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House Of The Dragon's Design For Rhaenyra's Baby Is Absolutely Terrifying

The first season of HBO's "House of the Dragon" includes a variety of uncomfortable and traumatizing birth scenes that emphasize the brutal nature of childbirth in a medieval setting. Indeed, the very first episode features a particularly violent scene in which Queen Aemma Arryn's (Sian Brooke) labor goes catastrophically wrong — forcing the Maester to cut the baby out of her belly and kill Aemma in the process.

Episode 6 of "House of the Dragon" features two more horrific birth scenes, one in which Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) delivers her baby and is forced to march through the Red Keep while still covered in blood, and another in which Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) commits suicide after her own labor goes awry. These violent birth scenes have received harsh criticism from several media outlets, with many claiming that these repeated scenes are extremely gratuitous and cruel (via Vulture).

Yet the series saves its most disturbing birth scene for the Season 1 finale, in which we see Rhaenyra enter labor prematurely and deliver a deformed, stillborn baby named Visenya. Although the camera doesn't linger too long on baby Visenya within the episode, a recent Instagram post from the series' prosthetic makeup designer gives us a closer look at the baby's design.

Rhaenyra's baby is deformed and covered in scales

Within the episode itself, it's hard to get a good look at the stillborn Visenya as she is covered in blood and held tightly in the arms of Rhaenyra Targaryen — though a recent post on the Instagram of prosthetic makeup designer Barrie Gower illuminates some of the finer details of the baby's design. Gower's post includes two brightly-lit images of baby Visenya against a black background: the first one highlighting her deformed nose and sunken face, and the second showing her cone-shaped skull.

The most striking deformity present in these two images (which is nearly impossible to see within the episode itself) is the numerous lizard-like scales that cover Visenya's head, chest, and back. The second image shows that she has an abundance of these scales on the back of her head and running down her spine — and that the back of her head features an almost horn-like protrusion that accounts for her skull's shape.

The post reads: "A silicone baby we created for the final episode of @houseofthedragonhbo," and lists credits for members of the sculpture, art finishing, silicone, and mechanics team who worked on this particular model. Considering the immense amount of detail shown in this small model, it seems strange that these scales aren't highlighted more within the episode itself, especially since they are specifically mentioned in the series' source material, "Fire & Blood."

Visenya's malformed appearance comes straight from Fire & Blood

In the "Fire & Blood" chapter "The Dying of the Dragons," a fool known as Mushroom claims that Rhaenyra Targaryen cursed baby Visenya during her premature birth, yelling, "Monster, monster, get out, get out, GET OUT!" (via A Wiki of Ice and Fire). Mushroom goes on to allege that these curses bore fruit when the Visenya was finally born; saying, "When the babe at last came forth, she proved indeed a monster: a stillborn girl, twisted and malformed, with a hole in her chest where her heart should have been, and a stubby, scaled tail."

It's worth mentioning that Mushroom's account of the events in "Fire & Blood" is considered to be somewhat unreliable and exaggerated, and as such, it's certainly quite interesting that the design team chose to adapt his version of Visenya within "House of the Dragon." Although this silicone model does not appear to include the tail, it's clear that the prosthetics team paid close attention to the details of Visenya's malformed appearance and scales — culminating in the design we see in Barrie Gower's Instagram post.

Unfortunately, it's hard to grasp the immense attention to detail that went into this model when watching the episode itself due to Visenya's incredibly brief appearance — though Gower's post makes it abundantly it's clear that the prosthetics department went above and beyond to make this final birth scene really stand out amongst all the others in the series.