T he nudity in the early seasons of Game of Thrones was so famous that it spawned its own Saturday Night Live skit. Emilia Clarke , who starred as Daenerys Targaryen in all eight seasons of the hit HBO show, recently spoke about those early scenes, revealing that she had no idea nudity would be required of her until after she had signed on for the role. It is a little sad, though, that she felt her lack of experience was the culprit in those early days. The guidelines advise a ban on full nudity in any audition and no semi-nudity in first auditions. Performers can feel as though they have no choice but to do things that make them feel uncomfortable. What the writers failed to realise was that Sansa was strong in spite of being sexually assaulted, not because of it. This is the essence of survival. Why was the violence inflicted on women in the show so frequently focused on their gender? And why did the audience need repeated examples of this to be reminded that certain characters were evil?
Not all sex on Game of Thrones is created equal. Sure, the HBO fantasy drama has not unfairly developed a reputation for gratuitous violence and sexual relations of all configurations—man on woman, man on man, sorceress on man, brother on sister—but some of that stuff matters. Sex is wielded in Westeros, like everything else, as a form of power. If you're demanding it the way Daenerys tells her bearded underling to strip, it's a good sign you're in charge. Of course, sometimes bare boobs are just bare boobs. And sex is often a relief—for the characters and the viewers. You need something to break up all the beheading, impaling, and disemboweling. Jorah Mormont talks to a woman about dragons as she tattoos the back of a man whose ass crack is in public view and who contributes nothing to the conversation.
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Speaking to Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast this week, Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke pulled the curtain back on what filming nude scenes as Daenerys Targaryen for the show was actually like—especially in the first season, when nudity was a main attraction. But she "came to terms with that" before arriving on the set. As a newcomer in the industry and recent drama school graduate, Clarke said she didn't feel she was in the place to make complaints or demands. Clarke found comfort in filming with costar and on-screen husband Jason Momoa Khal Drogo , who had more experience on film sets and taught her how she should or shouldn't be treated. Years after GoT 's first season in , Clarke said the way nudity is approached on sets now is "very, very, very, different" and that she's "a lot more savvy" about expressing what she's comfortable with doing on camera. The actress felt much more empowered filming her final nude scene in Season 6. They've asked me to do it, and you know what, I'm fucking game.
Even though it's over, if there's one thing Game of Thrones remains notorious for—aside from that ending—it's the sex scenes that littered the series. From season one, episode one, GoT was a show that wasn't afraid to show plenty of sex scenes, from young hotties Daenerys and Jon Snow to the incestuous pairing that were Cersei and Jamie. There was plenty of death in Game of Thrones , including many of the people above—it's been over for a while, guys, I'm not going to apologize for the spoiler—but, dare I say it, there were even more sex scenes. Do not me. Did Melisandre ultimately seduce Gendry with the goal of surprising him by bringing leeches into the bedroom to suck out some of his blood for some ritual? Was it hot in a BDSM-y way? Look, we know this scene was 50 shades of disgusting.