This season of Game of Thrones has proven to be an intense one for Lena Headey who plays Cersei Lannister, the Queen Regent of Westeros. Already this year, her character has had to deal with the return of her brother/lover as well as the murder of her eldest son.
These two storylines came together in an controversial scene in episode three (“Breaker of Chains”) in which she has sex with her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in the crypt where her dead son’s body is interred. Many fans were outraged by this divergence from the books. However, as the actress told Gold Derby during a recent webcam chat (watch below):
“I stand by it absolutely … it’s bringing up important conversations.”
While the sex was clearly consensual in the book, it is not as clear cut on the TV show. Speaking to this, Heady admits: “This is a really tricky … anything I say I’m going to get slaughtered for … I came from this place of grieving and a need to feel connected and alive. This is the only other person she has ever trusted in the world and she’s shunned Jaime and he’s never stopped loving her. In that moment she’s embracing and rejecting of him in the same breath … its tricky man, we could go into for a long time… it’s a real fucker of a situation.”
As for filming the scene, she reveals: “It’s a very complicated moment, for many reasons … it becomes very messy. There’s lust and desperation and a need to feel something other than this searing empty loss. So that’s where I came from when we were filming; 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 it.”
Responding to the discomfort of viewers, Headey concedes, “my intention was there and I think people’s reactions are right and opinions are varying.”
She muses that Joffrey was an “innocent bystander for the first time ever.” And, as for the death of this character, she reflects: “I do understand that the power of a mother’s love is undeniable and intrinsic … Also, she’s had nothing of her own, this is something of her … she knew he was a monster but he was her monster.”