First of all, a big fat SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones! The books as well as the TV show.
OK, everyone ready? So the next season of Game of Thrones has one of the biggest moments for Cersei, played by Lena Headey. Cersei is an awesome character: she’s a woman living in an incredibly misogynistic, patriarchal world who is trying to grasp power in the only ways that she can. That means marrying someone she hates, Robert Baratheon, in order to be queen. It means staying married to him and keeping up appearances despite the fact that he abuses her. It means pretending that her children are the product of that marriage, despite the fact that they are obviously the product of her super sexy incest. And now, in the show’s timeline, it means fighting to retain power despite the competition from the younger, prettier, and possibly better positioned potential queen Margaery, who, like Cersei when she was younger, is prepared to marry whoever she can to gain power.
In the books, the way Cersei fights Margaery is by using the patriarchal power against her. Cersei empowers the Church and arranges a conspiracy in which Margaery is essentially framed for having sex outside her marriage, and considering her engagement to a future king, this is considered treason and Margaery’s life is at stake. Past kings, including the two most recent of Joffrey and Robert, constantly had sex with whoever or whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, but the rules are different for women.
The plot backfires, though, and Cersei ends up being punished by the very forces she organized against Margaery. Cersei rose too high up and abandoned all the accepted roles for women in Westeros: Madien, Mother, or Crone. For behaving like a man in her scheming and her sexing, the Church reminds her that women are powerless and can never hope to overcome the structures in place against them, and they do that with the perfect misogynistic punishment: they strip her naked and force her to walk the city. All her subjects now see her as a weak, pathetic whore.
Now, that’s what happens in the books. What happens in the TV series remains to be seen. Lena Headey stated that she did not want Cersei to appear nude up until this moment, because it wouldn’t serve the story and in fact would take away from the power of suddenly seeing her stripped down. So Headey was excited to do this scene, and do it the right way. Naked.
Unfortunately, the Church of St. Nicholas has other ideas. That’s the Croatian church that the production uses as the Great Sept of Baelor in the town of Cavtat. According to TMZ, they are none too pleased with the prospect of public displays of sexuality, and so apparently they have not only denied the series access to film in the church but have also pressured the local authorities to deny the production the permits they need to film.
In other words, a Church is using moral outrage over a woman’s sexuality to stop the filming of a scene illustrating the danger of a Church using moral outrage over a woman’s sexuality to punish a woman. And for that we will all be punished.
Don’t worry, though, I’m sure the Game of Thrones producers can think of a way around this, whether it be recasting the Church or dressing Andy Serkis up in a motion capture suit and adding in a digitally-created naked Cersei later. Hopefully the former.