During an interview for the Armchair Expert podcast, hosted by Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, Emilia Clarke—First of Her Name and still Queen of the Seven Kingdoms—said she was pressured to go completely nude on the set of Game of Thrones for certain scenes, despite her protests.
Season 1 of Game of Thrones was notorious for its overuse of sexposition to push an already exciting story forward. Few actors spent as much time nude on screen as Clarke, who played a teenage Daenerys in the first season. Some of her nude scenes—like the one where she emerges from a funeral pyre, naked, draped in baby dragons—are considered iconic television moments. Still, there are about 30 bathtub scenes that do absolutely nothing to advance the plot.
Clarke said in the podcast, “I’m a lot more savvy [now] with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing. I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up,’ and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans.’ And I’m like, ‘Fuck you.’”
Clarke didn’t specify who gave the direction. Throughout her time on the show, she’s advocated for men and women on the show to share an equal amount of nudity. That equality never came, but as the show’s popularity grew, it had to rely less on the shock value of the naked body. In some instances, like the infamous shame scene, actors were allowed to use body doubles to preserve their modesty while still providing the full-frontal that HBO audiences have come to expect from the network.