Spoilers for Episode 4 of House of the Dragon ahead, you’ve been warned.
The two shows within the realm of Westeros, Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, don’t hold anything back. From gore and violence to sex and nudity, viewers see it all, which obviously means the actors and the crew see it all, too, but for full days rather than an hour or two whenever a new episode drops. In episode 4 of House of the Dragon, we saw it all when Daemon Targaryen took his teenage niece Rhaenyra Targaryen to a brothel. Milly Alcock, who plays the princess and heir to the Iron Throne, talked about shooting that scene and just how long the extras had to look and act as though they were having sex.
The cast has so far been open about the rigorous nature of shooting such a high-profile, big-budget show, with Matt Smith saying it can be a lot to film sometimes, though he agrees with reflecting the sexual nature of the source material. Speaking of, Episode 4 tapped into that somewhat heavily, as Rhaenyra and Daemon's walk through a brothel showcased many nudity-friendly characters engaged in sexual pleasures. And it sounds like they were some of the hardest working actors on the set. As Alcock explained it to the New York Post:
So, yeah, when extras are “69ing for 12 hours” I’d assume all manner of things can get "pretty gnarly,” and it only gets more dubious when you consider the purpose of the scene. Such a sequence is not unusual in this world, as many a Game of Thrones info-dump took place in brothels. I have a feeling, though, that shooting something like this is not something one really ever gets used to, unless adult film acting is already one's day job. While the extras are going at it in the background all day, the two principal actors have to navigate some uncomfy story elements that involve them almost having sex, and then there is the incest of it all, which is also a more common than shocking situation for GoT lore.
Fans had a massive reaction to Rhaenyra’s scenes with Daemon during Episode 4, with some gushing over the relationship, some disgusted by it, and others tweeting with gusto about how this scene impacts the rest of the show. On top of the incest issue, I think the relationship is complex and seeded with corrupt intentions. This is especially true on Daemon’s side, making this scene a major turning point in the series.
Episode 4 was really firing on all cylinders when it came to sex scenes that likely made some viewers, and possibly the actors themselves, a little uncomfortable. The other big moment came with Queen Alicent had sex with her husband King Viserys, who is old enough to be her dad. Emily Carey, who plays young Alicent spoke about the age gap and shooting that scene. While it can be weird to shoot, she did talk about how having an intimacy coordinator was helpful and they made the scenes easier to shoot.
So while it can be weird and take a long time to shoot, and may require as much agility and saliva as a person can muster, the show has made an effort to keep everything professional and make the situations as comfortable as they can for the actors.
The first four episodes of House of the Dragon have not pulled any of their punches (both literally and figuratively) and I don’t expect them to in the coming episodes. It will be interesting to see how these romantic relationships develop throughout the series, but we’ll just have to wait until Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO (or for those with an HBO Max subscription) to see what happens next.
Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.
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