Beyond The Wall

'Game of Thrones' Just Had Its Most Surprising Sex Scene Ever

arya gendry
HBO
This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 through the first two episodes. Visit Beyond the Wall, our official Game of Thrones hub page for recaps, theories, spoilers, explainers, and the best episodes of all time.

It wasn't just about a weapon. While Gendry may have made Arya a staff that will prove instrumental in taking down the Night King, their flirtation in the season premiere of Game of Thrones turned into a full blown romance in episode two. "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" is basically a 'shipper's dream, teasing a full on war between Jaime Lannister and Tormund Giantsbane for Brienne of Tarth's heart. But it's Arya and Gendry who actually do something about all that tension.

In an early scene, Arya interrogates Gendry about what facing off against White Walkers is like, and then fully shames him when he encourages her to stay away from the fighting. "I know death. He's got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one," she says while expertly throwing three dragonglass daggers at a post and asking for the special creation she requested.

As the enemy approaches, everyone at Winterfell holes up, girding themselves for the long battle ahead. Gendry finally brings Arya her weapon. She's impressed. He reminds her that the last time they saw one another -- before he was taken away from the Brotherhood Without Banners to be bled by Melisandre -- she wanted him to come to Winterfell and he's here now. At that point in time, she pleaded with him, "I can be your family." To which he replied, "You wouldn't be my family. You'd be milady." He assumed that was because he would have to serve the Starks. Now, as he explains, he knows he's the bastard son of Robert Baratheon.

It's after this reveal that Ayra shoots her shot. She starts interrogating him about how many women he's slept with, only to reveal that she wants to experience sex before potentially dying. One thing leads to another and... well, the forge heats up pretty quickly with some eve-of-the-apocalypse lust.

gendry arya forge
HBO

Reaction to the scene online has been mixed, given that the show has charted their relationship since they were kids. (For those concerned: As the HBO UK Twitter account noted, Arya is now supposed to be 18; Maisie Williams is 22. It's not exactly clear how old Gendry is in context, but he's likely at least 18.) They first met end of Season 1 when Arya tried to escape King's Landing as a Night's Watch recruit. She didn't really need any help when Hot Pie taunted her for having a sword, but Gendry had her back. He was quick to suss out that Arya was not, in fact, a boy, despite her attempts at disguise. Almost as soon has he told her he had that figured out, she let slip to him that she's more than just a random girl, but actually Arya Stark. He was ashamed for his frankness. "I should be calling you milady," he said. That term has some currency here.

Williams explained in "Game Revealed" featurette last week that her character has always been in love with Gendry, but she expanded on what Arya's decision actually means in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "This is something she’s stayed away from, an emotion we’ve never really seen her engage with," she said. "David and Dan were like, ‘It’s the end of the world, what else would you have her do?’ This may be is a moment where Arya accepts death tomorrow, which she never does — ‘Not Today.’ So it was that moment where she says, ‘We’re probably going to die tomorrow, I want to know what this feels like before that happens.’ It’s interesting to see Arya be a bit more human, speak more normally about things people are scared of." 

By the time Season 3 rolled around, these two (and Hot Pie!) had been traveling companions for some time, but were ripped apart when the Brotherhood Without Banners sold Gendry to Melisandre all in the name of the Lord of Light. Arya -- seeing through Melisandre's bullshit immediately -- was rightfully outraged, ditched the Brotherhood and was picked up by the Hound. (It's worth noting that Melisandre says she will "see" Arya again, once again eliciting the question: Where is she?)

Since their Princess Bride-inspired "as you wish" exchange in "Winterfell," theories about what their potential coupling could mean for the series have been popping up. Among them is the idea that Gendry is not just Robert Baratheon's bastard, but actually the son of Robert and erstwhile wife Cersei Lannister; meaning, like Jon Snow, he too could have a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. How could this be? As a Reddit user points out: In Season 1, Cersei talked about a "lost" baby. Perhaps she didn't mean "dead." Gendry and Arya getting together also points to another moment from very early on, when Robert told Ned: "I have a son, you have a daughter. We'll join our houses." Again, maybe this didn't mean what we thought it meant, i.e. my son Joffrey will marry your daughter Sansa.

Of course, all these implications will mean absolutely nothing if either Arya, Gendry, or both die at the hands of the Night King. Game of Thrones wouldn't ruin true happiness for two of its most beloved characters, right? Oh, yeah it would. Who are we kidding? 

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, get Streamail for more entertainment, and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.