"The internet has a lot to answer for" - Game of Thrones' big returnee on conspiracy theories, memes, and how his mum got involved

Game of Thrones season 7 is hurtling along at such a breakneck speed that it’s to forget the show has left certain characters on the wayside, presumably never to be heard from again. Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5 shook things up a bit, though, with a hammer blow of a return – and the actor was just glad that the internet (and his mum) kept his character in their thoughts. 

Spoilers to follow…

Joe Dempsie – rowin’ Gendry himself – spoke to HBO about the Baratheon bastard’s return after setting sail way, way back in season 3. But did he think he’d ever come back? “I was told Gendry was going to disappear for a while, but be revisited at some point. They [showrunners Benioff and Weiss] didn’t put a timeframe on it, but I think they wanted to wait until enough time had passed that people might actually have started to forget about Gendry.”

That time away, somewhat inevitably, led to an onrush of rowing memes and weird conspiracy theories – was he sunning himself in Dorne? – and Dempsie reveals that his mum, of all people, was eager for Gendry’s return, “My mum goes, ‘You should email David Benioff just to see…’ I was like, ‘Mum I don’t think an email is going to make them go, ‘Oh shit, Gendry.’ So. it’s great to know people outside of my mum were interested.”

And as for those Thrones fans with tin-foil hats, Gendry’s been loving the attention you’ve been giving him. No, really: “You can’t possibly underestimate how obsessed fans of the show are. Any stone you leave unturned is going to become more and more conspicuous the longer it goes on. I became the sole focus of conspiracy theories and general questions. It’s been a lot of fun.”

But what about the rowing memes, I hear you cry! Dempsie knows, oh, he knows... “It sort of became part of my everyday existence. I guess I have to accept some level of culpability for it. I tweeted, ‘Still rowin’’ at the end of season 4, and it just became way beyond my control. There’s a lot that the internet has to answer for, but it’s been brilliant… I’ve really enjoyed playing along with it.”

See more

It’s nice to see, after such a long sea sabbatical, Joe Dempsie is happy to hammer home his Gendry return with such great affection and candour. He might not be around for long, though, because, according to Dempsie, “The great thing about Gendry is that he sends himself right into the eye of the storm.” Uh-oh.

If you want more Game of Thrones season 7 goodies then you simply have to read this breakdown of the genius of Thrones’ best battle and throw in some amazing Game of Thrones fan theories too, because why not?

Images: HBO

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.