It’s the dragon’s housebut still backstory has already caused some controversy. It revolves around an opposite scene depicting Aema Targaryen, wife of King Viserys Targaryen, giving birth. If you haven’t seen the first episode, keep in mind that there is spoilers ahead.
Much of the first episode,, focuses on Viserys’ desire to have a son. Queen Aema begins the episode heavily pregnant and about three-quarters of the way through goes into labor. Unfortunately, the baby was coming out from the bottom forward and the masters were unable to turn it. Viserys was given a choice: sacrifice the mother for the baby or let the gods decide who lives.
Overzealous in his quest for a son, Viserys chooses to save the baby through an unmedicated C-section. Not only does Emma not agree to the procedure, she hasn’t said anything about it. Viserys takes her hand and says it’s time for the child to be born, and Emma gives him a weak smile. When she learns how the baby is born, she screams in terror as Viserys meekly tries to comfort her. Some called it a powerful scene, others called it a gratuitous portrayal of a traumatic event.
In the 2018 book on which House of the Dragon, Fire and Blood is based, Emma dies of natural causes during childbirth. The interference of Viserys and the Masters is a creative permission granted by the makers of House of the Dragon.
“I know it might sound extreme, but we wanted it to be hard to watch,” co-showrunner Miguel Sapocnik told The LA Times. “We wanted people to remember that no matter what they thought of Viserys, he did this and he could never take it back.
“It is the inciting incident of the story, and it must be strong and steadfast.”
From what we can tell so far, Viserys is presented in House of the Dragon as a good guy who makes an ordinary king. Unlike some of the rulers we’ve come to know in Game of Thrones, like Joffrey and Cersei, he’s not unnecessarily cruel. Unlike King Robert Baratheon, he is not prone to perverse self-indulgence. But, as Sapochnik says, his decision to sacrifice his wife is a vicious black mark on his character.
“It’s not meant to be gratuitous,” co-showrunner Ryan Condall told Vanity Fair. “There’s this whole idea in Game of Thrones, or the Middle Ages, or a historical era like that, that men went to the battlefield and women’s battlefield happened in the crib. It was a very dangerous place. … Any slight complication, anything can lead to very tragic consequences for the child and the mother.”
“We wanted to dramatize that.”
Speaking to The LA Times, Queen Aemma actor Sian Brooke hinted at parallels between the scenes depicted in House of the Dragon and the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn national abortion rights.
“You think you’ve made this giant leap forward with women being able to make decisions about their own bodies,” Brooke told the publication. “It’s quite shocking that unfortunately there is some similarity between this and centuries ago.”
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