Game of Thrones showrunners address Cersei's controversial 'walk of shame'
The Game of Thrones season five final boasted several powerful scenes but it's Cersei Lannister's 'walk of shame' which has provoked the biggest reaction.
Cersei, played by Lena Headey, is shorn and stripped naked, and forced to walk through the streets where she's pelted with 'shit and tomatoes and eggs' by a baying mob of bystanders.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner David Benioff revealed that the scene's aim is to make viewers empathise with a character they've come to know as a villain.
“One of the things I find interesting watching Lena is this character has always been an antagonist,” he said. “We all love Tyrion—and and she’s tried to kill Tyrion.
"Watching this scene flips it all because she’s being so horrifically abused you start to feel for her. It’s almost impossible not to feel for her because she’s a human and being tormented.
"So what we hope is, by the last shot, is you’re almost rooting for her, in a way, and hope she gets her revenge on those who have mistreated her. That’s what it felt like to me when The Mountain picks her up and you see that glint in her eye.”
Benioff went on to say he never saw Cersei as a straightforward villain, rather as "somebody who's just neurotically protective of her children and somebody who’s been just so abused in her relationships with men—whether it’s her father or her husband.
"She’s someone who’s furious at the role she’s forced to play and has a lot of anger.”
Directed David Nutter, who helmed the Red Wedding episode, filmed Cersei's walk of shame and his aim was to allow the audience to experience what Cersei was experiencing, to see things from her point of view.
“Obviously you, the viewer, are not standing in the street being pelted with shit and tomatoes and eggs and everything else, but he’s letting you feel what that might be like," said Benioff.
"A lot of the shots are first person. You feel quite viscerally the horror of that moment. And once you’ve been inside a character’s skin, it’s very hard to loath them.”
Lena Headey used a body double for the scene in which she walks naked through the streets. Having the character naked was necessary, says Benioff.
“They’re trying to humiliate her as much as they possible can," says Benioff, "It’s supposed to be like a scene from a nightmare. And the nightmare is you’re walking naked in front of a city of people. Walking and wearing underwear wouldn’t be as much of a nightmare.”