“House of the Dragon” will not “depict sexual violence” on screen.

Game of Thrones sparked outrage throughout its eight seasons because it frequently depicted sexual violence against women, most notoriously in a Season 5 episode in which Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is raped on their wedding night. While there has been confusion over whether HBO’s prequel series House of the Dragon will feature the same graphic violence, writer-executive producer Sara Hess told Vanity Fair straight out that Dragon will feature “no sexual violence” on screen.

House of the Dragon director and co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik confused fans last month after telling The Hollywood Reporter that compared to Game of Thrones, the series is “retreating” its depiction of sexual violence, but “violence is still very strong against women in most of the world.”

“[We] don’t be afraid of it,” Sapochnik said. “If anything, we will look at that aspect. One cannot ignore the violence perpetrated by men against women at the time. It should not be downplayed and should not be glorified.”

Sapochnik’s comments left somewhat ambiguous about the prequel series’ relationship to sexual violence against women. And yet, Hess clarified, “I want to be clear that we don’t depict sexual violence on the show,” she told Vanity Fair. “We are treating a case off-screen and instead showing the aftermath and impact on the victim and the perpetrator’s mother.”

“I think what makes our show and what I’m proud of is that we chose to focus on the violence against women that is inherent in a patriarchal system,” Hess added, noting that “House of the Dragon” will show violence against women who are not strictly sexual.

“There are many ‘historical’ or story-based shows that romanticize powerful men in sexual/marital relationships with women who weren’t of legal age to consent even if they were ‘willing,'” continued Hess. “We bring that to the screen, and we don’t shy away from the fact that our female leads are being coerced and manipulated into doing the will of grown men for the first half of the show. This is not necessarily done by those we would label rapists or abusers, but often by generally well-meaning men who fail to recognize that what they are doing is traumatic and oppressive because of the system they all live in , it normalized. It’s less obvious than rape, but just as insidious, albeit in a different way.”

House of the Dragon premieres August 21 on HBO.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/house-of-the-dragon-sexual-violence-1235331937/ “House of the Dragon” will not “depict sexual violence” on screen.

Charles Jones

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