‘Game of Thrones’: Why Nathalie Emmanuel Says Emilia Clarke Inspires Her

Nathalie Emmanuel, who played the loyal advisor Missandei on Game of Thrones, saw her time on the show as much more than a job. She made life-long friendships during her time as Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) closest friend. Her sudden and shocking death enraged many fans, as she was a beloved fan-favorite and an essential member of the Targaryen family. As Missandei, Emmanuel walked away with a close friend in Clarke, whom she says inspires her.

Nathalie Emmanuel says Emilia Clarke inspires her

Emmanuel sat down with People to talk about her time on the show and the friendships she made along the way. “Emilia, as a friend and colleague, is just such a joy,” Emmanuel said. “I really have thoroughly loved working with her. I loved learning from her. And we just check in with each other every so often.”

She cherishes their unique friendship and admires how Clarke immediately got back to work after undergoing brain surgeries for two different aneurysm growths she had. “I remember coming back to work and hearing about (her surgeries) and being like, ‘Wow, it’s just so crazy and there you are, ready to go back to work.’ She’s such a beast. As a woman, she really picks herself up and keeps going.”

Emmanuel also told People that Clarke is a true inspiration doing incredible work for others. “She’s really inspiring, I’m so proud of her,” she said. “And then what she’s chosen to do with that experience, to help other people, is so amazing and I’m just incredibly happy for her and how important her work is.”

Missandei’s death sparked outrage with fans and is a lesson about representation

Nathalie Emmanuel
Nathalie Emmanuel | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Emmanuel’s character Missanedei was killed in the final season of Game of Thrones in the worst way. She was captured by Cersei (Lena Headey) and put back in chains. She had already escaped slavery with Daenerys, and is beheaded in front of her best friend as well. In the end, Missandei faced her death with great courage, telling Daenerys to light it all up with Drogon and burn it all to the ground, which she did.

Emmanuel spoke with Entertainment Tonight about her character’s death at Hulu’s Television Critics Association summer press tour. “It sparked a conversation about representation and the treatment of actors of color, which I think is very welcomed. It should be had, absolutely,” explained Emmanuel. “I think it’s really important to say… I was given so much to do with Missandei over the course of the seasons that I was in, and the beautiful scenes and words that I got to say, like, and the kind of nuance of the scenes that I got to do was so amazing. But there is a wider issue of representation.”

Emmanuel stars in Hulu’s ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’

Rebecca Rittenhouse, Nikesh Patel, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Brandon Mychal Smith
Rebecca Rittenhouse, Nikesh Patel, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Brandon Mychal Smith | Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Hulu

Her latest venture is Hulu’s Four Weddings and a Funeral, which has just started to be released on the streaming platform, with new episodes of the miniseries airing on Wednesdays. The new series is adapted from the 1994 movie by Richard Curtis. Emmanuel spoke with Variety about working on the new series.

“It’s a very modern take on the messiness of life, friendship and love, which is true to the movie but in a much more modern context,” explained Emmanuel. “The casting is much more inclusive and culturally diverse, and that’s really cool. It’s very 2019. It’s young people figuring out their lives with all the technology and the way that’s changed dating. But we also pay tribute to some of the more famous moments in that movie and other Richard Curtis movies.”

Emmanuel is a household name after her exemplary work on Game of Thrones. It will be interesting to see what she decides to put her mind to next after Four Weddings and a Funeral.