Game of Thrones ‘changed’ things for women on TV, says Gemma Whelan

The actress played Yara Greyjoy on the HBO fantasy series

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 14 April 2020 10:03
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Gemma Whelan believes that Game of Thrones had a positive impact on the way women are represented on TV.

The actress, who played Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy series, told the Radio Times that she has seen a notable improvement in the quality of female roles in the scripts she’s been sent since the show aired.

“When I started out, I wasn’t really woke to the idea of female roles being big, small or whatever. I was just grateful to get work,” she explained.

Game of Thrones really did change things in terms of how women are written and represented. Obviously, it was a fantasy, but the women were painted very realistically nonetheless. Maybe not the murdering side of things, but they were independent and capable of running the show.”

She continued: “Nowadays, a huge part of the writing process is making women front and centre.”

Game of Thrones ran on HBO from 2011 to 2019 and while critically acclaimed, the show often came under fire for its use of sexual assault and female nudity.

Emilia Clarke, who played Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen on the show, revealed in November that she felt pressured to perform in nude scenes when she first started out on the show.

“I’m a lot more savvy [now] with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing,” she said.

“I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up’, and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans’. And I’m like, ‘F*** you.’”

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