New 'Game of Thrones' actor sighting hints at the return of a fan favourite character

Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones,” including speculation and cast sightings for season seven.

“Game of Thrones” season seven spoilers continue with a significant actor sighting in the Belfast airport. A fan sent a blurry but legible image to Watchers on the Wall — a reliable source for production and casting news. If the man’s appearance means what we think, viewers are in for a season seven treat. 

Do not read on unless you want to be potentially spoiled for the upcoming storylines in season seven.

Joe Dempsie, who played Robert Baratheon’s bastard son Gendry for three seasons, arrived in Northern Ireland on September 13 according to a Watchers on the Wall report

Gendry last appeared in the season three finale when Ser Davos Seaworth helped him sneak away from Dragonstone — where Melisandre wanted to use him as a blood sacrifice. Davos put Gendry in a boat, and told him to row towards King’s Landing. Ever since, Gendry has become a meme among the fandom.

Even Dempsie joined in the fun, tweeting after each season finale aired to get in on the joke.

In an August interview with DigitalSpy, Dempsie claimed he was “in the dark” when it came to Gendry’s fate, but didn’t rule out the potential of a return. “It’s a bit of a loose end, and they don’t make a habit of leaving them untied,” Dempsie said. “And actually as the series has progressed, the more ‘forgotten’ characters that have returned, the more Gendry sticks out like a sore thumb.”

So what would his reappearance on the show mean? For one, we’re guessing this indicates a generous heaping of fan service in the seasons to come. 

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said they know George R.R. Martin’s planned ending for the series, but are mostly on their own for figuring out how to get there. Martin has yet to publish the final two books in his series, and Benioff and Weiss have now used up most of the existing source material. This means they are crafting their own plotlines, and could wind up simply giving fans what they want (versus open-ended storylines Martin may plan on leaving unresolved). 

Melisandre and Davos never meet Gendry in the books, and therefore don’t set him to go off rowing anywhere. He’s just with the Brotherhood without Banners (Beric Dondarrion’s ragtag crew of mercenaries).

So was his new plot in the show always planned with a dramatic re-entry three seasons later? Or is this a new idea the showrunners latched onto after the fandom wouldn’t let the rowing Gendry go? 

This wouldn’t be the first time the showrunners revealed they were paying close attention to the memes or fan theories being circulated online. Season six made a reference to Cleganebowl — the epic fight between the Mountain and the Hound people are dying to see. The season six finale also delivered a somewhat meta scene, in which Olenna Tyrell told the Sand Snakes to shut up; something fans have been saying about the Dornish characters since their introduction in season five.

Dempsie’s appearance at the Belfast airport isn’t ironclad evidence he’ll be in the show, but with no other reason to be in the area (plus fans’ desperation to see his character’s story resolved) it seems likely Gendry is back. Now we just have to wait and see where his little rowboat actually docked. 

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