Featured Game of Thrones Interview Production Sand Snakes

Obara Sand’s Tribute to Oberyn, Both in Word and Wardrobe

Making Game of Thrones, like many Game of Thrones web series produced by HBO, is determinedly pushing the Sand Snakes, despite some tepid response to their debut last week. Not only do they have a new interview with Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays Obara Sand, but they also have an in-depth look at the costumes the sisters wear.

Castle-Hughes once again talks about how huge a fan of the books she was before getting the role, and how much she was devoted to Oberyn—as a fan—despite knowing his fate.

It ends up that Castle-Hughes found out she was going to play Obara in the same week when HBO aired “The Viper and the Mountain,” and we all remember what happened to Oberyn in “The Viper and the Mountain.” By then, Castle-Hughes had invested heavily in Obara as a character, so the episode hit hard.

At that point in my head, I was his daughter. I was crying. I screamed like Ellaria screamed. I was like, “It’s so not fair!” I was staying with a friend in Los Angeles and she was like, “Are you OK? I know that you like Game of Thrones, but this is ridiculous.” She thought I had lost my mind. But as soon as I signed on to the show, I was sworn to secrecy. I couldn’t tell her anything.

I think I can speak for all of us three who are playing Sand Snakes: We are all so grateful to him for the work that he did. As an actor, he set up so much of our world…So much of my performance, especially, was based on him. It was really important that the movement was similar, because Obara is the most like Oberyn. She’s trained her entire life with him to use the spear like he does.

She also talks about the relationship between the sisters. Though it seems a bit far-fetched to say we haven’t seen deadly women in the show before now (Arya and Ygritte would like a word with the people who say that) it is true that we’ve never seen a tight sisterhood in this way.

These sisters collaboratively work together. They genuinely like each other. Of course, there’s going to be elements of annoyance because that’s just natural. That was really important for us as actors to play…Obara is so goddamn serious all the time and then the other two are like, “Chill out. Stop killing people! Just relax.” Then you’ve got Obara going, “I don’t understand why the two of you aren’t taking this seriously.”

As for the designs for the three girls, costume designer Michele Clapton said one of her major goals was to make them look like a team.

Note that Obara’s armor is is essence the female version of Oberyn’s armor in his final appearance in the show, while the other two girls wear leather strapping that calls back to it.

Clapton says: “The armor department created a series of stamps in different sizes, which were hammered into the leather to make the snakeskin texture.” This is in keeping with how she described creating Oberyn’s leather work last year.

She also explains that the turned up toes of the boots (which I saw more than one person describe as “elfish”) were actually supposed to invoke snake tongues. The best accessory, though, goes to Ellaria with her Snake bracelet that can bite. Clapton agrees it’s her favorite too.