- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
House of the Dragon will inevitably look very similar to Game of Thrones, but don't expect to see the same amount of nudity and sex scenes as its predecessor.
Specifically, HBO is being mindful of the way sexual violence is portrayed in the prequel series after Game of Thrones was rightfully criticized for its handling of such scenes. "Shows are a product of their time," HBO's Chief Content Office Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter, "and there's a lot more awareness now about what we're portraying and why—and who's having the conversations about it."
As such, showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal were tasked with balancing the realities of living in a patriarchal society and limiting the sexual violence portrayed. They ultimately decided to "pull back" on the amount of sex scenes included, though Sapochnik noted, "You can't ignore the violence that was perpetrated on women by men in that time. It shouldn't be downplayed and it shouldn't be glorified."
Sapochnik and Condal were equally considerate about portraying childbirth, with the former noting that they wanted to show the "violence" of delivering a baby in Medieval times, which is the era that serves as inspiration for the fantasy series.
"It's as dangerous as it gets," Sapochnik said. "You have a 50/50 chance of making it. We have a number of births in the show and basically decided to give them different themes and explore them from different perspectives the same way I did for a bunch of battles on Thrones."
This push for female inclusion and diversity happened behind the scenes too, with four of the 10 episodes being directed by Clare Kilner and Geeta Patel.
Game of Thrones faced repeated criticism for its treatment of the female protagonists, particularly in the early seasons.
Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, shared that she was uncomfortable with the nudity and felt unprotected, as HBO didn't mandate intimacy coordinators be hired on sets until 2018. "I'd been on a film set twice before then, and I'm now on a film set completely naked with all of these people," she told the Armchair Expert podcast in 2019. "I don't know what I'm meant to do, and I don't know what's expected of me, and I don't know what you want, and I don't know what I want."
It was her co-star Jason Momoa who empowered her to speak up about her feelings, recalling, "He was like, ‘No, sweetie, this isn't okay.' And I was like ‘Oh.'"
Even Maisie Williams felt that Arya Stark's sex scene with Gendry [Joe Dempsie] was uncalled for, mostly since she thought the character was gay for the duration of the series. At the time, Game of Thrones writer David Benioff defended the decision, saying, "Some characters want to make love for the first time because they've never done it before."
But as HBO enters a new era with House of the Dragon, Sapochnik told THR fans can expect them to approach such topics "carefully, thoughtfully."
House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21 on HBO.
Behind the scenes drama? What do I watch next? Click here to get all the TV scoop straight in your inbox.