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Matt Smith is getting in on the action—and not just the fighting kind.
The House of the Dragon star confirmed he has a fair share of sex scenes in the upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off, premiering Aug. 21 on HBO. "Slightly too much," he told Rolling Stone Aug. 4, "if you ask me."
Of course, Smith saw the original series, which was criticized for being so graphic, so he understood that there'd be scenes of this nature. However, as he put it, "You do find yourself asking, ‘Do we need another sex scene?' And they're like, ‘Yeah, we do.'"
At the end of the day, Smith accepted that this is just a part of adapting George R.R. Martin's books, which are just as graphic, if not more. "I guess you have to ask yourself: ‘What are you doing? Are you representing the books, or are you diluting the books to represent the time [we're living in]?'" he reasoned. "And I actually think it's your job to represent the books truthfully and honestly, as they were written."
That being said, executive producer Sara Hess insists the writers are being mindful of the type of scenes portrayed in the series. "I'd like to clarify that we do not depict sexual violence in the show," she told Vanity Fair Aug. 2. "We handle one instance off-screen, and instead show the aftermath and impact on the victim and the mother of the perpetrator."
Since House of the Dragon is set within a patriarchal society, Hess feels that it's important to explore the impacts sexual violence has on its people. She noted that other shows have "romanticized" inappropriate relationships between men and younger women, without discussing the power imbalances at play.
"We don't shy away from the fact that our female leads in the first half of the show are coerced and manipulated into doing the will of adult men," Hess said. "This is done not necessarily by those we would define as rapists or abusers, but often by generally well-meaning men who are unable to see that what they are doing is traumatic and oppressive, because the system that they all live in normalizes it. It's less obvious than rape but just as insidious, though in a different way."
Hess' comments were made in response to showrunner Miguel Sapochnik's interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in which he said the prequel "pulls back" on depictions of sexual violence. "[We] don't shy away from it," Sapochnik said. "If anything, we're going to shine a light on that aspect. 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."
House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21 on HBO.
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