A Family Affair: Incest in HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game-of-thrones-sex-incest1-300x201Lauren is back with another great Game of Thrones post!  This time she tries to tackle the thorny issue of icenst in HBO’s fantasy drama.  Give it a read and leave her a comment below with your own feelings on the matter.

Incest has been a popular plot point in many HBO shows as of late. It plays a decided role in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and in the HBO adaption. While this no doubt raised some eyebrows, this show was able to break this taboo fairly easily. How was it that Martin and the directors were able to introduce such a despised topic on television with little to no back lash? Perhaps it was how it was introduced to the audience.

In the first episode, it’s not said that Viserys Targaryen has an incestuous relationship with his younger sister, Daeneyrs, but some kind of inappropriate behavior is implied. The way that he sizes up his sister’s naked body in the first episode seems to hint towards there being some kind of interaction that isn’t quite ‘brotherly.’ Dany’s stoic response to his actions also seems to speak to prior abuse of some kind.

This exchange between the Targaryen exiles introduces the possibility of incest, but in no way confirms it. It serves to introduce Dany as a sympathetic character, one that is no stranger to being used. It also seems to be a device to turn the audience against Viserys, who abuses his little sister both physically and mentally. Looking back, this scene with Viserys and Daeneyrs strikes me as an attempt to acquaint the audience with the idea of incest, as if to test the waters before diving right into it…
game-of-thrones-incest-sex-scene-download1Diving right into it, the audience is then introduced to the Lannisters. These buxom blondes are known for their money and their looks, but a lesser known fact in Westeros: twins, Jaime and Cersei are lovers. Now, you would think this would come as a shock that the audience would be appalled, but they’re not. Maybe it’s because we find out this little tid-bit just moments before Jaime pushes 10 year old Bran Stark out a window for witnessing their incest.

The audience doesn’t have time to let the realization of Jaime and Cersei banging settle in before one of the child protagonists is unceremoniously tossed from a tower, presumably to his death. So, maybe the attempted murder of a child eclipses the act of incest. Or possibly, now that they see the true depravity of the Lannister twins, nothing really can shock them. Jaime and Cersei are just terrible people so what else would you expect from terrible people, but terrible things?

Were you shocked by the incest in the first season of A Game of Thrones? Do you think Game of Thrones season 2 will be as… sexy?  Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts with us!


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