In an Episode 4 moment that leveled Grey Worm and galvanized Daenerys, khaleesi’s translator was captured and beheaded by Lannister soldiers while the dragon queen watched from afar. Missandei’s death in the HBO series’ final season was tragic, Emmanuel points out, but it was valiant.
“I was very grateful for the strength that she had when she left. That was a performance choice for me,” says the actress, who next will star in Mindy Kaling’s Four Weddings and a Funeral series adaptation at Hulu. “I was like, ‘She’s not going to be crying. She’s not going to be stereotypically scared. She’s scared, but she owns it.”
After all, Dany’s royal adviser was no stranger to life not going her way, she adds. “This woman survived slavery. She knew that she might go to war and die. And she’s owning it like a badass bitch,” Emmanuel says. “And I felt like that’s what I did. I was very proud of it.”
Emmanuel says she is less enthusiastic about the way some of the show’s fans went about showing their dislike of the final season, including a Change.org petition that (jokingly?) called for HBO to remake Season 8 with “competent writers” penning the scripts. To date, nearly 1.7 million people have signed the charge; network head Casey Bloys recently said reshooting the final episode was “not something we seriously considered.”
“Listen, I think it’s totally fine if you don’t like something. That’s perfectly acceptable. What I didn’t like was that people were signing a petition,” Emmanuel tells TVLine. “You can’t ask for receipts on art. You just can’t. The art has been created for you, and you can either choose to like it or not.”
She adds that she was “blown away” by the series’ culmination, which was “a hard plane to land.. I don’t think people quite realize the undertaking and the amount of manpower it took to do that.” — With reporting by Dave Nemetz