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How Emilia Clarke's 'Terrifying' Experience On Set Of 'Game Of Thrones' Shaped 'House Of The Dragon'

Photo: HBO
Emilia Clarke, House Of The Dragon

With the first season of 'House Of The Dragon' drawing to a close, viewers can breathe a sigh of relief that the show seems to have rectified some of the mistakes made in the making of 'Games Of Thrones.'

After GOT star Emilia Clarke spoke candidly about some of the transgressions that occurred behind the scenes, the creators of 'House Of The Dragon' had a responsibility to create a more harmonious set for their own stars.

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'House of Dragon' fixed the poor handling of intimate scenes in 'Game of Thrones.' 

In a world of dragons, knights, and tyrannical kings, GOT made it a point to showcase some intimate scenes between beloved characters in very graphic depictions. 

It can be uncomfortable shooting such vulnerable scenes which is why it’s important to have the right coaches on set to help.

While GOT tried to do right, it seems they fell flat in more ways than one. 

In an interview with actor Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert, Emilia Clarke spoke on how shooting such scenes affected her, describing them as "terrifying." 

“I’ve never been on a film set like this before. I’d been on a film set twice before then, and I’m now on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do, and I don’t know what’s expected of me, and I don’t know what you want, and I don’t know what I want,” she said, speaking on how this was essentially her first big role straight out of drama school.

“Regardless of there being nudity or not, I would have spent that first season thinking I’m not worthy of requiring anything. I’m not worthy of needing anything at all.”

In an effort to fix these problems so actors would feel like how Clarke did, HOD hired long-time accredited intimacy coordinator Miriam Lucia.

When speaking with Deadline, Lucia spoke about how important it was for HOD showrunners to get things right this time.

“‘Game Of Thrones’ had a negative reputation – which they’ll admit — in terms of the press and the #MeToo movement, and with Emilia Clarke and other actors talking about how difficult and gratuitous it could be at times, and how much pressure they felt,” she said.

“So, I think what you get on ‘House Of The Dragon’ is not only a production team that are sensitive to that, but you get a cast that is very aware of it and careful about what they will agree to. That precedent had been set.”

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There is a clear distinction between ‘House of Dragon’ intimate scenes and ‘Game of Thrones.’

Early on, fans can tell the difference between the depictions of intimacy on both shows. 

GOT focused on shooting things afar, showing as much skin as possible and the ‘intensity’ of these scenes. 

But with HOD, it’s completely different. 

One of the earliest scenes with a young Rhaenyra and her guard Ser Cole sets the precedent for the show. Rather than shooting farther away, the camera focuses on their hands and mouths as well as the awkwardness of getting off Ser Cole’s armor.

It’s passionate, sweet, and sexy all in one, showing intimacy through a female gaze thanks to the female show writers. 

Other sex scenes are harder to watch but the show makes a point of not glorifying these moments.

When a young Queen Alicent Hightower marries her much older husband, Viserys, their sex is uncomfortable but not shot in a gratuitous way. It's easy to image GOT dragging the scene out.

'House of the Dragon' knew to handle it differently.

"Viserys married a much younger woman, essentially the childhood friend of his daughter. We felt it was important to see the outcome of that," showrunner Ryan Condal told Variety.

"There were lots of female voices involved in the decision-making there, and it was actually the women who were really pushing for it: 'No, we have to see it, because we have to make the audience feel the actual results of this kind of political scheming and what that actually means — but do it in a way that protects the actors and is, again, not titillating.'"

So, there seems to be some hope in the future for how intimacy will be handled in the world of Westeros. 

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Victoria Soliz is a writer with YourTango who covers news and entertainment content. Her work explores pop culture trends, film and TV, and celebrity news

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