The final-season premiere of Game of Thrones was chockablock with long-awaited reunions, and Sunday night’s follow-up was blessed with all sorts of wine-drunk character meet-ups from across the once-disparate islands of narrative that used to make up this show. It was all rather excellent, but there was one character pairing that we didn’t get, despite the fact that it would throw distinct elements of the fandom into frenzied appreciation:
Just give us one scene where Gilly and Gendry cross paths, before it’s all over. Just one.
Gilly, played by Hannah Murray since the character’s introduction in Season 2, is a Wildling currently hitched up to Samwell Tarly. We were introduced to Gilly during the Craster’s Keep storyline, where the Night’s Watch ventured north of the Wall to an outpost run by despotic old Craster, with his 19 wives, who keeps marrying new daughters as the wives get too old. Gilly, one of the wives, was pregnant, and Sam protected her when things went bad and a mutiny saw Lord Commander Mormont killed. She’s been by Sam’s side ever since, mostly just mothering Little Sam, the world’s longest-lasting baby.
Gendry, played by Joe Dempsie, was also introduced in Season 2, as he escaped the king’s guards and got out of King’s Landing with Arya (who was fleeing post-Ned Stark beheading). Gendry and Arya spent the better part of a season at Harrenhal, she fetching wine for Tywin Lannister, he doing various manual labor tasks that made him look hot. The other thing about him was that he was Robert Baratheon’s illegitimate son and thus heir to the Iron Throne, though that mattered a lot more before Daenerys returned and declared the old Targaryen line still active. Mostly, Gendry was offscreen on a rowboat for a few seasons, until Davos recruited him last season to go north of the wall on Jon Snow’s idiot wight-capturing mission. Most recently, as in last night, Gendry’s sweaty, muscled frame was busy taking Arya’s virginity.
As of yet, Gilly and Gendry haven’t crossed paths on the show, and in storyline terms, there’s no good reason that they ever would. Except for the fact that Murray and Dempsie are both alums of the long-running UK teen-sex series Skins, and people would freaking flip out to see them together again. Skins was a show about a group of high-school-aged friends in England whose sex-having and drug-taking and general rudeness was contrasted with big, emotional, relatable teen storylines. Murray played Cassie, the weird girl of the group, who initially hooked up with Sid but who later was roommates with Chris (Dempsie). Chris was a problem child and occasional fuck-up who carried on an affair with the teacher and did too many drugs. Anybody who watched the show pretty much loved them. (It was Tony we hated. At first.)
What’s even more special about a Gilly/Gendry meet up is that both were part of the Seasons 1-2 cast. Skins was notable for fully refreshing its cast every few years, which was a pretty genius movie to avoid the awkward transition-to-college years that successful teen shows must endure. Then there’s the storyline factor. In Series 2, Chris and Cassie moved in together, though he was dating Jal. He also got struck by some awful health problems. Tragically, Chris died of a brain bleed in the show’s second season, with none other than Cassie helpless by his side.
Skins, a popular series in Britain and a rather cult fave in the States (you can stream it on both Netflix and Amazon), is notable especially for launching a bunch of present-day stars, including Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel, and Jack O’Connell. Murray and Dempsie count among the show’s milder successes. But if Thrones decided to throw Skins fans a bone and had Gendry step in front of a wight next week and slay it in defense of the pretty young Wilding mother he doesn’t know, and then for Gilly to say “Oh, wow” in response? A-plus marks across the board!
THERE’S STILL TIME!
Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.