A new behind-the-scenes book about HBO’s Game of Thrones is throwing out all sorts of new embers, including that Thrones author George R.R. Martin was unhappy with Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding night in the pilot.
“Why did the wedding scene change from the consensual seduction scene to the brutal rape of Emilia Clarke?” Martin asks author James Hibberd for Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon (via Insider). “We never discussed it. It made it worse, not better.”
In the show, Drogo (Jason Momoa) wipes a tear from Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) face and undresses her as she weeps. In the book, Drogo allows Dany to unbraid his hair and massages her before asking for her consent.
Benioff and Weiss defended the change.
“Here’s a girl who is absolutely terrified of this barbarian warlord she’s being married off to, it’s the last thing in the world she wants, yet somehow by the end of this wedding night she seems to be in a completely joyful sexual relationship with him. It didn’t entirely work for us,” Benioff says in the book.
The writers explained the original scene couldn’t work for the show, because it was too jarring with Drogo assaulting Dany later on.
“In the second episode she has to go back to the less consensual, rougher relationship,” Weiss added. “In the book that works, but we just didn’t have that amount of time and access to the character’s mind. It turns too quickly. It was something the actors themselves felt wasn’t gelling.”
This isn’t the first season 1 scene Martin has called attention to in the oral history, after the eighth and final season of the fantasy show ended last year. Heof the show, its shortcomings a result of budget.
Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon is now available for purchase.