Actor Paddy Considine says the intense labor and delivery sequence from the pilot episode of House of the Dragon became much more unpleasant to shoot. The incidents of House of the Dragon actually occur centuries preceding the happenings of Game of Thrones and tell the story of the tense relationship within the Targaryen dynasty and the horrific civil war that would break out in the future.
Ryan Condral along with Miguel Sapochnik the helmers for the HBO series, which premiered on August 21 to a career-high viewership of nearly 10 million people, or around 8 million compared to its predecessor.
The pilot episode wasted no time in establishing the protagonists’ competing goals, and it was filled with all the sensuality and brutality that viewers have grown to anticipate from the realm of Westeros in Game of Thrones.
In the first chapter of House of the Dragon, The keeper of the Iron Throne chooses to have his spouse Aemma (Sian Brooke) have a C-section after things don’t go as expected during delivery, leading to Aemma’s untimely, and tragic demise.
Considine explains in a recent discussion with Insider that filming the delivery sequence was far more traumatic than seeing it. The actress recalls that the sequence was more intense when they first shot it, however, was dialed back for the season finale. Considine admits this was likely the best course of action since the opposite may have been too hard to tough to swallow.
“It was tough to shoot. It’s all make believe, but it was tough. It was very emotional. In fact, it was a lot more brutal and a lot more emotional than it ends up in the final episode. And I wasn’t sure about that when I first saw it. Maybe it was too much because Viserys is utterly devastated, and maybe that was too much to show early on. I think they really cut it down really well. We went for it, and there’s a lot of tears. But props to Sian because she was going through the physicality of everything. It was a very physical bit of work from her.”
While there were many violent and gory sequences spanning Game of Thrones’ eight seasons, the C-section sequence in House of the Dragon stands out not just for its visual nature but also for the dire conditions in which it is performed. When faced with the choice of saving his spouse or his unborn, Viserys opts for the latter so that he may eventually have a son to succeed to the throne. Regardless of the apparent sincerity of their affection, Aemma is tied down and doesn’t have any control over the situation.
Considine argues that the scene’s reduction in the conclusion was most likely for the better. The birthing sequence in House of the Dragon does a great job of setting up the world’s largest hierarchies and gives us some fascinating background on Viserys. Perhaps if it were much harsher, people would have seen it as superfluous, which would have had the opposite effect of what was intended.