"Game of Thrones" has never been scared to push the envelope, especially when it comes to its portrayal of women, but one of its most controversial scenes is still on the way.
Image via HBO/HuffPost
Word of Cersei Lannister's nude "walk of atonement" started making rounds last year after a church in Croatia where the scene was going to be filmed almost shut down production. In the books, Cersei is shaved, stripped naked and forced to walk from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep for penance, but the nudity was going to be an issue for the real-life church. After some compromise with Croatian film commissioners, actress Lena Headey's walk was back on.
The scene sounds devastating, according to "Game of Thrones" actor Eugene Simon, aka Lancel Lannister.
"It's one of those scenes that's so extraordinarily massive when it's actually put on the screen," Simon told The Huffington Post. "I saw enough to know the way Cersei falls is cataclysmic. A lot of very big adjectives have to be used to describe a scene that big."
Simon's character played a pivotal role setting in motion Cersei's Season 5 downfall. When Lancel showed up during the Queen Mother's talk with the High Sparrow in Episode 7, "The Gift," Cersei realized things were about to go down.
"We felt the profundity of the moment because it's the first time Cersei ever had something really explode back in her face. It’s pretty powerful stuff," said Simon.
The scene is huge not only for its impact in the story, but also on the show's budget. The shoot cost upwards of $50,000 per day for four days, according to TMZ, which probably had HBO wishing Lannisters really did "shit gold."
"Game of Thrones" has caused a ton of outrage amongst fans this year with Sansa's rape by Ramsay and Shireen being burned as a sacrifice. With Cersei's walk, it's certain some more backlash is on the way.
While Simon said he would never suggest Sansa's scene wasn't as "shocking and horrifying" as it was perceived, the actor believes there is a reason behind those controversial scenes.
"I think you have to understand 'Game of Thrones' is set in a fantasy world. The underlying society is medieval. It was certainly horrifying, but it wasn’t just meant to horrify, I think, because the position of women during medieval times was so appalling," said Simon.
Fellow "Game of Thrones" actor John Bradley told us he thinks something that gets "slightly lost" is how much more impactful the show's shocking scenes are because of the actors' performances.
"When you read shocking scenes... you know how much more shocking they're going to be because you respect the caliber of performers that we have to tell those stories properly," he said.
Cersei's walk is most definitely going to be included in the list of shocking performances, but try not to worry too much. If the show goes the way of the books, the Queen Mother has a big surprise to look forward to in the end.
As Qyburn says, "The work continues..."