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Game of Thrones’ Nell Tiger Free on What Myrcella Would Do As Queen, and Shooting Kisses on Her Birthday

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

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

If you thought Myrcella’s changed a lot since season two of Game of Thrones, you’re not wrong. Just as the part of Tommen was recast, so was his sister’s, the princess whose betrothal to a Dornish prince was arranged by her uncle Tyrion so he could keep her safe, arrange an alliance with the Martells, and root out Cersei’s spy, in one fell swoop. The actress who plays Myrcella now, Nell Tiger Free, is still sorting out what to call Jaime Lannister (“My dad? My uncle?”), but in this, her first-ever interview, she chats with Vulture about princesses for hire, what Myrcella would do if she were queen, and shooting kisses on her birthday.

Did you ever have an occasion to talk to the previous Myrcella, Aimee Richardson? She posted a picture of herself with a sign, “Princess for Hire.”
I saw that! And I thought it was really funny! And a really humble way to take it. Because I know if I was in her position, I would be upset, too, and I wouldn’t be able to handle it with humor. And she did, brilliantly. The night the first stills were released of me at the premiere, Aimee mentioned me in a tweet. She said that I looked really pretty and that she was sure that I’d make a great Myrcella, and I said thank you. She seems like a really, really sweet girl, and she’s not been bitter or rude in the slightest. She was just lovely and welcoming. I’ve been very lucky to get that, because you never know how someone’s going to react. I wish her all the best. I’m sure she’ll do great in the future.

So let’s talk about what’s happening in Dorne. If there are people in Dorne who want to harm Myrcella, why stay? Why not go?
There’s a real danger threatening me, but I’m blinded by love, and I don’t know how much danger I’m in. I’m so in love with my fiancé, I just want to be there with the boy I love. So when we get into an argument about that, that’s the first time you really see what Myrcella has to say. And obviously, she thinks Jaime is just her uncle. She doesn’t really know she’s a child of incest. [Laughs.] Well, maybe in her heart of hearts, she’s a little bit suspicious that there’s something more there. I think deep down, she knows. But Myrcella’s sweet. She doesn’t have any bad intentions. She’s just been in the middle of a big mess of evil people who have bad intentions.  I’m not even sure if she knows the full extent of her brother’s evil acts. She was never really exposed to it.

Well, a little bit, at least on Joffrey’s name day.
But luckily, Joffrey never did anything to Myrcella, not personally. But yeah, she saw the way he ruled, and she was certainly exposed to some nasty things. Maybe she pushed all the Joffrey stuff aside a bit, when she got sent to sunny Dorne. She got lucky. And there are some very strong females in Dorne. Ellaria, she’s pretty badass — which might not be good for Myrcella! [Laughs.] But the overall atmosphere in Dorne is very free, and she’s really lucky to grow up there.

In the books, there’s a Dornish plot to crown Myrcella, because she’s the older surviving sibling and they practice female primogeniture. Do you think Myrcella would make a good queen?
Well, I think Prince Doran would want that. He wants the best for her, and that would be good for his son, as well, because she’s to be married to his son, so … But I think — and admittedly I’m a bit biased! — she would make a really good queen. Because there isn’t any spitefulness in Myrcella. She does have some grit to her, because as you can see, she’s able to stand up to her dad. So I think she’d be able to make decisions, but I’m not sure if she has the cruelty to kill people. I don’t think she has that in her. So she’d probably be similar to how Tommen rules. She’d be a pacifist.

Well, the way Tommen is ruling right now is by not ruling. He’s let the High Sparrow steamroll him.
Yeah. [Laughs.] I think Myrcella would have more say than that. She would abolish slavery, just everywhere. She would want to make everything fair, so there would be nothing unjust in the way she ruled, because she’s very level-headed. And she would learn to rule. I don’t think Tommen’s actually ruling. Myrcella would try to make a difference. She’s very in love with love, and she wants to bring happiness to people, so she wouldn’t see a problem with gay marriage, or gay love, at all. She would definitely try to get rid of the prejudice against that. Or maybe I’m just talking about me! [Laughs.] I don’t know if she would have the strength to instantly change the entire system, but baby steps. She’d like to make it so anyone could love whoever they wanted to love.

Speaking of love, a lot of what you’ve had to do on the show is make out with Toby Sebastian, who plays Trystane. What was it like shooting your first on-screen kiss?
[Giggles.] Well, um, shooting that was fun! And we had to shoot that a lot of different times, for a lot longer than you see on screen. Toby made it very comfortable, because at first I was uneasy. I was shaking! I was trying not to shake! It was really nerve-racking. But he made me safe, so by the 27th take, it was like kissing a brother, but not in a weird Game of Thrones–y way. That would be my mom and dad! [Laughs.] But it definitely didn’t help that my real mom and my sister were watching at the monitors! They had to leave, at one point. They’re okay with the gore, but they couldn’t handle me kissing. The longer kissing scene where Bronn and Jaime interrupt us, that was actually shot on my birthday.

Maybe that was the production’s birthday present to you …
Yes, sort of. They got me a cake as well. “Here’s a boy. Here’s a cake.” [Laughs.]

GOT’s Myrcella on What She’d Do As Queen