Contains spoilers through the Season 4 finale.
Much has already been said about the rape of Cersei Lanister by her brother Jaime in Season 4 of "Game of Thrones," and now actors Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are finally speaking out about controversial scene.
In separate interviews with Entertainment Weekly, both stars claim that the scene -- in which Jaime overpowers his sister as she audibly protests, while their son, King Joffrey Baratheon, lays dead before them -- was misinterpreted by audiences and that the sexual encounter between the two siblings was not meant to depict a rape.
“It’s that terrible thing as a woman -- talking about something as horrendous as rape and dismissing it, which I’m not. But we never discussed it as that,” Headey told the magazine on the show's set in Dubrovnik, Croatia. “It was a woman in grief for her dead child, and the father of the child -- who happens to be her brother -- who never really acknowledged the children is standing with her. We’ve all experienced grief. There’s a moment of wanting to fill a void, and that is often very visceral, physical."
Meanwhile, Coster-Waldau was more hesitant to speak about the scene, but, he told the magazine:
Most people I spoke to got from the scene what we were trying to show -- a very complicated relationship, and two people in desperate need for each other. All these emotions going through them, it was never intended to be something where he forced -- it wasn’t a rape, and it was never intended to be. But it’s one of those things where you can’t [publicly] say "It wasn’t rape," because then everybody goes, "How can you say it wasn’t rape?!" But that was definitely not the intention.
Of course this is hardly the first defense of the controversial scene. Alex Graves, who directed the episode, told HitFix the day after it aired in April 2014, that it wasn't quite a rape scene as it "becomes consensual by the end."
"Because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on," he said, "especially a power struggle."
The scene, which also occurs in the books but was not met with the same controversy, was also addressed by author George R.R. Martin, who took to his blog to respond to the outrage after the episode aired last year.
Though the scene was intended to be disturbing, Martin wrote, "I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons."
"Game of Thrones" returns on Sunday, April 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated that the scene did not occur in the "Game of Thrones" books.
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