Game of Thrones’s Melisandre has some competition as the latest season of the hit fantasy TV show gallops on, in the form of a fellow Red Priestess played by Israeli actress Ania Bukstein, who makes her first appearance in the show next Sunday.
Bukstein, a Tel Aviv-based actress who moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union when she was eight years old, plays Kinvara, a devotee of the fire god R’hllor who encounters key characters Tyrion Lannister and Varys the eunuch in Meereen, and who could well be a significant new player in the epic saga.
And Bukstein is not the only Israeli to pop up across the Narrow Sea in this season’s song of ice and fire. Fans of the show will have already encountered Haifa-born actor Yousef Sweid with his portrayal of former Meereenese slave Ash.
Sweid, who appeared in last week’s episode, wrote on Facebook that while his appearance in the show is very limited, he did at least get to meet Peter Dinklage, who plays fan favorite Tyrion.
So I wasn't cut out! But in the trailer I'm just for less then half a second… And in the back… still it's exciting!
Peter Fucking Dinklage!Just caught him putting off his make-up, and im happy like a little kid.
The two Israeli actors realized late in the game that they had both been cast in the show, Bukstein told Ynet, because each actor only receives their own lines and not the entire script, in order to lessen the chance of plot leakages.
“We wrote to each other on Facebook when it was announced,” said Bukstein. “We both were excited, but we also didn’t ask each other what the other one was doing. You’re always scared that they [the show runners] will catch you.”