‘House of the Dragon’ Won’t ‘Shy Away’ from Showcasing Sexual Assault

"You can’t ignore the violence that was perpetrated on women by men in that time," co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik said. "It shouldn’t be downplayed and it shouldn’t be glorified."
House of the Dragon
"House of the Dragon"

While HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was controversial over the amount of sex and nudity it portrayed onscreen, prequel series “House of the Dragon” promises to not “shy away” from the same taboo portrayals.

Co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik have openly addressed the “reimagining” of George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood” for the series, premiering August 21. The 10-episode show is set 200 years prior to the events of “GoT” and centers on a civil war that split the Targaryen clan apart.

Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, Paddy Considine, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans lead the series. Additional cast members include: Milly Alcock, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Emily Carey, Harry Collett, Ryan Corr, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Wil Johnson, John Macmillan, Graham McTavish, Ewan Mitchell, Theo Nate, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, Phia Saban, Gavin Spokes, and Savannah Steyn.

Co-showrunner and director Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter the production “pulls back” on the amount of consensual sex in the series; however, sexual assault is still very much present in the script. According to Sapochnik, the approach is done “carefully and thoughtfully” when bringing the stories of sexual violence to the screen.

“[We] don’t shy away from it,” Sapochnik explained. “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.”

Condal also spoke out about the show’s more diverse cast coming from “GoT.”

“We knew from the outset that we wanted to change that conversation,” Condal sated. “The world changed a lot between 2011 and 2021 and [so did] what audiences expect to see on camera. The conversations Miguel and I had were: How do we create a diverse cast for ‘House of the Dragon’ but still do it in a way that feels organic to the world and doesn’t feel like pandering or tokenism — and also have them not be pirates, slaves and mercenaries like you tend to see in high fantasies?”

Author Martin took to his blog in June to praise the upcoming series adapted from his novel “Fire & Blood.”

“Yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story. Sure, there are some changes from ‘Fire & Blood’ — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices. Even some improvements. (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so),” Martin wrote.

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