Game Of Thrones star Gemma Whelan admits show’s sex scenes were a ‘frenzied mess’

Gemma Whelan played warrior Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones, and her bisexual character was involved in several racy scenes during her stint on the hit HBO show, inclduing an infamous encounter with her on-screen brother on a horse

Gemma Whelan said she and her co-stars were left to 'get on with it' by the directors
Gemma Whelan said she and her co-stars were left to ‘get on with it’ by the directors

Gemma Whelan revealed the sex scenes on Game Of Thrones were a “frenzied mess”, with cast members told to “just go for it”.

The 40-year-old actress played Ironborn warrior Yara Greyjoy in the hit HBO show for six seasons, with her bisexual character eventually earning her rightful place as Queen of the Iron Islands.

Gemma was also involved in several racy scenes during her stint on the fantasy series, and she revealed she and her co-stars were “almost literally” left to get on with it by the directors.

“They used to just say, ‘When we shout action, go for it!’, and it could be a sort of frenzied mess,” she confessed to the Guardian. “A director might say, ‘Bit of boob biting, then slap her bum and go!’, but I’d always talk it through with the other actor.”

She said there was “always an instinct” for the actors to check in with one another before filming began, in an effort to create a comfortable environment for those involved who were baring all.

Gemma played Yara Greyjoy on Game of Thrones


©2016 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO¨ and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

Gemma recalled one scene in a brothel with a naked woman, and she was prompted to talk about “where the camera would be and what she was happy with” before shooting.

In her first season of Game of Thrones, her character Yara was involved in an infamous intimate scene on a horse, involving her brother Theon Greyjoy, played by Alfie Allen.

She said Alfie was very cautious and considerate in his approach to filming the scene, and she said it was a “step in the right direction” with permission and consent given before actors were required to begin filming.

Gemma had an infamous sex scene with her co-star and onscreen brother, Alfie Allen


©2016 Home Box Office, Inc. All)

The British actress, who has previously had roles in Killing Eve and White House Farm, almost lost her role on the coveted TV series due to her over excitement at being picked to play Yara.

Gemma said she didn’t realise she was supposed to keep quiet about landing the role of the fierce captain and warrior, and updated her CV with the exciting news, which led to her being reprimanded by show bosses.

“I just thought it was normal to pop it in my Spotlight entry, so I wrote on my CV, ‘This summer, Gemma will be playing Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.’ And the internet went nuts,” she told The Times.

The actress has also appeared in hit TV dramas such as Killing Eve and White House Farm


Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Gemma Whelan on Good Morning Britain



“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’,” she recalled, but luckily, she wasn’t fired, and played Yara until the final season.

Back in 2020, she confessed her “biggest disappointment was the furious reaction some Game of Thrones fans had to the final season.

“The fans’ reaction at the end of Game Of Thrones because I think it was brilliant,” she told The Guardian.

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