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‘Game of Thrones’: Sibel Kekilli Reflects on Shae’s Love for Tyrion

Pictured: Sibel Kekilli--Photo: Alyssa Tieman

Game of Thrones: Sibel Kekilli Reflects on Shae’s Love for Tyrion

During Con of Thrones this past weekend in Dallas, Sibel Kekilli, who played Shae in the first four seasons of Game of Thrones, took to the stage to talk about her character and experience filming the hit show.

There are a number of fans who are anti-Shae, not liking how she treated Tyrion in the end, but Kekilli defends Shae and Tyrion’s relationship, saying that they did truly love each other. When asked about Shae’s motivations during her four seasons on the show, Kekilli says that it changed. Shae ended up testifying against Tyrion, lying about their entire relationship and his involvement in Joffrey’s murder.

“If you would ask me about the trial scene, it would be the revenge. He hurt her. He married another woman. I bet every woman, if they loved a man, and he would say, ‘No, no. I’m marrying another woman, but you’ll be my second girlfriend,’ would get furious and want to kill him. And Shae’s like, ‘Okay… I do whatever you want just to be with you.’ So yeah, it was revenge, but in the beginning, it was always love.”

Kekilli goes on to explain that there was a scene that was cut from an episode that shows more of Shae’s heartbreak over being sent away. In the scene, Shae is crying uncontrollably and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) consoles her, saying, “‘Look, this is the better way. Just do it. Just go away.'” Kekilli thinks that Shae might have been hoping for her own royal wedding and be a princess. She then joked that there was another scene that was cut in which Shae was on the Iron Throne.

In the end, Shae is strangled by Tyrion after he finds her in Tywin’s bed. When asked how it was to film that sequence, Kekilli responded that it was quick. “I was very good at it,” she said. If given the opportunity, Kekilli believes that Shae would’ve apologized for what happened between them, but only if Tyrion also said he was sorry.

Game of Thrones/HBO

Kekilli revealed near the end of the panel that she originally turned down the role. After the audition, she actually thought it went badly, but ended up being offered the part. Her initial reaction was “no.”

“But Dan and David, the showrunners, they were amazing. I thought they would say, ‘Oh. Whatever. If she doesn’t want to have it, she doesn’t wanna have it.’ But they wrote me a really lovely letter, like they believe in me and the part won’t change that much like in the books. But it will change and it will be about love between them. Not like a gold digger like in the books. Then I said ‘Yes.’ Thank God.”

Kekilli enjoyed everything about Game of Thrones,from her fellow actors to the amazing setting. She mostly filmed in Belfast and Croatia, recounting her first day in Belfast in which she thought HBO was throwing her a small Oktoberfest as a welcome party. When filming was complete, Kekilli took home the necklace used to kill her by Tyrion, which she jokes is hanging on the wall next to the letter sent to her by the showrunners. Shae meant a lot to Kekilli and when asked if she took anything away the role, she responded:

“I think she really…had a big heart. She was loyal. I really loved that she was daring. She doesn’t care about power–having power or not. I really appreciated that about her. Did I take that with me? Yes, I think so.”

Game of Thrones/HBO

Game of Thrones returns for its final season in 2019.

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Alyssa has always known she was going to be a writer. She attended Texas Lutheran University and melded her love of writing with filmmaking and moved into the world of scriptwriting, directing, and editing. Alyssa is excited to be a part of Fan Fest and write about the shows that she loves to watch.