If you’ve been following our coverage of this, the eighth and last series of Game of Thrones, you’ll know that every week I’ve been rating it on how much death, sex, and dragons each episode contains. You’ll also know that the ratings in those articles are poorly defined at best, and mainly an excuse for me to award amusing bonuses. Nonetheless, I’ll stand by the core concept until the day I die – death, sex, and dragons are clearly what people have been tuning in for.
Despite Game of Thrones being a presentation of the nudity-happy HBO, it’s the sex that Game of Thrones very quickly became known for. This is in large part because the show placed it in the relatively chaste fantasy genre, although this sexless image is itself a bit of a hangover of Lord of the Rings, official big dog of fantasy, and its author JRR Tolkien, who it must be remembered was a staunch Catholic and fairly open about letting his faith influence his writing. Still, not many works are quite as frank about it – or, notably, admit the sex trade exists, with the honourable exception of Terry Pratchett’s marvellous Discworld series.
Even so, despite any moments of real gratuity – and there were a few – the sexual content made sense thematically. Game of Thrones was ripping away all the usual fairytale grandeur, and giving us fantasy with the grubbier bits of reality left in, both in the sense of the political backstabbing where everyone has an angle, and also in showing people’s baser desires. There was always an element of competition to Game of Thrones (‘you win or you die’ and so forth), which raises the question – many characters may have got some, but who got the most?
Before we begin, a few ground rules – we will be counting clearly pre- and post-coital scenes, rather than just those seen in their entirety, as frankly outdated laws regarding the depiction of full penetration make those thin on the ground. We will also be counting paid sex acts, since it’s all the same to the viewers at home. Finally, we are reluctantly obliged to include acts of rape, since a) it’s that sort of grim medieval setting and b) the showrunners have clearly demonstrated that they can’t tell the difference.
So, here they are, the characters from the rich fantasy world who have the most notches on their bedposts.
– Ros – 1
– Unnamed captain’s daughter – 1
– Osha – 1
For a man who spent less than three seasons of the show with his genitals still firmly attached to his body, Theon’s history isn’t to be sniffed at. He was an aficionado of Ros’s talents in her Winterfell days – we only saw them do it once, although he was a big enough fan to ask to ‘see it one last time’ as she set off on the long road south.
His encounter with Osha had something of a sting in the tail, as it was this that allowed her and the smallest Stark boys to escape captivity. It’s also what made his eventual castration particularly hubristic, since he was clearly thinking with his dick. Much like screwing the captain’s daughter on his voyage to Pyke, this was largely an example of him throwing his weight around with no good reason beyond his own desires – and given how important his sexuality was to his sense of self, this explains why his castration was such a blow, beyond the obvious reasons.
Also to be taken into consideration is Theon’s accidental but spirited attempt to seduce Yara, his own sister. While he never closed the deal, he did appear to get at least one finger inside her, an act that somehow didn’t make their relationship much more weird. Still, it could have been a lot weirder, as the original plans would have had Yara played by Lily Allen – Alfie Allen’s real-life sister – hitting a level of meta-perversion it seems television simply wasn’t ready for.
– Three prostitutes at once
Good old Pod secures his place on this list with a single two-minute scene, made all the more impressive when we learn that the ladies of the evening he shared it with refused all payment. Both in-universe and out, people have been eager to find out exactly what he did to them ever since. It is thus that, out of all the incredibly attractive people who the show’s presented in varying degrees of nudity, Pod became Game of Thrones’s memetic sex god.
Unfortunately, this is one of those memes that took hold a little too well. Daniel Portman, who plays Pod, has reported many, many instances of being groped by fans, primarily ‘older women’. Really, what do they think will happen? That he’s going to abruptly re-enact a scene where he was alongside three other professional actors, while also – and this is the crucial bit – nowhere near any deranged fans with no respect for people’s boundaries?
Oberyn Martell/Ellaria Sand
– Each other – 1
– Olyvar – 1
– Marei – 1
No point separating these two, since it ended up being something of a group activity. Of the time Oberyn and Ellaria spent in the capital, very little was spent outside brothels. The in-universe stereotype of the Dornish is that they’re only interested in sex and fighting, and since Oberyn only left the brothel to have a go at the Mountain, the message appears to be ‘this racial stereotype is completely true’. Remember that next time you hear someone going on about the media being too PC.
To put it bluntly, they liked to fuck a lot. It’s hard for anyone who doesn’t to sire eight daughters, after all – though it should be said, only four of those were by Ellaria. Oberyn’s oldest three daughters, the Sand Snakes, went on to fuck not other characters, but rather the chances of the Dorne plotline being taken remotely seriously.
Oberyn’s death was particularly distressing for Ellaria – something to do with seeing him have his skull crushed – and set her directly on a course of trying to murder a little girl. This is despite Oberyn specifically saying ‘we don’t hurt little girls in Dorne’. And they’d seemed like such a nice, pleasant couple while they were screwing their way through the whore pits of King’s Landing.
– Tyrion Lannister – 1
– Theon Greyjoy – 1
– Pycelle – 1
– Armeca – 1
As you might expect from a prostitute, Ros tallies up a decent notch count in a mere two-and-a-half seasons. Having sex was Ros’s job in more than one sense, as she was the main enactor of the show’s policy of ‘sexposition’ – that is to say, providing titillating visuals so the viewers don’t lose interest while the rules of this rich fantasy world are explained.
If the name ‘Armeca’ doesn’t sound familiar, she was another of the prostitutes at the King’s Landing brothel which Ros moved down to in search of warmer climes and a bigger pay packet. Like too many girl-on-girl sex acts, this was done purely for the benefit of a man – and worse yet, the man in question was Littlefinger, who took the opportunity to loudly exposit his entire character arc, in a monologue that involved the phrase ‘play with her arse’.
Ros sadly fell victim to Joffrey’s sexual neuroses, which involved belts, some kind of weird stag ornament, and ultimately penetration of a very different, more murdery kind. If you were feeling malicious you could ask for this to be taken into consideration, but since we’re already counting acts of rape I’d like to maintain some boundaries.
– Ros – 1
– Shae – 3
– Tyrion Lannister – 3
– Tywin Lannister – 1
Again, I’ve bundled these two together, since most of their scores come from each other, and they were the show’s longest-standing official couple – and dear God, doesn’t that say something about how bleak Westeros is? Especially given that ‘couple’ is kind of tenuous, and if we’re being honest it was, ultimately, always Tyrion paying for the girlfriend experience.
This two-sided relationship eventually ended tragically, when Tyrion was on trial for a crime he didn’t commit, and Shae – probably under duress – testified against him. This was followed in short order by Tywin, for all his haughty disapproval of Tyrion’s relationship with Shae, taking her for himself.
From Tyrion’s perspective, this was a flat betrayal. From Shae’s, it was a question of survival. But the fact is, we as an audience spent much more time with Tyrion’s perspective than we did with Shae’s, we’re more likely to sympathise with him, and as such nobody judged him too harshly for killing her in cold blood. Even so, this was by far Tyrion’s lowest ebb, and appears to have subsequently put him off sex completely.
– Cersei Lannister – 4
– Brienne of Tarth – 1
Jaime places here mainly as a result of his profoundly dysfunctional relationship with Cersei, on which more – much more – later, in her section. Jaime’s only other point comes from his brief dalliance with Brienne after the Battle of Winterfell, where he had sex with her and then chucked her immediately afterward. It may only count for one point in the metrics we’re using here, but for sheer caddishness that’s a ten-pointer easily.
Adding insult to injury, it turned out Jaime had run off specifically to go back to Cersei. So in forty-something years, he had sex with one woman who wasn’t his sister, and he didn’t like it. Is that funny? Maybe, but also quietly tragic. Remember, the whole inciting incident of the series, Jaime hoying Bran out that window, was down to them – and not even their relationship in and of itself, but their need to keep it secret.
Even that attempted child murder wasn’t the lowest of the vulgar depths their relationship plumbed. Jaime’s raison d’etre, the thing that made him the Kingslayer, was breaking his vows and killing the Mad King before he could burn King’s Landing. And yet when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor, using the same stocks of wildfire the Mad King put there, all Jaime did was run off to (temporarily) be with Brienne.
But the clear lowlight is the sept scene, which is the reason I included that caveat about rape scenes in the rules. According to the showrunners it ‘became consensual’, but according to Cersei pleading with Jaime to stop, no it absolutely bloody didn’t. There’s a wafer-thin basis for this in the original book scene, as Cersei does initially say ‘no’, but this is part of the longer sentence ‘no, not here, the septons…’ – that is to say, it’s not the sex itself she objects to, just the risk of getting caught, but it’s still incredibly skeevy. Sure, the characters’ understanding of consent is meant to be primitive at best, but still, this took it to a place the showrunners may not have wanted it to go.
– Khal Drogo – 3
– Daario Naharis – 2
– Jon Snow – 1
The woman whose nudity set the tone for the series garners a very respectable score here. She was, of course, also a married woman twice over, although husband the second, Hizdahr zo Loraq, doesn’t get a look in. This is understandable, as theirs was a political marriage, and she was still in the full flush of her crush on Daario. The books are a bit more graphic on this count, establishing both that ‘Hizdahr of the tepid kisses’ really doesn’t turn her crank, and that he’s also screwing around on her.
Drogo, on the other hand, was the polar opposite of tepid, and even at the best of times he was dancing around consent. He and Daenerys would have had a child together but for an infected wound and an ill-advised attempt to cure it with black magic, although as many first-time parents could tell you, introducing a kid does nothing to help a relationship. Many, including Daenerys herself, came to romanticise them as a couple, but I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that involved a bit of Stockholm syndrome.
That kind of thing runs deep, so Daario – a rough, tough, mercenary captain – was the immediately obvious replacement. He could fill that hole, so to speak. Still, even if it was a rebound, it was at least a relationship where everyone involved was completely on board.
And then there’s Jon. The audience already knew they were related, but chose to reiterate the fact while they were banging, changing the tone of that slightly. When they learnt this it both soured the mood on their relationship, and sent Daenerys slightly round the twist, particularly as it turned out he had a better claim to the throne. Indeed, the final straw that pushed Daenerys over the edge into being a tyrant wasn’t losing two dragons, or seeing her oldest friend die, but rather Jon not wanting to bang anymore.
– Jaime Lannister – 4
– Lancel Lannister – 1
– Euron Greyjoy – 1
Just as Daenerys’s undraped body gave Game of Thrones a distinct flavour straight off the bat, so too did Cersei being caught in flagrante with her brother. The fruits of their relationship, Cersei’s three children, were there for all to see, so the rules of this tournament wouldn’t need to be all that much looser to add their conceptions to the count. And since Cersei was married to another man, you can chuck in a x2 philandering bonus.
Lancel is probably the nearest the show’s ever come to taking women sexually abusing men seriously, since the next time we saw him after their affair, he’d become a kooky religious nut. Like Jaime, he’s also Cersei’s blood relative, specifically her first cousin – not as close as a brother, but not much further either, so if anyone’s keeping their own running total based on sheer perversion that’s another point or two right there.
When Euron turned up, he served as both eleventh-hour villain, and eleventh-hour villain’s boyfriend. There was something of the moustache-twirling about Euron, as he didn’t seem to have much interest in Cersei beyond sex. Beyond that, their main point of connection was that their interests – screwing with the good guys – happened to align.
No matter how shamelessly Euron chased after the Jack Sparrow image, Jaime’s the main event here. Their relationship spanned the length of the show, although given the circumstances it was never really official, and as covered already, had all the ups and downs you’d expect from the sheer depths of narcissism required to shtup your own twin. They ultimately died in each others’ arms, in a scene more suited to Romeo and Juliet-style star-crossed lovers, rather than an unrepentant villain and a man whose character growth literally went backwards.
There we have it. With only the slender competition of Daenerys Targaryen, a woman twice married and who spent a good chunk of the pilot naked, I hereby dub the Lannisters Westeros’s horniest family. This is in spite of the glaring sexual dysfunctions of the Greyjoys, the loose clothing and affectionate natures of the Tyrells and Martells, and the fact that there’s more Starks knocking about than anyone else – no, through a good seventy-odd hours of unabashedly adult content, the Lannisters take the prize.
Obviously the big prize in the show is the Iron Throne, that formidable construction of many swords all melted together with dragonfire, but given as this based on who’s had the most sex, a more appropriate award might be a throne made up of hundreds of dicks. What do you reckon, HBO?
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