In the Games of Thrones, Gethin Anthony plays the role of a gay king (Renly Baratheon) in the continent of Westeros – where women, homosexuals and other groups are all put at a disadvantage. And to advocate for same-sex relationships in an environment like this, though purely fictional, certainly ain’t easy
But do you know that Anthony made it a deliberate choice for such relationships in Westeros to flourish on screen?
In a recent interview with Attitude Magazine, Anthony shared that he wanted to ensure that there were positive portrayals of relationships in the continent of Westeros – where marriages seem to happen for the sole purpose of alliances, and where love affairs appear unhealthy.
‘Westeros is a very scary world, with all the politics and violence going on, so it was nice to play an affectionate gay couple within that world,’ said Anthony.
He added: ‘We were very passionate about it being a positive thing. I still hold on to that and I’m still very proud of it.’
This portrayal of same-sex relationships as positive was certainly a change from the original novels, where it was not explicitly stated that King Baratheon and Loras Tyrell are lovers. In fact, there are barely any references to anyone outside their immediate families even realizing they are gay – at one point, Cersei even accuses Margaery and Loras of incest, oblivious that Margaery might not be Loras’s type.
Anthony sees the show’s choice to make this relationship more explicit a chance to to deepen their relationship, and definitely a net positive for on-screen LBGTI relationships.
‘I got some lovely letters. One that sticks out was from a gentleman who was about to propose, or has perhaps just proposed, to his partner. He said some really nice things about seeing a gay relationship on television,’ said Anthony
‘Whenever people connect to things you’re involved with or a story you’re telling, it’s a lovely thing.’