‘Game of Thrones’ Star Sibel Kekilli Talks Shae, Being German and Turkish

German actress Sibel Kekilli is best-known to American audiences for her role as Shae, the prostitute-turned-mistress of Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” An outspoken feminist of Turkish descent, Kekiilli spoke to Variety at Italy’s Lucca Comics about the culture clash she’s been contending with since the start of her career, and why she likes to play women who, like Shae, are survivors.

You are publicizing “Game of Thrones” at this Tuscan meet dedicated to fandom and cosplay, which clearly indicates how much fans love Shae, who died in Season 4. What do you think makes this conflicted woman, who betrays her lover and is killed by him, such a powerful character?

She’s a complex character and a strong one. After my first audition, the writers changed Shae from how she is in the book, where she was more of a gold digger. But of course, because of where she comes from, she is a fighter. She’s always trying to survive, be it using her body or her brain. She’s not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. I like these types of characters that come from a broken past. She’s a survivor!

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