Missandei appears sitting on the Iron Throne in a Game of Thrones Season 8 poster, and social media isn’t sure what to make of it. Even the actress who portrays her (Nathalie Emmanuel) expressed shock on Twitter.
This week, HBO released 20 teaser posters, as well as a precious few seconds of video footage, to get fans excited about the upcoming season, which drops in a few weeks. And they’ve all got the rumor mill going.
Warning: the next few paragraphs contain open spoilers for previous seasons, and possibly the upcoming season, of Game of Thrones.
Missandei of Naath, to refresh your memory, is the translator, advisor, friend, and sometimes lover of Daenerys Targaryen, who is, as of the end of Season 7, one of two women who believe the Iron Throne of Westeros is theirs, and neither of them is going to give it up without a fight.
Being a former slave (Daenerys acquired her in an earlier season, then freed her, but she stuck around anyway), a foreigner (she was born on another continent), and a minor character, there is no scenario, by the laws of Westeros, in which she could conceivably have access to the Iron Throne.
But sit on the Iron Throne she does; check out this tweet from Nathalie herself.
Fans are aghast, excited, and confused.
Missandei to be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.— esam (@zapistol) February 28, 2019
(Also am I the only one who's been loathing Daenerys? I'd rather Missandei win the Iron Throne)— f e w l ???? m e w n (@iwritememories) May 2, 2016
In fact, this writer cautions that you don’t read too much into it. Over the course of the Game of Thrones series, several characters have been depicted sitting in the Iron Throne. In most cases, it occurred organically within the show, such as when a character’s job required them to occupy it for a brief period of time (such as Ned Stark briefly in Season 1). In other cases, it was simply HBO promotional material, as appears the case right now.
For example, here’s Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) sitting on the Iron Throne, and her character has no claim to the throne, no interest in it, and has enough problems of her own to not worry about being Queen of The Seven Kingdoms.
However, we say “appears” because it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Missandei could be called upon to occupy the Iron Throne, briefly, in her role as Daenerys’ valet. Daenerys would have to take the throne from her rival, Cersei Lannister, and would then have to be called away on other business – perhaps dealing with the larger, looming threat of the White Walkers. When Season 7 ended, Daenerys and Cersei had called an armistice – at least, that’s what Cersei is promising – while the two women attend to the threat that imperils all of Westeros, if not the whole world.
So one of two things is happening here: Either Missandei, for some reason, does indeed occupy the Iron Throne at some point in Season 8, or she is just appearing in HBO promotional material to get fans’ tongues wagging.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones arrives on HBO on April 14, 2019.