The first rule of acting in Game of Thrones is, don't talk about acting in Game of Thrones. Most of us could have guessed as much, but one actress didn't. Gemma Whelan, who has played Yara Greyjoy on the HBO series since season 2, said she almost lost her part before it even began for violating that edict.
"No one told me to keep quiet about it," Whelan told The Times of London. "I just thought it was normal to pop it on my Spotlight entry, so I wrote on my CV, ‘This summer Gemma will be playing Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.’ "
Spotlight is a service used by casting directors, but clever GoT fans also knew how to search it, she said, "And the internet went nuts. 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.' "
"When we left off season 6, it was clear that Daenerys [Emilia Clarke] and Yara were off on a mission," Whelan 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!"
Whelan did reveal something more personal about playing the fierce warrior on the show. Since before her first appearance as Yara, the internet trolls were there to criticize her appearance, writing "that I was too fat, not sexy enough, not the cartoon-character sort of Lara Croft version of Yara people have imagined, you know?" This must have been particularly hurtful to Whelan, who said she suffered from anorexia as a teen. But four seasons in, she gets plenty of support too.
"Now lots of people come to me and say I am exactly what they imagined," she said. "So, it crosses the board."
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