With so many horses on Game of Thrones, it's inevitable that one of the biggest challenges for the actors while filming their scenes is dealing with horses being, well, horses. Since horses have been domesticated throughout the known world and used for various things throughout the series, they play a big role in both on-screen and off-screen drama. On a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Gemma Whelan, the actress who plays Yara Greyjoy, shared one of those stories.
Whelan's story isn't quite as dramatic as the one Kit Harrington told about filming the giant cavalry charge scene in Season 6's "Battle of the Bastards," though. For that scene, 80 horses had to act in to capture the massive battle. Harrington, who plays Jon Snow, described filming the scene as "very scary." He said it was the largest number of horses ever used in a TV battle, and joked, “We were a bit annoyed because everyone is going to think it was CGI, and it wasn’t!” There was some CGI, however, as the horses couldn't collide or be punched by giants in real life. The Devil’s Horsemen, the company who provides the horses for the show, specializes in providing horses and stuntmen for TV and movies.
Sometimes, however, shooting with the horses can be much more lighthearted, which is where Whelan's story comes in. While sitting between Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, she tells a story about filming a scene with "a really, really farty horse."
It wasn't just any scene with a farty horse. It was that scene — the one between Yara and her brother Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) when the two siblings reunited for the first time since childhood and lots of awkward and inappropriate touching ensues. Whelan even does an impression of a "farty horse" while sitting next to the very game Freeman who looks both amused and ever-so-slightly uncomfortable with the whole situation.
Whalen also reveals that scene was her audition scene, and the original script called for Yara to "worry" his junk. She attempts to talk in code about the content of the scene before finally explaining why, saying "My mother is watching."
It's all very cute and British, and regardless of how awkward her audition may have been with the "one casting director" and "ashamed camera man" in the room, she clearly did something right. "I got the job!" she said, laughing.