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Why Game Of Thrones Fans Didn't Like The Sand Snakes, According To One Actress

Nymeria Sand on a hill

Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.

While we're only two episodes in, Season 7 of Game of Thrones has been an absolute doozy. We've already seen Dany arrive in Dragonstone, new character interactions, and even a few deaths. Said deaths happened last episode, as two of Dorne's Sand Snakes were brutally killed by Euron Greyjoy in his assault against Dany's fleet. Many Game fans were happy to see them go, as overall reception for the Sand Snakes' plot has been icy, and now one actress thinks she knows why some hated the Dorne scenes: there were just too many characters to meet in a short amount of time.

Jessica Henwick has played Nymeria Sand for the past few seasons of Game of Thrones, and recently discussed her character's fate with EW. She believes the Sand Snakes were poorly received because of their limited screen time and dialogue, saying:

It was always acknowledged that it was going to be very hard to give each of us a storyline. They had to introduce three characters all at once and differentiate them. When you're limited to an introduction of two lines per character and there are four characters in the scene --- during our introduction scene in season five --- it's hard to create a lasting impression. You kind of have to shove a character down the audience's throat and Game of Thrones' success is in its multifaceted characters. At the time it was definitely frustrating feeling like there's so much potential here, and a lot of the stuff that we shot didn't make the final cut. It was hard. But overall, given the size of the character, I've been very happy with how it's come out. It is what it is. There's nothing I can say, really.

Jessica Henwick actually makes some great points here. Let's break down exactly where Game of Thrones went wrong with the Sand Snakes.

To start, all three of Oberyn Martell's bastard girls were introduced in one scene. In their brief, violent introduction, audiences were expected to differentiate all three women, including which of them was Ellaria's daughter. The Sand Snakes didn't have all that many scenes during their tenure on the show, and Tyene was the one given slightly more dialogue than her sisters. So characters like Nymeria had little chance to make an impact.

Dorne is actually a pretty fascinating aspect of George R.R. Martin's original novels. But narrating character Arianne Martell, as well as the main plot for Myrcella Baratheon, were cut from the show, making the entire kingdom feel tertiary in the greater story of Game of Thrones. The Sand Snakes and Dorne could have been fleshed out and made more interesting if this storyline was included, but HBO decided to give it the chop.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO, and you can catch Jessica Henwick reprise her role as Colleen Wing in the MCU when The Defenders arrives on August 18th. In the meantime, check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch.

Corey Chichizola
Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.