House of the Dragon writer says the show will "not depict sexual violence" following backlash

3 August 2022, 14:49 | Updated: 3 August 2022, 17:19

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

House of the Dragon is coming to HBO on August 21.

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Content warning: This article contains references to sexual assault.

House of the Dragon writer and executive producer Sara Hess has clarified their position on showing sexual violence in the new series following backlash.

Last month, House of the Dragon showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter that the highly-anticipated Game Of Thrones prequel would feature a lot less sex scenes than the popular HBO series. However, sexual assault would still be depicted in the show 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," Miguel told the publication.

READ MORE: Emilia Clarke says she felt pressured to do nude scenes on Game of Thrones

House of the Dragon writer says the show will "not depict sexual violence"
House of the Dragon writer says the show will "not depict sexual violence". Picture: HBO/Good Banana

Game of Thrones has previously received backlash for depicting sexual violence against women. In season 5, the show was heavily criticised after Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner) was sexually assaulted on her wedding night. Fans immediately slammed the show for including potentially triggering scenes.

"AGAIN, if no one in your faux-medieval world is getting lice or dying because they can't stop pooping, and you feel the need to be sure there's sexual violence because 'realism' or whatever, you should maybe look a little closer at why that is! Just a thought!!" one user tweeted.

"Time to remember that GoT didn’t have any intimacy coordinators, that several actresses were legitimately harmed by filming that show, and the medieval world actually wasn’t as rapey as modern white boy fantasists like to pretend," another added.

Since the backlash, Sara Hess has told Vanity Fair that House of the Dragon will "not depict sexual violence".

"I’d like to clarify that we do not depict sexual violence in the show. We handle one instance off-screen, and instead show the aftermath and impact on the victim and the mother of the perpetrator," Sara explained.

House of the Dragon is coming to HBO on August 21
House of the Dragon is coming to HBO on August 21. Picture: HBO/Good Banana

"There are many 'historical' or history-based shows that romanticise powerful men in sexual/marriage relationships with women who were actually not of an age to consent, even if they were 'willing'. We put that onscreen, and we don’t shy away from the fact that our female leads in the first half of the show are coerced and manipulated into doing the will of adult men.

"This is done not necessarily by those we would define as rapists or abusers, but often by generally well-meaning men who are unable to see that what they are doing is traumatic and oppressive, because the system that they all live in normalizes it. It's less obvious than rape but just as insidious, though in a different way."

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