As a viewer watching “Game of Thrones” for the first two episodes of Season 4, it’s hard not to get annoyed by Shae’s resistance when Tyrion tells her they need to cool off their relationship. After all, he’s in — at least at the time — the most precarious situation he’s ever been in, and his father, Tywin, leveled some pretty serious threats at him if he ever found a prostitute in his presence again.
That’s why it’s all the more frustrating that Shae won’t just do what’s right for Tyrion. Instead, she keeps coming to him and trying to seduce him while he has larger issues to deal with — like a (now deceased) obnoxious nephew who is king and a wife who seems to be trying to starve herself to death. Then there’s Oberyn Martell, who waltzes into King’s Landing with an eye for revenge against the Lannisters. Doesn’t Shae have any sort of perspective?
According to the German actress who plays Shae, Sibel Kekilli, her character is blinded by love and jealousy. Kekilli truly believes Shae loves Tyrion and vice versa, which makes the way that he had to force her to leave in “The Lion and the Rose” all the more heartbreaking.
“She loves Sansa and she loves Tyrion. She thought, OK, it’s a new life for me that’s going to start, but then he had to marry,” Kekilli tells Zap2it as to why Shae keeps coming back to Tyrion even when he tries to get her to stop. “He was not really courageous, so he had to marry Sansa. At the same time, [she’s being pulled apart]. Should I trust him? Should I trust her? I know that they’re not doing anything, but still.”
Shae also seems to be jealous of the non-relationship between Sansa and Tyrion. He twists that knife when he sends her away by saying at least Sansa is fit to bear him children, which plays upon one of Shae’s fears. “He’s a man and [Sansa’s] a woman, she’s growing up, so maybe they fall in love with each other — that’s the point where she gets vulnerable, and she’s really insecure,” Kekilli says.
Even Kekilli had some concerns about the way Shae was acting around Tyrion. She admits she went to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and said, “I mean, come on. Shae is not stupid. She has to feel it, she has to know it,” but they needed to make a convincing break between the characters.
“They had to write something which is really, really hard to explain to the audience, this trust break between them,” Kekilli says. “I think [sighs] she’s not stupid. As she says to him, ‘Hey, look, you are afraid of your father, of your brother, and everyone. Come on, you don’t have to lie to me.’ At a certain point, when he says ‘You’re a whore,’ I think it’s the first time Tyrion says that to her and treats her like that — ‘You can’t bear a child’ and ‘You are too old’ and that kind of thing — so I think then it’s over the level for her. She just gets over the border.”
And though Bronn says he sent Shae away to Pentos, Kekilli reveals that might not be the last people hear of her character. “If you’re hurt, if someone hurts you, sometimes you really get crazy and you can’t think in the normal calm down way, so I think it’s at that point,” she says. “He just put the knife in her heart, so now she can’t think anymore. She’s not acting clever.”
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.