Fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones have come to expect the deaths of beloved characters on the show, often in violent, disturbing ways. However, another thing fans know too well is that if someone isn’t actually shown to be dead, there’s usually some hope that they can be saved. Since last week’s staggering episode, many have held out some glimmer of optimism for the character of Ellaria Sand, but it looks as though it’s all in vain.
In the second episode of the show’s current season, Ellaria and her daughters were attacked, along with Theon and Yara Greyjoy, by the latter’s uncle, Euron — the King of the Iron Islands.
While her other daughters were slain by Euron, in last week’s episode Ellaria and her daughter Tyene were brought back to King’s Landing and presented as gifts to the current queen of Westeros, Cersei Lannister.
Ellaria and her Sand Snakes were responsible for the death of Cersei’s daughter in Season 5 when she was given a poisonous and fatal kiss.
As vengeance, Cersei uses the same poison on Tyene and leaves both she and Ellaria chained together in a dungeon.
Cersei vows to keep Ellaria alive to watch Tyene die and her body rot into nothingness, even if she has to be force-fed to stay alive.
There have been many fan theories in the days since, suggesting that anyone from Bronn to Ser Jorah may eventually arrive in King’s Landing to rescue Ellaria (though there’s little hope for Tyene).
In an interview this week, the actress behind Ellaria, Indira Varma, said, “I kid myself that Ellaria will be saved. ‘She’s still alive, isn’t she?’ Someone’s got to miss her. But who?”
While that may sound optimistic, Varma clarified in another interview, “I stay alive. I’m just not going to reappear.”
Still, there’s always some hope. Game of Thrones producers are notoriously secretive about upcoming episodes and storylines and we still have one more season to go. Unless Varma was truly given a definite answer about her character’s fate, there’s a chance we might see Ellaria one last time, for better or for worse.