House of the Dragon producer says portraying sexual violence is not ‘off the table’

·2-min read

House of the Dragon executive producer and writer Sara Hess refused to rule out sexual violence in the show’s future after saying that the first season would not depict it.

Conversations around the show and sexual violence brewed from the offset as its predecessor Game of Thrones famously drew criticism for its depictions of rape and abuse.

“I’d like to clarify that we do not depict sexual violence in the show,” Hess told Vanity Fair in August. “We handle one instance off-screen, and instead show the aftermath and impact on the victim and the mother of the perpetrator.”

In an appearance on The Official Game of Thrones Podcast: House of the Dragon on Monday (19 September), Hess explained that they would not “shy away” from sexual violence if necessary.

“I would like to clarify that I didn’t say that we are not going to portray sexual violence ever,” she said.

“I’m not saying that we are. I don’t know. There are hopefully going to be several more seasons of this show so it’s not off the table.

Emily Carey and Milly Alcock in ‘House of the Dragon' (© 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. Al)
Emily Carey and Milly Alcock in ‘House of the Dragon' (© 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. Al)

Hess continued: “We didn’t feel the need to put in what wasn’t in the book. It’s definitely a part of the world and something that if it’s necessary we won’t shy away from but I think there’s got to be a lot of thought about how it’s portrayed. It’s also a more nuanced point to make, I don’t think you have to be raped to be oppressed and traumatised. I’m more interested in the more subtle ways it plays out.”

Alicent Hightower actor Emily Carey, who was just 17 when she was cast in the show, recently spoke about her nerves ahead of filming a sex scene for the show.

Alicent is shown having sex with King Viserys Targaryen, played by Paddy Considine who is 30 years Carey’s senior.

“It scared me, because at that point I still hadn’t met Paddy… and all I saw was, you know, a 47-year-old man and me, I was a bit concerned,” Carey said before adding that the “amazing” intimacy co-ordinator allowed her to feel comfortable on set.

House of the Dragon continues in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 2am, before repeating at 9pm later that day.