Gemma Whelan discusses Yara’s ‘humiliating’ walk, while Indira Varma weighs in on Ellaria’s haunting goodbye

Euron Yara Ellaria Tyene The Queen's Justice

Being captured at sea and dragged through the streets against your will by a deranged uncle isn’t going to do anything for family togetherness, but it’s also a humiliating experience for a strong-willed fighter like Yara Greyjoy.

However, Gemma Whelan, who plays the Ironborn warrior, tells Entertainment Weekly that it could have been much worse.

“She’s just being humiliated. My reaction to that was he could have done something far sicker to her,” Whelan said. “It’s quite tame to just drag her through the streets for a man of Euron’s psychopathy. I didn’t really overthink it, it just seemed like an appropriate thing for him to do.”

But, she added, “Euron’s gotta get his comeuppance.”

Whelan also revealed that the sultry cabin scene between Yara and Ellaria Sand just prior to the battle that led to their capture was an organic experience.

“It wasn’t directed that we would kiss. It just seemed like something we should do,” she said. “It was meant to be a suggestion [of flirting] and then it became more sexual than we expected because it seemed right.”

Speaking of Ellaria, Indira Varma weighed in on her character’s haunting final scene and how she put herself in a mental state to portray it — not an easy task, especially since it was day one of Season 7 filming.

“Everyone was warming up into the idea of working again. I had to keep focused and keep my concentration, as sustaining that level of emotion over a full day is a toughie,” Varma said in a recent interview with Newsweek. “I put myself imaginatively in Ellaria’s place and listened.”

Ellaria Tyene Cersei

Interestingly, Varma added, when she began reading the script for the scene, she was disappointed by the lack of her character’s dialogue — until she kept reading and it dawned on her what was unfolding.

I couldn’t second guess where Cersei was taking it, which was compelling. And, by the end, I thought ‘what a genius bit of revenge and writing,’ ” she said.

Varma also teased her thoughts on who will sit on the Iron Throne when the dust has settled in Westeros.

Well, it has to be a woman. And as much as I love Cersei it would have to be Dany,” she said. “That does seem too on the nose, though, for Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff, executive producers] — so I can’t wait for the surprise.”

More about Whelan’s thoughts on recent episodes can be found in the interview here, while Varma’s Newsweek interview is available here.

44 responses

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    1. It’s a hard scene to watch, Ellaria’s final one… While I hated her and the sandsnakes, I don’t want Ellaria to be stuck to chains in a dark room for 10, 20, 30, 50 (?) years while watching her daughter rot. She said she won’t be returning to GoT so she won’t be saved by Daenerys, or whomever.

      Cruelest punishment of GoT ever. Some people actually sympathise with Cersei here?

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    2. I still find it hard to see why the crowds of KL were cheeing Euron… Why do they hate the sand snakes so much… Why do they love Euron so much?
      Is it possible that they loved Myrcella. She was a beautiful, innocent princess.
      Or is it just the mob mentality.

      I was just hoping KL would be portrayed more as a city living under fear of the madwoman sitting on the iron throne. They shouldn’t be ok with her being their queen. And maybe they aren’t. We haven’t gotten much perspective beyond this one scene.

      Who knows.. But it did stand out as a little off… in an otherwise brilliant episode.

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    3. But, she added, “Euron’s gotta get his comeuppance.”

      YES!! YES!!! 😀

      HelloThere: I was just hoping KL would be portrayed more as a city living under fear of the madwoman sitting on the iron throne. They shouldn’t be ok with her being their queen. And maybe they aren’t. We haven’t gotten much perspective beyond this one scene.

      Who knows.. But it did stand out as a little off…

      Yes, it seemed quite odd to me too. After the Sept blow-up, I would have expected KL to be a city in eerie silence, where people just quietly went about their business, and tried to stay indoors. A city in fear, like Meereen when the Sons of the Harpy were around. The cheering, jubilant, colorful crowd was weird.

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    4. Haaa – Just noticed that Euron’s horse has the Kraken sigil on the bridle! Just amazing the detail that goes into these short scenes 🙂

      A pity the horse didn’t take a shit in the throneroom like Tywin’s did after the Battle of the Blackwater 😀

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    5. One reason I can think of as to why the citizens would gather and cheer for that is because of fear… They’re afraid of what Cersei might do but instead of hiding they openly behave as if they love her and support what she desires. *shrug*

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    6. There has to be someone, somewhere in King’s Landing trying to start rebellion. Even if it is offscreen. They likely have a shortage of food, and 4 episodes ago, Cersei blew up the Sept and murdered a bunch of innocent people. Not to mention the faith which they just spent 2 seasons building up (sometimes painstakingly so) as having the people on their side. There must be someone angry at all of this. I really can’t buy that literally the entire city is so scared that they just go along with her and Euron. I guess this one of the drawbacks to shorter seasons and kind of rushing towards the end. We fill in these types of blanks ourselves.

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    7. Jack Bauer 24,
      Is there proof yet somewhere that Grey Worm won’t be back this or next season?

      Ellaria’s ‘story’ was done. What more did we need her for? She played her role in becoming Daenerys’ allie, aided in getting her army to Westeros and found her fate, her penalty for killing Cersei’s daughter. That was her “death scene.” If you want to call that as “just wrote off,” then all of the characters that have had their final scene in one fashion or another should be too.

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    8. To the people of KL, the Sept explosion was an accidental tragedy of epic proportions. It’s not hard to see how the people would rally around their queen. She was a beautiful queen before (as Robert’s wife), and then the Queen Mother, and the average person would not know of all the diabolical and political machinations behind the curtain. It’s easy to think she may have even been admired back in the day (from a distance lol).

      While the crowds cheered during Cercei’s walk of shame, after tragedy people flock to familiarity for comfort. It’s that kind of power vacuum that gives disgraced people a chance to reestablish themselves.

      That said, I agree that the cheering for Euron is odd. Except maybe for the fact that he’s bringing home the woman who killed their princess.

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    9. HelloThere,

      I must be the only one who found it reasonable, it’s their queen, they are afraid and for the moment, they have food on their plates, so, for now they are “loyal”, let’s see what happens when they are starving.

      The same thing happened with Joffrey, when they were starving, a mob almost kills them yet when the Tyrrells came with food and supplies everyone cheered for their “good and brace king”.

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    10. So Ellaria has to die then, despite Cersei’s plans.

      There is no way this saga concludes with Cersei still sitting on the Iron Throne.

      Or does everyone just forget she’s down there?

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    11. HelloThere:
      I still find it hard to see why the crowds of KL were cheeing Euron… Why do they hate the sand snakes so much… Why do they love Euron so much?
      Is it possible that they loved Myrcella.She was a beautiful, innocent princess.
      Or is it just the mob mentality.

      I was just hoping KL would be portrayed more as a city living under fear of the madwoman sitting on the iron throne.They shouldn’t be ok with her being their queen.And maybe they aren’t. We haven’t gotten much perspective beyond this one scene.

      Who knows.. But it did stand out as a little off… in an otherwise brilliant episode.

      You’re right, it makes no sense. The people of KL should be starving and rioting, not throwing food at people.

      They were starving and rioting in Season 2, hence the importance of the alliance with the Tyrells. Now that Cersei has lost that alliance, KL should be facing a food shortage.

      Furthermore, she blew up the Vatican, killed the Pope, the Queen, and a few dozen nobles. The explosion also destroyed a small portion of the city surrounding the Sept, thereby killing many innocents.

      KL should be an utter mess at this point.

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    12. Jack Bauer 24:
      So they just wrote Ellaria and Grey Worm off the show like they did Daario.

      Do we know that Grey Worm is off the show ? Jesus, it’s already bad enough that they dealt with Dorne and the Reach so easily, but if the Unsullied are supposed to be definitively out of the game, that’s just outrageously bad writing.

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    13. thisgirlhasnoname:
      To the people of KL, the Sept explosion was an accidental tragedy of epic proportions. It’s not hard to see how the people would rally around their queen. She was a beautiful queen before (as Robert’s wife), and then the Queen Mother, and the average person would not know of all the diabolical and political machinations behind the curtain. It’s easy to think she may have even been admired back in the day (from a distance lol).

      While the crowds cheered during Cercei’s walk of shame, after tragedy people flock to familiarity for comfort. It’s that kind of power vacuum that gives disgraced people a chance to reestablish themselves.

      That said, I agree that the cheering for Euron is odd. Except maybe for the fact that he’s bringing home the woman who killed their princess.

      Except that Cersei has been said to be despised, multiple times.

      Olenna, for example, tells Cersei in episode 6.07 that the people despise her. And we have heard this multiple times throughout the show.

      They genuinely hate her and consider her a treasonous whore. And if Hot Pie and Sansa know Cersei blew up the Sept, why would the people of KL think it was an accident ?

      And I don’t know why the people would care about Myrcella, they hated Tommen. We saw that in episode 5.04 when he went to confront the High Sparrow at the Sept. The commoners were calling him an abomination and yelling at him, despite the fact that he was a very sweet kid.

      No reason to think they wouldn’t also view Myrcella as an abomination.

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    14. Alvaricomg:
      HelloThere,

      I must be the only one who found it reasonable, it’s their queen, they are afraid and for the moment, they have food on their plates, so, for now they are “loyal”, let’s see what happens when they are starving.

      The same thing happened with Joffrey, when they were starving, a mob almost kills them yet when the Tyrrells came with food and supplies everyone cheered for their “good and brace king”.

      Yeah, the only problem is, why aren’t they starving now ? They needed the Tyrells way back in Season 2, now that winter has come, the situation must be even more dire.

      KL should be a hot mess.

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    15. I have to disagree with Indira Varma’s assessment that “it has to be a woman” who sits the throne in the end.

      There’s absolutely no reason why that should be the only possible ending.

      Cersei is definitely not going to be on the throne in the end, and I have a very hard time imagining that it’ll be Dany either. I would find that outcome extremely unsatisfying.

      It’ll either be Jon, or no one.

      Personally, the latter makes the most sense to me. It would defeat the point of this story for anyone to “win” the game of thrones. The Iron Throne should be destroyed.

      And the idea of Jon ruling is just too cliché. The good looking, young male hero rules. Not into it, and it wouldn’t really make sense for Jon’s character.

      If they do go that route, it’ll have to be very well justified.

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    16. HelloThere,

      The crowd would be cheering because Ellaria and Yara are allies of the foreign invader with the Dothraki horde. It wouldn’t be hard for Cercei to spread propaganda around the streets. And as much as the crowd might hate Cercei she’s at least the devil they know.

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    17. Joey:
      Euron is ruining the show. Straight cheese. Kill him quickly.

      What can’t be cured must be endured, Joey. (I know I’m in the minority but I had to take deep breaths during the Talisa scenes – I like Oona Chaplin but hated Talisa). I’m actually not minding Pilou Asbaek’s Euron as a love-to-hate character. I can’t speak for others but I didn’t like book Euron and can’t understand why people found him “awesome”. Translating pirates from page to screen has always been iffy. “Treasure Island” is a children’s book but Long John Silver in the book wasn’t imbued with the over the top “Aaar Jim Lad” that actor Robert Newton brought to his film interpretation of Long John Silver. Robert Newton was actually a good actor in other roles – and his Long John Silver was quite enjoyable but definitely not book Long John Silver.

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    18. Markus Stark,

      The Seven Kingdoms being destroyed at the end doesn’t make much sense. From the first season the Kingdom was in chaos and then to end the story with complete destruction of the state doesn’t make much sense.

      They will be united again, uniting people was Jon’s story and it’s logical conclusion to his character at the end.

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    19. Markus Stark:
      If they do go that route, it’ll have to be very well justified.

      “They”?
      The ending will be the one planned by George RR Martin. That’s been made clear.

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    20. Grandmaester Flash,

      I know that. But I doubt we’ll ever see the ending as GRRM envisioned it, so all we’ve got is the show. D&D (they) will have the difficult job of justifying the ending, if it does go that way.

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    21. mau,

      “Poison” ? If my opinions are “poison” to you, feel free to ignore them. I’m tired of people like you lecturing me about what I’m allowed to express.

      Second, I don’t know if you noticed, but I was replying to HelloThere who brought up the issue. I didn’t just start going on about it out of nowhere.

      Finally, it isn’t unrelated, since this article is about Yara being paraded through KL as the crowd cheered.

      Please, try to learn to accept diverging opinions. It’s getting very tiresome to have to defend myself constantly for just expression my opinion.

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    22. mau:
      Markus Stark,

      The Seven Kingdoms being destroyed at the end doesn’t make much sense. From the first season the Kingdom was in chaos and then to end the story with complete destruction of the state doesn’t make much sense.

      They will be united again, uniting people was Jon’s story and it’s logical conclusion to his character at the end.

      I disagree, for several reasons. No point getting into them all, since you’ll just accuse me of “poisoning” things, but suffice it to say I will be very surprised if that is the ending GRRM planned.

      Like I said, it’ll have to be very well justified for me to enjoy that ending.

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    23. Markus Stark,

      Well if you try to start the same discussion over and over again that has nothing to do with the article and also knowing that it will lead to 150 posts of same discussion about Cersei’s position it really seems that you purposefully want to create controversy.

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    24. TFT,

      “sympathy” is the wrong word… but I was for lack of a better word… impressed? I was surprised by her restraint. I was expecting Cersei to make a public spectacle like the Mad King with the Starks. But she isn’t yet as far gone as Aerys in that regard. The only public atrocity she has committed is the Sept and for that, she also seems to be spreading a cover story (“a tragic accident” she told Tycho).

      I also hate Ellaria even more than I hate Cersei. She is truely evil so… it was easier to accept this punishment than it would have been for literally any other character.

      Unfortunately Ellaria was in my death pool so I got robbed! Since apparently she is not going to die this season!

      Violator,

      Certainly Cersei wont’ be queen on the IT at the end of the series… but I think she might be at the end of the season. Maybe.

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    25. Ahh, I have to admit that I feel quite sorry to see Ellaria and Tyene end that way. I find Indira such a beautiful lady, plus being a woman who loved passionately myself, I find Ellaria’s storyline utterly tragic and her potential death the worst kind of nightmare. I’m aware of the negativity towards her and the whole sand snakes thing, but as a casual viewer I am honestly alright with it so allow me to be sympathetic at least : ) Let me just secretly imagine that Ellaria might get turned into a wight so that she could do something to Cersei’s corpse after she meets her end, if King’s landing ever gets buried in snows with full of deads. I don’t think Dany will sit on the throne, but I do hope that she breaks a certain wheel of vicious circles.
      I’m also confused on why Grey Worm is said to have exited off screen, I don’t think his little plot with Missandei is ended yet.

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    26. Euron explained everything when he said that people just like severed heads, really. People threw stuff at Ellaria and celebrated Euron when they could easily have done the opposite, of that was the situation.

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    27. Markus Stark,

      I will still argue that this one crowd sequence does not mean Kings Landing is flourishing, or that the people are happy.
      I think they were just trying to showcase a mob mentality.

      However, when we see so little of the common folk perspective, having this as the one scene where we do, is jarring.
      /argument

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    28. For everyone wondering why KL is not starving again, there is an extremely plausible explanation: until very recently, the Lannisters and Tyrells were still (begrudging) allies. So KL could easily have received and stored enough food shipments from the Tyrells to last a while.

      And, now, of course, the Lannisters control Highgarden and the Reach, so they could start replenishing the KL food stores even more (assuming they keep control). If anyone should be worried about starving, it’s (what’s left) of Dany’s army…namely the huge Dothraki horde. How’s she feeding them?

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    29. Markus Stark,

      But Cersei made an alliance with the other Reach lords. It’s not like House Tyrell was the only House in the Reach that controlled all the food. Their alliance with House Tarly and all the other lords insured that King’s Landing would get all the food it needs.

      As for Euron, the common people of King’s Landing are fickle. In season 1, they were cheering for Joffrey to execute Eddard, in season 2, they threw animal feces at him and attempted to murder him, in season 3, they returned to cheering his name and his wedding to Queen Margarey. Personally, I think the lives of the common people of King’s Landing are very boring and they appreciate whenever something exciting happens.

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    30. The people of King’s Landing, however they feel about Cersei, are probably grateful to Euron for sparing them a protracted siege. They dealt with the prospect of a siege by Stannis and the battle of Blackwater Bay not that long ago, and it was pretty brutal for the city. Most of them are probably happier with their short-term gains than troubled by the longer-term issues with having Cersei on the throne. (Isn’t there some quote in the books about how “When the high lords play their game of thrones, it’s the small folk who suffer”? Maybe they’re just happy that the play that was made caused suffering for Dany rather than for themselves.)

      The Ellaria/Tyene punishment was so horrible, regardless of the awful Sand Snakes arc in the show. What a cruel fate. Indira Varma’s acting was fantastic in that scene.

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    31. HelloThere,

      Me too. I don’t get that they adored Myrcella. I mean, her brother murdered a whole bunch of babies, and sure, Myrcella didn’t do that, but the Lannisters are terrible and the people were starving.

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    32. Olenna’s talk with Jaime and death scene was wonderfully acted and it superblyhighlighted the Queen of Thorns’s relentless pursuit of vengeance, no matter the cost (for herself or others). However, for my money, Ellaria and Cersei’s confrontation was the episode’s best.

      The scene operated as a diabolical parallel to the conversation between the queen’s brother (Tyrion) and the Sand’s lover (Oberyn) in season 4. The decor was the same, the lighting was identical, the dialogue dynamics were similar in that one character monologued while the other was mostly silent, increasingly overcome with emotion. In Tyrion’s case, the sentiments overwhelming him were gratitude and relief; in Ellaria’s, it was horror and pain. Yet, both Oberyn and Cersei were driven by the exact same thing : revenge. Wonderfully done !

      Ellaria’s forced silence was a gorgeously cruel touch. Cersei was not granted the right to say anything about her daughter’s death; she was not given the opportunity to defend her child’s case, to argue her position. So she condemned her enemy to same fate, a mute and impotent despair. Indira Varma nailed every single second of it.

      Markus Stark,
      The inhabitants of King’s Landing (and Westeros at large) seem very much aware that the Mother of Dragons is coming. They remember the previous Targaryens, from Daenerys’s mad and murderous father to her (alleged) rapist extraordinaire brother and, as such, have little to no reason to trust the latest Dragon.
      Furthermore, the country just came out of five years of relentless war and destruction and here comes Daenerys, with her Dothraki (noted raping and pillaging machines), her Unsullied (noted killing machines) and her dragons (noted burning machines)… A foreign invader with foreign troops clearly determined to conquer the land. In this scenario, she is the aggressor, a threat on an unprecendented scale (Aegon did have three dragons but he did not show up with armies as well).

      On paper, the Breaker of Chains can cause far more damage to far more people than the Lioness could ever dream of. Therefore, the idea that the majority of Westerosi is in any way, shape or form rejoicing at the Targaryen’s “return” is somewhat preposterous. What does Daenerys have to offer the people of Westeros ? Freedom ? Slavery is not legal in the Seven Kingdoms. Self-determination ? I seriously doubt it given Daenerys already calls herself queen, thereby negating any political agency Westerosi might wish to acquire.
      In Essos, the Mother of Dragons was a bringer of change, a revolutionary. In the Seven Kingdoms, she is just another highborn with a birthright. The writers have done everything they could to highlight the parallels between her and Stannis : they both live on Dragonstone but do not feel at home there, they are both supported by Melisandre, they both have a legitimate claim to the throne but no one cares except for a group of disciples motivated more by faith and sentiment than politics, their main opponent got to enter the throne room on horseback (Tywin in season 2, Euron in season 7)…

      The people of King’s Landing did not like Joffrey but they cheered and clapped when his army defeated Stannis’s at Blackwater. They do not like Cersei but are happy that her navy beat Daenerys’s. Better the devil you know.

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    33. A bit of a gripe but why isn’t Yara dead yet? It’s almost not GOT/ASOIF the way hardly any characters are dying. Euron will want her dead because whilst she’s alive she’s a rival. I really hope there is no stupid rescue because Euron is bound to die in the coming few episodes.

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