Game of Thrones is a show that changed the face of the entertainment industry. The fantasy series used state-of-the-art special effects and a dramatic storyline to create a show that became hugely popular with fans of all ages.
The series premiered in April 2011, but even though it’s a relatively short period of time, it was a completely different era when it came to filming sex scenes. In a recent interview, Gemma Whelan, the actress who played Yara Greyjoy, confirmed that the show’s sex scenes were not filmed with the care and respect that has recently become customary.
Game of Thrones is no stranger to controversy when it comes to sexual activity, both on screen and behind the camera. In a November 2019 interview on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, Emilia Clarke, who played one of the series’ leads, Daenerys Targaryen, described what it was like to film her nude scenes.
Gemma Whelan opened up about filming Game of Thrones sex scenes in an interview and revealed what many suspected behind the scenes of the series. The actors received almost no instructions beforehand. This meant that the job of making sure people felt respected fell to the cast members themselves.
Gemma Whelan described what it was like to film one of her character’s first scenes when Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) returns home to the Iron Islands and touches Yara inappropriately, unaware that she is her sister.
“With intimacy directors, it’s a choreography: you move in there, I move in there, and permission and consent is given before you start. It’s a step in the right direction.”
HBO began using intimacy coordinators in October 2018 on the show The Deuce, months before Game of Thrones ended. Comments like those by Gemma Whelan and Emilia Clarke show why intimacy coordinators are necessary on film and television sets, and the fact that they are becoming the standard for productions is good news.