Sibel Kekilli (born 16 June 1980) is a German actress of Turkish descent. In Game of Thrones Kekilli plays the role of Shae. She was announced in the role on 28 July 2010. She initially appeared as a guest star in the first season and joined the starring cast for the second season. She also provides her character's voice in the German dubbed version of Game of Thrones.
"Sibel" is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable ("si-BELL") not like "Sybil" (SIB-ill).
On Game of Thrones
Kekilli first caught Benioff and Weiss's eyes when they saw her work in Head On.
The character of Shae was changed in the TV series after casting Kekilli. In the novels Shae is just a camp follower/prostitute from Westeros, but given that Kekilli is ethnically Turkish and has a German accent, in Season 1 it was said that she was "from the Free Cities". It was then stated in Season 2 that Shae is specifically from Lorath. Incidentally, Tom Wlaschiha uses his own German accent when pretending to be the Lorathi man "Jaqen H'ghar", so apparently that is just what a Lorathi accent sounds like in the TV continuity.
As George R.R. Martin himself explained at Worldcon 2012, while TV-Shae is different from the book version, he came to like Kekilli's take on the character:
- "Some of the other characters, Sibel Kekelli's version of Shae, TV Shae, is very different from book Shae. I've come to, initially I didn't like it very much, but then I came to particularly in the episodes late in the second season, really like TV Shae, but there's no question of that having any influence on future portrayals (I won't say more than that), so that's just a question of which version you like better. But certainly, they're two different characters."
After graduation at age 16, she completed an apprenticeship as a public administration employee at the local city government. After she worked as an employee in the administration of her hometown Heilbronn in the Municipal Waste Disposal Office, but also as a waitress and shop assistant. She was discovered by a casting agent for Gegen die Wand (2004) at a Cologne shopping mall.
The publicity of the Golden Bear award for her debut "Gegen die Wand" shed some light on her past, when the Yellow Press discovered that she had acted in several porn movies under a stage name. In her acceptance speech at the 2004 Bambi Awards, she protested against the media coverage of her past as a porn actress. She reproached the tabloids "Bild" and "Kölner Express" for "media rape". She tearfully explained that as a result of the tabloids revealing her past porn appearances, her parents had broken off all contact with her, and she condemns the tabloids for running a "dirty smear campaign" and not respecting her privacy.
She has won two Lolas, the top German acting award. She works with an organization which advocates for women's rights in Islam. It is called "Terres des Femmes". George R.R. Martin shared a transcript via his blog about how Kekilli was invited to speak before Joachim Gauck, president of Germany, as an ambassador for Terres des Femmes, about the treatment of women in Islamic culture.
She currently resides in Hamburg, Germany.
|Season one credits|
|Winter is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season two credits|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season four credits|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|