Never cross a Machiavellian mastermind. The prostitute-turned-madam-turned-spy Ros learned this the hard way, when Littlefinger gave her to Joffrey to use as target practice for his new crossbow. (It was payback for her thwarting his arrangements with Sansa.) Instead of the camera lingering on how Joffrey makes his first direct kill, it pans to Ros’s trussed-up, already dead body during Littlefinger’s now-famous “chaos is a ladder” speech. We pay our respects with actress Esmé Bianco. (Adapted from an interview for an earlier article.)
How did you find out about your character’s death?
I knew I was doing Season 3, but I thought it was strange that they hadn’t sent me any scripts. Then I got an email from the assistant of [showrunners] David Benioff and Dan Weiss, saying they wanted to conference call me. At that point, I was like, “Ah, that can’t be good news.” I knew I was living on borrowed time, and I was amazed that I had survived as long as I did, really. The call was like an awkward breakup. They were very timid about breaking the news, and eventually I had to be like, “Guys, why are you calling me?” They told me I was going to die, but they didn’t tell me how. They sent me the script the next day, and I was like, “Seriously? Why didn’t they just tell me on the phone that it was Joffrey who killed me?” I was so angry about that!
Getting killed by Joffrey was insulting because he’s such a little [expletive], excuse my French. He’s such a little twerp. Of all the characters to be killed by? And I was really infuriated that I didn’t get to die on screen. Nothing’s more fun than doing a great screen death! I begged them on set, “Can’t I have a final cough and sputter?” And they were like, “Nope, you’re dead.” “Please?” “Nope, you’re dead.”
Did you read any of the fan reaction? Did it help or hurt?
My character was kind of controversial because Ros doesn’t appear in the books, and a lot of the die-hard fans would time how many seconds I spent on screen per episode. They absolutely hated me in Season 1. So I stopped reading social media, because they upset me so much. People were seriously mean. I didn’t know people could be so horrible!
Did you check out social media after your death?
I had been sworn to secrecy, so I couldn’t tell anybody. But I tricked all my friends and invited them over: “It’s Cinco de Mayo, I’m having a party, and it’s also ‘Game of Thrones’ night, so we can watch that, too.” Almost like it’s an afterthought. I wanted all my friends around me for my death scene and the Twitter reactions. And it was absolutely insane. I couldn’t keep up with the tweets! I was surprised that there was such a huge reaction. I wasn’t one of the main characters, and it wasn’t one of the iconic deaths that people were expecting from the books. And people were reacting more than just, “Oh, she died,” or, “It looked gross.” People were really upset about it! That was really moving. So it worked! [Laughs] Maybe it’s because you don’t have that many characters in “Game of Thrones” who are just the average person on the streets.
Who had your favorite death and why?
I think Joffrey has to be one of them, because it was so satisfying. [Laughs] Obviously, I have my own personal reasons for enjoying watching Joffrey die. But seeing Catelyn Stark’s reaction during the Red Wedding, and the scream she lets out? I get goose bumps just thinking about it.