Curtain Call: Keisha Castle-Hughes

When I was a child, Oberyn came to take me to court. I’d never seen this man, and yet he called himself my father. My mother wept, said I was too young…and a girl. Oberyn tossed his spear at my feet and said, “Girl or boy, we fight our battles—but the Gods let us choose our weapons.” My father pointed to the spear, and then to my mother’s tears. I made my choice long ago.

Obara Sand (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and her sisters were game for anything, but were rarely given enough space to affect the story of Game of Thrones in any meaningful way. Obara was the oldest of the eight bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell. Like her father, she wielded a spear, and like her father, she died using it.

Castle-Hughes played the role of the stoic, attack-them-all-head-on Obara with aplomb, first appearing alongside her half-sisters Nymeria and Tyene in season 5’s “Sons of the Harpy” — she killed a captain merchant captive in that scene, probably the most memorable moment from it. She’s often seen leading the way after that, such as when she spearheads the attempt to kidnap Princess Myrcella Baratheon in “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. Then there was the time she drove her spear through the back of Trystane Martell’s skull (and then grinning about it) in “The Red Woman.” She was violent all around, that Obara.

Obara died in battle—as she surely would have wished—at the hands of Euron Greyjoy in “Stormborn.” Euron used her own spear to kill her, though, which probably isn’t something she wants on her tombstone. Although maybe she’d find comfort in the fact that both she and her father died in ways that were kind of embarrassing for them.

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Keisha Castle-Hughes came into Game of Thrones with a great pedigree — at the age of 13, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in Whale Rider (2004). She’s also appeared in major movies like Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Nativity Story (as Mary) and in TV shows like The Walking Dead and Roadies. You’ll soon be able to see her back on the big screen alongside Miles Teller in Thank You for your Service, about a group of American soldiers struggling to adjust to civilian life after spending extended time on the battlefield.

Game of Thrones never found a way to fully Obara’s potential or use Castle-Hughes’ full range of talents, but she put in a good showing regardless. We wish her well.

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