Game of Thrones: Maisie Williams discusses her role in tonight’s shocking ending


The ending of the Battle of Winterfell was so surprising, not even Maisie Williams saw it coming.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones

The Battle of Winterfell was full of intense scenes, but the most surprising moment of the episode is one that will go down forever in television history and honestly should win one specific actress some major honors come award season.

Arya Stark singlehandedly takes on the Night King—and wins. Most fans weren’t expecting Arya to be the one to kill the leader of the army of the dead, and as it turns out, Maisie Williams wasn’t anticipating that conclusion either.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actress recalled that she hadn’t read the eighth season scripts in their entirety, wanting to experience the series finale for the first time during a table read with her fellow cast members in Belfast. She knew something was up, however, when director Miguel Sapochnik asked if she’d read the script—then refused to tell her anything until they sat down to go through them.

When the cast finally got to the scene where Arya defeats the Night King, the moment was met with a “huge f-cking cheer,” according to Kit Harrington. But even though the rest of the cast was on board with Arya’s huge accomplishment, Williams was reluctant at first.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Vladimir Furdik as The Night King. Photo: Courtesy of HBO

“It was so unbelievably exciting,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “But I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it. The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them. It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool. And then I told my boyfriend and he was like, ‘Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?’”

After shooting Arya’s scene with Melisandre, however, the ending grew on Williams. She realized that everything she’d worked for since the first season of the show was building up to this moment, and Melisandre’s prediction proves that point.

“It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does,” Williams added. “So then I was like, ‘F-k you Jon, I get it.’”

And Harrington admits that he was expecting to end the Night King himself. “I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me!” Harington told Entertainment Weekly. “But I like it. It gives Arya’s training a purpose to have an end goal.”

Harrington did admit that some fans will probably be disappointed with the choice to have Arya defeat the Army of the Dead. But he defended the decision by emphasizing that that’s what Game of Thrones does. It constantly surprises its audience, and that’s exactly what it does here.

“There’s also something about it not being the person you expect,” Harrington added. “The young lady sticks it to the man.”

(Granted, Harrington is the one who taught the young lady to “stick ’em with the pointy end.”)

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