‘Game of Thrones’ Actor Joe Dempsie Felt Uneasy About Arya and Gendry’s Love Scene

Discussions surrounding Game of Thrones will never die as the show, its characters, and its vernacular are forever ingrained in pop culture canon. For this reason, fans continue to love hearing stories from the behind the scenes.

Joe Dempsie played Gendry Baratheon, one of a handful of characters to survive the chaos from season 1 to season 8. After all he’d been through, Gendry even had a shot at love with Arya Stark. Dempsie recently revealed his thoughts on his love scene with Maisie Williams’ Arya.

Maisie Williams and Joe Dempsie
Joe Dempsie and Maisie Williams at ‘Game of Thrones’ season finale premiere | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO/Getty Images

Gendry and Arya connected early in ‘Game of Thrones’

Gendry’s journey in GOT certainly kept viewers on edge because of his lineage and the shaky ground on which House Baratheon stood. The entire bloodline virtually came to an end, but Gendry the skilled smithy was the one “bastard” of Robert’s who experienced both luck and hardship.

He and Arya first met in season 1 when she disguised herself as “Arry,” a young boy recruit. They became friends, and were captured, imprisoned, and then escaped together. By the close of season 3, Gendry knew of Arya’s true identity, but he was taken away by Melisandre for a ritual.

He and Arya didn’t see each other again until season 8 when he travels to Winterfell with Jon Snow and Daenerys. Thinking death was imminent, Arya initiates a kiss and expresses her desire to have sex with Gendry, and the two have a liaison.

Later in the finale, he asks her to marry him but she chooses a life of adventure.

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Dempsie found the love scene ‘uncomfortable’

On social media, it was a moment that struck fans because they wondered about Arya’s age. In the series, she was 18 and Gendry was 22 (per HBO). In real life, Williams was 22.

During a recent interview with The Independent, Dempsie said he initially didn’t want to answer questions about the scene.

“It was an odd transition purely because I’d seen Maisie grow up,” explained Dempsie. “I’d met her when she was a child and, during the course of the first three seasons, it was something I was asked regularly because [George RR Martin’s] books suggest there’s a possible romance. It always made me slightly uncomfortable.”

He added he didn’t take the scene lightly. “I know we were recreating fantasy, but we as actors have to make it very much in reality, and they were asking me to comment on whether I – at the time, a 25-year-old man – would like my character to hook up with a 14-year-old. I always avoided answering the questions. But it was something I then had to think about.”

Dempsie shared that ultimately, he knew that Williams was a consummate professional—and full adult—whose talents he did not want to patronize or offend. Filming went off without a hitch.

Williams spoke on the scene too

Shortly before the series finale aired in May 2019, Williams told Entertainment Weekly that she thought the sex scene was a prank. She was able to choose how much of her body to reveal and said everyone was very respectful and accommodating.

For her, the moment wasn’t about showing skin. “It was really interesting because it’s a very human relationship for Arya,” Williams stated. “This is something she’s stayed away from, an emotion we’ve never really seen her engage with.” She was happy that her character had the chance to tap into her humanity.