Going into Sunday night’s Game Of Thrones episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” it seemed like a sex scene or two was inevitable. Not only did it originally hold the mysterious title of “Game of Thrones 69” — nice — but it promised to follow our heroes’ final night alive before coming face-to-face with the Night King’s army. When the end of the world is nigh, someone is going to end up falling into bed with the nearest, most attractive warm body.
And, that is how the Gendrya ship shockingly came in at last. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie), long time friends, former travel companions, and cutesy nick-name havers, finally hooked up, causing fans the Twittersphere over to cheer… and cringe. Was Arya of age for all of this sooty, sooty sex? Should Gendry have let Winterfell’s youngest daughter seduce him in his place of business?
The answer to both questions is yes — and no one should be spending their last hours with Game of Thrones judging Arya’s decisions. Not only for logical reasons — but, because GoT seemingly figured out the real trick to hot Westerosi sex scenes.
When it comes to the matter of Arya’s age, the facts are with us. The character, played by 22-year-old Maisie Williams, is simply “old enough” to decide to have sex for the first time. Arya Stark is currently about 18 years old. Remember, her big sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) confirms she is 14 years old at the time of her season 3 wedding to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Arya is a year younger than Sansa, making her about 13 during the same season. If we look at each season as roughly a year in these characters lives, Arya would be 18 five seasons later in season 8. Considering all the time jumps and lengthy travel, Arya may even be older than 18.
In a world where Riverdale's 16-year-olds are planning threesomes on the stage of their high school — and nearly everyone is onto their second or third sexual partner — an 18-ish-year-old woman choosing to get naked with her most trusted and strapping friend is a fairly conservative sexual evolution. Especially for someone who desperately wants to experience a human connection after years of trying to eradicate that normal part of herself. Arya’s interest in consensual sex is a much-welcomed, unexpected reminder the teen assassin is more than the killing machine we’ve seen in recent years.
Gendry’s portrayer, 31-year-old Joe Demspie certainly agrees, telling Entertainment Weekly, “It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old. At the same time, I don’t want to be patronizing toward Maisie — she’s a 20-year-old woman. So we just had a lot of fun with it.”
If Gendry himself isn't “patronizing” Williams, or Arya, over her big sex scene, neither should we. Instead, we should focus on just how sexy her hookup was. The reason it was so very steamy? Arya is in charge from the beginning.
The road to Gendrya’s makeshift love nest of grain begins in flirty earnest with last week’s season 8 premiere “Winterfell.” Known Westerosi sex symbol Gendry bumbles over compliments while Arya taunts him for not knowing “any other rich girls.” There’s a saucy eyebrow raise. Sparks, see flight pattern.
Then, “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” brings us to the random corridor of Winterfell’s basement where Arya slowly unveils her plan to seduce Gendry, whom she once intensely checked out during an especially sultry session of smithing. First, she asks him just how many women he has slept with. It’s unclear why Arya is investigating Gendry's sexual history — is this her playful way of getting him to talk about sex? — but, a personal favourite theory is that Arya is hoping to confirm Gendry may know something about pleasing a woman before giving him his momentous sex assignment. If you may only get one roll in the grain before becoming a blue-eyed zombie, you want it to be good, right?
Arya herself adds credence to that explanation, telling Gendry, “We’re probably going to die soon. I want to know what it’s like before that happens.” This isn't romance — it's horny pragmatism. So, she kisses Gendry before tossing him into a pile of provisions that make for a perfect stand-in bed. When Arya realizes Gendry is taking his sweet time slipping his trousers off, she quips, “I’m not the Red Woman, take your own bloody pants off.” As he obliges, she gets on top of him. Arya may be a sex novice, but she is the one controlling every single part of this sex scene, down to which positions are on the metaphorical table. Kiss-happy Gendry is more than happy to follow her lead.
In the immortal words of Paris Hilton, that’s hot.
A long time ago, Gendry’s biological father Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) famously spent Thrones' series premiere telling Arya’s dad Ned Stark (Sean Bean), “I have a son. You have a daughter. We’ll join our houses.” He had no idea a night of pre-apocalyptic passion would finally make his prophetic words come true. Praise the Old Gods and the New.