"So the question is not, exactly, “Why change the books?” Because the answer is clear: Many, many details must be changed, just to make the transition from book series to televised series work. The question is, instead: “Why change this?” Why make a scene from the book that depicts consensual sex into one in the show that depicts rape?"
Rape of Thrones · For Our Consideration · The A.V. Club
Thank god for the A.V. Club, the only media outlet that has outright called bullshit on this so far.
And another really important quote:
Rape is a tricky thing to use as character development, for either the victim or the rapist; doing it twice raises a lot of red flags. It assumes that rape between characters doesn’t fundamentally change the rest of their story—and it assumes that the difference between consent and rape is, to use the parlance, a “blurred line.”
Obviously it’s abhorrent that no one’s called this out, and the AV Club did, but right smack in the middle of it is this:
But given what we have seen Cersei Lannister capable of—her ex-husband is hardly the only man she’s had killed—is it even conceivable that she would stand for it? Jaime raping Cersei is a major anomaly for these two characters—even based purely on what we’ve seen in the show. It’s just not something that either character would do.
This is some super problematic rhetoric with regard to the nature of rape — Cersei allowed (“stood for”) nothing, she was raped. This isn’t a two-way street, rape is a crime with a victim, the victim isn’t complicit, and the idea that being raped isn’t something a character ~*would do*~ is fucked up to the max.