Interview With Maisie Williams
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.
What's going through her head when she murders the Frey man along the road?
It's intense for her to make that decision and commit to it. It's extremely brave—she could get killed at any second. All these guys have swords and they all know how to use them; she has one tiny little dagger. But I don't think she's even thinking about that. She's just angry and doesn't know how to express herself. She's longing for a family and he's talking about how he murdered her family. It really gets to her so she decides to give a little back.
The Hound comes to her defense. What's Arya's relationship with the Hound?
She is grieving her father immensely, and I think he's a male figure that she looks up to. Things have changed since she first met the Hound this season. She realizes if she wants to get out of this alive, he's a pretty good person to be with because no one messes with him. That doesn't mean she's not upset about the things that happened in the past, but I think at the moment, there are bigger things to worry about.
What's your working relationship like with Rory McCann?
Rory is such a nice guy. He plays a lot of instruments and he had this one called a strumstick that I thought was fantastic. At the end of the season, he wrapped it up and gave it to me. I was really grateful. I've been learning to play different things and when we go back for Season 4, I'm going to show him.
Arya's had many companions—Syrio, Jaqen, the Hound, Gendry—who do you think has influenced her the most?
Syrio, I think. She got her fighting spirit from him. And he obviously gave her a good outlook on life and death. She was so naïve then and didn't have a clue what she was talking about. It's not until now that she realizes, "Geez, this guy had some really valuable words." If only she could tell him.
What are your hopes for Arya?
I ultimately see Arya on her own—killing the bad guys and helping the good guys. I don't see her on the Iron Throne. I think she'd be a really good hand to the right king. She'd make good, loyal decisions. She'd never do anything for the wrong reasons.
Which character do you admire the most?
Tyrion, because of his emotional strength. So many people are so rude to him, it's heartbreaking to watch. I admire him for still coming back with witty remarks.
Which character or being scares you the most?
Joffrey. Not so much now because Margaery is in the picture, but the power is really in the wrong hands and it could end very messily.
Do you have a favorite prop?
Needle. It's really beautiful but I don't always get to use it because they don't really trust me. I thought no one got to use a normal sword, and then everyone was like, "I do." I realized it was just me. No one trusts me with my sword.
Given the story's distinct locations, in which region would you most want to live?
Across the Narrow Sea, where Daenerys lives, because I'd get to film in Morocco.
Direwolves, eagles, ravens... What animal would you most want to warg into?
Direwolves. I haven't read the book, but I know this snippet I came across on the Internet, when Bran wakes up and he can taste blood in his mouth. I think that's kind of creepy, but great.
Finish this sentence: The night is dark and full of ________.