Gemma Whelan discusses Yara’s walk of shame in “The Queen’s Justice”


Actress Gemma Whelan, who portrays Yara Greyjoy on Game of Thrones, talked to Entertainment Weekly about her character’s humiliating walk of shame through King’s Landing in “The Queen’s Justice,” the latest episode of the show. It wasn’t long ago that Yara was riding high, in charge of her own fleet and making time with Ellaria Sand. And then, before she knows it, she’s being marched through the streets on a leash by her crazy Uncle Euron. You win some, you lose some.

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But first, EW talked to Whelan about her steamy scene with Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), which happened right before Euron attacked the Greyjoy fleet. According to Whelan, Ellaria was originally supposed to kiss Theon. Then it changed to a flirty moment between Yara and Ellaria, and then the actors took control and just kind of went for it. “It wasn’t directed that we would kiss,” she said. “It just seemed like something we should do. We led it, very much so. It was meant to be a suggestion [of flirting] and then it became more sexual than we expected because it seemed right.”

It didn’t last, of course, and before long, Euron had an axe to Yara’s throat, and Theon jumped overboard rather than help his sister. Whelan that “a beautiful, heart-wrenching twist!”

"It seems like he’s back, then there’s that wavering, faltering moment that Alfie plays so beautifully. Yara’s just willing him, “No, no, stay with me.” It’s just so heartbreaking!"

As far as that walk through King’s Landing goes, Whelan is just happy it wasn’t done in the nude, like Cersei’s, although as she revealed on Instagram, she loved “meeting” Cersei in the throne room.

“[S]he’s just being humiliated,” Whelan said. “My reaction to that was he could have done something far sicker to her. 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. Euron’s gotta get his comeuppance.”

Might said comeuppance come from Theon? Whelan is hoping that he rescues Yara. “But who knows?” Spoken like a true Game of Thrones cast member.

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And if Theon does rescue Yara, will it happen this season? Whelan was coy about how much more we’ll see of Yara this year (if any), but did agree with EW that she’s the kind of character who fans always want to see a little more of.

"I think I did really well in season 6 though. I was thrilled that I had loads to do last year. Maybe less is more? I’m really lucky to get what I’m given in such a packed show. To be a part of these story lines is a huge honor — even if it’s just one line while I’m looking scared in the background. [Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] told me when I was cast that Yara becomes a greater part of the show in the later story lines but not so much in the beginning. They’re really men of their word, what they said was going to happen has happened."

For reference’s sake, it looks like we’ve seen the last of Ellaria Sand. Let’s hope that’s not true of Yara.

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