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Game Of Thrones' Lena Headey Suffered From A Meme Gone Too Far

It was 2015, and the world knew one thing for damn sure: There was no such thing as too much "Game of Thrones." The HBO series was racking up prestige awards, breaking streaming records, and, in ways up to that point largely unseen outside of French art film screenings, making it uncomfortable to watch stuff with your family. By golly, it was a television experience — nay, an HBO experience — that would never run out of goodwill.

Stoking the engines of the hype train was a series of "GoT" memes, each more sharable than the last. Who among us didn't know somebody that, like Jon Snow, knew nothing? Which of us had not drunk wine and known things? Most pertinently of all, what internet user, with half a dozen social media profiles dedicated to sharing our every unfiltered thought, had not felt the biting sting of a buck-naked walk through the town square while a nun shouted "Shame?" Metaphorically speaking?

Yes, before the moment that the "Game of Thrones" Season 5 finale had concluded, the world wide web was already weighed down to its breaking point with takes on Cersei Lannister's (Lena Headey) shame walk. It was a cultural moment — unfortunately, one that was not lost on Headey, who found herself holding the short end of the parasocial familiarity stick in a particularly personal circumstance.

Meme culture and Game of Thrones: A crying shame

"She came around and sat next to me, she squeezed my nipple and went, 'shame,'" said Lena Headey. That's putting the cart before the horse, but whatever. It got your attention.

According to the story that she told James Corden back in 2016, Headey was in the hospital following the birth of her second child after the airing of the "Game of Thrones" episode "Mother's Mercy." The "shame" scene had already made waves, and the actress's night nurse was, apparently, a pretty big fan of the series.

Headey was trying to breastfeed her newborn when the nurse offered to help get things going. Upon taking hold of the Emmy-nominated actress's bits and pieces, the hospital employee was seemingly unable to stop herself from verbally connecting the real-life nakedness and vulnerability of a human being with feelings and the premium cable nakedness of a character from a book about really big lizards and sex.

Contrition came hard and fast for the healthcare worker — "She was like, 'I can't believe I said that!'" Headey recalled. Still, you have to wonder how often this sort of conflation of "Game of Thrones" and reality happens, and whether or not Emilia Clarke is going to get set on fire by the guy at the crematorium at Jason Mamoa's funeral.