Your Red Wedding scenes are intense. What was filming like and what you were going for?
I'd spoken to David Nutter, the director, a few days before. He really wanted to show chaos, so we had all the stunt guys fighting around us during my reaction shot. A lot of the time you have to act to something that isn't really there, so Richard [Madden] wasn't there on the night; it was another guy in the costume. David talked me through it.
I think what we wanted was she's given up. She's really just emotionally drained. She sees things slowly go from bad to worse and the fighter in her is lost.
Was that emotional for you as well?
Definitely. I knew the scene was coming for a very long time, and then I read it in the script. I didn't really know what to expect, but I really felt like I was there. I was emotionally drained by the end of it.
Arya is present in two of the series' most significant moments: the Red Wedding and Ned's death. What does she bring to the story in these turning points?
I read an interview Alan Taylor did in the big ‘Game of Thrones' Behind the Scenes book, and he was saying at the end of the scene where Ned dies, there's a lot of breathing. You hear Ned's breath fade into Arya's breath. It's like part of his character lives on.
You see traits of other characters in Arya—Sansa, Bran and Jon Snow. We saw a lot of Ned in Robb this season. Obviously the family is so far away distance-wise, but I think they've really tried to keep them united in their family traits. That's really nice so you don't lose a character—there are still parts of them there.
What do you like most about Arya?
Her ability to stand up for herself and say to threatening people, "Actually, I think you're a liar and I don't really like you." She's one of the few in the whole series that speaks truthfully all the time. I think that's quite a redeeming quality in a series of so many characters that are just out to get each other.
How has she been affected by the trauma she's faced?
She never really feels safe. I think she's almost prepared to be on her own for the rest of her life. She doesn't want to rely on anyone too much because she's worried they'll be taken away from her. I think that's really sad for someone her age, but it's probably for the best because I don't think she would have coped this long if she hadn't prepared herself.