The author says showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss never discussed the change with him.
The release of the new behind-the-scenes oral story "Game of Thrones" "Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon" (now available) has re-focused on the show's handling of sexual assault. "Thrones" was criticized during its eight year run for depicting violence against its female characters, including frequent portrayals of rape. Author George R. R. Martin reveals in the book that he did not support the decision to turn Daenerys' consensual love scene on their wedding night with Khal Drogo into an attack for the TV pilot.
"Why has the wedding scene changed from consensual seduction to the brutal rape of Emilia Clarke?" Martin asks the author, James Hibberd (via Insider). “We never talked about it. It made it worse, not better. "
In Martin's "Game of Thrones" novel, Drogo tries to calm Daenerys nerves before they have sex by wiping away her nervous tears and teaching her how to untie his braids. When Drogo tries to seduce Daenerys more explicitly, she gives him permission by saying "yes" when he asks if it is okay to touch her. In the HBO series, the wedding night scene is an attack in which Drogo takes off Daenerys' clothes and bends her knees while she cries. The scene then cuts off, but the attack is clear.
While Martin says he didn't know the change would be made, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss defends the switch. As Benioff says in the book, “Here is a girl who is absolutely afraid of this barbaric warlord that she is married to. It's the last thing in the world she wants, but somehow at the end of that wedding night she seems to be in a completely joyous sexual relationship with him. It didn't quite work for us. "
Weiss notes that while the first love scene between Daenerys and Drogo in Martin's books might be consensual, later sex scenes in the novel are inter-character attacks. On a TV show, this type of whiplash made no sense to the showrunners. According to Weiss, Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke was on the same page as her and "mentioned the wedding night and issues she had with it".
"In the second episode, she has to return to the less consensual, rougher relationship," added Weiss. "In the book that worked, we just didn't have that much time or access to the character's mind. It spins too quickly. It was something the actors themselves believed didn't gel."
Fire Can't Kill a Dragon is now available.