Nathalie Emmanuel has reflected on her bloody end in hit show Game of Thrones and insisted if she were to do another big show, the subject of diversity should not be an afterthought.
In the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement, Emmanuel has reflected on the brutal way her character, Missandei, a translator freed from slavery by Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen, died - chained and viciously beheaded in the final season.
In an interview with British Vogue, the actress revealed she understood the huge outcry from Game of Thrones' black fans over the death of its sole black female lead, as they had long criticised the show over its lack of diversity.
"I definitely understood beforehand what my role meant to people," she reflected. "But the days after that episode really brought it home... When it comes down to it, the backlash stems from the fact that, when there's so few non-white characters on-screen, a death like that registers as a massive loss."
She continued: "It definitely caused me to reflect a lot more - about race and diversity more generally. At the end of the day, if there's ever a show on the level of Game of Thrones again, representation has to be part of the conversation from the beginning. That way, there's no single person who has to represent every other person of colour."
The British actress admitted she often discussed her concerns over her character's representation with her co-star Jacob Anderson, as she became aware of how much their presence on the show mattered to fans of the hit HBO fantasy series.
"It's a conversation I used to have a lot with Jacob (Anderson), who played Grey Worm, the only other major non-white character in the series," she added. "We were always really conscious of how much our being part of Game of Thrones mattered to people. It made us really protective of Missandei and Grey Worm."
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