5 things to know about 'Game of Thrones' Red Priestess Kinvara
Multi-talented actress Ania Bukstein is also a pop singer, starred in 'The Sound of Music' and loves Instagram.
Of all the moments to come out of the veritable tiramisu of heartache, thrills and intrigue that was the most recent episode of "Game of Thrones," one of the biggest was the introduction of the newest Red Priestess, Kinvara. Played with beguiling charm by Israeli actress Ania Bukstein, the character has all the allure we've come to expect from HBO's hit series.
Below is a handful of items we know about Bukstein, the talents she brings to "Thrones" and the possible secrets her character may be hiding.
She's a successful singer and pianist
If "Game of Thrones" ever morphs into a musical, we know one actress who will absolutely score a solo number.
In addition to her talents as an actress, Bukstein is also an accomplished pianist and singer. For her debut self-titled 2014 pop album, she composed all of the music, with critics favorably comparing her vocal style to that of American singer/songwriter Norah Jones.
In a radio interview with TLV1, Bukstein's credited such legends as Barbra Streisand and Nina Simone for being the biggest inspirations behind her music.
"Nina Simone as a character is my life," she said. "She's a great inspiration for me. She started as a classical pianist and then she grew bigger and bigger and she became this pop-jazz icon. I used to listen to her a lot, listen to the way she expresses herself, and sings the words and brings the text. She's the queen of cover. She does the best covers ever."
You can see Bukstein weave her own cover magic above with her rendition of "Can't Feel My Face" by Canadian singer The Weeknd. Bukstein's next pop album will debut later this year.
She originally auditioned for the first season of 'Game of Thrones'
In a recent interview, Bukstein revealed that she originally sent in an audition tape for the first season of "Game of Thrones." Despite making it through to the "advanced stages" of the audition, she didn't get the gig. Last year, her dream of starring in the hit series finally came true.
"Suddenly, one day, it happened," she recalled. "My agent called me. A few days before, we had had a discussion about some film that I passed on, and I thought that he was calling to talk to me about that, and then he told me, 'Ania, you got Game of Thrones.' I think that I said, 'What? What? What?' I wanted to make sure that I heard him right."
Due to a filming contract wrapped in secrecy, Bukstein says she's forbidden to speak about anything to do with the role. We can only hope her appearance in Sunday's episode is one of many more to come.
She played Maria in 'The Sound of Music'
In addition to concerts and tackling roles in film and television, Bukstein also has a love for the theater. In 2013, she starred as Maria in "The Sound of Music" at the Tel Aviv Performance Arts Center in her native Israel.
"It's joy. It's just pure joy for me," she said at the time. "Every night I get goosebumps and I'm so thrilled to sing these songs. I feel honored to even touch this material because it's such a classic."
You can see her performing a version of the classic song "My Favorite Things" from the musical above.
Her 'Game of Thrones' character is likely hiding a secret
Spolier alert! Kinvara, the High Priestess played by Bukstein on "Game of Thrones," is likely not as she appears.
In addition to wearing nearly the same outfit as Melisandre, played by Dutch actress Carice van Houten, Kinvara also has an identical, magical necklace. As we saw earlier in the season, this necklace appears to imbue certain age-defying qualities on its owner. Once it's removed, however, the person's true physical form is revealed.
While we know little more about the newest "Thrones" character to juggle with the rest of the cast, perhaps there's a hint to her name? Kinvara in real life is a city in Ireland that means "the head of the sea." There's may not be a connection, but with this unpredictable series, it's fun to try and connect the dots nonetheless.
She has a love for Instagram
If you really want to get to know more about Ania, check out her Instagram account. The 33-year-old clearly has a preference for the photo/video sharing social network. Fans can look forward to everything from behind-the-scenes shots on various film sets to new releases of songs, performances and other personal moments.
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