‘Game of Thrones’: Why fans are livid over the latest death
Spoiler alert! The following contains details from “Game of Thrones” Season 8 Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.”
“Game of Thrones” has once again made a major error in judgment.
In Sunday’s episode, one development particularly rankled fans of the series, and demonstrated the writers’ worst impulses as the hit HBO series nears its finale.
In “The Last of the Starks,” Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) loyal adviser Missandei of Naath (Nathalie Emmanuel) is captured by Cersei’s (Lena Headey) forces. After a failed negotiation attempt, Cersei has the Mountain behead the translator while Missandei’s lover Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Dany watch. Dany, glaring as hard as she can, now seems poised to exact revenge on Cersei in next week’s episode.
Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) awaits her gory fate. (Photo: HBO)
Shocking and brutal death has long been a part of “Thrones,” but Missandei’s death also represents the culmination of its problems with race. The series has never been good at developing its characters of color and their cultures , as it has with white characters. Missandei always felt one-note, even as Emmanuel gave great performances.
At this point the series had just two named characters of color, and just killed off one of them as motivation for Dany, a white savior, reducing Missandei, who’s black, to a prop for Dany’s story. Adding insult: Missandei, a former slave, was literally returned to chains in her last moments of life.
Coupled with other poor narrative choices with the women in the episode – Sansa (Sophie Turner) expressed gratitude for her rape – fans were furious, and quick to criticize.
I’ll never forgive the GOT writers for making Missandei die in chains. #GamesOfThrones#Missandeipic.twitter.com/76naxcMn1C
Missandei's story is what happens when the writers can not imagine a world where Black characters are fully developed so…not surprised
Missandei. They killing all the Black people. I just canna. pic.twitter.com/maSYGFxMGq
WOOOOOWWWW THEY REALLY KILLED THE ONE BLACK GIRL ON THE SHOW. #gameofthrones#missandeipic.twitter.com/Dhcf3kHUqp
missandei was the sweetest, most loyal and purest person in the known world she deserved to see the beaches of naath again pic.twitter.com/ZY7NlpiAqu
Sansa: attributes her character growth to being raped and abused
Brienne: is now a desperate rom-com character
Missandei: the show’s only Black woman character and is *checks notes* murdered while in chains pic.twitter.com/2YrVZSoZNs
Emmanuel praised the way her character exited in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, calling the scene “fantastic.”
“I’ve said in so many interviews that I don’t mind if I die, I’m just happy to be here and be a part of the show,” she told the magazine. “But I just wanted it to be really cool and a moment that people remember, and I feel like they really give me that moment and I’m excited to shoot it. … I’m so happy that she has that kind of exit. It’s emotional. She said she was willing to lay down her life, but we hoped she wouldn’t have to.”
“You can watch the end of a show and think the character is living on to do whatever,” she added. “But there’s a real sadness to the fact that the character won’t. It seems likely to push Daenerys to a scary level.”
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