British actress Gemma Whelan has played the impenetrable Yara Greyjoy on HBO’s Game of Thrones since 2012. With the series ending just next week, Whelan talks to us about her favorite scenes from the series, Yara’s fate on the show and the one item she took from set.
I saw you had to miss the GOT premiere. Were you able to still watch the first episode?
GEMMA WHELAN: I was! I saw it at the Belfast Premiere and was totally in awe of the first episode and what everyone achieved.
We last saw Yara as a prisoner on GOT. Do you think there's any hope for her this season?
GW: There's always hope for Yara, she's a fighter!
Have you reflected yet on what it was like to be a part of something so epic?
GW: I think we all grew with the show so it all happened so slowly that now we are at the end it just feels incredible to have been part of such a groundbreaking show. I feel very lucky to have been part of it.
What was one of your favorite scenes to film?
GW: So hard to answer because it's a feast for an actor in terms of being able to have a full-blown battle or an intimate two-handed scene. I have loved them all. This is not a cop-out answer, I just can't choose!
If you could take anything from the set or from your character’s wardrobe, what would you want to take home?
GW: I did take something with permission—my Yara boots. They are in a special spot in my house now.
I see you're also a comedian, can you tell us a bit more about that?
GW: I did stand up for many years as a character called Chastity Butterworth, she had a bit of a potty mouth but was extremely posh and well turned out.
What's next in terms of new projects for you?
GW: I am currently filming an adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma for Working Title. I am playing Mrs. Weston and I love it. I am also appearing on HBO in a series called Gentleman Jack starring Suranne Jones, and written by one of my heroes Sally Wainwright. I play Suranne's character's sister Marian and it is brilliant in my opinion.
Photography by: Photography courtesy HBO