and Cersei Lannister as rape.[4][5]

This episode marks the final appearance of Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) .

Plot[edit]

In King's Landing[edit]

Immediately following Joffrey's murder, Dontos and Sansa flee the feast while Cersei and Tywin order the city gates barred and all ships seized while they search the capital for Sansa. Dontos and Sansa arrive at a ship hiding in fog, where they are greeted by Lord Petyr Baelish. Baelish, who believes that Dontos will eventually reveal the conspiracy, orders his men to kill Dontos. Baelish also reveals that the necklace Dontos gave to Sansa was a fake and part of the ruse.

In the city gardens, Olenna and Margaery discuss Joffrey's murder, and how, as their marriage was unconsummated, she is not the Queen. In the Sept, Tywin speaks to Tommen about becoming the king and the qualities that a king must possess, then leaves Cersei to grieve for Joffrey alone. Jaime arrives soon after and consoles Cersei. She asks him to kill Tyrion before a trial can take place, adamant that he is responsible. Jaime refuses and rapes Cersei next to Joffrey's corpse.

While engaging in an intercourse, Prince Oberyn and Ellaria Sand are interrupted by Tywin, who requests to speak with Oberyn privately. Tywin believes that Oberyn may have had a hand in Joffrey's murder. Oberyn refutes his claims and directly accuses Tywin of ordering Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane to rape and murder his sister, Elia years earlier. Tywin denies the accusations, but offers to have the Mountain speak with Oberyn about her murder, in exchange for Oberyn serving as one of the three judges in Tyrion's trial and also as a member of the small council. In his cell, Tyrion is visited by his squire, Podrick. Podrick tells Tyrion he is to be tried in a fortnight and that Sansa has not been seen since the wedding. Before leaving, Podrick tells Tyrion that he was asked to testify against Tyrion in exchange for a knighthood. Tyrion orders him to bring Jaime and then flee the city, as he fears for Podrick's life.

In the North[edit]

Samwell is teased by Ser Alliser and Janos Slynt, who do not believe he was able to kill a White Walker. Samwell speaks with Gilly about moving her to Mole's Town to keep her safe, as many of the Night's Watch brothers were arrested for rape. Gilly wants to stay at Castle Black, but is taken to Mole's Town where Samwell finds her temporary lodging.

The wildling party led by Tormund Giantsbane raids a small village, and Styr forces a small boy, Olly, to run to Castle Black to tell the Night's Watch what they have done. At a gathering, Ser Alliser tells the men that their duty is to protect the Wall first, which is echoed by Maester Aemon. When Alliser asks Jon, he reluctantly agrees that they must prioritize the Wall, before he is interrupted by a horn blast indicating returning rangers. Edd Tollett and Grenn arrive and inform them that Karl and his band of mutineers are living in Craster's Keep. Jon remembers his lie to Mance Rayder about having 1,000 men guarding the Wall, ten times their actual number, and says they must ride north and kill the mutineers before Mance finds out the truth about the Night's Watch forces and realizes how badly he has them outnumbered.

At Dragonstone[edit]

Stannis has Davos read a letter sent to Dragonstone, informing them that Joffrey is dead. Stannis claims it is the result of leeching Gendry's blood and burning the leeches. He chastises Davos for releasing Gendry, and for not having managed to raise an army for their cause. Davos suggests hiring mercenaries from Essos, but Stannis points out that they have no gold. Davos then visits Shireen, who continues to teach him to read. During the lesson, he suddenly comes up with an idea and has her write a message to the Iron Bank of Braavos in Stannis' name.

In the Riverlands[edit]

The Hound and Arya continue their journey east toward the Vale of Arryn, before accepting an offer of shelter from a farmer. At dinner, the Hound agrees to work for the farmer in exchange for some silver, but in the morning, he steals the farmer's silver despite Arya's protests.

Outside Meereen[edit]

Daenerys and her army arrive outside Meereen, where they are received by the Champion of Meereen. Ser Jorah informs her that she must send her own champion to battle the one from Meereen. Her advisors argue over the chance to fight for her, but Daario Naharis is selected. Daario easily kills the champion. Daenerys then speaks to the city's slaves, telling them of her victories in Astapor and Yunkai, including freeing those cities' slaves. She then orders her catapults to fire, and they launch barrels filled with broken slave collars into the city as a sign of the freedom she intends to bring them.

Production[edit]

The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

"Breaker of Chains" was written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based upon the source material, Martin's A Storm of Swords.[6][7] The controversial Jaime-Cersei scene was adapted from chapter 62 of A Storm of Swords (Jaime VII).[6][8][9] Other content came from chapters Sansa V, Tyrion IX and Daenerys V.[6][8]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"Breaker of Chains" was watched by an estimated 6.6 million people during the first hour. Another 1.6 million watched it on rerun.[10] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 1.665 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.099 million timeshift viewers.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode was well received by critics, with a 95% rating from 37 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[12] Matt Fowler of IGN wrote that the episode deals "with the direct aftermath of King Joffrey's violent demise, though it also [feels] like the most bereft of the first three episodes" and that it "ended with a big, grandiose Daenerys moment – though if one were to compare her launching canisters filled with broken shackles over the walls of Meereen to last year's flambéing of Astapor and stealing off with an entire army (which came at the end of episode 4), this moment lacked 'oomph.'"[13]

Rape scene[edit]

The episode attracted controversy for a scene where Jaime Lannister forces himself upon Cersei Lannister in the Great Sept of Baelor. In the episode, Cersei repeatedly tells Jaime "no", "stop", and "it's not right" while attempting to push him away. In the source novel, however, Cersei initially rejects Jaime's advances but changes her mind, saying "yes",[4][14] though some readers interpret it as implying rape.[5]

Alan Sepinwall of HitFix stated that viewers interpreted the scene as a rape: "Though there aren't comments on these reviews at the moment, the reaction I've seen on Twitter, in emails and on other blogs suggests nobody is agreeing with [director Alex] Graves' interpretation of the scene and are viewing it as rape, plain and simple."[15] Sandy Hingston of Philadelphia wrote that the scene had outraged many viewers, but had led others to make "tentative attempts in comments sections to explain why maybe actually this wasn't rape."[16] Critics, including Erik Kain of Forbes,[9] Sonia Saraiya of The A.V. Club,[4] Megan Gibson of Time,[17] Amanda Marcotte of Slate,[18] and Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post, also viewed the scene as rape.[19]

The episode's director, Alex Graves, described the scene in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter as "and then Jaime comes in and he rapes her".[20] In another interview with HitFix, Graves said "it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for [Jaime and Cersei] ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle."[15] In an interview with Vulture, Graves further elaborated: "The consensual part of it was that she wraps her legs around him, and she's holding on to the table, clearly not to escape but to get some grounding in what's going on. And also, the other thing that I think is clear before they hit the ground is she starts to make out with him. ... before he rips her undergarment, she's way into kissing him back." Graves stated that it was important for him and others involved with filming the scene to indicate to viewers that the sexual encounter was not completely one-sided, and that he hoped this aspect would not be overlooked.[21] Noting that during filming, "nobody really wanted to talk about what was going on between the two characters", he described the scene as "one of my favorite scenes I've ever done".[15]

Others involved with the series also commented on the scene. David Benioff, who co-wrote the episode and serves as showrunner with D. B. Weiss, described the interaction of the two siblings as "a really kind of horrifying scene, because you see, obviously, Joffrey's body right there, and you see that Cersei is resisting this. She's saying no, and he's forcing himself on her. So it was a really uncomfortable scene, and a tricky scene to shoot."[22] George R.R. Martin, author of the novels from which the series is adapted, stated that the dynamic is different between Jaime and Cersei in the show because, as opposed to the books, "Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer." He stated that while the setting is the same, "neither character is in the same place as in the books" and that he surmises this "may be why Dan [Weiss] & David [Benioff] played the sept out differently." Martin added that he never discussed the scene with them, and that the scene "was always intended to be disturbing... but [I] regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons."[17] Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who portrays Jaime, said in an interview that while many saw the scene as a brutal rape, "that was obviously never intended. I understand that one can see it as that, but for us it was much more complex."[23] Lena Headey, who portrays Cersei, declined to comment about whether she interpreted the sex as consensual, but said that "it's a very complicated moment for many reasons ... 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 [the scene]."[24]

To Saraiya, the series' choice to portray this scene as rape appeared to be an act of "exploitation for shock value".[4] Marcotte and Josh Wigler of MTV commented that the rape scene may have damaged Jaime's character's arc of redemption from his earlier crimes, and Marcotte wrote that it might never recover from the rape.[18][25] Dustin Rowles of Salon noted that viewers who were previously able to sympathize with Jaime despite his earlier crimes of murder and incest now became angry at the series' creators "for allowing a terrible person to do something more terrible than our minds will allow us to forgive."[26] Andrew Romano of The Daily Beast opined that the scene "wasn't supposed to be a rape. It was supposed to look consensual. The filmmakers messed up." He cited the fact that "neither the director of the scene nor the two actors who played it seem to think that Jaime raped Cersei—and the story itself is continuing to chug along as if the rape never happened and Jaime is still a character we're supposed to root for." He suggested that viewers "ignore the rape—at least from a narrative perspective" because Benioff and Weiss had "botched" it.[27] In a broader context, Hingston credited the episode with furthering "the furious debate over consent going on in our culture".[16] Laura Hudson of Wired described the scene and its appraisal by its director as "one that encourages the most dangerous thinking about rape imaginable: that when a woman is held down on the ground, screaming for the man to stop, that deep down inside her she might still really want it." She considered Graves' lack of realization that he was filming a rape scene disturbing because, according to Hudson, his comments encouraged the thinking that a man's persistence might "'turn' a rape into something consensual", and that it is a "dysfunctional, dangerous way of looking at sex and consent, one that is based on the idea of forcing women to give it".[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Here is your season 4 writers breakdown". WinterIsComing.net. February 26, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Hibberd, James (July 16, 2013). "'Game of Thrones' season 4 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Shows A–Z – game of thrones". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Saraiya, Sonia (April 20, 2014). "Rape of Thrones. Why are the Game Of Thrones showrunners rewriting the books into misogyny?". A.V. Club. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Moore, Ben (April 22, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' Author George R.R. Martin Reacts to Controversial Altered Scene". screenrant.com. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c George R. R. Martin (2000). A Storm of Swords. Chapter: Bantam Spectra. ISBN 0-553-10663-5.
  7. ^ Walt Hickey (4 May 2014). "How Much Source Material Does HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Have Left to Work With?". FiveThirtyEight.com. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (May 3, 2013). "EP403: Breaker of Chains". Westeros.org. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Kain, Erik (April 21, 2014). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 3 Review: Sex And Violence". Forbes. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  10. ^ Ago, Mhladnik3 Years (21 April 2014). "Game of Thrones viewership ratings rise once more with Breaker of Chains".
  11. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (21-27 April 2014)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "Game of Thrones: Season 4: Episode 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  13. ^ Fowler, Matt (April 20, 2014). "Game of Thrones: "Breaker of Chains" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Martin, George (2000). A Storm of Swords. New York: Bantam Dell. p. 851. ISBN 0-553-57342-X.
  15. ^ a b c Sepinwall, Alan (April 20, 2014). "REVIEW: 'GAME OF THRONES' - 'BREAKER OF CHAINS': UNCLE DEADLY?". HitFix. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Hingston, Sandy (April 22, 2014). "Furious Internet to Jaime Lannister: "Incest: You're Doing It Wrong". Moral relativism rules when it comes to Game of Thrones, apparently". Philadelphia. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  17. ^ a b "George R. R. Martin Responds To That Controversial Game of Thrones Scene". Time. April 22, 2014. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Marcotte, Amanda (April 21, 2014). "The Director of Sunday's Game of Thrones Doesn't Think That Was Rape". Slate. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  19. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa (April 20, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' review: Breaker of chains, breakers of will". Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  20. ^ Couch, Aaron (April 20, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' Director on Controversial Scene: Jaime 'Traumatized,' Cersei 'a Wreck' (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  21. ^ Martin, Denise (April 21, 2014). "Breaking Down Jaime and Cersei's Controversial Sex Scene, With Last Night's Game of Thrones Director". Vulture. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  22. ^ "Game of Thrones Season 4: Inside the Episode #3 (HBO)". YouTube. HBO. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  23. ^ Bergqvist, Mattias (28 April 2014). "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau om DEN DÄR scenen i "Game of thrones"". Expressen. Retrieved 2 May 2014. As translated in: García, Elio. "HEADEY, COSTER-WALDAU ON SEPT SCENE". Westeros.org. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  24. ^ Schlossberg, Mallory (30 April 2014). "'GAME OF THRONES' LENA HEADEY TALKS CONTROVERSIAL RAPE SCENE BUT LEAVES US WANTING MORE". Bustle. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  25. ^ Wigler, Josh (April 22, 2014). "'Game Of Thrones' Author Reacts To 'Disturbing' Jaime-Cersei Scene". MTV. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  26. ^ Rowles, Dustin (April 24, 2014). "Why the "Game of Thrones" rape scene caused fans to respond in the worst possible way". Salon. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  27. ^ "Why We Should Pretend the 'Game of Thrones' Rape Scene Never Happened". The Daily Beast. May 4, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  28. ^ Hudson, Laura (April 21, 2014). "That Game of Thrones Scene Wasn't a 'Turn-On,' It Was Rape". Wired. Retrieved April 27, 2014.

External links[edit]