Exactly one week until we’re reunited with Yara Greyjoy in season 7 The Sunday Times publishes a new interview with Gemma Whelan in which she discusses filming a certain fiery set piece and addresses the fan reaction to her character. Also, in an interview with The Huffington Post, Iain Glen (kind of) debunks a popular theory about Daenerys.
As excited as Gemma Whelan is to be a main character on Game of Thrones, she gave absolutely nothing away about next season in her interview with Benji Wilson.
“When we left off season 6, it was clear that Daenerys and Yara were off on a mission,” she said. “And we left me on a boat — so it would follow that you would find me on a boat. But I’m not ruling out being on land. How about that? Let’s not rule out any land!”
Alright, sea and land. Both of them. At some point. Got it.
Whelan did describe what it was like to film one particular scene, though she offered no hints as to its context (it’s most likely the fiery sea battle shown briefly in the trailer).
“I’ve got little scabs all over my chest and my head,” she said. “They’d call ‘Action! Turn over’, all that stuff, then ‘Embers!’ would be another shout you’d hear. I’m, like, ‘Embers? What are embers?’ Then suddenly there are these sparks, almost like in Flashdance. They’re firing burning embers at you! It looks awesome, I’m sure, but it’s hard to look really serious when your head is on fire.”
As frustrating as Game of Thrones‘ ridiculous levels of secrecy can get for us fans, we should remember that keeping information confidential can be just as overwhelming – if not more so – for the folks on the other side of the screen. Whelan recalls how much trouble she got into when she was cast for season 2 and assumed that it was safe to include Yara Greyjoy on her CV. “The internet went nuts,” she said. “One of the lovely, lovely producers on Thrones called me into his office and said, ‘This is very serious. We almost can’t employ you because of this.’”
Whelan’s relationship with online fan reactions has been fraught from the beginning, from some fans’ refusal to accept her character’s name as Yara instead of Asha to self-appointed critics who felts she didn’t, ahem, look the part.
“Initially, when I was cast, there was so much written about it,” Whelan said. “That I was too fat, not sexy enough, not the cartoon-character sort of Lara Croft version of Yara people have imagined, you know? Now lots of people come to me and say I am exactly what they imagined. So it crosses the board. Alfie [Allen] actually told me very early on, ‘Just do not go on the forums. They will really, really hurt you.’”
Internet comments criticizing Whelan’s weight take on an all new level of horrible when you learn that Whelan struggled with a severe eating disorder as a teenager. “It was anorexia,” she said, “and I was so, so poorly, but I had amazing medical care. I remember someone saying to me ‘Most people do not recover from this’, and I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to recover, then. I’m going to be one of the ones that does.’”
In other news, Iain Glen addressed the Mad Queen theory that posits that Daenerys might end up taking after her father, Aerys, and conclude the series as a villain.
“I think that would be highly unlikely,” he told The Huffington Post. “I mean, this is Iain speaking and Jorah speaking ― we share the same voice ― my belief in her is such that I can’t see her going that way myself, so I think that’s highly unlikely. It becomes academic whether I would stand by her or not because I don’t believe that would happen.”
He did admit though, that he doesn’t know for sure what is in store of Daenerys, or any of the characters for that matter: “The great thing about Dan and David is none of us have a clue of where this is going. We have a sense that things are moving toward their end game, but no one knows,” he said.