House of the Dragon fans demand 'birth trauma' content warning for premiere

*Warning: This article contains spoilers for the first episode of House of The Dragon as well as references to birth trauma and baby loss.*

Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is finally here, and fans have been expressing their excitement about finally returning to Westeros. However, not everything about the hotly anticipated premiere has had viewers smiling.

In a tough sequence that becomes the episode’s centrepiece, the king’s wife, Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), dies in childbirth. The depiction of her death is graphic, and fans are disappointed that they weren’t warned.

Before the episode begins, a message tells viewers that it contains ‘strong language, violent scenes, scenes of a sexual nature and scenes which some viewers may find distressing’, but nothing specific to birth trauma.

During the scene, and after the episode, fans took to social media to say that, while the moment was incredibly moving, a ‘birth trauma’ content warning would have enabled them to brace themselves for it.

‘Hey, HBO, a trigger warning about a graphic, traumatic birth would have been PHENOMENAL before that c-section scene,’ one fan wrote on Twitter, hoping to attract HBO’s attention and get the TV company to change its content warnings.

They continued: ‘I didn’t even have [a C-section] and it sent me swirling so for moms who have had birth trauma. I think it’s fair they know.’

Showrunner Ryan Condal has insisted the scene was not intended to be gratuitous: ‘It’s meant to show there’s a heavy theme in this particular period. The men marched off to the battlefield and the women’s battlefield happened in the child bed.’

But fans on social media have taken it upon themselves to to warn viewers about the scene before they watch the episode.

‘I try really hard not to post spoilers, but I want to mention [the birth scene] because it’s gonna trigger a lot of people,’ one said.

Another account warned its 159,000 followers: ‘Just gonna warn everyone: the birth scene with Aemma Arryn is very intense, and disturbing in a way that Game of Thrones never was. Brace yourselves.’

Reaction to the scene has been mostly positive in the show’s fandom, but some people who eagerly tuned into the episode have been left feeling distressed and upset at what they witnessed.

At the time of writing, Sky (the company that broadcasts House of the Dragon in the UK) has announced no plans to change the content warning displayed to viewers at the beginning of the episode.

House of the Dragon is available to watch on Sky and NOWTV. has reached out to Sky for comment.

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