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While Game of Thrones fans have gotten tidbits of information over the years about the series’ infamously scrapped original pilot effort, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the first effort to bring George R.R. Martin‘s books to screen. However, a new behind-the-scenes book from Entertainment Weekly‘s James Hibberd, titled Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, has brought us some new details about how different the HBO epic’s first episode almost was.
In addition to describing key costuming changes and the poor reception David Benioff and D.B. Weiss received for the original Game of Thrones pilot, the book also features new quotes from Martin about one controversial scene that was completely different in the original version: the wedding scene between Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Daenerys Targaryen (portrayed in the pilot by Tamzin Merchant before Emilia Clarke took over the role). In an excerpt featured at EW, Martin reveals that the original pilot featured Drogo and Daenerys having consensual sex, whereas the aired episode featured Drogo sexually assaulting Daenerys.
“In the Emilia Clarke version, it’s rape. It’s not rape in my book, and it’s not rape in the scene as we filmed it with Tamzin Merchant. It’s a seduction,” Martin explained. “Dany and Drogo don’t have the same language. Dany is a little scared but also a little excited, and Drogo is being more considerate. The only words he knows are ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Originally it was a fairly faithful version.” (A previous Huffington Post excerpt from the scene confirms the “yes”/”no” dynamic described here.) Martin did not explain what went into the decision to alter that scene, which remains one of the series’ most controversial moments.
Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon hits shelves on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Game of Thrones is currently available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.