Game of Thrones’ air of secrecy has always been a little ludicrous, from actors barely being able to say anything in press interviews to HBO’s traditionally nebulous episode synopses. It’s gotten crazier in the wake of leaked episodes the past few seasons, but it’s always been a serious affair—to the point it almost cost one star her job.
Speaking to The Times recently, Gemma Whelan, who plays Yara Greyjoy, discussed coming onto the show in season two. It was her first big break into drama TV. But according to Whelan, she almost never got to step into the water-logged boots of the feisty Greyjoy, thanks to the simple act of adding the role to her Spotlight credits page after being cast:
The first lesson I learnt was when I first got the job. No one told me to keep quiet about it. I just thought it was normal to pop it on my Spotlight entry, so I wrote on my CV, ‘This summer Gemma will be playing Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.’ And the internet went nuts. One of the lovely, lovely producers on Thrones called me into his office and said, ‘This is very serious. We almost can’t employ you because of this.’
Of course, now we know it turned out all right in the end, but it’s sort of insane that even in its earliest days, Game of Thrones was incredibly secretive about its production process. With reports that season seven actors can’t access physical scripts—or even get rehearsal notes without signing them in and out of the care of the production team—the level of madness involved safeguarding Thrones spoilers has gone up quite a bit. I wonder how many stars like Whelan have come close to losing their jobs over it?