Game of Thrones was never just about heroes. It was also about those seemingly small characters who played their part so well that it was hard to omit their value. Whether they stayed for a short duration or played a longer part in the storyline, we regard them crucial to the endgame. Missandei of Naath, played by Nathalie Emmanuel, stood by Daenerys Targaryen’s side almost till the end. She was one of the very few who held the mother of dragons together and strong against the rising tide of politics in Westeros.
It was her death that triggered the madness in Dany which knew no bounds. Nathalie fit right into Missandei and made her one of our favorite characters. Her role as Ramsey, a computer hacker, in the Fast and Furious franchise became yet another sleeper hit. After making her debut in Furious 7 in 2015, and reappearing in 2017 in The Fate of the Furious, she will return in F9; the ninth film in The Fast Saga which has been pushed to release in April 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nathalie is on Shape magazine’s cover for this year’s May edition. Shape caught up with her on the journey in Hollywood and life in general.
Talking about two of her most popular characters in Game of Thrones and The Fast Saga, she said, “The thing they have in common is that they’re both brilliant women with a very specific skill set. It seems that I’m attracted to characters like that.”
The interview apparently took place in a car, where Nathalie admitted, “I actually can’t legally drive. That makes me laugh out loud, considering I’ve done three movies about car racing.” She couldn’t afford the necessary driving lessons when she started out initially.
The English actress describes herself as an introvert who has now learned how to handle herself. But it wasn’t always like this. “For a number of years, I would get really worked up or emotional or find myself exhausted. Now instead of consuming myself with all the things I’ve got to do, I compartmentalize the day into what I’ve to do next. OK, I have to get showered. Done that, now what,” she recounted.
To stay level-headed and calm, Nathalie resorts to yoga. “Yoga is something I do to sit and breathe and bring my attention inward, because I’m often giving so much energy to the world. It’s important to check in physically, mentally, and emotionally and see what’s going on,” she said. Moreover, she’s also a trained yoga instructor and taught at a studio in London for some time.
Describing herself as “a goal-oriented person”, she says there’s no particular shape or size that she aims for when it comes to fitness. “Pull-ups”, “a pincha mayurasana”, and a proper “handstand” are her current goals. Food is an important aspect of any fitness regime, and Nathalie, being a vegan, gives it utmost importance. “Mostly, I try to keep my food simple. I want to read the ingredients and know exactly what’s in stuff or be able to pronounce it…If I can’t understand the words on the back of the packaging, then maybe I shouldn’t be eating it,” she said.
When it comes to social situations, the GoT star gets easily drained. To recharge herself, she likes to take up “reading a book or binge-watching a show”. But sometimes she just needs quiet and calm. “When I get overwhelmed, I practice meditation or breathing with intention.”
She moved on to leading roles with her performance last year in Four Weddings and a Funeral, a rom-com miniseries. And it seems like she will go a long way on this path of success and stardom.
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Some characters begin as a side role but become massively popular amongst fans when done right. They completely steal the show. Miltos Yerolemou knew Game of Thrones was special, but he never knew his character Syrio Forel would gain such humongous fan-following. In an interview with Collider, he expressed how he felt when he checked out Game of Thrones forums on the internet.
“I never expected it in my wildest dreams, especially after only being in three episodes of Season 1,” he said. “I honestly did not expect that my gravestone will say, ‘Not today,’ but with the not crossed out. Now, you can hold me to that. But I really did not expect that to be my reality, but it is. And like I said, I’m thrilled, embarrassed, and humbled by it every single day.”
“I made the terrible mistake after I got cast to go and have a look at some of the Game of Thrones forums and realize just how excited the fans were that they were turning it into a TV show,” he said. “[T]he ingredients for a good TV show were there. But, I mean, it’s one thing having a successful and well-watched TV show. It’s another thing to do what Game of Thrones did, which changed all of our viewing habits overnight, really.”
Do you agree with Arya Stark’s sword instructor? Tell us in the comments below!
Game of Thrones was one of the biggest TV shows of the past decade. The fantastical epic set the bar for quality TV shows really high. It was hailed as the greatest TV show of the 21st century. Game of Thrones actor Miltos Yerolemou, who played Syrio Forel on the show, recently talked to Collider about the fantasy epic’s popularity.
He said, “[I]t became a show that you had to watch when it aired because of the nature of it. The fact that there were so many twists in it. If you didn’t watch it when it aired, you were very likely to get spoiled.”
He continued, “I had the fantastic experience of being able to watch the show aired live in big viewing parties in Greece, in Texas, in London. I kind of had that amazing experience, and I’d never had that experience before. Especially at the time when things were moving from the terrestrial… That whole way of watching TV was already shifting. I mean, now we’re all into the streaming medium and binge-watching. But Game of Thrones kind of straddled that transition, and really took us back to a place where it was exciting to watch that show altogether and at the same time. I thought that was pretty, really important as far as for the television industry. That’s for sure.”
Why do you think Game of Thrones became so popular? Tell us in the comments below!
Game of Thrones wrapped up filming nearly two years ago. Fans of the fantasy epic dearly miss the show and are eagerly waiting for the prequel House of The Dragon. Meanwhile, Netflix is keeping their audience busy with a fantasy story that has become quite popular in recent times, Shadow and Bone. Much to everyone’s surprise, there’s a secret connection between both the shows not many people know of. David J. Peterson, who wrote Valyrian and Dothraki for Game of Thrones, also created Fjerdan, a fictional language for Shadow and Bone.
In an interview with Cinema Blend, Danielle Galligan revealed how she learned the fictional language for her role, Nina Zenik. Galligan also played the small role of Sarra in Season 8 of Game of Thrones. She said:
“[Speaking Fjerdan] was really cool because I love language anyway and me and Cal are actually learning languages on Duo Lingo at the moment, so this is a theme in our relationship [laughs]. I thought that was really fun… to be able to go and learn another language that has been completely made up now. The guy who [helped us] also did Valyrian and Dothraki for Game of Thrones, so the fact that he can go back to etymology and to make this is absolutely incredible, and just speaks to the producers and showrunners about how specific they are and want us to be about this world. And yeah, I loved speaking Fjerdan, my voice always dropped two octaves and I’m not sure why.”
Did you know about this unknown connection between the two shows? Tell us in the comments below!