After House of the Dragon showrunners/executive producers Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik said the Game of Thrones prequel series won’t “shy away” from sexual violence, the former has clarified the comments and suggested they were taken out of context.
In an interview with Complex News’ Natasha Martinez at the premiere, Condal stressed there isn’t “much” sexual violence in the show.
“I think that quote is kind of pulled out of context,” he explained. “Look, sex and violence are part of life, they’re part of middle-age society, and they’re part of what people come to HBO expecting. It’s TV-MA. So I think those elements are necessary in a way to tell the story, particularly a story that takes place in this time, but the question we’re always faced with as creators is, ‘How are we doing it, how are we approaching that, how are we handling it?’”
The initial comments were met with backlash from some viewers who felt Game of Thrones lacked tact when it came to sexual violence. Ryan Condal elaborated that this is something the creators thought about for a while, and it ultimately comes down to whether the violence is “necessary to tell the story” of House of the Dragon. “The world is very different than it was 10 years ago when Game of Thrones started, and we’re deeply conscious of that stuff,” he added. “I think that once people actually watch the show, and give it a chance instead of reading things on the internet, that they will see that we’ve handled it pretty well.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter this month, Miguel Sapochnik said the series “pulls back” on the amount of sex and sexual violence when compared to its predecessor. He noted that violence is still a part of this brutal fantasy world, but deployed in a “careful” and “thoughtfully” depicted way. “If anything we’re going to shine a light on that aspect,” said the director of many classsic Thrones episodes. “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.”
House of the Dragon premieres on HBO and HBO Max on Aug. 21.