Game of Thrones has gained a number of distinctions over the course of its first three seasons on HBO. It’s garnered critical praise, set records for illegal downloads and propelled several previously unknown actors into worldwide stardom. But one aspect of the show continues to be a hot topic even today: the amount of nudity. Is it beneficial? Is it gratuitous? Is it exploitative? We’ve all heard a number of critics debate the issue ad nauseum (present company included), but what do the show’s stars think? After all, they’re the ones shedding their clothes for their art. So we decided to round up a few of their opinions.

Here’s the naked truth.

Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) - “They let you know that you’re auditioning for a part that will include some nudity... It’s not what I was looking forward to doing and it’s not something I was excited about filming. It was definitely tricky. And hard, as a young actress filming an HBO series — it’s daunting enough as it is without having that thrown in. But it’s integral for the character. It’s integral for her growth and I think it’s an important thing to show. I don’t think you could have done Dany justice without showing that.”

Kit Harington (Jon Snow) - “I’m fine with nudity actually. I think it’s one of those things ... you take off your robe and there you are nude. And there’s a hundred people watching you and after the first 30 seconds, everyone’s seen everything. I’m quite happy to strut around naked after that.”

Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) - I managed to avoid watching all my sexy naked stuff with my family. Although there was one episode I was watching with my mum, where there was a lesbian scene in a brothel... I was like… oh God… this is a bit much.” That said, he generally thinks the nudity is "needed."

Michelle Fairley (Cat Stark) - “I got a no-nudity clause so I always get to keep my clothes on… The producers put it in, not me... I’d like to play Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) because he gets lots of sex and my character doesn’t.”

Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) - “[A nude scene] was the first scene I shot. I was having a good laugh with the creators of the show,David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], that it was a nice initiation to Game of Thrones. It was a bit cruel that they had to schedule it that way, but they denied all knowledge of the scheduling... There's this ethos on the show that starts with David and Dan and it works its way down. I was made to feel very welcome immediately, which was much appreciated on quite a delicate scene to begin with.”

Oona Chaplin (Talisa Stark) - “One of the girls in the show who got her [dress] off the most in the first couple of seasons now doesn’t at all... [She said] I want to be known for my acting, not for my breasts.”

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) - "I've seen Sean Bean [Ned Stark] naked. I've seen Mark Addy [Robert Baratheon]. And Lena [Cersei Lannister]. I haven't seen the kids of course, but all the adults. We do that at the read-through. We just strip naked and read the script."

Lena Heady (Cersei Lannister) - “I've said from day one that I've got no problem with nudity. I've done it throughout my career. But for this character, it's been better for her regality and her feistiness to not bare her flesh until she has to. When it's out of her control. And if that ever happens, it won't be Cersei being seductive or sexy. She'll be stripped. That kind of a scene will have more power if it's not an everyday occurrence. I can't wait for that.”

What do you think of Game of Thrones' use of nudity? Sound off in the comments below!