Fans’ biggest question heading into “Game of Thrones” Season 6 is “Is Jon Snow forever dead?” but DeObia Oparei doesn’t think it’s the only unknown viewers should get hung up on. The actor, who portrays Areo Hotah in HBO’s fantasy series, also thinks people should be a bit more concerned about the welfare of Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian).
In the Season 5 finale, the Sand Snakes poisoned and killed Trystane’s fiancee Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free) after the pair set sail for King’s Landing with her uncle/father Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — something Oparei considers a high point for Season 5’s Dorne storyline. Though the viewers know the Sand Snakes and Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) are behind the murder, no one on the boat does, leaving Trystane in a rough situation.
“He is on the boat there with a poisoned Myrcella,” Oparei notes to Zap2it when asked what he thinks Season 6’s biggest non-Jon Snow question is. “What are they going to do with him? Are they going to kill him? Are they going to take him back to King’s Landing and kill him? What’s going to happen to him, and then how does that impact Dorne? Is there going to be war, because our boy’s on that boat sailing into danger? So for me, I think that’s a really great question.”
Oparei recently wrapped a significant role on “Independence Day: Resurgence” as African warlord Dikembe, and at the time of his conversation with Zap2it he had not yet read his “Game of Thrones” Season 6 scripts. He’ll soon be heading back to set to film more as Areo Hotah, the captain of Doran Martell’s (Alexander Siddig) guards in Dorne. Keeping him up-to-date during his time away have been Dorne costars Indira Varma, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jessica Henwick.
“I’m hearing rumors on the grapevine from other actors, but that’s about it,” Oparei says with a laugh. “Jessica’s got all the gossip.”
Oparei had limited screentime in Season 5, and he imagines the case will be the same in the forthcoming season. Though he hadn’t read the scripts yet so he doesn’t know exactly how much he’ll appear in Season 6, Oparei believes his late call to set — shooting began in July — is “indicative of how much I’m going to be in this season.”
“It’s really hard to do that. I’ve seen people come into the show, they just shoot for one week, and you look at the season and that storyline is the most memorable,” he admits, not sweating the smaller “Thrones” role. “It’s not often about quantity with this show because they set such incredible escapades that the most memorable thing in the whole season could be one or two scenes with a character that was only in one ep. That doesn’t worry me that much, but there is a sense of walking on a tight rope on ‘Game of Thrones.'”
Since Areo is a famed fighter in Dorne, Oparei hopes Season 6 gives him a chance to make use of the character’s imposing axe. “I’m excited for what’s to come up but that axe, it’s such a number in itself,” he says. “It requires really great choreography. As an actor, I hope that that’s going to be utilized in the new season.”
Season 5 recently became available for digital download (the physical Blu-ray and DVD sets will be out March 15, 2016). Looking back, Oparei reflects that he got some mixed reactions from fans about the Dorne storyline, but “nothing but positive experience for the characters and my characters.”
“I just got people wanting more,” he says with a laugh. “I wanted to see more, so I just agreed with them.”
“Game of Thrones” Season 6 is slated to premiere in spring 2016 on HBO.