Ava DuVernay Ain't Feelin' How Game of Thrones Treated a 'Sista'

(L-R): Ava DuVernay attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California; Nathalie Emmanuel in Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 4.
(L-R): Ava DuVernay attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California; Nathalie Emmanuel in Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 4.
Photo: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images), Helen Sloan (HBO)

On the night of May 5, the baddest bitch of Westeros was unfortunately beheaded.

On the Game of Thrones episode entitled, “The Last of the Starks,” Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) traveled to King’s Landing to try to negotiate with Cersei and instead of compromising — because, have you met Cersei?! — she simply gave her a smug smile and ordered her version of Beyoncé’s Julius, The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), to chop off her captor Missandei’s head.

Right in front of her man (shout-out to Jacob Anderson’s masterful reactionary acting as Greyworm, by the way) while rocking a dry, brittle, and unkempt wash n’ go, after years of boasting superior tendrils despite the climate-based odds staked against her.



I — along with everyone else with sense — was pissed. I actually yelled some version of “ARGHBITCHFUCKEFFDSADFDSD” at my screen.


It was definitely the talk of the Twitter timeline, with celebrities such as Ava DuVernay getting involved in the fiction-inspired fury.


“So... the one and only sister on the whole epic, years-long series? That’s what you wanna do? Okay,” DuVernay tweeted.

This isn’t the first time race has been a talking point within the show, with some people criticizing its lack of POC representation, the portrayal of the POC characters such as the Dothraki and the Unsullied, and more. And then there’s this recent major moment where the only black woman (especially with prominence) was murdered in a brutal way.


The counterpoint to this is that Game of Thrones has a clear reputation for offing its beloved characters. No one is safe, not even the man set up to be the protagonist in the first season. And the way characters of color are treated is also on-brand, given the show’s setting. Y’all saw the way they were looking at Greyworm and Missandei when they entered Winterfell.


In addition to its racial issues, the narratives around women have been critiqued since the show decided to add extraneous rape scenes not included in the George R.R. Martin book series from which it was adapted. In this episode in particular, the most significant source of frustration came in a scene between The Hound (Rory McCann) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) regarding her character arc and the evolution that spawned from it. A growth and strength that came from — wait for it — rape.

Sigh. That’s a way-too-heavily used trope, by the way.


Of course, it’s important to note the most apparent reason behind this. The female voice behind the female character voice was sorely lacking this season. And other seasons, too.


In case you’re wondering how the actor behind the woman from the Isles of Naath, Nathalie Emmanuel, feels about her character’s demise, don’t worry — she was “calm” about it. But, she does appreciate the love, support and stanning!


R.I.P. to a real one, Missandei.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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Vanguard Knight

I honestly don’t understand the appeal of this show to black people at all.
What am I not getting?
Its not about us, its not for us. Why watch?