Joe Dempsie is finally making his return to Game of Thrones.


Dempsie plays Gendry, the supposed last remaining bastard son of Robert Baratheon. The character was last seen three seasons ago, rowing away from Dragonstone with the help of Ser Davos Seaworth. Now Davos has found Gendry, a talented blacksmith, in King’s Landing, and is collecting him for Jon Snow’s quest north to capture a wight.

“We’ve always expected to bring Gendry back since we saw him rowing out,” says writer Dave Hill. “We almost brought him back in season 6 and it didn’t quite work out. We definitely wanted him here for the big mission, and we wanted Robert Baratheon’s bastard son back into the show. It made sense that Davos would want to save this boy who’s like a surrogate son. And Joe is great — which is a big positive.”

It appears that Dempsie had no idea what was in store for Gendry between then and now. “I didn’t keep in close contact with them during the intervening years because I like David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] a lot and I didn’t want them to think there was some other motive [in reaching out]; that I was trying to wrangle my job back. So I kind of just left it. And Thrones, you understand, is bigger than any one of us. If you’re part of it, great. If not, you just get over it.”

Dempsie, however, feels he knows Gendry’s backstory, and knows how he’s felt all the years the show was not focused on him. “He’d gone back to his old life, but there’s a restlessness in him,” Dempsie explains. “He’s bored of safety and wants adventure and he’s itching to get involved and then an opportunity presents itself. He’s got his father’s blood in him and he’s a natural born fighter.”

And when Dempsie found out that his storyline would intertwine with Jon Snow’s and that the action would be ramped up, he was excited. “That’s the main thing, the selfish actor part of you reads that and goes, ‘That’s going to be great! I’m going to look cool doing that!’ Part of this feels like Avengers Assemble coming together, this ill-advised mission North of the Wall. When you imagine wanting to be an actor, these are the sort of pinch-yourself moments.”

And while Gendry is technically a son of the last King, Dempsie feels that he doesn’t really want sit atop the Iron Throne. “He doesn’t seem like the kind of character who would make a play for power. But then maybe it could be something foisted upon him reluctantly,” Demspie surmises. “Everyone is like: ‘Where do you want to see your character?’ [The Iron Throne] seems fairly unlikely. I feel like him [sic] and Jon Snow are forming a bond over the bastards thing. They’re also two of the inherently good characters in the series. Not that that protects you, but I think they’re quite a formidable force — if they can carry on cooperating…”

Find out more in the last two episodes of GoT season 7, which airs Sundays at 9 pm on HBO.

Read more about: