here are many ethical gray areas people are willing to overlook when it comes to sex on TV. Cheating (see: Grey’s Anatomy), illegal (!) power dynamics (ahem, Pretty Little Liars), mostly outdated concepts like arranged marriage and hypergamy (hello, Bridgerton?)—the list goes on. But if the chemistry is right and the sex is hot, the details and the circumstances around the relationships don’t really matter—fans are going to ship them anyway. But incest…that feels like a bit much, right? (Right?!?!)
There’s nothing morally okay about intrafamily sex, no matter how hot the actors are and how palpable the chemistry is. And yet week after week since August 21, fans have rooted—nay, thirsted—for Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen on House of the Dragon, and I, dear reader, am one of them.
In my nonprofessional, non-TV-critic capacity, I think it’s safe to say the actors (Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy) have the kind of chemistry that makes me constantly just want more of them, a concept I was totally fine with until I realized I was lusting for scenes featuring an uncle-and-niece duo. Was I uncomfortable? Yes. Was I hungry for more? Also yes.
The brothel scene = hot. (In the post-episode recap, Clare Kilner, who directed episode 4, touched on how she had to “really think” about how to shoot the brothel scene because as a woman, “my go-to images are ones that I grew up with, which aren’t necessarily from a woman’s point of view.”) When Rhaenyra and Daemon finally had sex (as consenting adults), fans ate it up. When they conspired to fake her husband’s death and got married in a traditional blood ceremony and looked longingly into each other’s eyes in front of their children by the sea, it was—dare I say it—kinda sweet.
And I am not the only one who thinks so, okay? Ever since this cursed show came out, my social media feeds have been inundated with fan accounts from people equally as thirsty for this twisted uncle-and-niece dynamic and also simultaneously confused over said thirst. This was honestly kind of comforting to me as someone whose first thought upon watching this show was, I want them to fuck, but also, Lol, help, why do I want them to fuck?