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Game of Thrones

The Lesbian Sex Scenes from 'Game of Thrones' That Didn't Make It to the Show

Dear 'Game of Thrones,' thank you for the cool queer women. Now please give us the lesbian sex scenes we deserve.

Sara David

Sara David

Photos courtesy of HBO.

Ask anyone to name a popular TV show that guarantees naked women and most people will answer Game of Thrones. Sex workers abound in Westeros, and the series boasts countless nipples, butts, and even some dick, as well as sexual intrigue and taboo (it's the most pro-incest show on television—a title no one else is even competing for). Many have pointed to its popularity and "HBO-ification" to explain Game of Thrones's sexual(ly exploitative) reputation, but it isn't simply the explicit content that hooks viewers. This is perhaps best evidenced by its handling of queer women characters, and how the show has changed its source material when it comes to sapphic encounters.

The show has skipped over some opportunities for lesbian sex (the best kind of sex in my opinion and apparently many straight women's), but gave us two leading queer women: Ellaria Sand and Yara Greyjoy—a possible hookup we were teased with before, but in classic Game of Thrones fashion, all our hopes were destroyed by fire. Ellaria is explicitly bisexual in the books and the show, like her paramour Oberyn Martell, and we see the couple participate in a delightful orgy with both male and female prostitutes before Tywin Lannister rudely interrupts. Although Ellaria's scenes could be hard to watch (the Sand Snakes! the terrible accents!), her lesbian encounters centered self-possessed, enthusiastic women.

Yara and Ellaria

Yara (named Asha in the books), doesn't have explicitly queer relations in the books, and is only written as having sex with Qarl the Maid, an Ironborn raider who supports her claim to the Salt Throne. In the show, however, Yara's sexuality is butch-ly Ironborn: She knows what she wants, and she takes it. She's been championed as Game of Thrones's first and only "lesbian," but actress Gemma Whelan describes her character as closer to "pansexual."

"I think she says, 'I'm up for anything.' That's her ethos," Whelan told Vulture. "I don't think she swings any way in particular, other than the way she feels at the time."

Two girl-on-girl narratives from the books that the show skips involve queens Daenerys and Cersei, a surprising choice since most would assume the "HBO-ification" of a story would mean using any excuse to put sex on the screen—especially if it involves leading ladies.

You know who it is

Cersei has one experience in the fourth book with a foreign Myrish woman named Taena Merryweather, wife of Orton Merryweather who served on Tommen's small council and as Hand of the King before resigning and fleeing when Cersei was imprisoned by the Faith Militant. The sex scene is mostly written to drive home the point that Cersei gets off on power and pain—and it's enough to turn any queer woman straight. Late one night, Cersei drunkenly pinches Taena's "big dark nipple" until she wakes up, and continues to do so until Taena says, "You're hurting me." Unsurprisingly, Cersei dismisses her pain by responding, "I am the queen. I mean to claim my rights."

There was no pleasure in it, not for [Cersei]. For Taena, yes…. The queen slid a finger into that Myrish swamp, then another, moving them in and out…. She wanted to see if it would be as easy with a woman as it had always been with Robert…, she thought, slipping a third finger into Myr. She gasped some words in a foreign tongue, then shuddered again and arched her back and screamed. She sounds as if she is being gored, the queen thought. For a moment she let herself imagine that her fingers were a boar's tusks, ripping the Myrish woman apart from groin to throat. It was still no good.

The Merryweathers were cut entirely from the show for a tighter narrative, so this scene never saw the light of day—and thankfully so, since we already understand how unfeeling and power-hungry Cersei is, and didn't need nonconsensual lesbian sex acts to prove it.

Dany's sapphic storyline had a similarly strange power dynamic with questionable consent, as she had sex with her handmaiden Irri. Khaleesi shares a bed with Irri, and while masturbating one night, accidentally wakes her handmaiden. Irri then services her queen to help finish the deed.

The handmaid put a hand on her breast, then bent to take a nipple in her mouth.
Her other hand drifted down across the soft curve of belly, through the mound of fine silvery-gold hair, and went to work between Dany's thighs. It was no more than a few moments until her legs twisted and her breasts heaved and her whole body shuddered. She screamed then.

But in the show, Dany has only one vaguely queer experience with Doreah, a sex slave-turned-handmaiden who was hired by her terrible brother Viserys. Instead of a hot lesbian sex scene, the moment was still entirely about a man, Khal Drogo. Doreah was "training" Khaleesi on how to make sex with her husband more tolerable, encouraging Dany to harness her pussy power to please her husband and improve her quality of life.

While it's sad that Dany and Cersei were in some senses "straight-washed," the show has given us better queer women than the books did. Though we may have better lesbian characters, but we don't have the lesbian sex we deserve.