Game of Thrones Star Reveals the Moment She Knew Her Character was Doomed
Natalia Tena has found a new home in John Wick’s universe, but she still has lingering feelings about her time in Westeros.
It’s been nearly seven years since Game of Thrones Season 6, a stacked epic fantasy saga that featured some of the show’s most defining moments. Among the season’s many casualties was Osha, a wildling turned servant of House Stark who looked after the younger members of the family.
British actress Natalia Tena played Osha until her death at the hands of the wretched Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Now Tena plays a shady character of her own in John Wick: Chapter 4 as the enigmatic Katia Jovanovich, John Wick’s adoptive sister and figurehead of a Russian Romani syndicate of assassins.
In an interview with Inverse, Natalia Tena looks back on her time in Westeros. While she wishes Osha survived, she still remembers the moment she knew her death was certain.
“I was so excited in Season 6 when they brought me back,” Natalia Tena says. “I’d been out for two or three seasons. They were like, ‘Don’t worry, she’s gonna come back.’”
When Tena eventually returned, she was informed her scenes would primarily be with Iwan Rheon, who she worked with on the sci-fi horror series Residue.
“He was my boyfriend in that one,” Tena says, noting they “had to do this mad sex scene” that contrasted with their later encounter in Game of Thrones. But when Tena saw her Thrones shooting schedule, she knew Osha’s time was up.
“I’m only working with him for two weeks,” Tena says, “That’s when I clocked, ‘They’re definitely killing me off.’ Because I only had my scenes with him, and it’s very little to build on. So I was like, ‘Okay, I’m dying.’”
Game of Thrones soldiered on for two more seasons after Osha’s death, and Tena wishes Osha had lived to see it. “I would have loved to make it to the end,” she says. “I wish as well that me and Art [Parkinson, who played Rickon] could have joined up with Bran and the other wildlings with Hodor. Because we split off, and it would have been great to come back together.”
While Osha was a minor character in George R.R. Martin’s books, her role was expanded for the TV series, where she appeared in 16 episodes. Osha wasn’t terribly consequential to the grand scheme of things, but her evolution from angry wildling to guardian of the Stark children was an enjoyable one that offered insight into life beyond the wall. Osha was described as “underused” by The Indepedenent and “underrated” by Collider, and in a 2011 interview, George R.R. Martin credited Tena’s performance for making him rethink Osha in his still-ongoing book series.
While Tena has left footprints in universes ranging from Harry Potter to Star Wars, it was Game of Thrones that garnered the most recognition.
“I was in my twenties when I did Osha,” Tena says. “I was doing gigs in my band on Friday and Saturday nights. Inevitably on Sunday, I’d be hungover. My hair in a mess. When it was winter I had this vintage fur coat. That’s when I get most recognized. You go to the pub for a Bloody Mary and it’s like, ‘Are you the Wildling?’ When I looked ragged, basically.”
John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in theaters on March 24.