Sex is a staple of successful filmmaking. And no, I don’t mean pornography, as if the value of sex in cinematography were given by explicit content exclusively. Being able to create tasteful sex-infused contexts without revealing, let’s say, a mere nipple and whatnot is an art few master.
Is that the case with Game of Thrones? I would actually argue the contrary. While the fantasy drama is far from tapping into pornography, it does feature a unique erotica that has shocked from the very beginning and continues to do so, actually creating the expectation that more is to come from this point of view.
I believe violence is the concept that grasps best the entire plot. It’s not only that the political plot is dotted with beheadings, mutilations and murders of all kinds. Most sex scenes are just as brutal when not obviously of the rape variety, dripping with masochism and sadistic practices, indignity, humiliation, prostitution and even mental disorder.
But the twist of the ruthless erotica Game of Thrones is replete with is the incestuous nature of intercourses. The Targaryens have a long history of inbreeding by reason of keeping the bloodline pure. Indeed, no explicit sex scene between brother and sister. Yet, we all know the memorable capture of Daenerys being contemplated and slightly fondled by her distasteful power-driven brother, Viserys.
However, when it comes to the full enactment of incestuous intercourse, Cersei is, so far, the champion of the drama. Her love for sibling Jaime has resulted in several fair-haired children, as well as in the direct or indirect death or impairment of several other characters: beheading of Eddard Stark and injury of Bran Stark included.
Cersei is also featured relieving her longing for Jamie while imprisoned by the Starks with cousin Lancel. Obviously, a high-maintenance complicated madam who keeps close to her family. A wee bit too close, I might add.
While the Targaryens take pride in keeping the blood pure, incest in House Lannister is quite new, frowned upon – in fact, downright forbidden – by the patriarchal figure of the family, Tywin Lannister.
Indeed, sex sells; depravation even more so. And it’s not because we aspire to it, but because, as viewers, we separate from it and expect the wicked, however essential to the plot, to pay according to the depth of their ignobleness.