- "How can anyone speak nineteen languages?"
- ―Daenerys Targaryen to Missandei
A slave who served as a translator 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 handmaiden.
Missandei is a slave, 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 eventually was put to work as a translator 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 a translator between her master Kraznys mo Nakloz and Daenerys Targaryen when she lands on Astapor with the intent to buy Unsullied. She does not translate literally, offering Kraznys commentary on Daenerys' words and leaving out Kraznys' 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 translate 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 translating, "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 translates 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 captain's 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".
Missandei remains Daenerys's aide-de-camp in the weeks following the fall of Yunkai. When an irritated Daenerys locates Grey Worm and Daario, Missandei informs them that they have been at their contest (balancing their swords to see who will have the honor of riding at the queen's side) since midnight. Missandei is amused when Daenerys threatens to expel the winner of the contest from her army. Later on, Missandei discusses the Great Masters with the queen, and suggests that if they are smart, they should be afraid.
At the gates of Meereen, Missandei translates the words of Meereen's champion to Daenerys. She is clearly reluctant to accurately translate 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.
|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|
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 a translator 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 actress Nathalie 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.
"Missandei" is pronounced "Miss-an-day".