The "House of the Dragon" Showrunners Promise the Show Doesn't Have "Gratuitous" Sex and Violence
Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter "House of the Dragon" would "pull back" from the amount of sex scenes in "Game of Thrones," but would still show sexual assault. Sapochnik told the outlet, "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." Many fans online were upset, given the criticism "Game of Thrones" received for sometimes showing long, brutal scenes of sexual violence. The series also often used "sexposition" — having characters deliver long exposition over images of people, often unnamed women, having sex.
In a roundtable interview with POPSUGAR and other outlets, Condal and Sapochnik address these comments, clarifying how the series handles both sex and violence.
"I think for whatever reason, I think something was incorrectly reported or got misconstrued," Condal says. "We're very aware of the time that we live in. We're very aware of how different the world is now versus 10 years ago when the original show premiered."
"It's Game of Thrones. There is sex and violence as part of the story."
Condal also thinks the subject matter of "House of the Dragon" lends itself to a different approach to these types of scenes. "This is a much different story," he says, calling it "an intimate family story." "You're dealing with a bunch of characters who all live under the same roof. So those stories are necessarily going to be different." Condal said that once the show's plot hits wartime, things might be different because there's "sexual violence that follows war."
"It's Game of Thrones. There is sex and violence as part of the story," Condal says. "The particular way that we've approached it in this time is making sure that whenever you're going to have any kind of . . . sex or violence on screen, that there's a compelling story reason for it, and that it's a story that needs to be told. It's not being done gratuitously or to titillate or anything like that." Condal says he's "confident" about the way they filmed these scenes in season one, and added that they had an intimacy coordinator on set. They made sure all the actors rehearsed those scenes in advance and "knew what they were getting into." "And I think they felt good about it because they knew as actors that they were performing a story and not doing sex for sex's sake," Condal says.
Sapochnik also clarifies his comments, explaining, "I think one should be unflinching when it comes to portraying sexual violence, not necessarily in the way that you portray it, but in the subject matter itself."
Sapochnik says it's important to him and Condal to be "responsible partners" to the people on- and off-screen who they're working with. He thinks the industry is "taking note" of the way things need to change with on-screen sex and on-screen sexual violence. Sapochnik says there might be a "overcorrection" happening, but that it's a "natural part" of finding the "right space."
"It's really important to us that we be part of the solution there and not part of the problem," he adds. "So that's how we've been approaching it. I don't even think we have any sexual violence in our season."
Sign up for HBO Max now to watch "House of the Dragon" when it premieres on Aug. 21, 2022.