Nathalie Emmanuel is perhaps best-known for playing Missandei in HBO's Game of Thrones, a role she played for six seasons and as many years.
But while Emmanuel has certainly earned the chance to sit on her laurels for a little while, the actor has been busier than ever since Thrones ended. She was in the miniseries Four Weddings and a Funeral, which premiered on Hulu in July 2019. She was also the voice of Deet in the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, which hit the streaming network in August 2019. And Emmanuel is also reprising her role as computer hacker Ramsey in the upcoming ninth instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise.
But while Game of Thrones might have put Emmanuel on the map, her career began long before the show premiered. Emmanuel's first performance ever was playing Young Nala in the West End production of The Lion King in 1999, when she was just 10 years old. Seven years later, she was cast as a teenage drug addict and prostitute in the British soap opera Hollyoaks. After this, Emmanuel wound up working at a clothing store, when she heard about a casting call for a "nonwhite female" in Game of Thrones. She was already a fan of the HBO show at that point, and told her agent that the part was meant for her.
Of course, Emmanuel did land the high-profile part, and joined the HBO series for Season 3, playing Missandei, a slave who becomes a free woman and trusted advisor to Daenerys Targaryen. And for a show that killed off almost every major character, Missandei somehow defied the odds and made it to the eighth and final season. When her character was finally killed, at the hands of Cersei Lannister, it sparked so much outrage that Emmanuel ended up responding to the many angry fans around the world.
As one of the few people of color on the HBO series, Missandei's death was a loaded one, especially considering the fact that she was held in chains and unable to defend herself. According to Vulture, Missandei died as a "pawn rather than a person."
Emmanuel herself ended up addressing the controversy, explaining that she went into every new season expecting her character to be killed. She told the New York Times:
"The fact that [Missandei] got to where she did as the very kind, loyal, sweet soul that she was was kind of a miracle, because those people don't tend to survive in Game of was very proud of how strong and ferocious she was."
The actress believes that Missandei's death actually brought some good, too. She later told Glamour:
"It sparked such necessary conversation around diversity and you've got a show that has so many eyes on it, you realise she represented so many people. When you kill the only woman of colour, there's going to be a huge reaction."
It's pretty clear that Game of Thrones meant a lot to the world, but what did the show mean to Nathalie Emmanuel? For one, it made a big difference to the roles she was later able to try for. Emmanuel told the New York Times:
"[People who were] slightly snobby about the fact that I had only done soap and hadn't really done a traditional training suddenly were like, 'Hey, we've got this part you might be right for.' I didn't necessarily get them, but at least I got to throw my hat in the ring."
But her experience on the show went much deeper than that. She told Glamour:
"That job changed my , I was being thrown onto these big stages and I had to woman up to it. I had the opportunity to shape a person who had been through unimaginable things and really tell her story."
In her own life, Emmanuel has become dedicated to speaking her truth. As she says to Glamour:
"I've become much less afraid to say things when I feel uncomfortable, whether it's happening to me or someone else, I'll just say it straight up now." Watch the video to learn How Game Of Thrones Affected Nathalie Emmanuel's Life!
Read full article: