She blazed through Westeros. Then her brutal death – in chains – caused outrage. The star talks about the highs and lows of GoT – and feeling liberated by the Four Weddings remake
Nathalie Emmanuel arrives mildly flustered. There’s been a last minute change of plans and, as we walk, she talks about a disappointing meal she had the night before at one of her favourite vegan restaurants. As she sits down in a London cafe with a matcha almond latte, I wonder if this could this be the start of a showbiz rant. But it soon becomes obvious that that isn’t Emmanuel’s style. Despite spending much of the past decade in what many consider the greatest TV series ever, Game of Thrones, she’s warm and unpretentious, quickly telling me she picked up her fancy, spangled jumper at a discount sale.
Emmanuel first blazed into the show’s blood-soaked, power-crazed, meteorologically challenged universe in season three, playing Missandei, who is freed from slavery by Daenerys, the Dragon Queen. She becomes Daenerys’s unwaveringly loyal and ridiculously capable handmaiden: she speaks 19 languages, which is impressive, even if they are all made up. The two characters swiftly become close, so close that Emmanuel once felt obliged to deny that the pair were going to end up in bed. Unlike pretty much every other character in GoT, Missandei made it to season eight, the final one, sparking up a romance with eunuch warrior Grey Worm along the way – before her eventual beheading in chains, which caused a storm, given she was the show’s only long-running woman of colour.