Game of Thrones & Nudity
A look at the show's latest shocking scenes
Nudity has always been a controversial topic with Game of Thrones. The HBO epic has supplied plenty of it over the course of six seasons, but it came with a gender imbalance: The female cast members—like Emilia Clarke who plays “Dragon Queen” Daenarys Targaryen and Carice Van Houten who plays the “Red Woman” Melisandre —seemed to be consistently overexposed while the male stars got away with baring an occasional butt cheek.
Clarke was vocal in her belief that less is more when it comes to sex and nudity on TV. “Most sex scenes you see in films or on TV are gratuitous and they’re usually just to attract an audience,” Clarke told the Daily Mail. “I’m British, so I cringe at that sort of thing anyway—I can’t stand it.” Van Houten on the other hand, viewed her frequent on-screen nakedness as in keeping with her scheming character. “Her nudity is her instrument,” she said. It’s the way to get what she needs.”
In last week’s episode—after a few full seasons of remaining clothed—Clarke’s bare breasts made an appearance once again as she emerged from a fire with her clothes burned off. But this time, Clarke took great pride in her nudity, boasting that no visual tricks were used to film her. “I’d like to remind people the last time I took my clothes off was season 3,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “But this is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ That ain’t no body double!”
But just when you think all is right in the Game of Thrones universe—that is, the actors are content to flash skin when it’s clearly an integral part of the plot—you’re treated to a extremely gratuitous scene like the one in this past week’s episode, “The Door,” in which a troupe of actors (all minor characters) walk around backstage; the actresses are topless and— in the night’s most shocking bit of nudity—one of the male members of the troupe thrusts his genitals right in front of the camera and declares that he’s contracted warts. The scene didn’t further the plot and it certainly wasn’t sexy, so what was the point exactly? A half-hearted attempt to even out the show’s gender imbalance when it comes to nudity? A mindless bit of explicit fun? Or maybe, it was an inside joke, with the writers and producers mocking themselves (after years of being critiqued by viewers) for the salacious things they frequently force their actors to do.