Missandei and Grey Worm Have Their Own Game of Thrones Posters and I Love It
Brown for the throne.
Usually, my excitement about Game of Thrones is on a Sansa-related level, and while I am super excited to see her sitting upon the Iron Throne and my problematic favs Jaime, Sandor, and Cersei all getting their due, the two characters I was most excited to see be given their own posters are the characters of Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel).
In its adaptation choices, the show Game of Thrones has actually done a lot of disservice to the existing non-white coded characters in the books, especially the people Dorne (we will get there before April). They pretty much erased the Black Summer Isles characters like Chataya, Alayaya, Kojja Mo, Quhuru Mo, and others, while making certain characters Black like Xaro Xhoan Daxos and killing them off in the adaptation when they are alive in the books.
The show has often gone to lengths to upsell the savage nature of the Dothraki and the otherness of the people in Essos. That’s not to say that George R.R. Martin didn’t dabble in those tropes himself, but he often purposefully showed that the “nobility” of Westeros is a gilded ruse.
All that being said, two of the changes I have found that lean more positive are those made with Grey Worm and Missandei.
— Twitter (@Twitter) February 28, 2019
— Twitter (@Twitter) February 28, 2019
In the books, Missandei is a ten-year-old girl trained to be a translator, with a strong will and intelligence despite her slave upbringing. She serves as a translator for Dany after she’s freed, and her local tour guide for the cultures of Essos. In many ways, Missandei is just an accessory character for Dany as she heralds the dragon queen’s many titles, day after day.
They also share a bit of a mother-daughter relationship as Dany comforts the girl after one of her brothers dies. It’s a cute relationship—don’t get me wrong—but there are a lot more power imbalances than there are in the show.
As for Grey Worm, as GRRM once said, “I have no plans for Grey Worm’s race or personal history to become important at this time, though I do reserve the right to change my mind.” Grey Worm is just a warrior, and while skilled, he is, overall, a very one-note character.
The show, in a rare feat of improvement, actually adds a lot more humanity and depth to both characters by (1) making Missandei older and therefore allowing her to be more a personal confidant to Dany a la Davos/Jon, and (2) giving them relationships and dialogue that shows them as humans with the capacity for love and feelings. They are not props for Dany; they are people with their own needs and desires for why they fight.
When they revealed that Missandei was going be aged up for the show, I was afraid that it was only going to be for T&A, and while the show certainly has taken advantage of Nathalie Emmanuel being a knockout, it has also highlighted her intelligence. One of my favorite scenes is one with Tyrion, where she asks him how many days he’d been a slave, and when he responds with “Enough to know,” she says, “Not long enough to understand.”
Grey Worm being a romantic lead is also quite compelling, because he’s castrated, and their relationship is not simply explored through just sex, and not just penetrative sex. I also love how their love for each other adds a layer to Grey Worm, and he is no longer a fearless warrior because he fairs losing Missandei. His attraction to her isn’t just physical, but that they share the experience of slavery and have both risen up from the lowest positions in society.
That’s also why seeing them atop the Iron Throne is so moving for me. The smallfolk of Westeros and Essos have suffered heavily in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, and the slaves of Essos more than most. If I’ve learned anything from A Feast of Crows, it’s that no matter which noble sits upon the throne, the small folk will continue to be ignored unless one of them is actually on the throne. Missandei and Grey Worm as the joint rules of Westeros is unlikely to happen, but seeing them even as a possibility made me happy.
We so often have really frustrating portrayals of race on this show, and many fantasy shows, that I was just happy to see them be highlighted and recognized as important characters as this massive show comes to an end. I can’t say I care much about the fates of Grey Worm or Missandei in the books, but in the show, I’m rooting for them to find each other again and make it out before the ultimate winter—or Cersei gets one of them.
Which was your favorite poster of the bunch, and who do you think will be on the Iron Throne … and who do you think deserves it?
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