Warning: this article contains spoilers for the premiere of House of the Dragon.
For Sian Brooke, filming House of the Dragon was anything but pleasant.
Brooke's character, Queen Aemma Arryn, opens the premiere pregnant with a potential heir to the Iron Throne, but when she begins a difficult labor, her husband, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine), must choose between saving the mother or the child. Viseryrs chooses the child, and doctors perform a C-section against Aemma's will, her blood pooling onto the sheets and floor. When we next see her, she's being laid to rest alongside her son, who died just hours after birth.
In an interview with Variety published after the premiere aired, Brooke opened up about gruesome scene.
Brooke says she wore two prosthetic stomachs that helped her empathize with her pregnant character.
"They fit above the waist at the top of the ribcage, then went down," she told Variety. "They were incredibly lifelike, so much so I found myself walking and waddling around. My body must've thought, 'Hellooo? Where are we now? We're not going back there again, are we?" They were quite weighty, but being pregnant you do feel quite weighted."
As for the birth scene, "It was a bloodbath," she revealed. "Behind that belly was a whole bag full of blood and fluid. When the incision was made, they would have to time it with pumping this blood out of the belly."
Brooke added that the blood was "cold and wet, seeping all over," an effect that translated onscreen. "It looked like a horror movie," she said.
House of the Dragon filmed the scene across a day and a half, and Brooke says she screamed so much — Aemma fights against the procedure and screams until she becomes unconscious — she lost her voice.
"I was definitely quite hoarse," she said. "For a couple of days after filming, it sounded like I'd been out on a very good night and had a very good time. Sadly that didn't happen; I was lying on the bed screaming."
"Thank goodness for modern medicine," added Brooke, who has two children. "Going into labor, you do feel like you've been in some sort of battle by the end of it, because every ounce of you goes into it. But it's much worse in those times."
House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9:00 PM ET on HBO and HBO Max.
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.