“It felt like a punch in the gut” – Missandei actress Nathalie Emmanuel reflects on her time in Game of Thrones season 8

Consider this a spoiler warning, don’t scroll down if you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones season 8

Throughout the last five seasons of Game of Thrones (opens in new tab), Missandei has been Daenerys Targaryen’s anchor. She’s helped her get through many losses and grown to be the dragon queen’s closest friend. 

Unfortunately for Missandei that friendship wouldn’t last. She was executed by Cersei in front of her queen after being captured by Euron Greyjoy. “Once I read she was captured in the battle, I knew she was going to be a casualty,” Missandei actress Nathalie Emmanuel tells the Making of Thrones blog (opens in new tab). “A part of me felt like her journey had been cut so short. We meet Missandei as an enslaved person in chains, and then she dies in chains. I really felt the weight and tragedy of that and what that meant — not just in the show, but in the world. 

“It felt like a punch in the gut.”

Emmanuel spoke about her time shooting season 8, her relationship with Grey Worm, and how she felt about bringing Missandei’s story to a close. It wasn’t the huge set pieces or striking popularity of the show that drove her, it was about her own struggle in the industry and what playing a character like Missandei meant for representation on TV.

“What’s really hit home for me, more than anything, is how important my being in the show and the representation was to people,” she said. “I was like: “Wow people love her,” which made me miss her even more. I came up in this industry and didn’t think that I could ever be that representation for someone, somewhere; it makes me want to weep.”

“Dracarys”May 6, 2019

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Despite her time on the show coming to an end, Emmanuel took comfort in Missandei’s last moments on screen. ““Dracarys” is a callback to earlier seasons, but Missandei is ferocious in that last moment, which is something we’ve never seen before,” she said. “…her life of enslavement has taught her to be collected, calm and non-threatening — to be correct and perfect. In that last moment, she’s like: “F**k this. I’m going to yell and be angry,” and that’s amazing. Her rage really came through and that’s something I was happy to see.”

Can’t wait for this weekend to see David Benioff and D.B. Weiss ruin another chapter of A Song of Ice and Fire? Check out these promotional images for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5. (opens in new tab)

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