Game of Thrones has the biggest cast in television history (the opening credits have featured some two dozen names across the past six years). Fortunately for everyone involved, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have done a rather remarkable job of juggling each character across each season.
But that doesn’t mean that they don't occasionally need to trim storylines down – and while this usually means having a general underrepresentation of characters within a given season, it sometimes means having certain individuals just drop off the face of the narrative Earth. Case in point: Gendry (Joe Dempsie), the late King Robert Baratheon’s (Mark Addy) bastard who eventually found his way to the brotherhood without banners before being scooped up by Lady Melisandre (Carice van Houten) in the third season. The last audiences saw of him was that year’s finale, getting in a row boat and attempting to make his way across the narrow sea back to King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
Dan Weiss: “He’s still rowing.”
David Benioff: “Yes, he's still rowing. It's a long, a very long–"
Dan Weiss: "He's coming up on Florida."
David Benioff: "He's getting in great shape. Think of the shape he's in after rowing for four seasons."
Dan Weiss: "Big lats."
When facing the world of both A Song of Ice and Fire (the book series the HBO show is based off of) and Game of Thrones fandom, which can oftentimes be quite hostile to how Weiss and Benioff handle the convoluted adaptation process from page to screen, it’s good to see that the pair of executive producers can still maintain a sense of humor, even six grueling years into production.
Despite the obviously comical nature of their response, however, there may actually be more than meets the eye here; while the constant fixation on Gendry amongst fans and journalists alike may seem a tad obsessive – of all the various payoffs and revelations that the series manages to deliver every season, the current whereabouts of the blacksmith apprentice is rather inconsequential – author George R.R. Martin has been saying for years that the various royal bastards (who are, of course, more populous in the novels) may end up coming back to tie into the narrative’s grand resolution.
Then again, given the fact that Game of Thrones prunes back many of the source material’s storylines, the likelihood of seeing Gendry on-screen again is slim to none… and viewers may just be fine with that once the eighth and final season comes to a dramatic close in 2018.
Were Benioff and Weiss too glib for you on this question? Don’t worry – they also addressed a more serious inquiry more substantively: when will season seven premiere?
Game of Thrones will return in 2017 on HBO.