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House of the Dragon showrunner explains why Aemma’s death was much more gruesome on-screen than in the book




Some of the most graphic death scenes in television history, like the crushing of Oberyn Martell’s head and Joffrey’s poisoning suffocation, were often featured in Game of Thrones. And by featuring a highly graphic and brutal delivery scenario in the first episode, House of the Dragon, the prequel, seems to be carrying on the tradition. However, it wasn’t supposed to be that brutal, if we go by the books.

Why House of the Dragon’s pilot begin with such a brutal death?

The first episode of Season 1 of House of the Dragon was memorable for a lot of reasons, but Aemma Arryn’s gory delivery scene is too hard to forget. Showrunner Ryan Condal explained why it was way more gruesome than the Fire & Blood novel in an interview with Vanity Fair:

“Really, this particular story is Viserys’s story. It’s kicked off by him believing that he’s going to have a new male son after trying for years and years, and stillbirths and miscarriages, and all the hell that [his wife Queen Aemma] has been through as a mother. Finally the answer is going to come. He’s very confident and sure of it. Just like that, mother and son die in childbirth. Suddenly, everything changes and flips the chess table.”


House of the Dragon has a lot of room for expansion

Author George R. R. Martin joined in and commended the showrunner and his team for their efforts:

“There’s a lot of opportunity for expansion. That’s what we’ll find a lot of in the series. [What] Ryan and his team of writers have been doing great so far is to do an expansion that does not contradict the book. I mean, you can add a lot of things. You can add scenes. You can even add some characters. But you can’t do anything that affects the structure—or otherwise, three or four books later, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Read Next: House of the Dragon premiere had a secret callback to the Game of Thrones finale

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