Gemma Whelan and Alfie Allen in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan/HBO
July 6, 2016 4:15 PM EDT

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the sixth season of Game of Thrones.

It was a big year for Yara Greyjoy on Game of Thrones. The sixth season of the HBO drama saw the Ironborn heir go head to head with her uncle Euron in the Kingsmoot before making the journey from the Iron Islands to Meereen in order to ally with Daenerys Targaryen. Not to mention that she also found time to fit in some therapy sessions for her newly returned — and mentally fragile — brother Theon.

Along the way, it was also revealed that Yara may be the show’s first lesbian main character, a fact that was alluded to during a brothel scene in the season’s seventh episode. During a recent interview with Vulture, Gemma Whelan — who plays Yara — said she was on board with the development. “I hadn’t anticipated it, but I never anticipate anything when it comes to Game of Thrones,” she said. “You never know where you stand, right up through the time you’re doing the read-through and shooting. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m very open-minded about what’s offered for my character, so while I didn’t see it coming, I thought, ‘Yes! Why not?'”

The 35-year-old actress also spoke about the scene in which Yara and Daenerys meet for the first time, explaining that their “flirtation” wasn’t written into the script. “It just turned out that Emilia [Clarke] and I had some chemistry going on!,” she said. “It was probably intended in the script, but it didn’t need writing down because it was so well-written. I suppose we’re matching each other, we’re testing each other’s mettle with our very sparse dialogue there, and we get the idea, we get the cut of each other’s jib quite quickly, and we like the size of each other — what we have to say, what we both stand for, is appealing. Not necessarily in a sexual way, but in the way that power is attractive, and it’s something we both want to achieve, and we can do it together.”

However, Whelan isn’t sure if they’ll ever take their relationship to the next level. “Emilia and I both enjoy the idea,” she said. “We get along very well, so we enjoy working with each other quite a lot. So maybe! I don’t know! It’s up to the writers and the machinations of their minds. We like each other, we reflect each other, and whether it’s more than friendship is irrelevant, really.”


Write to Megan McCluskey at

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