(Spoiler Alert: This story contains major plot details and reaction from Sibel Kekilli (Shae) to the “Game of Thrones” Season 4 finale, titled “The Children.”)
Shae’s betrayal of Tyrion at his trial in “Game of Thrones” Season 4 delivered a huge blow to the spirit of Peter Dinklage’s character. But, in the Season 4 finale, seeing the woman he loved in his father’s bed, and hearing her call Tywin Lannister “my lion” (tender words previously reserved only for him), and her puling a knife on him, took Tyrion to the point of no return.
“I tried not to shoot that scene. … I told [Executive Producers] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] — I said, ‘I’m sick that day. I don’t want to come to set, I’m not doing this.’ I’m an actress, and of course I understand that scene, but it’s really hard because you know this is your last scene, you’re dying and you have been here for four years,” German actress Sibel, who has been part of the show since the first season, told AccessHollywood.com about filming her exit.
“But the most difficult thing was Shae loved Tyrion and now [they’re] fighting for their lives and he’s strangling [her]. … It was like, you know, passionate strangling. It was like killing someone because you loved someone and now you are hurt by her, as she was by him. And it’s really hard, you know? It’s like, their love was always dangerous and passionate, and love and hate, and both are really strong characters and everyone, I think, knew that it ends like that. It [would] end like that.”
In a new Q&A with Access, Sibel addressed whether another set of circumstances could have paved the way for a different (and less final) parting between Tyrion and Shae, as well as her feelings on why Shae betrayed Tyrion during the trial. Sibel also took us back to 2010, and her first audition for Shae – a role she actually tried to turn down. And with so many characters proving the truth of “Valar Morghulis” (all men must die) in Season 4, Sibel revealed which exit shocked her the most.
AccessHollywood.com: Do you think he would have killed her had he not found her in his dad’s bed? If Tyrion had just run into her after his escape, and he’d just found her serving another lady, do you think he would have still killed her?
Sibel: I guess, yeah. I think he wouldn’t [have killed] her if he [found] her serving another lady, as you said. Maybe, just, ‘Okay, goodbye.’ It [ends] like that. … Or somehow, they would never be a couple again. … But, to lie in the bed of the father… wearing this necklace, which he tried to give her when he said, ‘I’m gonna marry Sansa,’ and then [she’s] saying, ‘My lion’-- it was just for him, this [saying of] ‘my lion.’ And now she’s saying that to Tywin. That was it. It was like, ‘Okay, I’m now really, really angry and hurt and that’s enough.’
Access: Do you remember the day you got this job and what that was like for you?
Sibel: Yes, I remember very well. … It was in June 2010. … They gave me one or two scenes. … They sent it to me and they said, ‘Can you please tape yourself?’ And I said, ‘Oh, okay, but, where are you? Where is the audition?’ They said, ‘In London.’ I said, ‘Okay, can I come to London?’ because my English was worse than [it is] today. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m really bad in E-castings,’ or I was at that time, so I went there and there were six, seven people in one room — all the producers — and I was like, ‘Oh God, what [am] I doing here?’ And I thought I just messed up… I had a feeling it was bad, but David Benioff and Dan B. Weiss, they called my management a few days later and they said, ‘You have the role,’ and after that they gave me the explanation about this part.
Access: How did you feel when you got this job?
Sibel: Honestly, my first reaction was, ‘No.’ I really said ‘No.’ (laughs) I would hate myself if I [had not been] a part [of] that show. … It was, of course, a shock moment that I got this part for HBO, because I knew at that time what HBO [meant] and I said, ‘No,’ because I [didn’t] like Shae in the books, what I read at Wikipedia or [on the] Internet. …. And Dan and David were so great. … They were like, ‘Please, Sibel. We promise you that [we’re] gonna change Shae and she will get more depth.’ So, I’m so grateful that they were so fantastic to me and not like, ‘Oh, this small girl, little girl from Germany. She doesn’t understand anything.’ They were not at all like that. They were like, ‘Okay, we have to be patient with Sibel, we have to explain [it to] her,’ and… I’m so, so grateful.
Access: Thinking back on your time on the show, which scene was hardest to do throughout the four seasons?
Sibel: Second season… where he’s on the bed, after the war, and he’s crying and when I say, ‘Let’s go from here. Let’s leave, and let’s go to Pentos,’ that was a really emotional scene. That was one of the first scenes which I thought [was] really emotional and somehow hard and then, the trial scene.
Access: Why do you think Shae [ended] up betraying Tyrion [at the trial]? Is it because she couldn’t see that he was trying to help her or--
Sibel: I think it’s two things. It was a bit, of course, blackmailing from the Lannisters, and forcing her, because if Cersei wants something, she gets something. And, the most important thing was revenge, because… she was, [for] four seasons, she was so loyal to Tyrion. … Of course, she’s a prostitute and maybe she was thinking that he would never marry her, but you know, after that, he married another girl. He was a bit weak against the power of the Lannister family. … And, Tyrion, he did it because he [wanted] to protect Shae, but he just stepped over the line. It was like spitting in her face when he said, ‘You are a whore,’ and he never said that before. … To [say that] to a girl who was loyal to you, who even said, ‘I’m still here, even you are not Hand of the King, even [though] you don’t have power any more, even [though you married another] girl, I’m still here for you, with you,’ and at the end, to hear, ‘You are a whore. You can’t even bear my children,’ it’s like spitting in the face.
Access: We lost a lot of characters this season. We lost Tywin (Charles Dance), Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), Grenn (Mark Stanley), Ygritte (Rose Leslie), Lysa Arryn (Katie Dickie) and Locke (Noah Taylor). Which one hurt you the most as someone who watches the show?
Sibel: Pedro — Oberyn.
Sibel: I don’t know why. He’s [a] really, really nice guy and he did [a] really good job and when I watched him acting through the season, I was like, ‘Wow! I like him somehow’ – his character. And to see his death scene, this memorable death scene… It was really one of the best death scenes I have ever seen. I have to say that. But I was like, ‘No! Please! You can’t die now. Shut up and kill this Mountain. You have to rescue Tyrion.’ It was really bad.
“Game of Thrones” returns for its fifth season next year on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash
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