Gemma Whelan opens up about Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones Season 8, perhaps revealing how long she survives!

THeon Yara

The final season of Game of Thrones may be just two weeks away from premiering in our TV screens, but we still hadn’t heard from some of the cast, including Gemma Whelan, at least until today. In new interview, the actress who plays Yara Greyjoy isn’t as tight-lipped about spoilers as one may think—she may have even unknowingly revealed up to which episode Yara survives. And that’s no small thing to reveal, considering we last saw Yara as her mad uncle Euron’s prisoner—any minute longer she lasts is a miracle!

“I’m asked a lot what it’s like to play such a strong female character,” the English actress tells The Scotsman regarding her experience playing Yara, “and I lament that I’m asked because in real life women are strong and every colour of the emotional spectrum. As are men, but Kit [Harington, who plays Jon Snow] will never be asked what it’s like to play such a strong male character. That would be ludicrous. I’m sure you and I consider ourselves strong and clever and every bit as resourceful as our male counterparts.”

“All I can tell you,” Whelan teases about season eight, “is when I read the final episode I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Because we’ve all conjectured and wondered and been asked over the years, who, what, how, and it’s not ANYTHING you could have guessed. It’s brilliant, so movingly clever.”

As for her storyline in particular, she of course doesn’t reveal whether Theon will be able to save his sister Yara as she once tried to save him, but she does allow herself to admit “it would be very nice and circular, wouldn’t it?”. She doesn’t let us get our hopes up, however: “But we all know Game of Thrones doesn’t always give you what you want.”

Whelan will be right there with us these next few months, wondering whether the show will give her what she wants, at least regarding anything that doesn’t involve Yara, as she admits she “deliberately didn’t read all of the scripts,” just the ones in which she appears. Considering she definitely claimed to have read the series finale, this appears to confirm Queen Yara of House Greyjoy will survive up to the series finale, at the very least!

Yara Greyjoy 702 Sea Battle

“I like to watch it like a fan and be surprised. So I sit on the sofa watching with my husband,” the would-be Queen of the Iron Islands reveals. “I’ve never watched a TV show more vividly than the way I watch Game of Thrones. I have a physical reaction, get up off the sofa, walk about, slap my arms around. It’s a very physical experience in our house, Game of Thrones!” Oh, Gemma, believe me, you’re not the only one!

You can read the original interview, in which she discusses her experience filming previous seasons as well as many of her other roles, at The Scotsman.

19 responses

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    1. It is Theon’s survival which most intrigues me. He’s been there from the very first episode and should, by Martin’s rules, have been dead ages ago, but he is not. I figure he must have some very important part to play in the end. Rescuing or saving Yara is probably the least important thing he’ll do. Who knows?

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    2. Jack Hamm:
      Rescuing or saving Yara is probably the least important thing he’ll do.Who knows?

      I totally agree. I’m really curious and looking forward to seeing where his arc will end. I doubt it will be over with the rescue of Yara.

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    3. Yea! I’m just glad she will be back. I like the character and the actress!

      Jack Hamm:
      It is Theon’s survival which most intrigues me.He’s been there from the very first episode and should, by Martin’s rules, have been dead ages ago, but he is not.I figure he must have some very important part to play in the end.Rescuing or saving Yara is probably the least important thing he’ll do.Who knows?

      I wonder how closely it resembles his book counterpart… or if they have stirred his story too off course and the show will finish Theon’s story in a different way. I agree, he is one of the main secondary characters, there from the beginning and Martin has kept him around for a reason.

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    4. I don’t want Theon to die. It would be so depressing if his entire life is just complete misery and he dies, he deserves some happiness.

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    5. Singedbylife,

      viki,

      This is one of many unanswered questions I have. I’m not a book expert, but I do remember book Theon being different from show Theon. He has some important part to play I really believe. Maybe he’ll be part of the third “big reveal” that is supposed to happen this year. I’d love to see that as Alfie Allen does such a fine job with the part.

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    6. I’ve always said Theon is a foil for Jon. That means whatever happens to him is because it is meant to contrast with what happens to Jon. So it is reasonable to expect Theon’s fate is to be another contrast. If Yara gets the the Seastone Chair, then it is because Theon has deferred to her (which he’s already stated that is his wish). So to contrast, that could mean Dany will defer to Jon. More likely though one will die — so Dany and Theon both die, Jon and Yara live and rule. Or Dany and Theon live and rule, and Jon and Yara die.

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    7. I really want a satisfying end to Theon’s arc. I consider it to be very important and emotional part of the story, and I need some good closure.

      Hopefully, even if he dies, he gets some happiness and pride before he goes.

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    8. If they both cannot survive then Yara will be the one with the better odds to survive. It will be post-war and she can reproduce – good not only for Westeros but for her line. Theon is the more central character however but I still think Yara has the better odds. If I recall, Theon may have a kid (?) but it has not really been mentioned much or any at all in GOT.

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    9. Theon/Reek became perhaps my favorite arc in the books. His betrayal so deep, his fall so steep, his redemption needs to live up to that. I expect an honorable death in defense fo the Starks, but Martin does not like to give us what we want or expect.

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    10. Am I the only one who feels Theon saving Yara is stretching reality a little and a bit cheesy? I like Yara as a character but realistically she shouldn’t be getting out a live and Theon should fail.

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    11. Jack Hamm:
      It is Theon’s survival which most intrigues me.He’s been there from the very first episode and should, by Martin’s rules, have been dead ages ago, but he is not.I figure he must have some very important part to play in the end.Rescuing or saving Yara is probably the least important thing he’ll do.Who knows?

      Theon did die, all that was left was the Reek of a rotting corpse. He was then reborn when he saved Sansa.

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    12. spacechampion:
      I’ve always said Theon is a foil for Jon.That means whatever happens to him is because it is meant to contrast with what happens to Jon.So it is reasonable to expect Theon’s fate is to be another contrast.If Yara gets the the Seastone Chair, then it is because Theon has deferred to her (which he’s already stated that is his wish).So to contrast, that could mean Dany will defer to Jon.More likely though one will die — so Dany and Theon both die, Jon and Yara live and rule.Or Dany and Theon live and rule, and Jon and Yara die.

      That maybe true, although I don’t think they need to contrast each other right down to who lives and dies. I find Arya and Sansa to be a similarly contrast – but I do hope they both live 🙂 Might be fun to see if there are others… never really gave it much thought before

      I was thinking, besides Ned and Catelyn – are there any other book POV characters that have died and been on the show? ( I know there are a couple of sort of tertiary level characters that have). I expect when Martin gives a character a STORY POV (not one off fly on the wall pov) it means their story is important and they will live to at least do or stand for something ‘significant’ before the end (live or die).

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    13. viki: That maybe true, although I don’t think they need to contrast each other right down to who lives and dies.I find Arya and Sansa to be a similarly contrast – but I do hope they both live 🙂 Might be fun to see if there are others… never really gave it much thought before

      I was thinking, besides Ned and Catelyn – are there any other book POV characters that have died and been on the show? ( I know there are a couple of sort of tertiary level characters that have).I expect when Martin gives a character a STORY POV (not one off fly on the wall pov) it means their story is important and they will live to at least do or stand for something ‘significant’ before the end (live or die).

      Kevan Lannister is probably the one we know of best from the show who is a POV character. Barristan Selmy as well, but he hasn’t died in the books as of yet…

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    14. Jack Hamm:
      It is Theon’s survival which most intrigues me.He’s been there from the very first episode and should, by Martin’s rules, have been dead ages ago, but he is not.I figure he must have some very important part to play in the end.Rescuing or saving Yara is probably the least important thing he’ll do.Who knows?

      Allegedly, we can expect a lot of callbacks to Season 1. And in S1, Theon saves Bran from the wildling about to cut his throat. Perhaps there will be some symmetry there and he saves Bran again this season.

      I like Yara OK, but I’ve never been especially invested in her. She seems to be around specifically to save Theon in various ways. She doesn’t really have her own story. This side plot of Theon saving her has to have a bigger point. Theon is a skilled marksman and a good fighter (via post-battle chat with Robb). I think they have sent him off to save Yara so he isn’t at WF and can show up later either by himself or with Yara and some Iron Islander reinforcements who aren’t battle weary.

      IOW, maybe Theon will finally make good on his promise to Robb.

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    15. “I’ve never watched a TV show more vividly than the way I watch Game of Thrones. I have a physical reaction, get up off the sofa, walk about, slap my arms around. It’s a very physical experience in our house, Game of Thrones!

      Turns out she’s a huge fan! Who’d have thought it? 😛

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