House Of The Dragon Boss Speaks Out Over Graphic Birth Scene

This article contains spoilers for the first episode of House Of The Dragon.

House Of The Dragon showrunner Miguel Sapochnik has defended one of the show’s most controversial scenes following its debut this week.

The Game Of Thrones prequel’s first episode arrived on Sky and Now on Monday, and while it has proved popular with fans and critics, one moment in particular has already proved to be divisive among viewers.

In episode one, Queen Aemma Targaryen (Sian Brooke) goes into labour, with her husband King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) being informed early on that the baby is breach.

He is then given the choice – save his wife or save the baby – and he chooses the heir. Queen Aemma is pinned down, screaming, while the baby is cut directly from her womb, leading to fatal blood loss. Hours later, the baby also dies.

Many who have watched the scene have already highlighted how triggering it could be to some viewers, with the baby loss charity Tommy’s issuing a warning around its graphic content.

Asked about the scene during an interview with Insider, Miguel said he and fellow showrunner Ryan Condal “made a point of showing it to as many women as possible”, and asking whether they found it “too violent”.

“Unanimously, the response was, ‘no’,” he claimed. “Often the response was, ‘If anything, it needs to be more’.”

Miguel Sapochnik

Jeff Spicer via Getty Images

Miguel continued: “We shouldn’t be shying away from this thing that’s happened because it’s raising a point that seems to hit a real trigger for women, which is this idea of choice.

“[Aemma] doesn’t get to choose. She’s effectively murdered by her husband. And that is a good indication of the state of play in this world that we’re inhabiting.”

He went on to insist that producers weren’t “glorifying” the scene, noting they wanted to make it feel “horribly real” without being gratuitous.

“As we stated earlier in the episode, the birthing bed is almost a battlefield,” he added, noting that the scene coincides with a fight sequence elsewhere in Westeros. “You have 50% chance of survival. And so it seemed like this was an appropriate time to draw that parallel visually between the male and the female struggle.

“One’s fighting on the battlefield, the other’s fighting for survival — sometimes from the person closest to her.”

Paddy Considine and Sian Brooke on the set of House Of The Dragon
Paddy Considine and Sian Brooke on the set of House Of The Dragon

House Of The Dragon is set two centuries before the first series of Game Of Thrones, with Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy and Steve Toussaint all appearing in the main cast.

The first episode is available to watch now on Sky and Now, with new instalments every Monday.

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Help and support:

  • Sands works to support anyone affected by the death of a baby.
  • Tommy’s fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provide pregnancy health information to parents.
  • Saying Goodbye offers support for anyone who has suffered the loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy.

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