‘Game of Thrones’: Why Missandei’s Death in Episode 4 Is Causing Controversy


[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 8, Episode 4 of Game of Thrones, “The Last Of The Starks.”]

Game of Thrones fans were thrown for a loop on Sunday when some unexpected deaths took place following the Battle of Winterfell.

In addition to Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) shocking loss of dragon Rhaegal, her advisor, close friend and confidant Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) also met her sad end.

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Because, 'when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.'

While we expect to lose some characters, Missandei’s death stings just a bit more than most so far this season. Fans have a number of issues with the choice, but the biggest is probably that the HBO series killed off its only female character of color.

That left many fans bitter and we don’t disagree — Missandei and frankly most of the female characters in “The Last Of The Starks” deserved better. Apart from driving Daenerys to full Mad Queen mode with her move, Cersei (Lena Headey) effectively cut the diversity of Thrones in half by having one of its two non-white characters killed off.

(Credit: HBO)

Adding insult to injury, it was the way in which Missandei perished that was particularly painful — and it’s not her beheading. After having her chains struck off in her Season 3 introduction, the previously enslaved woman has been living and making choices of her own volition only to have them stripped away from her in her final moments.

The imagery was extra problematic, depicting a woman of color in chains before she’s killed. And by killing Missandei, the writers have now motivated Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) to take action. This is also troublesome in its own respect as Missandei’s death is being used as a tool to motivate her true love.

(Credit: HBO)

There are a number of other tactics the show could’ve used to incite his rage and action. There’s so much wrong with it all that fans were sounding off furiously on social media.

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One moment in particular has everyone talking on social media.

(Credit: HBO)

And Missandei’s death wasn’t the only choice inciting viewer anger online. There was Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) claim that her sexual abuse actually helped her become the strong woman she is now, as well as Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) consummating her relationship with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) only to be abandoned and left begging for him to stay. This episode had many saying the women of Thrones deserved better in “The Last Of The Starks.”

So what did you think about the episode’s treatment of Missandei and the other Thrones women? Let us know in the comments below.

Game of Thrones, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO