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I've watched the first series and I'm currently reading the book. What strikes me the most is how much extra gore and sex has been added for the TV series. I believe most of the DVDs released in the UK have been rated 18+ which seems a dramatic step up from the nature of the book.

  1. The initial sex scene in the tower is as yet the only one I've read, although it's described quite graphically it's written from Bran's perspective and is very naive. It describes both characters as naked (which I don't believe they are in the series, presumably due to contracts) but he has no idea what they're doing.
  2. Tyrion with the whores in Winterfell (where Jamie invites more in). As far as I recall this scene does not exist in the book
  3. The scene of Daenerys getting into the bath, again it mentions robes but nothing about nudity
  4. Daenerys and Drogo's first night is only briefly hinted at yet we get a graphic sex scene.

I could go on...

What was the reasoning to decision to make the sex more explicit (and frequent) than in the original books and therefore push back viewing times (and ages)?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

The books are just as graphic (and perhaps more so) than the show. Just keep reading. In fact, way before the TV show was a reality, the books' author had stated frequently that if his series was ever to be turned into a TV show that only HBO could do it, because they wouldn't cut out the whole lot of sex and violence that are in the books. True, there are a few extra sex scenes that are not shown explicitly in the books, but many more are definitely implied. The reason for this is the different narrative methods used by the two mediums.

In the books, the story unfolds in a POV (point of view) style where you see only what the chapter's character sees. As you mentioned, Bran sees the Lannister twins having sex but he interprets it as two naked people wrestling. Innocent and naive Sansa refers to her stomach with the childish word tummy. And so and so forth. So, there are many events that are never actually witnessed by the POV characters (and thus the reader) and are second hand reports (subject to unreliable narrator).

On the other hand, the TV show follows the action rather than the main characters, simply because that's a lot easier and more effective in a visual medium. Thus many events are explicitly shown rather than being second hand reports. This results in extra scenes (not just extra sex scenes). For instance, the scene where Tywin is chastising Jaime while skinning a stag is not in the first book, since neither Jaime nor Tywin have their own chapters in that book. But we do know from various reports that Tywin was unhappy with Jaime's actions, we have just never witnessed it first hand in the books, which is something the TV show can allow us to.

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In simple words, Sex adds to the whole feel of it. Take it or leave it, it does attract a lot of audience.

And yeah, since I have read the books, I agree that most of the (sex) scenes are exaggerated. But people like it and they watch it and so they spice it up wherever they can.

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