In the sixth episode of The House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra Targaryen walks the halls of the Red Keep just hours after giving birth. She looks exhausted and enraged, but realistic. The swollen body and the clumsy step due to the pain of going through a brutal physical process. The character can barely stand and the camera follows, in crude detail, the trail of blood left by her footsteps as she walks.
Across the fictional continent of Westeros, Laena Targaryen was in labor pain, but hers turned into a tragic event. Unable to give birth despite the maester’s efforts, Prince Daemon’s wife decided to immolate herself with the fire of her dragon Vhagar. Something that prevented her from having to die a bloody death, like what happened to Queen Aemma in the first episode of the series.
Both sequences were analyzed off-screen by medical experts aware of the changes in the woman’s body during childbirth. The element became a point of special interest for the production. for the writer Ryan Countyit was about a way to understand “the power of women in a brutal time”. The context of the argument also included investigating the conditions of medicine related to childbirth in the Middle Ages, the referential scenario of the series. The result was deep, painful, but flawless sequences about giving birth in dire conditions.
The data converts to the Serie quite a rarity in pop culture. In fact, it could be considered one of the rare occasions in which the condition of a woman in labor is shown on television from such a stark perspective. Which is nothing short of amazing in a production that raised concerns about its likely misogynistic storyline.
The House of the Dragon is the new series of the Game of Thrones universe
A new perspective for women in The House of the Dragon
In fact, The House of the Dragon he has paid careful attention to his female characters. The production has had several directors for some of its key chapters. Motherhood, the erotic, the sexual and, especially, intimacy from the perspective of women, have become an important point of the argument. Something that has been growing as Rhaenyra, her main character and the center of almost all events, has become an adult.
At the same time, the production made sure to create a safe environment for its actresses and actors. So much to get away from the resounding and frequent criticism of the set of Game of Thronesas if to analyze history from new perspectives.
The result is a perspective on women completely different and much deeper than could be supposed. in a plot based on sexist violence. After all, the grand premise of The House of the Dragon it is linked to the rejection of the figure of a queen. But the creative team behind the camera prevented that notion of power from spreading to the performers of the key faces in his story.
This included hiring intimacy coordinators for several of the more complicated scenes. All the more so when the exploration of sexuality is equated with power in several of the most important scenes in the series. For Emily Carey, who plays the young Alicent, the decision to respectfully analyze the sex scenes was paramount.
In an interview to Newsweek, commented that at the time of filming the intimate scenes with Paddy Considine he was barely 17 years old. The plot twist, which occurred in chapter four of The House of the Dragon, was definitive to understand the queen and her future decisions. So she required all the help possible so that the sequence was not traumatic or aggressive. But, thanks to director Clare Kilner and her coordinating team, she was able to play Alicent’s tough time in life without a hitch.
The maturity of a controversial story
Specifically, it was Kilner who took care of all the details to prevent the image of a very young Alicent in bed with Viserys I from appealing to morbidity. The decision included showing minimal nudity (in this case, just the actor) and focusing on Carey’s face. That provided the sequence of The House of the Dragon a remarkable maturity and a conscious exploration of the helplessness suffered by the character.
Something similar happened with Milly Alcock’s Rhaenyra in the same chapter four. In the plot, her uncle Daemon takes her through the streets of Westeros and also to a “pleasure house”. In the end, she ends up creating a sexual situation that does not come to fruition, but that could be very uncomfortable for the actress. Kilner commented on House of the Dragon: Inside the Episode, from HBO, that his intention was to show the power of the princess over her body. Also, discuss the emotional and physical connection she later had with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).
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The director insisted that, both in the scene of the twisted sexual game with Daemon and in the sexual scene with Criston, she showed the point of view of women. A nuance that she defined the character in completely new ways and that deepened how the production analyzes her female characters.