3 October, 2022

House of the Dragon criticised over lack of trigger warnings for graphic scene

BBC

Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon has been criticised over the lack of trigger warnings for a graphic birth scene in its first episode.

But it’s not the first show to hit the headlines over a lack of such warnings.

Netflix series 13 Reasons Why changed a series one scene in 2019 after criticism of how it handled suicide, while more recently fans of Thor: Love and Thunder called for warnings over cancer scenes.

So, is enough being done?

A record-breaking 10 million fans watched the House of the Dragon premiere, which contained a graphic scene called “triggering” by many people on social media.

In the episode, actor Paddy Considine’s King Viserys orders a caesarean section to be performed on his wife Aemma Arryn – played by Sian Brooke – while she is conscious which kills both her and the baby.

Jen Coates, the director of bereavement support charity Sands, thinks it’s “really important” for shows like House of the Dragon to create a space where people are aware of what might be shown.

“I think it’s fairly traumatic for anybody actually,” she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“With 13 babies dying every day in the UK, the situation impacts an enormous community of people directly too.”

Jen says as soon as Sands becomes aware of potentially distressing scenes, it puts trigger warnings out to its supporters on social media.

“That way, people can be better equipped with the knowledge and make an informed decision to watch or skip particular scenes or episodes,” she says.

“Trauma makes people feel guilt, shame, anger, you may be feeling very isolated sometimes.”

Creator of trigger spoiler website Doesthedogdie.com, John Whipple, says he had forums warning viewers about the graphic scene.

He admits that “many trigger warnings on the site are very specific and don’t apply to most people”.

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