While these sex scenes are more meaningful than those in Game of Thrones, the stars still questioned if they were entirely necessary. Matt Smith, who plays Rhaenyra’s uncle Daemon Targaryen, said he grew tired of the scenes. “You do find yourself asking, ‘Do we need another sex scene?’” he told Rolling Stone U.K. “And they’re like, ‘Yeah, we do.’”
Eventually, Smith came to understand that sex is a big part of the universe Martin created. “I guess you have to ask yourself: ‘What are you doing? Are you representing the books, or are you diluting the books to represent the time [we’re living in]?’” Smith said. “And I actually think it’s your job to represent the books truthfully and honestly, as they were written.”
See how the writers reimagined Martin’s world through a critical lens when House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21 on HBO.