Missandei is a major character in the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons. She initially appeared as a recurring character in the third and fourth seasons. She is played by starring cast member Nathalie Emmanuel and debuts in "Valar Dohaeris".
A slave who served as an interpreter to the masters of Astapor, Missandei was freed when Daenerys Targaryen took the Unsullied army and used it to overthrow the slavers. Missandei now serves Daenerys as her trusted advisor and Handmaiden. After Daenerys flees Meereen on the back of her dragon Drogon, Missandei remains in the city as part of her Small Council along with Tyrion Lannister and Grey Worm while Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis search for the missing queen.
When Daenerys returns to Meereen, with a horde of Dothraki, she achieves peace by ending the war over the Liberation of Slaver's Bay, which is later renamed the Bay of Dragons. Missandei then sails with Daenerys in order to reclaim the Iron Throne.
Missandei was born on the island of Naath in the Summer Sea, off the coast of the continent of Sothoryos. She was enslaved at a young age and taken to Slaver's Bay in Essos, where she was eventually put to work as an interpreter for the slaver-master Kraznys mo Nakloz, one of the Good Masters of Astapor.
Missandei speaks nineteen languages including High Valyrian (her favorite), the Low Valyrian dialect of Slaver's Bay, Dothraki, the Common Tongue of Westeros, and has some knowledge of the functionally dead language of the Ghiscari Empire.
Missandei acts as an interpreter between her master Kraznys mo Nakloz and Daenerys Targaryen when she lands on Astapor with the intent to buy Unsullied. She does not simply translate, but offers Kraznys commentary on Daenerys's words and diplomatically leaves out Kraznys's insults to the Khaleesi.
Daenerys meets with Kraznys and other Good Masters and announces her intention to buy all of the eight thousand Unsullied for sale, but Kraznys says she cannot afford them. The slaver grows increasingly insulting and condescending - which makes Missandei struggle to interpret politely. Daenerys then adds she also wants to buy the hundreds of young men still in training. In exchange she offers one of her dragons. The Good Masters agree, but Daenerys also asks for Missandei as a gift and a show of good faith for the upcoming transaction. He agrees, and Missandei follows Daenerys.
Daenerys asks the young slave for her name and if she has any living family, but she says she does not. Daenerys warns her that she is heading into war and she may be killed or may fall sick and die, to which Missandei simply recites the Valyrian aphorism: "Valar morghulis". Daenerys responds by correctly interpreting, "all men must die" but also adds that "we are not men", making Missandei grin.
Missandei, sporting a new dress to match Daenerys's outfit, is present when Kraznys and Daenerys conduct their exchange. She interprets their exchange until Daenerys fluidly begins issuing orders to the Unsullied in perfectly accented Low Valyrian, at which Missandei stares in shock. Missandei survives the subsequent sack of Astapor and marches out of the city with Daenerys.
Missandei serves as Daenerys's primary aide-de-camp during the march to Yunkai. On her queen's orders, she gathers the Unsullied officers together and orders them to select a single leader from among themselves. When the new leader, Grey Worm, is presented, Missandei explains that all Unsullied are given names consisting of drab colors and vermin to remind them of their station. Daenerys promptly orders the Unsullied to select their own names, though Grey Worm elects to keep his.
Missandei later attends to Daenerys and her guests Mero, Prendahl na Ghezn and Daario Naharis. Mero is rather uncouth throughout the whole event, groping Missandei and even trying smell her. In part because of his treatment of Missandei, the khaleesi orders that Mero be killed first if the Unsullied must fight the Second Sons. That night, as Daenerys bathes, she is surprised to learn that Missandei speaks no fewer than nineteen languages. Missandei says this shouldn't be that odd, since it only took Daenerys a year to gain a reasonable grasp of Dothraki. The khaleesi bristles at the idea she speaks only reasonable Dothraki and switches to the language to teach Missandei a lesson, only to have her pronunciation corrected. Suddenly, an Unsullied enters and hold a knife to Missandei's throat, advising the women not to scream. He removes his helmet, revealing himself as Daario. He explains he is here to kill Daenerys on orders from his captains, but they ran into a philosophical disagreement over her beauty. He then releases Missandei and produces his captains' severed heads.
Missandei is later on hand as Daenerys waits for word of the infiltration of Yunkai and when Yunkai's gates open. She at first recites a prepared speech on how Daenerys has freed the slaves, but the khaleesi interrupts with a speech of her own. When the freed slaves begin calling Daenerys "mhysa", Missandei explains the word's Ghiscari origins and its meaning, "mother".Great Masters with the queen, and suggests that if they are smart, they should be afraid.
At the gates of Meereen, Missandei interprets the words of Meereen's champion to Daenerys. She is clearly reluctant to accurately interpret the Meereenese Valyrian and cleans up the language slightly when relaying the message. A few minutes later, when Daario is selected as the champion, Missandei makes complimentary remarks about him, which Daenerys brushes off.
Missandei is revealed to have been teaching Grey Worm the Common Tongue. As the lessons progress, Missandei and Grey Worm discuss their lost homelands (Naath and the Summer Isles respectively) and Grey Worm's eagerness to kill the Masters of Slaver's Bay.
Missandei is later present when Daenerys mulls over the possibility of seizing King's Landing. She later acts as herald and interpreter while Daenerys, acting as queen of Meereen, hears petitions from her new subjects.
While bathing nude in a stream outside the city, Missandei notices Grey Worm gazing at her. Surprised by this, she stands up, allowing him to see her wholly before she covers herself.
Later she discusses what happened with Daenerys, who says Unsullied aren't interested in women. Missandei says he was, though, surprising as it seems. Daenerys asks her whether, when a slave is castrated, the masters take both the "pillar" and the "stones." Missandei does not know, and Daenerys asks whether she's ever wondered. Missandei thoughtfully confirms she has. Grey Worm later comes to apologize, but she tells him there is no need. She expresses sympathy over what was done to him, but he replies that if it had not happened, the course of events that eventually led to their meeting would not have occurred, which visibly moves her. As he turns to leave, Missandei says she is glad he saw her, to which he says he is as well. She is later present when Jorah is dismissed from Daenerys's service and banished.
Missandei is with Daenerys when she learns that an Unsullied named White Rat is murdered in a brothel. She then approaches Grey Worm, asking why an Unsullied would want to go to a brothel. Grey Worm states that he does not know and leaves.
Missandei is at Daenerys's council when they discuss what should be done with the Son of the Harpy who has been arrested. Later, she is present when Mossador is publicly executed for murdering the prisoner before a fair trial could take place. She flees with Daenerys once a riot breaks out after the execution.
Missandei is tearfully watching over Grey Worm as he is lying unconscious on a bed. She is present later when Grey Worm wakes up from lying unconsious in three days. Grey Worm states that he feels ashamed of himself for being afraid, to which Missandei reponds that all men fear death. Grey Worm then says that the reason he was afraid wasn't because of death itself but because he would never be able to see "Missandei from the Island of Naath" again. Missandei is touched with tears by this and leans over to give Grey Worm a kiss. Missandei is later asked for advise by Daenerys regarding her current situation. Missandei say that she doesn't think she is fit to give advice to a queen, which Daenerys thinks is absurd and states that she thinks Missandei is as fit as anyone to have a say in this. Missandei says that instead of listening to her counselors Daenerys should perhaps listen to her heart instead. This leads to Daenerys reopening the fighting pits and proposing to Hizdahr.
Missandei later attends Daenerys during the opening games at Daznak's Pit. She remains quiet through most of the proceedings, observing the verbal sparring between Hizdahr and Daario and looking at Dany with concern when Jorah shows up again. When the Sons of the Harpy rise up begin slaughtering the spectators, Missandei is momentarily forgotten by Daario and Jorah, who are busy trying to get Daenerys away. Missandei is rescued by Tyrion, who kills a Harpy's Son and gets them behind a line of Unsullied. Thinking she is about to die, Daenerys grabs Missandei's hand, but the group is rescued by Drogon seconds later. Missandei and the others watch in amazement when Dany rides off on Drogon's back.
As Tyrion, Jorah, and Daario argue over how to proceed, Missandei bring Grey Worm to them. Missandei attempts to explain to Grey Worm how Tyrion saved her, attempts to diplomatically avoid using the High Valyrian for "dwarf", although Tyrion, in typical bluntness, corrects her. She repays the favor by telling Tyrion that his High Valyrian is "rusty" as opposed to "nostril". When Daario and Jorah decide to leave the city and search for Daenerys, Daario tells the other three to stay put, since Missandei, as Daenerys's closest confidante, will be needed to help Grey Worm and Tyrion run Meereen in the queen's absence.
Missandei works with Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Varys to maintain the Queen's peace in the city. One day, whilst discussing Rhaegal and Viserion, Tyrion mentions that since they were used to Missandei's presence when they were younger, they would probably be comfortable around her now, should they be freed.
Whilst Varys is dealing with Vala, Tyrion attempts to engage Missandei and Grey Worm in conversation. Neither of them are very good at small talk, however, and both are bewildered by his behavior. When Tyrion tries to engage them in a drinking game, Missandei says that neither of them drink.
When Varys finally enters and rescues them from the conversation, Missandei cautions against immediate reprisals against Yunkai, Astapor, and Volantis, since they need their troops to protect Meereen. In a short speech Missandei states the Masters of Slaver's Bay only speak one "language" (violence and war), and they must speak it to these Masters, who have united to oppose Meereen. In the end, Tyrion convinces Varys to use his network of little birds to open communications with the cities' leaders.
Missandei counsels Tyrion before and during his meeting with the Masters of the slave cities of Essos. When Tyrion states that he has experienced the horrors of slavery, Missandei is insulted considering he only experienced slavery for a very short time in comparison to her time as one; she states he does not understand. During the meeting, Missandei defends Daenerys' liberation of the slaves. She has a mixed response to Tyrion's compromise of a seven-year transition period, but reluctantly supports him in front of a delegation of former slaves. In private, she and Grey Worm argue that no matter what, Tyrion will become a pawn of the masters, as that is their way.
Missandei, along with Grey Worm and Varys, are present when Tyrion holds a meeting with Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple at Volantis. To convince the Meereenese that everything is going befittingly with Daenerys' blessing, Tyrion secures an agreement with the Red Priestess to preach that Dany is The Prince That Was Promised.
Later, Missandei and Grey Worm exchange wine and jokes at the Great Pyramid. While reluctant to drink, Missandei and Grey Worm do so in honor of their Queen. After Tyrion tells a joke about Westerosi lords in a bar, she tells a joke about two translators stranded at sea. While Tyrion feigns amusement, Grey Worm tells her that it was the worse joke he had ever heard.
The three friends then celebrate Grey Worm's new-found ability to tell a joke. Shortly later, they hear the sound of bombardment. Looking out the ramparts, they find a massive fleet sent by Astapor, Yunkai, and Pentos bombarding the city with trebuchets. Missandei remarks that the slave cities have returned for their "property." By nightfall, Tyrion admits that his policy of diplomacy was a failure and allows Grey Worm to lead the city's defense. Shortly after, they hear movement on the roof and discover that Daenerys has returned by riding upon Drogon.
The following day, Missandei accompanies Grey Worm, Daenerys, and Tyrion during a meeting with representatives from the slavers' cities, including Belicho Paenymion ,Razdal mo Eraz and Yezzan zo Qaggaz. In return for allowing Dany and Tyrion to leave unharmed, Razdal demands the return of the Unsullied and Missandei, whom he intends to sell as a slave to the highest bidder.
However, Dany undoubtly rejects their offer and unleashes her dragons; Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal on the slavers' fleet. The Masters cower in fear as Missandei informs them their queen asks for at least one of their lives as payment for their crimes. Grey Worm executes Belicho and Razdalby slicing their throats, who were quick to offer the death of the third slaver. Yezzan zo Qaggaz is spared so that he can bring back word of Dany's power to the slave cities.
When Daenerys finally sets sail to Westeros at the head of the combined Greyjoy, Martell, Meereenese and Tyrell armadas, Missandei joins her and Tyrion on the deck of the flagship. She stands alongside Varys, looking determined to play her continious loyal role in the next part of the game of thrones.
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
- Missandei: "I am from an island called Naath...when did they take me? I was five years old."
- Grey Worm: "You remember your home?"
- Missandei: "I remember when they rowed us away from shore. How white the beaches were, how tall the trees. And I remember my village burning, smoke rising into the sky."
- — Missandei recalls how she was taken in a slaving raid as a child.[src]
Behind the Scenes
- Missandei is the most dramatically "aged-up" character to appear in the series: in the books the character is 10 years old, while Nathalie Emmanuel was 23 when she was cast (Missandei is presumably of a similar age). Unlike other characters, this "age-lift" was not the result of refining the series' internal chronology. No official reason was given, although some book fans speculated it was so that the sex scene between Daenerys and Irri could be transferred to an adult Missandei in the wake of Irri's death. It's also possible that the producers couldn't find a child actor who they felt was up to the acting challenge.
- Due to this age-lift, her interactions with Grey Worm starting in Season 5 have no counterpart in the novels. David Benioff described how the Missandei/Grey Worm romance grew as the series progressed: “This evolved, frankly, because these two actors who were supposed to have quite small parts just impressed us. And then it became very interesting to us: What if there was some kind of attraction here, because it’s almost the ultimate Romeo and Juliet story. How is it possible for there to be a love story between a young woman and a young eunuch?”
- Missandei undergoes a number of fashion changes as the series progresses. In her initial appearance, she wears a yellow dress with her obligatory slave collar, and her hair is neat, but constrained in a severe bun. Although a slave, she is dressed to impress, since she is owned by one of the most prominent Good Masters and is in regular contact with visiting dignitaries and people of import. When Daenerys frees her, her hair is loose and unrestrained. On the campaign trail, Missandei usually wears the reverse of Daenerys's own clothing: a simple white riding dress with blue trim, the reverse of Dany's blue dress and white shawl. Her hair is still free, but kept away from the face with a thin braid of hair. Once Daenerys sets herself up in Meereen, Missandei adopts Daenerys's formal style on the road: a simple yet elegant dress which leaves the arms and back free, with a cord around the neck. Missandei eventually develops her own style, consisting of halter tops, usually made of leather, with a full skirt or billowing trousers that give the appearance of a full skirt. Like handmaidens and high-ranking women in Westeros, she develops her personal style in imitation of her lady's, but unlike them, Missandei retains her own style when Daenerys changes hers. This highlights Missandei's status as a free woman who doesn't need courtly intrigue to maintain her position (and, for that matter, someone who isn't a member of Westerosi high society). Missandei's wardrobe becomes darker in color and tone as the seasons progress, reflecting the more and more dangerous situations the queen's inner circle find themselves in. The leather tops also give the suggestion of armor, and she occasionally wears leather bracers on her forearms.
- On the Season 5 Blu-ray, Missandei narrates the Histories & Lore video "The Great Masters of Meereen".
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Missandei is a slave native to the island of Naath, located off the northwestern coast of Sothoryos. She acts as an interpreter to Kraznys mo Nakloz, one of the Good Masters of Astapor.
As is typical for the peoples of Sothoryos, Missandei is dark-skinned. She also possesses the typical Naathi features of a flat face and golden eyes.
Missandei's three brothers were also captured along with her by the slaver-raid which brought all four of them to Astapor. Her three brothers were made into eunuchs and trained as Unsullied, though one of them did not survive the brutal training regimen. Her two surviving brothers, named Marselen and Mossador, did survive, and when Daenerys freed the Unsullied they were happily reunited with Missandei. There is no indication so far that Missandei's Unsullied brothers will appear in the TV series.
While Emmanuel was 23 years old when she was cast in the role, in the books Missandei is only 10 years old when she is introduced, the same age as Arya Stark at the time. In spite of her age, she is incredibly intelligent well beyond her years and serves as a key advisor and aide to Daenerys, although in the TV series, she is shown to be reluctant to counsel her without prompting. Due to this age-lift, her interactions with Grey Worm starting in Season 5 have no counterpart in the novels.
Grey Worm is never attacked by Sons of the Harpy, though a loved one of Missandei, her own brother Mossador, is not only attacked but killed by them.
Missandei remains loyal to Daenerys after her departure from Meereen. After Hizdahr takes over, he dismisses her like he does with other Daenerys's loyalists (who wouldn't serve him anyway), claiming that it is undignified for a king to use a child or a former slave as a herald. Missandei is confident that Daenerys will return.
After Quentyn Martell is fatally burnt by Rhaegal, Missandei treats him night and day, although it is obvious he is doomed. None of the cup-bearers helps her, since the sight of the horribly burnt man is too much for them. She tends to such needs as he can express, giving him water and milk of the poppy when he is strong enough to drink, listening to the few tortured words he gasps out from time to time, reading to him when he falls quiet, sleeping in her chair beside him. On the fourth day he finally dies. Then Missandei tells Ser Barristan Selmy "The prince is beyond pain now. His Dornish gods have taken him home. See? He smiles". She is saddened that Quentyn died so far from his home, and Selmy assures her he'll see that he is returned to Dorne.
Once Ser Barristan Selmy is convinced that Hizdahr tried to poison Daenerys and that he collaborates with the Yunkai and the Sons of the Harpy, he performs a coup d'etat and imprisons Hizdahr. Then he and other loyal subordinates of Daenerys form a ruling council to oversee Meereen till their queen returns, and Missandei assists them. One of her ideas is to offer the Wise Masters a ransom for the hostages they hold (Daario, Jhogo the bloodrider and Hero the Unsullied) in order to drive a wedge between them and their mercenaries. Ser Barristan admires Missandei's wise advice, that reminds him of the tactics Littlefinger and Varys used at Westeros in order to form a division in the enemy ranks. He thinks that although Missandei is only eleven years old, she is as clever as half the men at the council and wiser than all of them.
"Missandei" is pronounced "Miss-AN-day".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Second Sons"
- ↑ "Mhysa"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "And Now His Watch is Ended"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ "The Rains of Castamere (episode)"
- ↑ "Mhysa"
- ↑ "Two Swords"
- ↑ "Breaker of Chains"
- ↑ "Oathkeeper"
- ↑ "First of His Name"
- ↑ "The Laws of Gods and Men"
- ↑ "The Mountain and the Viper"
- ↑ "The Children"
- ↑ "The Wars to Come"
- ↑ "The House of Black and White"
- ↑ "Sons of the Harpy (episode)"
- ↑ "Kill the Boy"
- ↑ "Hardhome (episode)"
- ↑ "The Dance of Dragons"
- ↑ "Mother's Mercy"
- ↑ "Home"
- ↑ "Oathbreaker"
- ↑ "Book of the Stranger"
- ↑ "The Door"
- ↑ "No One"
- ↑ "Battle of the Bastards"
- ↑ "The Winds of Winter"
- ↑ Making Game of Thrones blog
- ↑ Natalie Emmanuel Access Hollywood interview, April 4, 2013.