By James Hibberd
April 05, 2019 at 11:14 AM EDT

Game of Thrones has a rather huge cast, obviously. But if it’s not too much trouble, Joe Dempsie would appreciate it if fans could stop confusing him with one specific costar.

Dempsie plays Robert Baratheon’s bastard son and skilled blacksmith Gendry, who arrives at Winterfell in the season 8 premiere. Whereas Podrick (Daniel Portman) is Brienne’s (Gwendoline Christie) loyal squire. Both characters are young men with short-ish haircuts with capable and honest sensibilities in a brutal land. Which is perhaps where the confusion comes in — despite efforts to make his look a bit more distinct in season 7 with a super-short haircut (that also made him less identifiable as one of King Robert’s offspring).

Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO (2)

“It made sense to me his black hair was kind of his signifier,” Dempsie said. “He was laying low in the intervening years. And it makes more distinguishable to Pod — which is helpful because we get confused all the time.”

You get confused by fans in real life?

All the time. There have been numerous occasions where someone will say, ‘You’re in Game of Thrones aren’t you?’ And I’ll be like, ‘Yeah,’ and they’re like, ‘You’re the clumsy dude!’ And I’ll say, ‘No, but he’s great.'”

As for season 8, Dempsie says Gendry will take “an active and fairly predictable role” in preparing for the great war against the Army of the Dead and fighting in the brutal big battle. “It was certainly the most daunting block of shooting that I’ve ever seen,” he says, referring to the 11 weeks of night shoots to film the massive Winterfell attack. “You become nocturnal. Every night there’s a tipping point around 2 a.m. where everybody starts behaving a little bit weird. The stuff we were shooting was incredible to be a part of. Whenever anybody asked over the years, ‘What would you like for Gendry?’ I’ve always sort of said that all I really want was to be there for the end game. So to be swinging a mace around — that’s my weapon this year — it’s in the middle of the night. You’re out there with 200 actors, freezing cold… it’s no acting required. We’re probably never going to see something like this again.”

And then there’s also Gendry’s reunion with Arya (Maisie Williams), who he last saw in season 3. “He’s reunited with Arya again. So a lot for Gendry is those two catching up and reconnecting and finding out what they’ve been doing. I really enjoyed working with Maisie in seasons 1-3 and I even said back then she’s one of the most talented actors I’ve ever worked with — not just young actors, but actors in general. To watch her get even better, not just Thrones but in various other things, I was looking forward to getting back on set with Maisie.”

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
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