Curtain Call: Jessica Henwick


"Nymeria Sand: “Forgive my sister. What she lacks in diplomacy, she makes up for in…”Olenna Tyrell: “Do shut up, dear.”"

Nymeria Sand first appeared alongside her half-sisters Tyene and Obara — jointly known as the Sand Snakes — in the season 5 episode “Sons of the Harpy.” United in admiration of their father, Oberyn Martell, the Sand Snakes rallied around Ellaria Sand in seeking vengeance against the Lannisters following Oberyn’s death in season 4. Nymeria and her sisters spent the next three seasons chasing that dream until Nymeria and Obara died in “Stormborn,” this past Sunday’s new episode.

Like the other Sand Snakes, Nymeria didn’t have a lot of impact on the story. In fact, of her sisters, she was arguably the least memorable. Her most notable moments were probably the one quoted above — where Olenna gave her a gentle verbal smackdown — and her final brawl against Euron, who strangled her with her own whip. Nymeria may not have been the most popular or explosive character, but the sight of her hanging from the prow of a ship did make for a chilling image.

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One of the few times we got a look into Nymeria’s interior life came in season 5’s “The Gift,” when Prince Doran imprisoned Nymeria and her sisters following their failed attempt to kidnap Myrcella Baratheon. Bored in their cell, Nymeria and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) played a game where they tried to slap each other’s hands, and we got a brief look at some of the playful back-and-forth these girls may get up to when not engaging in lame fight scenes and spouting cringe-worthy dialogue. Henwick later named that scene as one of her favorites to film.

Whatever Nymeria’s failings, it’s hard to put too much blame on Henwick, who was already a television veteran before getting cast Game of Thrones. Before stepping out as Nymeria, she’d had roles on series like Spirit WarriorsNorth by Northamptonshire, and The Thick of It. And in 2015, the same year she made her Thrones debut, she had a small role as pilot Jess Testor in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, alongside fellow Thrones veteran Gwendoline Christie (Brienne). That’s a not a bad gig if you can get it, and goes to show that there’s a reason Henwick was hired to play Nymeria, even if the show may not have put her skills to their best use.

Fans of Henwick won’t have to go far to get more of her. After landing her gig on Game of Thrones, she got cast in a major as Colleen Wing in Netflix’s Iron Fist, a role so important to the show that it almost prevented her from returning to film Nymeria’s final moments in season 7.

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Henwick will reprise the role of Wing in Marvel’s Netflix team-up series The Defenders, due out later this year. In the realm of feature films, she’ll appear in Underwater, a thriller from Fox, in 2018.

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