Ever since its first season, Game of Thrones prided itself on subverting audience expectations in the most shocking ways possible. From killing lead characters in the first few episodes to showing a child getting pushed out a window, a man getting boiling gold dropped on his head, to the infamous "red wedding", audiences never knew what horrifying fate the characters of the show were going to suffer. But it turns out even Game of Thrones had its limits. In an interview with Collider, Hannah Waddingham, who played Septa Unella on the show, revealed that her character was going to be violated by The Mountain aka Gregor Clegane, until the showrunners decided that would be going too far, and decided to have Unella be waterboarded instead.
"She was meant to be raped by The Mountain, and I think they'd had so many complaints about the rape of Sansa that they chose not to go with it... I think they possibly changed it when I was mid-air flying to Belfast because suddenly I got sent these new sides that said that I would need a wetsuit top. And I thought they'd sent me the wrong bits. And sure enough, when I got there, I was then put in a wetsuit top and I was like, 'Because?' And they went, 'Oh, it's waterboarding instead.'"
Fans will best remember Unella from her most infamous scene on the show, in which she leads a naked and abused Cersei Lannister down the streets of Kings Landing shouting "Shame! Shame!" As revenge, once Cersei returned to power, she had Unella imprisoned. For a time, fans were fearful that the looming presence of the undead Gregor Clegane in Unella's cell meant he was going to molest her. Instead, Waddingham explains how the makers pulled off the waterboarding scene for Unella.
"There I was strapped to a wooden table with proper big straps for ten hours. And definitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life. Because Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself. But in those moments you have to think, do you serve the piece and get on with it or do you chicken out and go, 'No, this isn't what I signed up for, blah, blah, blah?' And then, the funny thing was, after we'd finished shooting it for the whole day, and people like Miguel Sapochnik, the director by the way, walking past with a cup of tea and a sandwich on-the-go and going, 'Hi hunny, you alright?' And I was like, 'Not really.' 'The crew have just been saying we are actually really waterboarding you here.' And I was like, 'Yup, you don't need to tell me that!'"
Though perhaps not as horrifying as getting violated by Gregor Clegane, Unella's fate was still pretty heartbreaking, and clearly, Waddingham had a difficult time executing the scene of the waterboarding. The actress can currently be seen playing the very different character of Rebecca in the comedy series Ted Lasso. This news originated at Collider.