‘House of the Dragon’ Star Emily Carey Was ‘Concerned’ About Alicent and Viserys’ Sex Scene: ‘It Scared Me’

TL;DR:

  • Emily Carey and Paddy Considine share a sex scene in House of the Dragon.
  • The Alicent Hightower actor was “concerned” about filming that moment.
  • House of the Dragon is making an effort to portray intimacy responsibly.
Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower in 'House of the Dragon' Season 1 on HBO. She's wearing a green dress that dips at the shoulders, and her face is turned to the side.
Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower | Ollie Upton/HBO

Recent episodes of House of the Dragon have seen Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) growing up. For women in Westeros, that’s often accompanied by marriage, sex, and procreation. And both Rhaenyra and Alicent have sex scenes during House of the Dragon Episode 4. Alicent actor Emily Carey was particularly nervous about filming hers, especially since Paddy Considine — and his character, King Viserys — is older.

‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 4 features a sex scene between Alicent and Viserys

House of the Dragon has featured significantly less sex than Game of Thrones, but episode 4 brought fans several moments of intimacy (albeit less explicit than those in the original show).

Rhaenyra Targaryen’s exploits with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) and Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) have already sparked plenty of conversations online. But there’s another, quieter sex scene during House of the Dragon Episode 4 — one that’s receiving less attention but is sure to ramp up viewers’ discomfort as they watch.

That moment occurs between Alicent Hightower and King Viserys, whose relationship has unfolded primarily behind closed doors up until now. Episode 4 is the first time fans see any hint of unhappiness from Alicent regarding her current circumstances. She stares blankly at the ceiling as she and Viserys copulate. It’s an unsettling moment, and it’s one House of the Dragon star Emily Carey was nervous about bringing to life.

‘House of the Dragon’ star Emily Carey was ‘scared’ to film Alicent and Viserys’ sex scene

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During an interview with Newsweek, Emily Carey opened up about Alicent and Viserys’ sex scene in House of the Dragon Episode 4. The 19-year-old star — who was 17 when she was cast in the Game of Thrones prequel — admitted she had some reservations about the intimate moment between her character and King Viserys.

“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],” she explained. “All I saw was, you know, a 47-year-old man and me. I was a bit concerned.”

Fortunately, it seems Paddy Considine and Carey developed a positive working relationship — one that made such scenes less intimidating.

Carey also credited the intimacy coordinator who worked on House of the Dragon Episode 4 for making things more comfortable, telling Newsweek:

“We have an intimacy coordinator who was amazing. 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.”

It’s great to hear that House of the Dragon is utilizing intimacy coordinators to guide its actors through these moments. And it seems the HBO series is going to great lengths to portray sex responsibly. In fact, director Clare Kilner is cognizant of how the “male gaze” frames such things — and made sure that wasn’t the case in episode 4.

‘House of the Dragon’ director wanted sex scenes shot with the ‘female gaze’

HBO’s Inside the Episode for House of the Dragon Episode 4 digs into the show’s approach to sex — and although it doesn’t talk about Emily Carey’s scene specifically, it emphasizes the “responsibility” of capturing the woman’s perspective.

Unpacking Rhaenyra’s encounter with Daemon, director Clare Kilner described the importance of getting such moments right.

“Directing scenes like that can be really difficult,” Kilner admitted. “It’s a big responsibility, and it’s important to shoot it from the right point of view.”

Kilner also spoke about confronting her own biases, as she’s grown up watching sex scenes helmed by men:

“Being a female director, I’ve grown up watching how male directors have directed sex scenes. And as a woman, I have to really think about how to shoot it because my go-to images are the ones that I grew up with, which aren’t necessarily from a woman’s point of view.”

Needless to say, flipping the script requires effort on the creators’ parts — though it’s important to do. Those behind House of the Dragon seem to understand that, making the experience of shooting sex less intimidating for everyone.

New episodes of House of the Dragon air every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

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