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‘Game of Thrones’ actor reveals how you know a character is about to die

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Alex Finnis
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Ready for some breaking news? Are you sure, it’s pretty tasty? OK, here we go… lots of people die on Game of Thrones.

At the end of Season 6, the estimated tally was at more than 150,000 – including animals – and Season 7 is apparently set to break the show’s own record for ‘most people simultaneously set on fire’, so we feel pretty confident in predicting a lot more to come.

Euron Greyjoy and his pirate crew helped boost those numbers in the closing scene of this week’s episode, as they descended on half of Daenerys’ fleet, decimated it, and took Yara and Ellaria Sand captive in the process.

Two of the Sand Snakes met their maker in that battle – both courtesy of Euron himself – and now Jessica Henwick, who plays Nymeria Sand, has opened up to Entertainment Weekly about what it’s like to join the long list of deceased Game of Thrones characters.

Two of the Sand Snakes died in 'Stormborn' at the hand of Euron Greyjoy

She revealed that there is a tell-tale sign your character is about to be bumped off. If you get a call from just one of the showrunners – David Benioff and D. B. Weiss – then it will probably be able the plot or the script, but both? That means you’re done for.

“I was in New York filming Iron Fist and I got a call from [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss], the double Ds. As soon as you hear that more than one of them is on the call you know what that means. If it’s just one they’re probably talking about the story. But if it’s both of them then you know,” she said.

Henwick was so busy filming Iron Fist that she almost had to reject the chance to come back and film her death scene, but in the end Benioff and Weiss were able to work around her schedule to make sure Nymeria didn’t just disappear from our screens without an explanation.

“They told me what’s going to happen and said, ‘We’d really love for you to come back.’ But at that point and time, I wasn’t able to do it,” she continued. “My schedule clashed. I was filming Iron Fist for six-to-seven months and they wouldn’t give me the time off. The Ds pitched me the story and said, ‘It’s really important that you come back otherwise your character will just disappear and fans will never get a resolution.’ 

“The show was so massive for me in terms of my career and building my profile and as an experience in itself, I wanted to see it through to the end. I went and spoke to Marvel and I managed to get a release on two weekends. So I literally flew back and forth while I was doing Iron Fist in New York to Belfast, and over the Christmas break, I was filming as well.”

The Snakes' storyline was not given much time to blossom in the show

A lot of fans were glad to see the back of the Sand Snakes – their storyline was given far less weight and chance to develop compared to the books, and often felt like a distraction from the main story.

Tyene still lives on, along with Ellaria, but with both of them having been captured by Euron, we imagine they’re not going to have the nest time of it for their remaining – probably very short – time left on the show.

(Images: HBO)