George RR Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire on which HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones was based has revealed some behind-the-scenes facts from the show. He recently talked about how the makers made some significant changes in the screen adaptation without his knowledge in an oral history book of the show.
Martin revealed the details to Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd who is working on an oral history of the show titled, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series.
The author said how a consensual love-making scene in the book between Khaleesi and Khal Drogo was changed to a sexual assault scene in the show without his permission or consultation. He said the change made it worse and not better.
Show’s co-creator David Benioff defended the decision and said that in the show, Khaleesi was absolutely terrified of the barbarian warlord she was being married off to and hence having consensual sex on the wedding night would have been the last thing in the world she wanted. He said that part did not fit well with the story line and hence it had to be changed.
DB Weiss, show’s co-creator, also said that in the second episode, Khaleesi does go back to the less consensual, rougher relationship. The consensual relationship works in the book but the creators did not have that amount of time and access to the character’s mind when adapting it for the show.
Weiss mentioned how the actors also felt the same. He said that Emilia Clarke, who played the role of Khaleesi, did express having issues with the wedding night scene but agreed with the creators’ decision.
However, this is not the only scene with a controversial change. Creators DB Weiss and David Benioff also changed or added scenes of sexual assault against other female characters which were never in the book.
In the fourth season of the show, Cersei and Jaime Lannister reunite after not seeing each other since his capture by Winterfell army. Jamie can be seen forcing himself on Cersei, who is clearly upset and expresses her hesitation but eventually yields next to their incest-born son’s dead body.
Another instance is when Sansa Stark is raped by Ramsay Bolton on her wedding night which was also a forced union. In the book, Sansa never marries Ramsay.