Last night's penultimate episode of Game of Thrones may have left fans feeling a range of emotions from shocked to angry and everything in between, but fans are also still processing last week's episode "The Last of the Starks" as well, specifically the difficult death of Missandei at the episode's end. While fans of the wildly popular HBO are still trying to make sense of that gruesome character death, they aren't alone. Missandei Nathalie Emmanuel is also still working through her character's brutal demise and is speaking out about it.
Emmanuel recently told Entertainment Weekly that while she wasn't surprised about Missandei's death, she's very aware of its significance as the only regularly-appearing woman of color on Game of Thrones.
"To be honest with you, when I read the script for it, I was like, not surprised that she died because I had been expecting it for a really long time," Emmanuel said. "So many people die in that show and I guess I didn't think I was any safer than anybody else in that respect. But I am fully aware and engaged in the conversation of representation because I am the only woman of color in this show that has been on there regularly for many seasons."
Missandei made her first appearance on Game of Thrones in Season 3 in which Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) frees her from slavery. Since then, the multi-lingual character was one of Dany's closest advisors and friends. It's that status that made Missandei's death incredibly powerful for Dany (and if you saw Sunday's episode you know how that worked out) but the death has been more troubling for fans for other reasons. Not only was Missandei beheaded at Cersei's order while she was chained, but she was killed in front of Game of Thrones' lone other significant character of color -- Missandei's love, Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), leader of the Unsullied. For Emmanuel, it's the representation issue that sticks out to her and she understands what that means to fans.
"It's safe to say that Game of Thrones has been under criticism for their lack of representation and the truth of it is that Missandei and Grey Worm have represented so many people because there's only two of them," Emmanuel said.
"So, this is a conversation going forward about when you're casting shows like this, that you are inclusive in your casting. I knew that it meant that she was there, I know what it means that I am existing in the spaces that I am because when I was growing up, I didn't see people like me. But it wasn't until she was gone that really felt what it really, truly meant, until I saw the outcry and outpouring of love and outrage and upset about it, I really understood what it meant."0comments
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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