‘Why is every birth scene so traumatic’
“House of the Dragon” just can’t stop featuring violent childbirth scenes.
Spoiler alert for the Season 1 finale of “House of the Dragon.”
In the final episode of Season 1 of the “Game of Thrones,” prequel show, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) has a stillbirth. The baby would be her third child with her uncle-husband Daemon (Matt Smith), and her sixth child overall (not counting her two stepdaughters through Daemon). But sadly, in a harrowing scene, after learning that her father has died and her half-brother Aegon usurped her position as their father’s successor to the Iron Throne, her rage and sadness make her go into labor early, and the result is a stillbirth.
It’s a brutal scene, as Rhaenyra has to deliver the baby herself, with a flood of blood, and heartbreakingly cradles her stillborn daughter.
All the while Daemon isn’t exactly a supportive husband (or uncle — Targaryens, they’re complicated). He virtually ignores her, busy planning their war against Aegon, as Rhaenyra shouts with labor pains in the background.
A lot of viewers weren’t too happy about this. “Why is every birth scene in House of the Dragon so Traumatic?” one viewer complained.
This is the show’s fourth instance of showcasing violence and brutality around pregnancy. The pilot kicked off with a brutal medieval C-section scene, as Rhaenyra’s mother died. Then, Daemon’s wife Laena had pregnancy-related complications and decided to self-immolate by a dragon, rather than bleed out on the birthing bed.
When we met the aged-up version of Rhaenyra after the 10-year time jump in the sixth episode, she was in the middle of giving birth. After Alicent summoned her to examine the baby, Rhaenyra walked up steps directly afterward, wincing in pain.
And now, there’s this stillbirth scene.
“There’s so much childbirth in these damn episodes,” one fan commented, while another said, “These showrunners need to stop with the birthing scenes.”
“House of the Dragon” seems to be simply obsessed with pregnancy-related violence toward women. While it’s true that pregnancy certainly can be brutal, four scenes in one season is a lot and is not a good look for a show helmed by male showrunners.
But showrunner Ryan Condal told Deadline it was meant to link “the horrific birth that goes terribly wrong in the pilot with another horrific birth that goes wrong in the finale.”
“It’s mother and daughter,” he explained. “It’s the daughter of the woman who died in the pilot now having this very difficult birth. That was always her fear, birth is a battlefield and now Rhaenyra finds herself at war and this is her going through her own battle. She’s having a miscarriage. She knows she’s not far enough along in her term that she’s going to have a viable infant. It’s medieval times. There is no premature baby unit in the maester’s hospital.”