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House of the Dragon Star Speaks Out About Birthing Scene in Game of Thrones Prequel: ‘It Was a Bloodbath’



Sian Brooke as Aemma Arryn in House of the Dragon (Picture: Ollie Upton / HBO)

*Warning: This article contains spoilers for all eight seasons of Game of Thrones and the first episode of House of the Dragon.*

Those who were concerned that Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon would pull back on the graphic violence that defined the original series needn’t have worried.

A crucial scene in the premiere episode has already reduced fans to tears and inspired calls for a ‘birth trauma’ content warning to be added to the episode’s beginning – and now the actress involved has spoken out.

The scene depicts a traumatic and bloody childbirth for Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), the king’s wife. With her baby breached, she is forced to undergo a caesarean procedure which kills her and her newly born son.

The reaction to Aemma’s labour on social media was intense, with many praising the scene despite finding it difficult to watch, and now Sian Brooke, whose performance was widely celebrated, has spoken of her experience on set.

King Viserys makes the impossible choice and condemns Aemma to her death (Picture: HBO)

Speaking to Variety, Brooke, 42, said: ‘It was a bloodbath. 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.’

The incision is made after King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is forced to choose between saving his son while losing his wife or losing them both through inaction. He attempts to comfort Aemma, but never tells her what’s happening.

Aemma battles through her labour but it’s already too late (Picture: HBO)

By the time the scene is over, Aemma’s birthing bed is covered in blood. Brooke says it was ‘cold and wet, seeping all over’, and that by the time the scene was finished it ‘looked like a horror movie’.

House of the Dragon co-creator Miguel Sapochnik told Insider that the writers ‘[made] a point of showing it to as many women as possible and asked the very question: “Was this too violent for you?”‘

George RR Martin wrote the book that House of the Dragon is based on (Picture: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)

Brooke’s performance, particularly her realistic screaming, has received critical acclaim. Although that acclaim came at the cost of her vocal cords: ‘I was definitely quite hoarse. My children couldn’t really hear me for the next 48 hours.’

Brooke is a mother of two herself and, much like the character she played in the prequel’s record-breaking premiere, says that labour is very much like a ‘battle’.

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Describing her own experiences, she said: ‘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 will now continue without Aemma Arryn, but the scene has left a strong, memorable impression on almost everybody who witnessed it. Fans will never forget Aemma, and they’ll never forget Sian’s performance.

Watch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic and Now TV.

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Paul Mescal Receives Apology From BBC After Broadcaster Makes Rather Awkward Blunder



Irish actor Paul Mescal has been called British…again (Picture: Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

His tweet clarifying his nationality may have been the most liked post in Ireland three years ago, but the BBC has had to apologise after getting a crucial fact about Oscar nominee Paul Mescal wrong.

Earlier this week the Irish actor was announced as one of the nominees for the upcoming Academy Awards.

The 26-year-old, who is from Maynooth, was given the nod for his leading role in indie flick Aftersun in the Actor in a Leading Role category.

In March, Paul will be going up against Austin Butler (Elvis), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Bill Nighy (Living) and fellow Irishman Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) in the prestigious category.

But when covering the nominations, the national broadcaster made a rather awkward error.

In text appearing on screen, the BBC reported: ‘2023 Oscar nominations: British actors Paul Mescal and Bill Nighy are nominated for leading role.’

The BBC has apologised for this mistake (Picture: eyeswideshut/ Twitter)

It has now apologised for the mistake, issuing a statement that read: ‘In text running across the screen we reported that Paul Mescal was one of two British actors who had been nominated for an Oscar for a leading role.’

‘The text should have said that Paul Mescal is Irish. We apologise for the mistake.’

When the mistake was made, plenty of people pointed it out and reminded the media outlet that Paul is very much Irish.

‘BBC news seems to not know Paul Mescal is IRISH,’ one person wrote.

Another added: ‘The BBC should know that Paul Mescal isn’t British.’

Plenty of people called out the BBC oversight (Picture: Twitter)

This person pointed out that Paul is very much Irish (Picture: Twitter)

Paul was one of several Irish Oscar nominees (Picture: Twitter)

It wasn’t the first time this has happened though.

Back in 2020, when Paul picked up an Emmy nomination for his breakthrough role in Normal People, outlets including The Guardian called him British.

It lead the actor to tweet ‘I’m Irish’, which ended up becoming the most-liked post in his home country that year.

Paul picked up an Oscar nomination for his starring role in Aftersun (Picture: A24 via AP)

The message quickly racked up over 130,000 likes as well as over 12,000 retweets and over 1,600 replies.

His Oscar nomination helped break a record for Ireland too, with the country securing 14 nominations in the upcoming awards ceremony.

Other actors to get nods included Barry Keoghan, Brendan Gleeson and Kerry Condon.

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When his nomination was announced Paul said it was ‘truly a special moment for everyone involved in Aftersun’.

‘To be recognised by the Academy is such an insane honour and I’m so utterly grateful.’

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How Many Legs Are in the Carabao Cup Semi-finals? All the Rules Explained



Only four teams remain in the competition (Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Carabao Cup semi-finals continue tonight with Nottingham Forest welcoming Manchester United at the City Ground.

The winner of the tie will face either Newcastle United or Southampton in the final at Wembley on February 26.

With the regulations changing from one competition to another, here is your full lowdown of the rules in play across the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup 2023.

Are the Carabao Cup semi-finals played over two legs?

Yes, the Carabao Cup semi-finals will take place over two legs.

Newcastle beat Southampton 1-0 in the first leg of the first semi-final on Tuesday night, with the return leg scheduled for Tuesday, January 31 at 8pm.

Southampton and Newcastle played out an entertaining first leg (Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Manchester United will host Nottingham Forest in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, February 1 at 8pm.

VAR is in use for the first time in the Carabao Cup this season, having not featured in earlier rounds to ensure fairness across every tie.

Will extra-time and penalties be used in the Carabao Cup semi-finals?

If the score is level after the end of both legs then extra-time, and if required penalties, will be used to determine the winner.

This is the first time this season that matches finishing level in the Carabao Cup will head to extra-time, with ties previously proceeding straight to penalties in the event of a draw after 90 minutes.

The away goals rule will also not be in use for the two semi-finals.

The English Football League scrapped the rule ahead of the 2018/19, which up until that point only came into effect following the conclusion of extra-time.

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How many substitutes are allowed in the Carabao Cup?

Managers will be able to use up to five substitutes across three windows during the game (half-time not included).

An extra substitution is permitted in extra-time, whilst both teams can also use two concussion substitutes if required.

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