Game of Thrones is a show with dragons, intriguing plot lines, high stakes, immense drama, and action. It's also about incest. Okay, it's not like it's a major theme or anything, but there is certainly a fair bit of it and the show's entire plot more or less hinges on it. Also, need we point out that of all the popular candidates to take the throne at the series' end, three out of four have banged a relative?
Game of Thrones has a history of incest, but it's not the only television show to emphasize keeping love in the family. With that said, here's a handful of times television has gotten incestuous long before Jon and Dany decided to lock lips, do the nasty, and make the world feel uncomfortable about this relationship finally happening.
Game of Thrones - Jaime and Cersei
As mentioned earlier, without this Lannister sibling duo getting freaky, it's fair to say Game of Thrones would be much different. The couple copulating in the seemingly abandoned tower in Winterfell set off a chain of events that, for better or worse, ultimately set in motion the events that led to Season 8. Imagine if they'd just kept it in their pants a little longer, would Ned Stark still be alive?
He may have died anyway, and the Lannisters would've still tried to get rid of Robert to take control of Westeros. Obviously it's impossible to predict how things would've played out had Ned never left Winterfell, but the characters are in decent position to stop the White Walker threat that's been mounting since Game of Thrones' beginning. That may not have happened had Jaime and Cersei not been bumpin' uglies, so think about that during the Season 8 premiere.
Riverdale - Polly And Jason
Jason Blossom's murder was the mystery that kicked off Riverdale, and boy, did it get complicated. While it appeared Jason might've had a incestuous relationship with his twin sister Cheryl, fans got a classic Riverdale twist when it was revealed the town's Coopers and Blossoms were once part of the same family. This was shocking to the whole family, especially Betty who realized her sister Polly was pregnant with their first cousin's twins.
Now, Polly didn't know she was related to Jason, nor Jason Polly. Given the strained relationship of the Coopers and Blossoms their ignorance can be forgiven, although it doesn't really make the whole incest thing any less gross. It was one of Riverdale's first big shocks, but certainly not the last in a show that has jumped the shark so many times it's beginning to feel as though the show is using one as a jump rope.
Arrested Development - George Michael And Maeby
George Michael tried to win the affections of his "cousin" for the longest time, be it through muscle suits or steamy foreign films about kissing cousins. He was eventually successful, and the two have some quasi-romantic trysts of sorts that aren't as graphic as other entries on this list, though are still uncomfortable. Maeby also dated Steve Holt, who is later revealed to be her cousin.
Of course, this entry is incestuous in the most complicated of spirits, as Maeby's mother Lindsay is later revealed to be an adopted daughter of the Bluth family and isn't blood-related. But wait! In Season 5, it was then revealed that Lindsay was the biological daughter of Lucille's mother, Mimi. Which seemingly meant that George Michael and Maeby were indeed related by blood, though not as closely as it was originally depicted. So I guess it was fine that they ended the season making out in full view of everyone? (Narrator: It wasn't.)
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - The McPoyles
Incest is taboo and something many would consider gross in a real-life scenario, but for some reason it can be hilarious in most comedies. Case in point: the McPoyle family in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, who surface from time to time and gross the rest of the characters out with their odd looks, sibling love, and generally weird behavior. Seriously, how can anyone like milk that much?
The McPoyle family may be television's most extreme version of incest, especially since it is a generational thing. Inbreeding has given the family its distinctive look, and there's a good chance the McPoyles will only get weirder the longer their bloodline travels down this path. Hey, at least we should be glad they're fictional and aren't actually running around and making the world miserable with their bizarre behavior and shenanigans, right?
Six Feet Under - Billy and Brenda
Of all the tragic characters that populated Six Feet Under, Rachel Griffiths' Brenda Chenowith arguably had the most mental baggage weighing her down. Not all of it can be laid at the equally unbalanced feet of her brother Billy, played with a creepy hunger by Jeremy Sisto, but good money is on him being connected to the lion's share of her sexual issues and emotional hangups. That childhood, though...yeesh.
Any time Billy showed up, viewers were in for some off-kilter sibling affection, made more uncomfortable by the unbridled love that he feels for Brenda. But just when you think that he might have "things" under control, he takes advantage of his pregnant and mourning sister, and soon utters this line: "That's what your penis would look like if you were a boy." Here's hoping the many years that came before Brenda's finale death were 100% free from Billy's horniness.
Dynasty - Fallon And Adam, Jeff, And Miles
One of television's greatest classic dramas, surprisingly, had a decent amount of incest. Most of it happened through Fallon, who married and later divorced two of her second cousins Jeff and Miles. Things obviously got a little intimate during those marriages, which officially rings the bell on the whole "kissing cousins" taboo. Blood is blood, even if it's your parent's cousin's kid.
That whole business was arguably less disgusting, however, than the time that Fallon shared a kiss with Adam. The two weren't aware they were brother and sister when it happened, but yeesh, who would've though the 80s would've shown something like that on such a hit show? Perhaps incest is the untold secret of uber-successful television shows, and it's a Hollywood secret that it does well with test audiences. Here's hoping the answer to that is a big old no.
True Blood - Bill And Portia
Vampires may be unholy, sacrilegious, and sometimes funny demons of the night, but even they have standards. At least, Bill Compton does when he learns that Portia Bellefleur is his 3rd great-granddaughter. Bill is disgusted that he slept with her and demands they keep their relationship professional from that point on, but Portia isn't so ready to let go. She's not about to let a good time go just because Bill is her great ancestor.
This leads to a speech in which Portia runs down a litany of reasons as to why incest isn't a huge deal. Beyond the fact that Bill can't get her pregnant (which she says is the main taboo of incest), she also notes that incest is becoming more socially acceptable. Bill tries to keep things professional, but ultimately has to glamour her so that she screams and runs away any time she sees him, thus ending the relationship.
Of course, these are just a handful of the incidents in which television decided to work incest into storylines, so readers can feel free to add other instances down in the comments below. Or they can quietly shake their head, and try to block out the weirdness of Jon and Dany's love affair when tuning into Game of Thrones' premiere of the final season Sunday, April 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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