Nymeria Sand Actor on Her Game of Thrones Exit

Jessica Henwick, who played Nymeria Sand on Game of Thrones, talked to EW about that battle at sea during second episode (Stormborn) of season 7, where her character, along with Obara Sand, was brutally killed off by Euron Greyjoy:

“The plan was for it to be a more of a drawn out storyline. But because of my limited schedule [the story changed]. The first thing I thought was that it’s brutal. It’s hard reading these scenes where characters you love are getting absolutely demolished. And in our case, it’s by a crazy madman. I knew it was going to be very intense and very physical. I was excited because on the page you could feel the scope of it. And there is something fulfilling about finishing it.”

She added that scene was quite ‘gruelling’ to shoot and the filming the scene was more ‘intense’ than what we saw on our screens:

“It was grueling. It was one of the few occasions where it was more intense on set than it will be on screen. Normally there’s a lot of CG [when filming action scenes] and you watch it on screen and you see a massive epic battle, but when you’re filming it’s all quite tame by comparison. For this, the audience can’t feel the heat on their face from the pyrotechnics going off or feel the wave machine trying to knock us off our feet, or the sweat dripping off our faces. They were blowing burning embers onto us. One of the stunt double’s wigs caught fire. And some of the stunt doubles fell through the balsa wood floor of the ship. It was hard, night shoots, we were really battling the elements they had created. I’m sure it’s going to look great but it was bigger in real life than on screen.”

Henwick also addressed the fact that the Sand Snakes were not liked by many fans but still believes that the show did justice to her character:

“In the books, there are seven Sand Snakes and there was a lot of discussions about how many were going to be introduced [in the show]. Originally it was going to be Obara, Tyene and then they couldn’t decide on Sarella or Nymeria. Obviously, I’m very lucky Nymeria ended up being the one they chose. It was always acknowledged that it was going to be very hard to give each of us a storyline. They had to introduce three characters all at once and differentiate them. When you’re limited to an introduction of two lines per character and there are four characters in the scene — during our introduction scene in season 5 — it’s hard to create a lasting impression. You kind of have to shove a character down the audience’s throat and Game of Thrones’ success is in its multifaceted characters. At the time it was definitely frustrating feeling like there’s so much potential here, and a lot of the stuff that we shot didn’t make the final cut. It was hard. But overall, given the size of the character, I’ve been very happy with how it’s come out. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can say, really.”

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