After seasons of romantic tension between Daenerys Targaryen's right-hand woman Missandei and her Unsullied confidant Grey Worm, the two finally allowed themselves to act on their feelings for one another in "Stormborn."
Though Game of Thrones has a history of airing things for the sake of shock value, this particular love scene was intimate — and by far the most feminist — in a way the series rarely shows. Not only did it allow Grey Worm, a eunuch, to be sensual (a characteristic the show doesn't allow Varys to embody), but it also exposed a real humanity from both characters, who are typically portrayed as reserved and diplomatic.
Prior to stripping down, Missandei and Grey Worm talked about his upcoming dangerous mission to Casterly Rock to battle the Lannisters. Fully aware that this could be the last time they ever see each other, Missandei asked Grey Worm to share all of him with her, from his thoughts to his body. What happened next was raw, emotional, and believable.
Entertainment Weekly spoke with Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Missandei, about the emotional scene and her experience getting nude in front of millions of viewers for the first time on the show.
"There's something unique about [the love scene] purely because of Grey Worm's situation — his brutal history of being mutilated — there's a real sense of trust here and that really plays out in this lovely scene where they physically act upon their love," Emmanuel told EW. "For him to do that is a really big deal and Missandei knows that and doesn't really care. She just loves him and that intimacy they've shared comes to a head. Missandei is always so official and straight and poised, so to be vulnerable and see her human side of her, a little off balance, is kind of great and fun to play...She's quite clear about what she wants because she fears she'll never have the chance to have that with him again."
But her character wasn't the only one putting herself completely on display. Emmanuel told EW that while she was initially nervous about getting naked on camera, her fears subsided with the support of the cast.
"[Being nude on set] is never a comfortable thing to do but if you trust your director and actors and the people on set, it's fine," she told EW. "It was treated very well and very respectfully, and I feel like we had a really great day showing these two characters being completely vulnerable with each other. And it sort of helps the scene to actually feel very vulnerable and exposed. it's good to use that energy, and it made it so much better."
Despite the beauty of the scene, some viewers couldn't quite grasp that it was completely possible for the pair to have sex. It was disheartening to see the number of Ken doll GIFs circulating on Twitter, as if someone who's been genitally mutilated isn't human or worthy of physical intimacy.
With so much power to influence the public's opinion, we can only hope that HBO and the GoT writing team will continue to challenge social norms through tasteful scenes like Missandei and Grey Worm's.