The war for the seat of the Iron Throne begins anew—and this time, set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones in Westeros.
Based on George R.R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and Blood, the GoT spinoff, House of the Dragon, will witness the Dance of the Dragons, the civil war of succession among the members of the Targaryen family, leading to the end of the House of Targaryen.
The latest update for the TV series reveals the show’s decision to forgo the depiction of explicit sexual violence against women on-screen. This phenomenon was an ordinary occurrence in GoT, but House of the Dragon will not feature such violence, though off-screen incidents haven’t been included in this change.
The fantasy drama stars Paddy Considine as Viserys I Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Tom Glynn-Craney as Aegon II Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, and Graham McTavish.
The civil war’s beginning can be marked by the death of King Viserys, the current ruler of the Iron Throne, and when his rightful heir, the firstborn Princess Rhaenyra, is challenged for the title of the kingdom’s ruler by Prince Aegon, Viserys’ first son. And thus begins the Dance of the Dragons, leading to the fall of the House of Targaryen.
I’d like to clarify that we do not depict sexual violence in the show. We handle one instance off-screen and instead show the aftermath and impact on the victim and the perpetrator’s mother. I think what our show does, and what I’m proud of, is that we choose to focus on the violence against women that is inherent in a patriarchal system.
The inequality and violence “against women that is inherent in a patriarchal system” are already evident, and the show will explore so without any on-screen depiction of such abuse.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sara Hess, writer and producer at House of the Dragon, revealed the filming decision and said that explicit violence is avoided, but oppression is still evident.
We don’t shy away from the fact that our female leads in the show’s first half are coerced and manipulated into doing the will of adult men. It is done not necessarily by those we would define as rapists or abusers but often by generally well-meaning men who can’t see what they are doing is traumatic and oppressive because the system they all live in normalizes it.
Hess further states that the traumatic violence here is “less obvious,” but still scarring “in a different way,” and dealing with such scenes is tricky, but that’s the line they must play with as “writers and creators.”
It’s less obvious than rape but just as insidious, though in a different way. In general, depicting sexual violence is tricky, and I think how we think about it as writers and creators is unique to our particular stories.
The decision to avoid an on-screen depiction of graphic sexual violence was not casual. Game of Thrones was heavily criticized for the on-screen depiction of scenes where women were taken advantage of and sexually harassed and abused simply because the age the show was set in dictated so.
The spinoff will premiere on HBO Max on August 21, 2022, and the first season will consist of ten episodes. How the show handles this testy matter will be revealed as the show continues streaming on the platform.
About House Of The Dragon
House of the Dragon is the prequel series to HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood.
Set three hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will show Westeros under the Targaryen family’s rule before the dragons went extinct. It will follow the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between siblings Aegon II and Rhaenyra, who fought for the throne after the death of their father, Viserys I.
Directed by Ryan Condall and Miguel Sapochnik, the show stars Paddy Considine as Viserys I Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Tom Glynn-Craney as Aegon II Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, and Graham McTavish.