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The Game Of Thrones’ kiss between Yara and Ellaria was improvised, says Gemma Whelan



July 29th, 3:05am July 29th, 3:15am Vanessa CateVanessa Cate is a writer and editor for Stage Raw and @THISSTAGE magazine. She is the founder and artistic director of True Focus Theater and fantasy performance group Cabaret le Fey. She is also a diehard geek and fantasy lover.

Leading up to season 7, Game of Thrones fans dissected the trailer in a flurry of speculation. Where are the battles taking place? Who is fighting who? Looks like Dany’s in Dragonstone! And… woah – Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand make out!?

While the kiss could have been the start of some deeper Greyjoy-Sand romance, or else an act of assassination from the famously poisonous lips of Ellaria, viewers found out on Sunday’s premiere of “Stormborn” that it was just a casual below-deck hook-up. Given the sexuality of the characters, the combination was not only sensible but intriguing. Tragically, Euron Greyjoy couldn’t wait (just a few more minutes!), and their interlude was cut short.

Gemma Whelan, who plays Yara, said in an interview with EW that the kiss was actually improvised: “It wasn’t directed that we would kiss,” Whelan said. “It just seemed like something we should do. We led it, very much so. It was meant to be a suggestion [of flirting] and then it became more sexual than we expected because it seemed right. There was only a skeleton crew working because the rig could only take so much weight, so we were left very much on our own. And who wouldn’t want to kiss Indira? I mean, come on!

Indira Varma added about Whelan’s stunt double: “Gemma had hurt her back so there were some stunts she couldn’t do. So I had to start kissing this poor stunt double and she was so terrified! That was quite funny, bless her. I don’t think she’d ever been put in that situation before. She’s used to falling over and being attacked and all the stunts, but to be kissed by an actress was a bit beyond her.

Regrettably, Euron Greyjoy (PilouAsbæk) raged onto the deck before the two women could resolve their “foreign invasion”. A swift, brutal sea battle raged and Theon (Alfie Allen) suffered from a PTSD breakdown. He abandoned his big sister to the mercy of Euron.

It’s such a shame,” said Whelan. “But it’s such a beautiful heart-wrenching twist! We think Yara has managed to get Theon back, they had all these scenes of solidarity and comradery in season 6. It seems like he’s back, then there’s that wavering faltering moment that Aflie plays so beautifully. Yara’s just willing him, ‘no, no, stay with me.’ It’s just so heartbreaking!

Perhaps a romance between a Snake of Dornish sands and a Reaver from the Iron Islands was never meant to be. Here’s hoping they keep their heads as Euron (presumably) delivers them to King’s Landing as Cersei’s gift in the next episode.

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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.