Game of Thrones star Miltos Yerolemou, who played Arya Stark’s trainer Syrio Forel, recalls how the series became a sensation after the Red Wedding.
Game of Thrones actor Miltos Yerolemou, who played Syrio Forel, recalls how the Red Wedding scene changed everything. Before the infamous event, the show maintained steady numbers, but afterward and throughout five more seasons, it became one of the most popular television series in history, garnering record viewership for HBO and dominating industry awards. Suffice it to say, fans became obsessed with Game of Thrones, and that still-iconic moment is a key reason.
When HBO’s hit adaptation of The Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin first aired, it revolved around the family of Ned Stark (played by Sean Bean), who are eventually dispersed across Westeros. After Ned’s death, his oldest son Robb (Richard Madden) begins a rebellion against the Lannister family, who occupy the Iron Throne through Joffrey Baratheon. Despite the daring nature of Game of Thrones in these earlier seasons, it wasn’t until the incredibly shocking Red Wedding that fans truly learned how unforgiving the series could be. In one of the biggest bloodbaths on TV, Robb Stark, his mother Catelyn, wife Talisa, and many Northern soldiers were betrayed and brutally murdered.
In an interview with Game of Laughs, Yerolemou speaks about how he realized that the Red Wedding dramatically altered public perception of the show. Even though his character did not survive long enough to see the Red Wedding in person, having departed the show in season 1, after season 3 episode 9, titled “The Rains of Castamere,” aired, the actor noticed an explosion of coverage. Suddenly, he says, Game of Thrones became more than the fantasy TV series it had started as. Check out the full quote below:
And it was only by the time we got to season 3 that everything started kicking off. Once people watched the Red Wedding, they were like, oh my god. We have no idea what is going on in this show. From that moment on, that’s when I had felt it changed, it really changed then. Everyone started writing about it. It became bigger than just a TV show. People were quoting it on the internet, politics, politicians were quoting it. It was a slow burner but yeah, by the point of season 3, the whole world was on board.
Yeromelou is perhaps underselling the impact of this one episode, which featured one of the biggest twists ever seen in a television show. It took the world by storm, leading to countless reinterpretations, including a cutesy Animal Crossing riff on the Red Wedding, and throwing social media platforms into chaos. The show’s legacy grew after the bloodshed subsided, with each new season of Game of Thrones eclipsing the previous one in terms of viewership, awards, and online buzz. It may have been a “slow burner,” as Yeromelou says, but once the credits rolled on the infamous episode, fans knew for certain that plot armor was not a factor in this series.
It is interesting to hear the man behind Syrio Forel recollect this change in course, as the character and his infamous quote, “Not today,” also became viral sensations during season 1 of the show. Despite his decidedly memorable efforts, however, the HBO series may not have reached the pinnacle of cable television were it not for the Red Wedding. Following a tumultuous Game of Thrones final season, public interest in various spinoff projects such as House of the Dragon is no sure thing, though that could play to the show’s advantage. Perhaps the world will once again be tuning in after a Red Wedding-type event of its own somewhere down the line.
Source: Game of Laughs
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