Warning – spoilers ahead for ‘House of the Dragon“Episode four”
Viewers were shocked by the incest scene in the fourth episode of the HBO hit Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and her uncle, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), are seen intimate with each other in the brothel.
Although the couple didn’t go all out, the incest scene was enough to make some viewers uncomfortable even though having sex in the same family is something Game of Thrones he never avoided.
How similar is House of the Dragon incest scene to source material?
These two series are known from the materials of fantasy writer George RR Martin, but do HBO directors have the creative freedom to get an audience response?
The short answer is no. Martin never avoided scenes that would shock readers in his material, drawing inspiration from the brutality of the Middle Ages.
House of the Dragon is based on his 2018 book Fire and bloodwhich tells the story of the Targaryen lineage.
The second part of the book is divided into the accounts of three chroniclers: Septon Eustachy, the Great Maester Munun and the Stupid Mushroom.
Eustace relates that Daemon seduced Rhaenyra and “discovered her virginity,” prompting Viserys to lock the princess in her chambers and banish her uncle from King’s Landing.
However, this is from Mushroom’s more “sweet” account House of the Dragon drew inspiration from a disturbing scene in the fourth episode.
According to Mushroom’s account, Rhaenyra missed her knight, Ser Criston Cole, but being noble, Cole was faithful to his vows and never took any vows or reciprocated the princess’s affection.
It was through this unrequited love that Daemon influenced Rhaenyra to let him teach her how to “make him see you as a woman.”
This is slightly different from the TV adaptation, showing the sexual tension between Daemon and his niece slowly building up in the episodes, while there is less evidence that the princess may be romantically interested in Cole.
Martin writes, “At night [Daemon] smuggle [Rhaenyra] disguised as pages from her rooms and take her secretly to the brothels on Jedwabna Street, where the princess could observe men and women in an act of love and learn more about these “female arts” from the harlots of King’s Landing. It is from this account that the events in House of the Dragon are accurately mirrored and it is in the brothel that the incest scene takes place.
Furthermore, when Rhaenyra’s father, King Viserys (played by Paddy Considine) is informed of the meeting, he confronts Daemon, who tells him, “Give me a girl to wife. Who else would take her now? This line is almost exactly lifted in the script used in the scene between actors Smith and Considin.
Many of Daenerys ancestors, in addition to Daemon and Rhaenyra, practiced incest and polygamy – you can read all about the Targaryen family tree here.
House of the Dragon airs weekly sunday in the US, and the UK premiere comes on Sky at 2am the next day. Episodes are then repeated at 9:00 PM on Mondays and will be available to stream on Sky and NOW after they first aired.