A GAME of Thrones star has spoken of her love for Southend ahead of the final series beginning this week.

Nathalie Emmanuel plays Missandei on the hit fantasy drama series, which has gained huge popularity globally.

But the star was quick to praise her hometown of Southend as being fundamental in her career.

Speaking to BBC Essex she said: “It is home isn’t it. It is where I grew up it is where I went to school.

“It is where I spent my formative years, it is where I first got into singing, and dancing, and acting and all the things I enjoy.

“I went to South East Theatre School from the age of three and then I guess it went from there.

“I went to Westcliff High School for Girls and its a pretty academic school, and working hard is the only option.

“It gave me a great work ethic. I loved growing up in Southend.

“It is a very small town and I was excited to see what the world could offer, but it is always great to come home and go to mum’s house.”

In 2013, Nathalie was cast as Missandei, Daenerys Targaryen’s interpretor in the hit HBO show.

Initially, she was a bit part character, appearing in 15 episodes through season three and four.

But she has taken on a main role since season five, and is set to feature heavily in season eight, with episode one aired at 2am this morning on Sky Atlantic.

Since taking on the role with Game of Thrones, Nathalie has gone on to star in two Maze Runner films, as well as blockbusters Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, and is taking central roles in miniseries Four Weddings and a Funeral this year, as well as The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

While speaking to BBC Essex, Nathalie revealed her shock and excitement about getting the Game of Thrones role.

She sad: “I was a huge fan of the show. I had been watching it pretty avidly and had been harassing my agent about getting an audition. I never thought I would get it but the moment I did my life changed. I don’t think I have every cried so hard, so its really exciting.”