If there's a dark horse contender for the Iron Throne, it's Gendry Baratheon. Surely the bastard son of Robert won't end up ruling the Seven Kingdoms, right? Well, what if Gendry's mother is actually Cersei Lannister? That game-changing fan theory has been around since way back in Season 1, but it never felt entirely plausible. At least not until Joe Dempsie hinted at Gendry's parentage being important in Game of Thrones Season 8 during a new interview with Men's Health.
Before fans of the beleaguered blacksmith get too excited, it's important to remember that Game of Thrones actors are excellent at throwing viewers off the scent with false clues. Never forget how passionately Kit Harington insisted that Jon Snow was totally dead forever at the end of Season 5. These actors know that they have to preserve secrets at all cost. Still, seeing Dempsie discuss the Season 1 line about Gendry's yellow-haired mother has to feel a bit like vindication for fans who have long wondered if he's the only legitimate child of Robert and Cersei.
Dempsie confirmed that the Game of Thrones actors don't spend as much time thinking about theories as the show's devotees do. Instead, he was more focused on finding out his character's backstory. "I just wanted answers about my character," he told Men's Health. "I was the most curious as to what we might find out about Gendry's parentage. Obviously, we know that he was the bastard of Robert Baratheon, but who might his mother have been?"
There have been theories about that question since Gendry was first introduced. In the pilot episode, Cersei tells Catelyn Stark about her stillborn son with raven hair. Then Gendry later tells Ned Stark that his only memories of his mother are that she had blonde hair and she would sing to him. Those factoids could be totally unconnected, but if they aren't it would mean big things for the blacksmith from Flea Bottom.
Dempsie continued, "There's a line in season one, and it's the first scene you ever see of Gendry, where he's looking to Ned and he's asked about his mother, and he says he doesn't remember much about her at all, other than the fact that she had yellow hair and she would sing to him. It's one of those things where you go, 'Do they usually write lines that don't mean anything, or lines that seem to have significance that [are] never addressed again?' I was kind of intrigued to see what that might mean, and what impact that might have on Gendry's clout politically."
What Dempsie doesn't reveal is if he got an answer to his question. Previously, the actor suggested that Gendry will have a more significant role in Season 8 than fans might expect. Despite his assertion, Gendry was one of the only characters that didn't have a Season 8 poster featuring him seated on the throne. It didn't take long for fans to latch on to his absence as a clue that the last living Baratheon would defeat the odds and end up ruling Westeros.
Stranger things have happened on Game of Thrones. But even if he doesn't end up on the Iron Throne, seeing Gendry discover that he's trueborn in the final season would be a rewarding character moment for him and Cersei. The reigning queen has a whole lot of faults, but she's always loved her children. If it's revealed that she sent Gendry away, and possibly even tried to save him from Joffrey's decree that all of Robert's illegitimate children be killed, that could be a powerful, perhaps even somewhat redemptive, moment for her.
And it could inspire Gendry to explore his own political standing within Westeros. It's hard to say whether the show has time to delve so deeply into the character's backstory in Season 8, but Dempsie's latest interview suggests this is one fan theory that might not be so far-fetched after all.