‘House Of The Dragon’ Fans Erupt Over ‘Forced Birth’ Scene In Explosive Premiere

House of the Dragon
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

This article contains spoilers for the first episode. 

Game of Thrones” fans were delighted that the highly anticipated prequel series “House of the Dragon” debuted on HBO Max last night, but even those seemingly immune to gory content are reacting to one graphic scene in the series premiere.

The central story takes place about 200 years before the events in “Game of Thrones,” spanning the legacy of the Targaryen family. In the first episode, Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) dies while giving birth to her son when her husband, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), opts to put his wife through an undermedicated and brutal c-section in an effort to save the sole male heir.

Fans reacted strongly to the emotional, graphic scene, plus reacted to what they called “forced birth” on the part of Queen Aemma.

“Still think the worse [sic] thing about Aemma’s death is how Viserys took away her ability to choose in favor of treating her like a broodmare,” one Twitter reviewer wrote.

Another agreed, saying, “That birthing scene was brutal. Shedding tears!!”

“Damn Aemma Arryn lasted less episodes than Ned Stark,” a third said, comparing the queen to a popular “Game of Thrones” character who got killed off in the first season in a surprise twist.

Predictably, fans used the scene to draw comparisons between the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the notion of a man forcing his wife to die horrifically from a c-section in a non-medical setting. This was not necessarily the intent of showrunners, however, as the Supreme Court decision wasn’t handed down until after filming had concluded.

“Yes it’s accurate in terms of historical context, but it’s still horrifying to see, & doesn’t take away the point that she still should have had a choice about her own body,” one Twitter user shared. “Very timely given Roe vs Wade & how despite modern medicine, we’re still told what to do with our bodies.”

“Can’t wait to listen to men talk about what a great show House of the Dragon is all week. Meanwhile women are watching an exact mirror of the world we live in with forced birth, no rights, rape, violence, and murder at the hands of our husbands. ItS fAnTaSy ThO,” another wrote.

Brooke discussed filming the scene during a recent interview with Variety. “It was a bloodbath,” the actress recalled. “Behind that belly was a whole bag full of blood and fluid. When the incision was made, they would have to time it with pumping this blood out of the belly.”

She described the fake blood as “cold and wet, seeping all over.” Brooke mentioned that the set “looked like a horror movie” after filming concluded.

The actress directly addressed the connection between the c-section and abortion as well.

“When we filmed it, it obviously didn’t cross my mind because it hadn’t happened,” Brooke said of Roe v. Wade’s reversal.

“Now, you realize how shocking that is, that comparisons can be made between present day, and a woman’s body and the right to choose what happens to her body, and thousands of years ago. I just think the fact that we’re even talking about it, is evident in itself. It’s very poignant what can happen within a year, and how far we can step back.”

“House of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO Max.

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