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Game of Thrones has had a lot of death, but few executions were carried out as brutally as the death of Gendry's confidence after he asked Arya Stark to marry him in a Season 8 episode. The legitimized Baratheon got shot down hard, and Gendry's actor Joe Dempsie wasn't surprised in the least by it. The actor explained his character's rash decision, and how he may have known the heroic Arya's no was coming before he even asked.
Gendry just got a bit excited, didn’t he? He’d just been made a lord -- he’d known for a while now where he’s come from but the recognition of that by someone in authority has given him an ability to find a place in the world that I think he’s been searching for his entire life. And he just got a bit gassed and asked someone to marry him. And she quite rightly told him where to go. What a stupid question! I think he knows deep down in his heart of hearts there is no way Arya will ever be anyone’s lady.
Joe Dempsie didn't necessarily agree with Gendry's call, but at the same time understood his head space and why he swung for the fences even though he knew the odds were high he'd strike out. Gendry may find love one day, but it's looking more likely than not Arya Stark isn't going to be his lady should his legitimacy stand post Game of Thrones.
For fans, Gendry's rejection felt like the end of any speculation he and Arya would be a couple at the series' end. Unfortunately for Joe Dempsie, that rejection didn't happen sooner, as the actor told Esquire the conversation had always made him uncomfortable in the past. Fans would ask Dempsie whether he'd like Gendry to have a relationship with Arya, and not stop to think how that may be uncomfortable for him on a personal level.
The most common thing Thrones fans have wanted to talk to me about over the years was this suggested relationship with Arya. I was always found that conversation quite uncomfortable at the time, particularly in the early years. I was a 25-year-old man being asked whether I would like my character to get together with an at-the-time 14-year-old actress. It was always something I thought wasn’t fair to ask me personally ... I felt there needed to be an understanding that even though what we’re making is fantasy, actual execution of that had to take place in reality. It was never really something I gave much thought to.
Joe Dempsie even admitted that the sex scene he filmed with Maisie Williams (who is now 22) was still uncomfortable years later, simply because he had known her since she was much younger. Though it may have been awkward, Joe Dempsie stated that he did appreciate the larger conversation that drew from it, and audiences being forced to confront the hypocrisy in being uncomfortable to watch others develop sexually despite it being a process many people experience.
Will Gendry find love elsewhere? Game of Thrones might explore that in its final two episodes, which air on HBO Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime for more on each episode, and some analysis regarding the series' final episodes.