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How The Sex Scenes On House Of The Dragon Will Be Different From The Ones On Game Of Thrones

Spoilers for "House of the Dragon" season 1 episode 1 to follow.

"Game of Thrones" stirred up tons of controversy due to the way it handled sex and sexual violence — but now, in its new spin-off, things may go a little differently.

Throughout its original run, "Game of Thrones" more or less constantly subjected its female characters to assault, abuse, and scary sexual encounters, whether it was a terrified Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) submitting to her new husband Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), a young Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) being brutalized on her wedding night, or powerful queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) facing assault at the hands of her own twin brother while standing over their son's dead body. Game of Thrones isn't credited with coining the term "sexposition" for nothing, folks.

Now, with the first episode of "House of the Dragon" available to stream, the think pieces about whether or not the spin-off series will follow in these controversial footsteps are, to steal from a famous Westerosi house motto, coming. So will "House of the Dragon" brutalize its women seemingly for pure spectacle, or is this a new era of "Game of Thrones?"

The team behind House of the Dragon got into hot water about their upcoming sex scenes

At first, when addressing questions about how "House of the Dragon" would approach sex scenes, showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal stirred up — what else? — controversy with comments they made to The Hollywood Reporter. Sapochnik claimed that there would be less sexual violence, but that they would make it as... accurate as possible, which is a pretty confusing statement when you consider that this is a fictional world with dragons in it.

At the time, Sapochnik told THR that they would approach sexual violence "carefully, thoughtfully and [we] don't shy away from it. 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." Obviously, since this is, again, a completely fictional world and there is no "that time" that has existed in human history that had dragons flying around, these comments immediately made waves on social media, with fans and critics alike bemoaning the fact that "House of the Dragon" would just be more of the same when it came to graphic depictions of sexual assault. However, in comments Sapochnik and Condal have made since, it seems like they are trying to approach things more sensitively.

House of the Dragon is employing intimacy coordinators for its sex scenes

Later on, in a roundtable with PopSugar, Sapochnik and Condal walked back their remarks a bit. "I think for whatever reason, I think something was incorrectly reported or got misconstrued," Condal told the outlet. "We're very aware of the time that we live in. We're very aware of how different the world is now versus 10 years ago when the original show premiered."

Condal did note that sex and violence are a part of the framework of any "Game of Thrones" property, however: "It's Game of Thrones. There is sex and violence as part of the story. The particular way that we've approached it in this time is making sure that whenever you're going to have any kind of . . . sex or violence on screen, that there's a compelling story reason for it, and that it's a story that needs to be told. It's not being done gratuitously or to titillate or anything like that." To add to that, Condal specifically noted that the show is now employing intimacy coordinators and actors were rehearsing scenes in advance to feel as comfortable as possible, adding, "And I think they felt good about it because they knew as actors that they were performing a story and not doing sex for sex's sake."

Where will House of the Dragon's sex scenes go from here?

In the first episode of "House of the Dragon," titled "The Heirs of the Dragon," the series already showcases the sex and gore for which the original was known, between a scene where criminals are mutilated at the behest of Prince Daemon Targaryen (a snarling, surly Matt Smith) or a gruesome childbirth scene that ends in both the mother and baby dying. There's also definitely some gratuitous nudity; Smith is the only main character so far to engage in simulated sex onscreen with his lover and companion Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), but he also arranges a massive orgy — shown in full — where a couple literally stops mid-act to listen to him give a speech about being next in line for the throne. There's also an unsettling implication that Daemon and his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (portrayed in this episode by Milly Alcock), might share a sexual attraction.

With that said, the show also pulls back in several instances, suggesting rather than showing. While heavily pregnant Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) takes a bath to soothe her aching body, her body is hidden in the water — and after Aemma dies in childbirth and leaves her husband Viserys (Paddy Considine) in a state of grief, the Hand of the King's daughter, Alicent Hightower (played in her youth by Emma Carey), goes to his chambers to "comfort" him. Though it's still unknown whether or not Alicent and Viserys consummated any relationship, this show at least gently hints at it rather than beating the audience over the head with a potentially unsettling sex scene.

Only time will tell whether or not "House of the Dragon" approaches their sex scenes with restraint or recklessness, but audiences are certainly hoping for more sensitivity where these very delicate sequences are concerned — and hopefully, rehearsals and intimacy coordinators are changing the way this universe functions.