[Warning: The below contains spoilers for the first episode of “House of the Dragon.”]
The creators behind House of the Dragon previously promised that the prequel Game of Thrones would not “scruple” from violence inflicted on women. But when it comes to childbirth? It seems the series didn’t even go as far as it could have.
Viewers were stunned during the first episode of HBO’s “House of the Dragon” when Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) is brutally cut open to save her unborn son, at the urging of King Viserys (Paddy Considine), who is desperate for a male seeks heirs. Aemma dies while begging for her life and giving birth to her child in a procedure much against her will.
House of the Dragon co-showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal told Insiders they didn’t want the scene to be “over the top” and clarified that the show didn’t “glorify” death. In fact, producers were “unanimously” urged by Women in Her Life to make the sequence more grotesque so it would feel “awfully real” to those who gave birth.
“We made sure to show it to as many women as possible and asked the very question, ‘Was that too intense for you?’” Sapochnik explained. “And the unanimous answer was ‘no’. Often the answer was, ‘If anything, there must be more.’”
Sapochnik added that the scene shows Aemma’s lack of selection, which has been the case since Roe v. Wade is “really important” to both the series and the modern era.
“We shouldn’t shy away from this thing that’s happened because it addresses a point that seems to hit a real trigger for women, which is this idea of choice,” he said. “She can’t choose. She is effectively murdered by her husband. And that is a good indication of the state of affairs in this world we live in.”
Sapochnik continued the comparison by contrasting the birth scene with a literal struggle on a battlefield: “As we said earlier in the episode, the birthing bed is almost a battlefield. You have a 50 percent chance of survival. And so it seemed like this was an opportune time to visually draw that parallel between male and female combat. One fights on the battlefield, the other for survival – sometimes by the person closest to them.”
Actor Steve Toussaint also told Men’s Health that the show’s female directors and writers on the show are “less exploitative” than what has sometimes plagued Game of Thrones.
“I hope in [‘House of the Dragon’] The importance of having other voices in the room becomes clear,” said Toussaint.
“House of the Dragon” made history on HBO for the largest audience for an HBO original series premiere. Novelist George RR Martin, who wrote the novel Fire and Blood based on the series and who advised the show, previously stated that the stories are not “misogynist” or overly brutal, but rather historically accurate — despite Westeros being a fictional country and this is all a made up story.
“I don’t think Westeros is any more misogynistic or misogynistic than real life and what we call history,” Martin said. “I get inspiration from the story, and then I take elements from the story and crank it up to 11.”
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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/08/house-of-the-dragon-showrunners-birthing-scene-should-be-more-brutal-1234754640/ ‘House of the Dragon’ Showrunner: Birth Scene Wasn’t ‘Too Violent’