House Of The Dragon's Showrunner Explains The Episode's Most Brutal Scene

"House of the Dragon" is known for being brutal — in this "Game of Thrones" spin-off, the birthing bed is a battlefield. The show's graphic depiction of how terrifying and life-threatening childbirth can be hasn't gone unnoticed, and the season finale has given us the show's latest case of showcasing unmistakable brutality surrounding pregnancy. In a heartbreaking scene, Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) is experiencing emotional devastation of unimaginable gravity and delivers her baby on her own, refusing help from her many handmaidens. She is seen screaming in agony, and the graphic portrayal of the stillborn birth is completed with the Targaryen princess cradling her daughter's body.

Rhaenyra going into labor before her term completes isn't the only event causing her great distress. She learns that her father has died, her half-brother has usurped her throne, and enemies are closing in with every passing moment. She's going through an unthinkable amount of pain — and yet refuses to be touched by anyone who cab help her.

When "House of the Dragon" showrunner Ryan Condal was asked why Rhaenyra didn't let her handmaidens near her and gave birth on her own, he explained how her character's grim situation led to it.

'She's going through an emotional hurricane'

Rhaenyra has always been terrified of childbirth — it's how she lost her mother, and the grief has haunted her since that day. Condal talked about how Rhaenyra's initial refusal to marry stemmed from what happened to her mother and how she feels betrayed by the Hightowers' treason following her father's death. The stress induces her labor, causing her to have a miscarriage. 

Condal talked with The Hollywood Reporter about how Rhaenyra found herself in a position where she feels alone and wants to be alone — she doesn't want to be touched by anyone:

"There's a lot going on in that scene; she's going through an emotional hurricane. A big part of it is that Rhaenyra swore she was not going to go the way of her mother. That's the reason that she didn't want to get married if you go back to her resisting all the suitors. She's also dealing with the news her father has passed away and her extended family has seized the opportunity to steal her throne from her. That news together has caused such stress that it has caused her to essentially have a miscarriage. The baby has not come far enough to term where, in this world, that she would be hopeful of giving a viable birth."

"So I just think at a very simple human level in that scene, she simply doesn't want to be touched by anybody," Condal concluded.