Fabien Frankel Spent Seven Months Planning One House of the Dragon Sex Scene: How Do We Make This Human?

“Game of Thrones” was infamous for its gratuitous sex scenes, which is perhaps one reason “House of the Dragon” actor Fabien Frankel spent so much time working on just one intimate scene for the “Thrones” prequel series. Frankel told Entertainment Weekly that he spent seven months working on his character’s Episode 4 sex scene with Milly Alcock’s Rhaenyra Targaryen.

“It was something we talked about over seven months. It was one of the first things I was very keen to talk about,” Frankel said. “The big thing for me was about it not feeling like another gratuitous, sweat-glistening-off-their-back sex scene, ’cause it’s just not like that.”

“Anyone who’s ever had sex will tell you sex ain’t that beautiful,” Frankel continued. “It isn’t some picturesque, amazing thing. It’s awkward, especially when you are young. There’s an un-comfortability 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.”

According to Frankel, he spent months texting Alcock and episode director Clare Kilner about the scene and asking them, “How do we make this human?”

“I remember just saying to them, ‘There’s no way this armor comes off without the help,’” Frankel said, explaining that he fought to have the scene’s runtime dragged out with the long process depicting his character, Ser Criston Cole, taking off his armor.

“Knights would have squires, and squires would take off their armor. For even a world-quality squire, you’ve got 10 minutes to get the armor off. Let’s say five, maybe at best. There’s no way Rhaenyra and Cole are gonna take that armor off in 10 seconds,” Frankel said. “So I was like, ‘Well, you have to have that in. It’s important that that’s what it is. It’s important that it’s a struggle to get the armor off.’ It’s heavy. How do we get the buckle off? How do we get the boots off? These are all the things I really cared about, ’cause 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.”

“House of the Dragon” airs Sunday nights at 9pm ET on HBO.

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