Alex Graves talks “Breaker of Chains,” one of the greatest days he’s ever had filming
By Lightbringer on in Interview.

Whether celebrating a death years in the making, solving a murder mystery, arguing consent, or applauding Tywin Lannister’s general badassery, Game of Thrones has kept the internet buzzing for weeks.

Director Alex Graves, the man responsible for bringing the events of the past two episodes to life, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his experience filming “Breaker of Chains.”

Graves says that during his work on last night’s episode, he experienced one of the greatest days he’s ever had while filming.

“To film Charles Dance kidnapping Lena’s son with words for three minutes of monologue — and to have Lena keeping up with him at the highest bar of acting possible with no words at all — was a joy. It was directorial crack to do that scene. It was one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever shot… Because you’re sitting here going, “This is so dysfunctional and bizarre.” She’s a wreck. Tywin is really going on about this historical stuff, and you slowly start to go, “He’s kidnapping her only boy,” because she’s not going to have him anymore. And then he succeeds, and then Jaime comes in and he rapes her. That was like — you read the scene and go, “Wait, who’s directing this?””

The scene between Jaime and Cersei (which Graves says contained subject matter that he is “never that excited about going to film”) was made even more disturbing by Joffrey’s dead body being visible in nearly every shot. Graves said that this was completely intentional, and explains why it was so important.

“He is their first born. He is their sin. He is their lust, and their love — their everything. If he’s gone, what’s going to happen? Jaime is still trying to believe as hard as he possibly can that he’s in love with Cersei. He can’t admit that he is traumatized by his family and he’s been forced his whole life to be something he doesn’t want to be. What he is — but has to deny — is he is actually the good knight.”

Graves recently commented that this episode would feature one of the best speeches in the series, which had many guessing what he was alluding to. We now have the full quote, which was in reference to The Hound justifying his robbery to Arya.

“That’s one of the best speeches in the series, and it’s the times they live in. The Hound is saying, “Arya. You’re a lot like your father. Don’t be too much like your father or you’re going to end up dead.” And that’s a very important turning point for her. It’s really a question of who is she going to become? This girl who has seen her family murdered over and over again? What’s going to happen to this traumatized kid, and how is she taking it in?”

For more from Graves, including his insight on the importance of the Wildlings’ attack, and what it was like shooting Dany’s grand finale, visit The Hollywood Reporter.


25 Comments

  1. PrinceRhaegar
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hodor!

  2. Winter is not coming
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    mace tyrell

  3. wizardeyes
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Wylla Manderly

  4. Clob
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t have called the conversation between he and Arya in that scene as a speech. Daenerys had a speech and Tywin had a speech, with interaction from his “audience.” Whatever. :)

  5. Laurentius
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Hear my prophecy:

    This thread will chiefly be occupied with discussion about whether Jamie raped Cersei or not. Insults will be thrown, and thrown back. Promises to stop watching the show will be made.

  6. Vin Sidious
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    The Hound’s “speech,” while well-said and salient, doesn’t quite qualify as a speech, I don’t think.

    I also disagree that Jaime is secretly “the good knight,” but in denial of that fact. I’m not sure what he really is, and I don’t think he himself really knows at this point, and I *think* that’s a huge part of his character and his entire arc thus far.

    I really like Graves as a director, but I don’t think I buy into all of his personal insights on the characters he’s directing.

  7. Justin Snow
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    More great insight from a great director.

  8. WompWomp
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Clob,

    They were all great. I wouldn’t consider Sandor’s words a speech either, but it was a great scene regardless. This whole episode was awesome. It’s the best episode comprised of invented material by the GoT writers to date, and one of the best overall, IMO. S4 has yet to reveal its weakest links, if there are any in store. I absolutely loved Tywin’s verbal abduction of Tommen.

  9. GreatJon of Slumber
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    What Vin Sidious said.

    Worrying about Graves’ comments in some ways seems almost counterproductive. He doesn’t show up mid-episode to comment on it, so from that point of view, I don’t care what he thinks. He thinks it becomes consensual. I think that’s utter bullshit. He thinks Jaime is “the good knight, like Brienne.” After what he does to Cersei, that’s ridiculous.

    If D&D have a good sense of where all this is going, that’s great. I’m really from there not worried about the opinions of the director who is generally less important for TV episodes.

    To me it’s similar to JK Rowling saying Dumbledore is meant to be gay. Is it in the books? No. So it makes no difference. We interpret literature, art, theater and film and TV based on what’s been put on screen. When critics talk of the best movies they’ve ever seen, and we award the Booker Prize, nobody justifies their vote by saying “The way the director explained those scenes in the DVD commentary and later interviews really showed me how brilliant he is.”

    If it’s not on screen, in a lot of ways, it isn’t relevant. Myles McNutt goes into this a bit (he takes issue with Graves’s comments, as do I and many others) on his blog.

    Of course, some wiseguy here will note that if I don’t care about what he’s saying, why did I comment on all this? And for that, I say, bravo. You have me stumped.

  10. smitzz
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I loved new Tommens introduction , Dance is soooo good in GoT , Who was Orys the first though? I cannot seem to find who it is on the ASOIAF wiki , was it a mistake? the only Orys I can find is Orys Baratheon and he wasn’t king of the seven kingdoms was he? It says he was only hand of the king

  11. SillyMammo
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    “Quick! Everyone to their high horses!”

  12. WompWomp
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Vin Sidious,

    There is some truth to it, methinks. Jaime once had heroes in his life and aspired to emulate them, and his kingslaying was a nobler deed than most will ever know. At the same time, that inner hero crying out idea doesn’t fully describe his current state either. His captivity and maiming was a turning point that destroyed a lot of his former identity, which he is now trying to reclaim by staying on as a Kingsguard and asserting himself over Cersei. He has a code, but no natural nobler state to revert to. Without Cersei’s affections and his favored hand to affirm his old self, he’ll be forced to be something new.

  13. spacechampion
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    There is a fan theory that the Seven are present in the story just as much as the Old Gods and the Red God are present. The idea though is that instead of being directly present the Seven take Avatars, and one suggestion is that Jaime is the avatar of the Warrior, Sandor is the Stranger, Gendry the Smith, etc. If perhaps Jaime somehow senses that would remind me a lot of another story, the Fionavar Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay, where one character is the avatar of a god similar to the roman god Bacchus, and he has to struggle with the idea his whole life, knowing he would be sacrificed. Others have suggested Brienne is avatar of the Warrior, and Jaime avatar of Father, Cersei avatar of the Mother.

  14. Annara Snow
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    spacechampion:
    There is a fan theory that the Seven are present in the story just as much as the Old Gods and the Red God are present.The idea though is that instead of being directly present the Seven take Avatars, and one suggestion is that Jaime is the avatar of the Warrior, Sandor is the Stranger, Gendry the Smith, etc.If perhaps Jaime somehow senses that would remind me a lot of another story, the Fionavar Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay, where one character is the avatar of a god similar to the roman god Bacchus, and he has to struggle with the idea his whole life, knowing he would be sacrificed.Others have suggested Brienne is avatar of the Warrior, and Jaime avatar of Father, Cersei avatar of the Mother.

    Jaime doesn’t have very strong fatherly feelings, to put it mildly. Father is also supposed to stand for Justice, which is… not Jaime’s primary concern (he’s one of my favorite characters, but really, it’s not) and Mother is supposed to stand for mercy… mmm, Cersei and mercy? I don’t think so. ;)

  15. WompWomp
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    spacechampion,

    That’s an interesting concept, but I think GRRM is too concerned with humans co-existing with the re-emergence of the supernatural in ASOIAF for it to ever be true. If it ever comes to fruition, only the reveal of Azor Ahai would fit that sort of bill.

  16. spacechampion
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Sure, there absolutely no evidence for it. But the idea of the Father representing justice, the Mother representing mercy, is only valid if the Faith have an accurate conception of the Seven. If they’re wrong and its just PR, then there is room for characters to become avatars. But even if they’re not wrong, someone struggling with the avatar role is interesting, even to the point of being opposite of the PR traits.

  17. Zack
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Tywin’s ‘lesson’ to Tommen was one of the most spellbinding moments on the series to date. Charles Dance commands all the attention any time he’s onscreen.

  18. MJW
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Hound: “I’m no thief, man’s got to have a code.” 1 episode later, nevermind-let me steal this weak guys silver.

    Jaime: I hated when Kings I served raped their wives. Lost my swordhand to prevent Brienne’s rape, LOL nevermind I don’t care Imma rape Cercei.

    It’s D&D’s writing & tone-deafness that angers me. This mistep was as bad as white savior Dany bodysurfing brown people to end season 3. No episode have I ever felt so much like I was watching characters I didn’t know b/c most of it WAS NOT from the book.

  19. Richard
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    The one look from Cersei as Tommen leaves with Tywin was just wow. She was showing torn apart and stunned at the same time.

  20. Vin Sidious
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    MJW,

    What Jaime did in that moment, within the pre-existing context of his relationship with Cersei, and as affected by all that’s gone on since his capture, while certainly inexcusable, does not amount to what would have been done to Brienne, surely, and does not suddenly turn Jaime into a man who condones rape and will now take it up as a hobby. Its entirely possible he’ll feel extremely bad and ashamed of his actions.

  21. jentario
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    This is for Emilia-hating book purists:
    “That was when I was done prepping the Purple Wedding. I went home, and instead of sleeping I had to plan that. I always called Meereen my 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. part-time job. If you get into the marrow of that daily storyline it is always, always Emilia (Clarke). She is the most motivating, stimulating young actor of many I’ve worked with. She is utterly old-school professional. She carries around a ripped up, wrecked, ruined version of the book we’re shooting, because she is one of the only people who reads the books. And behind all of that, every time you say action, you watch this performance occur that is Nirvana.”

    You gotta give her credit

  22. axia777
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    MJW:
    Hound: “I’m no thief, man’s got to have a code.” 1 episode later, nevermind-let me steal this weak guys silver.

    Jaime: I hated when Kings I served raped their wives.Lost my swordhand to prevent Brienne’s rape, LOL nevermind I don’t care Imma rape Cercei.

    It’s D&D’s writing & tone-deafness that angers me.This mistep was as bad as white savior Dany bodysurfing brown people to end season 3.No episode have I ever felt so much like I was watching characters I didn’t know b/c most of it WAS NOT from the book.

    Terrible grammar aside I could not have said it better myself.

  23. Bannerless Bro
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    jentario,

    Emilia is lovely, and show Dany is remarkably more likeable than book Dany.

  24. Marcin Bartnicki
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    MJW:
    Jaime: I hated when Kings I served raped their wives.Lost my swordhand to prevent Brienne’s rape, LOL nevermind I don’t care Imma rape Cercei.

    So if a character hates to see people being innocently murdered, and then prevents one murder of an innocent, he will never ever kill another person, no matter how evil?

    That’s some solid logic there, man!

  25. Paul Meyer
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Great episode considering there was a lot of material that wasn’t in the book. I have to say that scene between Tywin and Tommen was great, it was a good way to introduce the new Tommen. Also Tywin as much as you might not like him is one of GOT’s greatest characters. Speaking of Tywin that scene with Oberyn was awesome as well. The whole episode in all was amazing but the way they ended it with Dany was great. That scene with Dario was a good way to show how badass of a character he is, and I feel Huisman’s portrayal of Dario is far better than Skreen’s. To finish I have to say the rape scene was disturbing but you have to understand that Jaime is a very conflicted character. He believes he’s in love with Cersei but is finally starting to see her for who she really is. Also if I’m not mistaken next episode will throw another wrench in the Jaime story line that will surprise people who haven’t read the books and I’m not going to ruin it but it coralates with next weeks episode title. That’s all I’m going to say but don’t think that Jaime is reverting back to the person who we first met in the story.


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