The actor, 31, spoke out about the uncomfortable reality of filming a sex scene with Maisie Williams, 22, having known her since she was a pre-teen. “It was strange for me having known [Williams] since she was 11 or 12 years old and being asked to play out a scene like that,” he admitted. “That discomfort I had initially seemed to have been shared by quite a lot of people who have watched that episode, too,” the Game of Thrones star told Esquire.

That discomfort I had initially seemed to have been shared by quite a lot of people

Joe Dempsie

“But I found the subsequent conversation actually really quite interesting,” he added.

“What that scene ended up doing was forcing people to confront their own hypocrisy in a way.

“I think the root cause of that unease and discomfort in a lot of viewers is because they feel like they’ve seen her grow up on screen.

“That’s something that happens to us all—we all start off young and then the majority of us start having sex and we’re all perfectly capable to finding that journey out for ourselves,” Joe continued. “But we still find it difficult to watch someone else take that journey, say, on a TV screen.”

The Game of Thrones favourite also addressed the way fans have reacted to his character’s relationship with Arya Stark over the years.

“The most common thing Thrones fans have wanted to talk to me about over the years was this suggested relationship with Ayra,” he explained.

“I always found that conversation quite uncomfortable at the time, particularly in the early years.

“I was a 25-year-old man being asked whether I would like my character to get together with an at-the-time 14-year-old actress.

“It was always something I thought wasn’t fair to ask me personally… I felt there need to be an understanding that even though what we’re making is fantasy, actual execution of that had to take place in reality,” he added. “It was never really something I gave much thought to.”

Game of Thrones season eight episode two, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, saw Arya’s relationship with Gendry taken to the next level when the pair had sex.

With many fans expressing their mixed feelings about the scene, Maisie later addressed the controversy which surrounded the moment in a characteristically humorous way.

“If u feel uncomfortable just know that my mother and my step dad and my 2 sisters and my 4 brothers have all probably watched this too ahahakillmeehehe,”(sic) she tweeted her 2.6 million followers.

She previously revealed she initially thought the sex scene was a joke when she read it in the script, saying the show runners had pranked the stars with false scripts in the past.

“I was like, ‘Yo, good one,’” she told Entertainment Weekly. “And they were like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh f***!”

Speaking about filming the sex scene, she continued: “In the beginning, everyone was really respectful.

“No one wants to make you feel uncomfortable, which kind of makes you feel more uncomfortable, because no one wants to look at anything they shouldn’t look at, which in turn makes you feel like you look awful because everyone is kind of like… You want people to act more normal,” she added.

Game of Thrones season 8 airs on HBO in the US on Sundays 9pm ET and on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK on Mondays at 2am & 9pm BST

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