Footnotes of Ice and Fire: The Backstory on 'Breaker of Chains'

The sprawling world of Game of Thrones can be confusing, so we're here to help you understand with some insight from a book reader.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The sprawling world of Game of Thrones can be confusing, so we're here to help you understand with some insight and context from a book reader. Here's the backstory on Jaime and Cersei's rape scene, why Tywin wants to help Prince Oberyn and Dorne, and what the new King Tommen is all about. Once you've read our recap of the "Breaker of Chains" episode, we'll guide you through what you may have missed. No spoilers, we promise.

Jaime and Cersei's rape scene

Jaime and Cersei's twincest has always been disturbing, but their relationship issues turned up to 11 when Jaime forced himself on her in the holy sept, right next to the body of their dead son, Joffrey. In the books, the scene begins with similar forcefulness and Cersei's resistance, but then turns into ecstasy for both parties. The AV Club pulled the original lines from the third book, A Storm of Swords.

"'No,' she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, 'not here. The septons…'"

Yet Jaime continues to forcefully unclothe her, and Cersei eventually comes around to his pushiness.

“Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.”

That complicated scene still sounds quite a bit like a rape, but last night's episode never got to the "Yes" part. The scene begins with Cersei yelling "Stop it," and ends with her yelling "It's not right. Don't!" There didn't seem to be that turn into a consensual encounter, and the entire scene appears to be a clear case of Jaime raping Cersei. But that's not how the episode's director Alex Graves sees it. "Well, it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle," he said in an interview with HitFix. Similarly, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who plays Jaime, says the answer to whether it was rape is "yes and no," he told the Daily Beast. “There are moments where she gives in, and moments where she pushes him away."

In the episode, though, the former seems missing. Perhaps the part where Cersei begins saying "Yes" was cut and lost on the editing floor, because that message does not come across in the TV episode. We're at a loss as to why this seemingly major change was made, and why neither the director nor Coster-Waldau can expound on that. 

Davos and The Iron Bank

Davos, the advisor of wannabe king Stannis Baratheon, had a big realization while going through his reading lessons. After losing most of his fleet and armies at the Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis needs fresh soldiers to take over Westeros. But where to find them? Davos has one idea: the Iron Bank.

The Iron Bank resides across the sea in Braavos and has been giving out loans to the Lannisters under Littlefinger's direction. But despite the family motto, the Lannisters have struggled to pay off those loans. Meanwhile, the Iron Bank's most famous saying is "The Iron Bank will have its due," a reference to the bank's willingness to purchase armies in order to attack defaulting clients. When clients can't pay their loans, the Iron Bank sets the swords on them. Davos thus realizes that one way he can get armies for Stannis' war efforts is to join the same side as the Iron Bank as Team Anti-Lannisters. Just after that realization, he writes a letter hoping to get the Iron Bank's support.

Tywin lends a hand to Oberyn and Dorne

Until now, Tywin and Prince Oberyn Martell the "Red Viper" have been positioned as enemies, as Oberyn wants justice for his sister Elia's death, which he blames on Tywin (more on that here). Yet "Breaker of Chains" saw Tywin offering Oberyn a spot on the jury of Tyrion's trial, a chance to speak with accused Elia-killer Ser Gregor Clegane, and a position on the small council. "I never realized you had such respect for Dorne, Lord Tywin," Oberyn says. Why does Tywin make all those concessions?

The answer lies mostly in Dorne's past history of resistance to dragons. A few hundred years before the current story, the seven kingdoms were just that: seven separate kingdoms. But Aegon Targaryen and his two sisters flew over on dragons and conquered six of those seven kingdoms, uniting them under one king. The one standout was Dorne, the desert-like, mountainous area in the South of Westeros that successfully resisted the Targaryen empire. Indeed, Dorne was never conquered by those dragons, and only entered into the Seven Kingdoms through a political marriage many years later.

Tywin's olive branch to Prince Oberyn thus has a lot to do with his worries about Daenerys and her three dragons over in the East. By keeping Dorne as an ally, he can better resist the potential dragon invasion coming. "You're saying you need us," Oberyn tells Tywin. "We need each other," he responds.

The new King Tommen

So who actually is this new king Tommen, the youngest of Cersei's children? If you feel like you haven't really met the character yet, you'd be exactly right. The show hasn't given us many clues, and it's no different at this point in the books. He is about 7 or 8 years old in the books, a far cry from the show's tween-like portrayal by 16-year-old actor Dean-Charles Chapman. Obviously, at that young age, all the book says about his personality is that he is not a Joffrey type. "He was a sweet boy, not like his brother," Tyrion notes early in the series. For once, a not-terrible Lannister! Praise the gods.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.