*Spoilers for House of the Dragon below*
Episode four sees Rhaenyra taken to a brothel by her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith), where the pair kiss and begin to undress. Daemon then leaves, with Rhaenyra returning to her castle and having a far more intimate sex scene with Criston.
Appearing on EW’s West of Westeros podcast, Frankel praised episode director Clare Kilner for her work on the scene, explaining that he’d felt inspired by BBC drama Normal People and the ways it “highlighted the realities of sex, especially at such a young age”.
“It was something we talked about over seven months. It was one of the first things I was very keen to talk about,” Frankel explained. “The big thing for me was about it not feeling like another gratuitous, sweat-glistening-off-their-back sex scene, because it’s just not like that.
“That’s just not what sex is like and anyone who’s ever had sex will tell you that sex ain’t that beautiful. It isn’t some picturesque, amazing thing. It’s awkward, especially when you’re young. There’s an uncomfortability that one has to sit in and there’s a discovery and understanding of each other’s bodies, not to mention the practical side of the whole thing.”
He continued: “I just remember back and forth texts, back and forth phone calls, back and forth meetings between Clare, myself, Milly, and Miriam [Lucia] our intimacy coordinator. But particularly me, Clare, and Milly going, ‘How do we make this human?’... I was very adamant about that and I think that they both were as well.”
The Serpent star then described the way the scene shows Rhaenyra removing Criston’s armour piece by piece.
“These are all the things I really cared about, because they take away this sort of, to my mind, archaic sexual sex scenes that have existed for so long in television and film, and make it feel real and how it would be… It was about the struggle in every way – the struggle to get the armour off, the struggle of him to betray his vows... That’s how I wanted to pitch it.”
This week, House of the Dragon’s intimacy coordinator Miriam Lucia spoke about the impact of her work on the young female cast members and how this countered Sean Bean’s comments that they were removing the “spontaneity” from sex scenes.
House of the Dragon continues in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 2am, before repeating at 9pm later that day.