Alex Graves is an American Emmy-winning producer and director for film and television. He is best known for his work on the The West Wing, which he worked on as a director, producer and eventually an executive producer, winning two Emmy Awards for his work on that series. He has also worked on Ally MacBeal, Fringe and Terra Nova.
On Game of Thrones
Graves directed four episodes in Season 4, more than any other director. His daily routine for the 100 days of Season 4 shooting season was to wake up at 5 a.m. to get to the set, return to his hotel at 7 p.m., then work there on planning until 2 a.m., catch three hours of sleep, then wake up again at 5 a.m.
On filming Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's bath scene in "Kissed by Fire", Graves said, "...the scene with Jaime and Brienne in the bathtub is like you’re shooting a film with a lesbian and a knight, she’s a knight, he’s a knight, they’re in love and don’t know they’re in love; where else would you get to film a scene like that?" Brienne of Tarth, however, is categorically not "a lesbian" in the novels or in the TV series - she is a very large and muscular female warrior and not effeminate, but she has never shown attraction to other women; it is unknown why Graves said this.
Graves also made factually inaccurate statements in his DVD commentary track for episode 4.10 "The Children". In particular, he revealed that he actually lobbied against the TV show including the revelation about Tysha as the main reason that Tyrion Lannister kills his father Tywin (Tysha was in fact not a prostitute, truly was a farmer's daughter who fell in love with Tyrion, and Tywin just tricked him into thinking she was a prostitute so he wouldn't even get to enjoy the memory of their love as real - and it meant that Tywin's guards indeed raped Tyrion's lawful wife). Graves said he felt it was better for Tyrion and Jaime to just part with a hug, rather than Jaime revealing the truth about Tysha as he did in the books. Graves also commented that he thought Tysha was dead ("Tyrion's first wife, who died") even though nothing ever indicated that. Among Graves's other comments, he assumed Tyrion knew his way around the tunnels in the Red Keep "because he grew up there" - when he grew up at Casterly Rock, didn't live in the capital city, and apparently knew the tunnels from a map Varys gave him. He also said he thought that Tormund "loved" Ygritte and Sandor Clegane "loved" Arya Stark - from the context he said it, apparently in the sense of romantic love, not paternal love.
Season 5 introduced a major change from the novels, so that Sansa Stark marries and is raped by Ramsay Bolton, a character she never even meets in the novels. Actress Sophie Turner (Sansa) was herself first "informed" of the change from the books, which involved her character now being raped, as part of a joke that director Alex Graves made at her expense during filming of Season 4 - taunting Turner by leading her to believe she was getting her romantic love interest from the books, when he privately knew the showrunners intended for her character to be raped in the next season. As Turner explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly a day after this wedding night scene aired: "Last season [Thrones director] Alex Graves decided to give me hints. He was saying, 'You get a love interest next season.' And I was all, 'I actually get a love interest!' " -- Apparently Turner assumed they meant they were going to cast Harrold Hardyng for Sansa's Vale storyarc in Season 5, to be her handsome and noble love interest as he was in the novels. Instead, Turner said, "So I get the scripts and I was so excited and I was flicking through and then I was like, "Aw, are you kidding me!?'" Apparently this means that the showrunners didn't set up a meeting with Turner to over the change with her or to gently explain that her character was going to be raped: she first learned about it from reading the Season 5 scripts themselves as she read through them on her own.
Alex Graves was heavily criticized for how he filmed the Jaime/Cersei sex scene in episode 4.3 "Breaker of Chains": virtually all major reviewers and critics believed it portrayed that Jaime was raping Cersei. As comments from the cast members and footage analysis confirm, it was filmed as a consensual sex scene - but simply filmed and edited so poorly by Graves that it accidentally looked like Jaime was raping Cersei. Graves had final cut on the scene's editing. When asked about it in interviews, he often used blunt or poor choices of words which were also criticized, such as that the sex scene was "consensual by the end" - which many critics felt was a very insensitive phrasing to use relative to the subject matter. In more thorough interviews he simply said that it was never intended to portray rape.
|Season Three credits|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch Is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four credits|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|