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In The World Is Not Enough there is a scene where Electra King, against Bond's warnings, visits Zukovsky's casino and loses 1 million dollars against him in a simple game of cards (on purpose as we learn later). On their way out of the casino there is the following dialogue:

Electra: Shall we?

James: Electra, this is a game I can't afford to play.

Electra: I know.

Now I don't really think he's talking about the actual game they just played, even in light of the high amount of money she just lost, which he probably indeed can't literally afford.

But until that moment there are already some conflicts between the two. On the one hand Bond wants to protect her and keep her out of danger while Electra doesn't pay attention to his warnings and brings herself in danger. On the other hand Electra constantly tries to seduce him, while he, being her bodyguard, wants to keep it professional and withstand her, and, even more than that, doesn't really know if he can trust her (and in fact after this casino visit her seduction attempts are indeed successful).

But even in light (or because?) of those conflicts and tension, I'm not really sure what to make of this particular dialogue between the two. He could be referring to her seduction attempts, but during that specific scene Electra doesn't really make one of those obvious seduction attempts she tried before (at least not to my notice, but I could just be blind to subtext ;)). So what is the meaning of this conversation and what really is the game James can't afford to play?

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He's probably talking about the game of fooling around with her. "Women" games. He's saying he doesn't have the will to deal with her BS. Not talking about literal money or an actual game. –  DustinDavis Apr 16 '13 at 1:39
    
what was she referring to when she said "Shall we?" seems like a key to answering this question –  Shiz Z. Apr 18 '13 at 22:28
    
@ShaneFinneran I just thought "shall we go now?", since they were on their way out. But might also have meant something else. –  Sonny Burnett Apr 18 '13 at 22:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

My interpretation was that he was responding to her flirting rather than the money.

  • He's been sent to protect her
  • His boss is a mother figure to her
  • Her father has just been killed in a terrorist attack

Very unusually for Bond he resists her attempts to seduce him (admittedly not for too long). They could both be killed if he lets his guard down.

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Makes sense, but the problem I have with this indeed pretty plausible interpretation is, that in the specific scene during (and before) this dialogue Electra IMHO doesn't make one of those obvious seduction attempts she tried before. Updated the question accordingly. –  Sonny Burnett Apr 18 '13 at 15:47
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@ChristianRau maybe it was just too subtle for you specifically to pick up on. Not everyone understands women ;) –  DustinDavis Apr 18 '13 at 22:24

Yup, Bond says that line in response to Electra's subtle seduction attempts. Bond's marriage ended prematurely in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' movie, as Bond's wife (Tracy Bond) is killed by his enemies a few hours after their marriage. He was deeply in love with her; and referring to the movie 'License to Kill' where Bond has no intention to marry again, it can be concluded that he is still very much in love with Tracy, mourns her death and wouldn't give away her place to any other female.

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It is indeed a response to the seduction attempt, but I highly doubt it's got anything to do with any of the previous Bond films as only the Daniel Craig reboot films have shown any kind of chronology –  Tom Jun 4 at 20:22

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