Breaker of Chains
|"Breaker of Chains"|
|Game of Thrones episode|
Daenerys arriving with her army outside Meereen.
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Alex Graves|
|Written by||David Benioff|
D. B. Weiss
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||Anette Haellmigk|
|Editing by||Katie Weiland|
|Original air date||April 20, 2014|
|Running time||57 minutes|
In King's Landing
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
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.
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
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.
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.
"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. The controversial Jaime-Cersei scene was adapted from chapter 62 of A Storm of Swords (Jaime VII). Other content came from chapters Sansa V, Tyrion IX and Daenerys V.
"Breaker of Chains" was watched by an estimated 6.6 million people during the first hour. Another 1.6 million watched it on rerun. 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.
The episode was well received by critics, with a 95% rating from 37 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. 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.'"
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", though some readers interpret it as implying rape.
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." 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." Critics, including Erik Kain of Forbes, Sonia Saraiya of The A.V. Club, Megan Gibson of Time, Amanda Marcotte of Slate, and Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post, also viewed the scene as rape.
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". 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." 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. 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".
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." 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." 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." 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]."
To Saraiya, the series' choice to portray this scene as rape appeared to be an act of "exploitation for shock value". 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. 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." 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. In a broader context, Hingston credited the episode with furthering "the furious debate over consent going on in our culture". 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".
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