Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke defends wedding night rape scene
When Sansa Stark was raped on her wedding night by sadistic new husband Ramsay Bolton, it was roundly declared one of Game of Thrones' most harrowing scenes.
Although no explicit detail was shown, the implied brutality of the assault left viewers shocked and sparked a conversation about whether or not Game of Thrones, which is set in a quasi-medieval world, is misogynistic in its routine depiction of violence towards women.
Turner’s co-star Emilia Clarke has now spoken out about a similar scene from Thrones' very first season, involving her character Daenerys.
The young Targaryen royal was coerced into marriage to Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and forced to consummate their union on their wedding night.
But she later went on to assert her independence, persuading Drogo to see her as an equal, “birthing” three dragons and becoming a formidable warrior queen after his death.
Daenerys also eventually came to love her husband – a storyline which Clarke defends.
“Well, Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s arranged marriage, and the customary rape that followed – ask George RR Martin why he did that, ’cause that’s on him,” she told Glamour Magazine. “But I thought the consensual sex she has thereafter was genius.”
“She is physically saying, 'You can’t rape me again. I’m going to be in control and show you something you’ve never seen before.’
"At the heart of it, we’re telling a story; you need that part of the story to feel empathy for Daenerys. You see her attacked by her brother, raped by her husband, and then going, ‘F--- all of you, I’m gonna rule the world.’ That’s where we are now."
The actress also revealed that, during the couple’s love scenes, Momoa’s modesty prompted him to wear a rather unusual accessory, covering his private parts with “a pink fluffy sock”.
Asked why the show tends to show more female nudity than male nudity, she admitted that she “doesn’t know” – but hinted that this would soon change if she were in charge.
Asked what she would include if she were writing Game of Thrones fan fiction, Clarke said she would want added male nudity: "I want to see Daenerys and her three dragons share the throne. Eat goat they’ve barbecued. And bring back all the pretty boys, get them to take their trousers down, and be like, “I’m now the queen of everything! I’d like close-ups of all the boys, please."
Like all of Game of Thrones' cast (especially Kit Harington, who has spent the past 10 months avoiding questions as to whether his character, Jon Snow, is alive or not) Clarke was sworn to secrecy about Daenerys's activity in season six. Seeing as she was last seen being closed in on by an army with nothing but a cantankerous dragon for protection, however, the goat barbecue may have to wait a while yet.