Well, that birth scene was as terrifying as humanly possible.

House of the Dragon viewers witnessed a disturbing scene at the Game of Thrones prequel premiere on Sunday night.

Emma Aryan (Sean Brooke) was all set to give birth to a son, which would have provided her husband, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine), with a desperately needed heir to the Iron Throne.

Complications with the birth resulted in Viserys having to make a choice between saving Amma or her baby—through a sure-to-fatal medieval attempt at a caesarean. The king tries to save the child and inevitably ends up killing his beloved wife (who is fully conscious and frightened). Later anyway the child dies.

This is exactly the scene director Miguel Sapochnik was hinting at in a recent cover story for The Hollywood Reporter on the making of House of the Dragon, and below are his expanded thoughts on the matter.

“Emma says, ‘The baby bed is our battlefield,'” says Sapochnik, who is showrunner on the series with Ryan Kondall. “We felt it was an interesting way to explore the fact that for a woman in medieval times, giving birth was violence. It’s as dangerous as it is. You have a 50/50 chance of making it.” Many women didn’t. If given the choice, the father would choose the child over the mother because the caesarean would kill you.

It was an extremely violent part of life. We have multiple births in the show and basically different themes to them Decided to give in and explore them from different perspectives, the same way I did for many of the battles on Thrones, where each time I tried to put a different backbone in each one just wasn’t working because I had to. Don’t think putting a bunch of violence on screen for the sake of violence does any good in the world.”

The scene sets up the show’s central conflict over the succession of the king, with the premiere of Viserys choosing his daughter Rainera Targaryen (played by Millie Alcock in the show’s opening episodes) over her business brother Damon (Matt Smith). .

The Hollywood Reporter also asked Considine why her character chose her daughter over her brother — even though she knew the kingdom might never accept a woman on the Iron Throne.

“He totally understands that Damon can’t be king and that’s it,” says Considine. “She doesn’t have the temperament. Damon will burn everything. He’s too volatile. ‘My next real choice is my daughter and I’m taking a big gamble because she’s female. But I believe there’s something inside of her, that His mother is the best,’ who was the love of Viserys’ life.

He instinctively feels he can entrust her and that she will listen enough to understand what is required to be the ruler of that kingdom. It’s almost like burdening your child and knowing that on the surface looks like a gift but it’s a curse. It’s like I’m giving you something that will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life. Burdening you with all this crap Is for show, I think he believes he is the one.

House of the Dragon chronicles the civil war that tore Westeros nearly 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

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