There are just two weeks to go until Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon gets underway, but its creators can’t seem to agree on how sexual violence will be depicted in the show.
In a recent interview, executive producer Sara Hess, who spent three years on the set of Netflix prison drama Orange is the New Black, said that sexual violence would not be explicitly depicted on screen.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Hess said: ‘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.’
But her comments contradicted a previous interview given by showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik, who oversaw production of several of Game of Thrones’ biggest episodes and will likely direct the House of the Dragon premiere.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sapochnik said that the upcoming prequel would ‘shine a light’ on sexual violence and not ‘shy away’ from it, presenting it ‘carefully and thoughtfully’.
‘If anything, we’re going to shine a light on that aspect,’ he commented.
‘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.’
The question of how House of the Dragon will depict sexual violence is one that has been carried over from the parent HBO series – the depiction of sexual violence in Game of Thrones was often a controversial issue.
During the fantasy series’ fourth and fifth seasons, scenes showing sexual violence against Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) received a mixed reaction from viewers.
Some fans believe that, because the creators of House of the Dragon are now able to look back at how depictions of sexual violence were received during Game of Thrones’ time on air, they will use the gift of hindsight to benefit the new show.
When the upcoming prequel premieres on August 21 (August 22 in the UK), viewers are expecting to see a compromise that includes a combination of Hess and Sapochnik’s comments.
Watch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic from August 21.