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SYFY WIRE House of the Dragon

'House of the Dragon' star on that sex scene: 'We felt pretty overdressed, because everyone else was nude'

Things heated up on this week's House of the Dragon.

By Matthew Jackson
Milly Alcock and Fabien Frankel in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 4

The world of Game of Thrones is known for its sex scenes, from the pleasant to the awkward to the just-plain cringe-inducing, but things got especially complicated for one character on this week's episode of House of the Dragon, as she found herself caught between two different men in two very different circumstances.

**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon, Episode 4, "King of the Narrow Sea"**

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) is caught between the interests of her family and her own personal desires, something that was made even clearer this week by the parade of suitors her father King Viserys (Paddy Considine) placed in front of her, including some even older than the king himself. Though she was told she'd have her own choice of husband, it's clear from the inner-workings of the Red Keep that the very idea that she must marry, and soon, is grating on Rhaenyra. Her uncle Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), fresh off a victory in the Stepstones, realizes this, and decided the best way to deal with it might just be to sneak his niece out of the palace for an eye-opening outing. 

Together, Rhaenyra and Daemon traveled through the darker corners of King's Landing, watching plays and visiting taverns and brothels, until things finally reached a fever pitch and the two Targaryens ended up kissing and fondling in an alley, where a spy managed to spot them and report them to the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). Things broke off before they went all that far, and Daemon fled his niece, but that didn't stop the rumor mill from turning, nor did it hold back Viserys' rage. 

Reeling from the encounter with her uncle, Rhaenyra went back to the Red Keep and decided to sate her rising lust with her resident Kingsguard pal Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), while a very worse-for-wear Daemon showed up at the castle the next morning and pitched his brother on the idea that he and Rhaenyra should be married in the old tradition of Targaryens wedding within the family. It's a very messy situation, with Rhaenyra caught in the middle of it all, something Alcock is keenly aware of.

“Rhaenyra is at an age where she can’t tell the difference between platonic love, romantic love and lust, because she hasn’t lived long enough and gone through those experiences,” Alcock told The New York Post. “I think that she understands that there’s a feeling here [with Daemon], but she’s not quite sure where it lands, and how to behave with it and navigate it.” 

As for the sex scenes themselves, Alcock told the Post that she felt very comfortable working with Smith, and that an intimacy coordinator helped block out the moments in advance of shooting. The truly "gnarly" part of the sequence, for her, was working while surrounded by nude background artists who she'd never met until the day of shooting. 

“There were extras who we had just met who were like, 69-ing for 12 hours,” she said. “It’s pretty gnarly. We felt pretty overdressed, because everyone else was nude.”

As for what happens next in Rhaenyra's love life, Alcock is of course still tight-lipped on the show's plot. What she does know, though, is that things are very "complicated." On the one hand, she already has a built-in closeness with her uncle which may be either threatened or enhanced by their unplanned excursion. On the other, there's Ser Criston, bound by his Kingsguard oaths and, most likely, still a step behind Daemon in the princess' heart.

“I wrestled with [her feelings for Criston] the whole time, in the show,” Alcock said. “I think that she wants to be seen, and ultimately Daemon and Criston Cole are the only two people who really see her. Both of them see her for different reasons. Daemon kind of has the upper hand, and Rhaenyra has the upper hand with Cole, and that turns her on a bit. I think that she genuinely likes him. But I don’t think she would pick him over Daemon, ultimately.”

House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.

Looking for some fantasy content to tide you over? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.