The Actress Who Plays Yara On Game Of Thrones Is Even Funnier IRL

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), without a doubt, provides the most comedic relief of Game of Thrones. But in season 6, fans were introduced to an unlikely new character who knew how to crack a joke or two: Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan). Yara is in a less than comical situation at the moment, as she is currently prisoner of her estranged uncle, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), and at the mercy of the resident evil queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). But still, I have hope that Yara will bounce back and get us to crack a smile or two along the way. If Cersei can survive her walk of shame, Yara can, too. But while we wait out Yara's triumphant return (imagine a vengeful Theon (Alfie Allen) breaking her out and saving the day?) let's talk about Whelan's off-screen career roots — he actress used to be a stand-up comedian.
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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Whelan spoke about her days pre-GoT which were filled with a lot more LOLs than OMGs. "I was doing a lot of comedy but I always wanted to do serious drama as well and it’s quite hard when you’re working in comedy and have a comedy agent to even be invited into the drama room," Whelan told the site. "The casting for GoT came about because I was at a comedy casting and the casting director was also on Thrones, Robert Sterne along with Nina Gold, and he said, 'I have something that you might be perfect for that I’m casting next week' — and that was Game of Thrones. I was literally in the right place at the right time even though it was a comedy casting."
She boils it all down to luck, but we're pretty sure she was just the perfect fit. "Of course, when I heard it was this huge HBO drama, I thought, 'This is never going to be my first drama, I have no chance, I’ll never get this, but I’m delighted to be invited into the room.' So I was quite relaxed because I thought I never had a chance. So I was very lucky. And from there on, I was considered for other dramas and have continued in comedy as well."
Check out one of stand-up routines from 2010.
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