House of the Dragon Star Emily Carey Opens Up About the Show's Sex Scenes

The actor, who plays Alicent Hightower, spoke about the important role of the intimacy coordinator
IMAGE HBO

Being cast in any Game Of Thrones-adjacent series must come with its own set of worries for the actor. The fantasy show was filled with shocking and uncomfortable scenes, and House of the Dragon was sure to be no different.

It’s a fear that actor Emily Carey – who uses she/they pronouns – admitted they felt on taking the role of Alicent Hightower aged 17, and shooting the series aged 18, and when they first appeared on set with her older co-star, Paddy Considine.

In the fourth episode of the series, in which Considine plays King Viserys, Carey’s character has to bathe the King, and then she is summoned to the King's bed. While Viserys has sex with her, she lies still, suggesting that Alicent has been coerced into the act.

Speaking to Newsweek, they admitted: “It scared me because at that point I still hadn't met Paddy, I didn't know how much of a joy he was and how easy he was going to make [the scene], and all I saw was, you know, a 47-year-old man and me, I was a bit concerned.”

However, the series has been careful to employ an intimacy coordinator to ensure the well-being of actors when filming intimate scenes. Carey added that having a specified person to help with the more explicit parts of the role was “amazing” and explained: “Again, still being 17, the first scene that I read from the show was my sex scene and my intimacy scenes, that includes the scene where I'm bathing the king—anything that felt intimate was considered an intimacy scene, which I thought was great.

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“Having that outlet of the intimacy coordinator, to be able to talk everything through and not be shunned, or not feel awkward, or not feel like 'Oh, this isn't your job. I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable but can I ask you...' it was never any of that, it was just that open dialogue.”

Carey added that they had never watched Game of Thrones prior to landing the role. When they finally sat down to watch it before the House of the Dragon shoot began, they said that the show’s reputation for relentless violence towards women became apparent: “There's a lot of violent sex and it made me nervous. I was like, 'Oh God, what am I gonna have to do in this show?'”

GoT regular Emilia Clarke commented at the end of the series about how uncomfortable and pressured she had felt into the “fuck ton of nudity” in the long-running show. Perhaps as a result of this, HotD showrunner Miguel Sapochnik previously told The Hollywood Reporter that there was a move in the prequel to “pull back” on the number of sex scenes and that scenes portraying violence against women had been “carefully” considered.

FromEsquire UK

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