‘Game of Thrones’ Ellaria Sand Not Returning To The Show

She remains in the dungeon of the Red Keep.
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A surprising liplock in the trailer for Game of Thrones season 7. What could it all mean?!
A surprising liplock in the trailer for Game of Thrones season 7. What could it all mean?! (c) HBO

When we last left Ellaria Sand at the end of Season 7 Episode 3 ‘The Queen’s Justice,’ she was far from dead and still had a lot of life in her. We saw the physical and psychological torture inflicted on her and her daughter Tyene at the hands of Cersei, culminating in Cersei enacting her own poetic justice by kissing Tyene with the same poisoned kiss that killed Myrcella Baratheon. Though her daughter’s death was inevitable, Ellaria’s fate was still undecided. While it’s true that the dungeons of the Red Keep tend to lower one’s life expectancy, we’ve seen characters escape from far worse situations.

I had assumed there was a good chance Ellaria would live long enough to escape or be freed but it seems that, unfortunately, her death cannot be avoided. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Indira Varma, the actor who plays Ellaria, confirmed that she will not be returning to the show. Indira describes her powerful final scene, she and Tyene actor Rosabell Laurenti Sellers had to actually be shackled to the walls of the set. By the end of the day they couldn’t remove them and they had to be cut off. Since we don’t see her death, Ellaria fans are free to imagine that she escapes off-screen and goes on to live a life of love, wine and spicy food – though I doubt she has such a future ahead of her.

I first discovered Indira’s back in 2005 in HBO’s Rome, which in many ways can be seen as a precursor to Game of Thrones. In that show, she played Niobe, a very different character than the fiery Ellaria. Niobe was a Roman housewife who ultimately was unable to overcome what societies pressures on her. This is in stark contrast to Ellaria, who freely lives the life she wants, society be damned. It speaks to Indira’s range that she can inhabit both characters so masterfully.

Though the shows treatment of Dorne has brought much criticism, it was always a pleasure watching Indira work. She tells us in the interview that she kept Ellaria’s leather wristband. If you miss her too dreadfully, you can catch her next on The Truth, a one-off drama on British TV.

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