Gemma Whelan, who’s starred in “The Wolfman” and “Gulliver’s Travels,” will play the fierce ironborn warrior woman in season two, Entertainment Weekly reports. But she won’t be known as Asha in the series: instead, her character has been renamed Yara.
The news confirms previous rumors that Asha was on the cusp of a name change, with producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently confirming that they were considering the option due to similarities between Asha and Osha, the Starks’ wildling captive introduced towards the end of the first season of “Thrones.”
The reasoning behind the change is frustrating for a few reasons: for one — and I suppose a minor spoiler warning is appropriate here — Asha is a considerably more prominent player in the “Ice and Fire” novels (thus far, at least), with Osha’s “screen-time” paling in comparison to Asha’s. Considering that, are viewers really too dense to make a distinction between the names Asha and Osha, especially when you count the number of people named Jon running around all over Westeros?
If this was going to be such a great creative obstacle — and really, I can’t understand why it is — you’d think that the “Thrones” team would have had the foresight to rename Osha in season one. Maybe I’m just raw because as a big Asha fan (and on that note, I’m totally open to Gemma’s casting, though I’m not terribly familiar with her work), the change feels completely arbitrary and poorly thought out. In the long run, changing Asha to Yara is a minor detail — but it’s an annoying one, too.
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