Game of Thrones picked up a pointed nickname during its run: “tits and dragons.” While the show’s combination of sex, violence and fantasy might have catapulted it to becoming one of the biggest franchises on the planet, a new interview with Emilia Clarke has revealed the toll it took on the cast.
She spoke on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast about the nudity on the show recently, revealing that she felt it took advantage of her inexperience in the first season. She also revealed how co-star Jason Momoa helped her push back against the nude scenes.
“It’s only now that I realize how fortunate I was with that, because that could have gone many, many, many different ways. Because Jason had experience, he had done a bunch of stuff before coming on to this, he was like, ‘Sweetie, this is how it’s meant to be and this is how it’s not meant to be, and I’m going to make sure that’s the way it goes. He was so kind and considerate and cared about me as a human being. He took care of me, he really did. In an environment where I didn’t know I needed to be taken care of.”
I already held Momoa in high regard, but him being sure to keep an eye out for the welfare of his co-stars and ensuring that they weren’t exploited is a big plus point in his favor. That’s fortunate, because elsewhere in the interview, Clarke explains what kind of things she had to put up with.
“I’m a lot savvier with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing. I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up,’ and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your ‘Game of Thrones’ fans.’ And I’m like, ‘Fuck you.’ I feel like I’ve seen enough now to know what is actually needed.”
Ew. Pressuring Clarke into getting naked by emotionally blackmailing her that she’s disappointing the fans – and thus also implicitly harming the show as a whole – is some seriously nasty stuff. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if someone like Emilia Clarke, one of the principles on Game of Thrones, can be manipulated like this, what chance does a jobbing young actor struggling to pay the bills have?
If there’s one take away from this story, it’s that even prestigious productions have some gross characters and power dynamics at play on set. Good for Emilia Clarke for standing up for herself and good for Jason Momoa for the solidarity with his co-worker, but it’s disturbing that this would even arise at all.