Fabien Frankel, who plays Ser Criston Cole, took seven months to prepare for his sex scene in House of the Dragon.
Much like Game of Thrones – although more tasteful, so far – House of the Dragon has a fair bit of sex in it, whether it’s Daemon and Rhaenyra visiting a pleasure house, Alicent staring at the ceiling with Viserys, or Daemon and Mysaria.
However, one of the most pivotal scenes in the show so far was the sex scene between Rhaenyra and Criston Cole, her chosen Kingsguard who broke his oath and “soiled his white cloak” to be with her.
While Game of Thrones was often criticized for its handling of such scenes, considered to be a spark in the rollout of intimacy coordinators, Frankel wanted to make sure it wasn’t “gratuitous.”
Spoilers for House of the Dragon to follow…
During an appearance on Entertainment Weekly’s West of Westeros podcast, the actor opened up about the scene, and how he was inspired by Normal People, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal.
“It was something we talked about over seven months. It was one of the first things I was very keen to talk about,” Frankel said.
“We were incredibly fortunate that Episode 4 was directed by Clare Kilner, who I think is one of the great TV directors working today. The big thing for me was about it not feeling like another gratuitous, sweat-glistening-off-their-back sex scene, ’cause it’s just not like that.
“Anyone who’s ever had sex will tell you sex ain’t that beautiful. It isn’t some picturesque, amazing thing. It’s awkward, especially when you are young. There’s an uncomfortability that one has to sit in, and there’s a discovery and understanding of each other’s bodies – not to mention the practical side of the whole thing.”
Frankel then praised Normal People for “highlighting the realities of sex”, saying: “I just remember back and forth texts, back and forth phone calls, back and forth meetings between Clare, myself, Milly, and our intimacy coordinator. But particularly me, Clare, and Milly going, ‘How do we make this human?'”
House of the Dragon Episode 6 will be available to watch on September 25 in the US and September 26 in the UK.