Even by Game of Thrones standards, Arya Stark has had a pretty rough few years. Her dad was falsely branded a traitor and executed. Her mom and oldest brother were betrayed and murdered. She thinks her two younger brothers are dead (they’re not). She’s been imprisoned, tormented, and now she’s saddled with the brutish Sandor “The Hound” Clegane [Rory McCann] making her way across the dangerous countryside.
So are Arya’s misfortunes going to continue in season 4? Actress Maisie Williams says her character is long overdue for some positive news, and admitted some frustration on Arya’s behalf. “I feel like Arya deserves something good to happen,” she told EW during an interview conducted a couple weeks ago while the actress was attending the South by Southwest film festival in Austin. “She’s the most unfortunate character, nothing is going her way. She has powerful scenes, but not without a lot of mess-ups. It’s frustrating for me to never have an accomplishing scene and I think frustrating for the audience as well. But I think that’s coming soon.”
Of course, for Arya an accomplishing scene would likely mean either reuniting with one of her long lost family members, or crossing a name or two off her vengeful bedtime death wish list — and her traveling companion The Hound is one of those names. “There is a dark turn in her that’s kind of frightening,” Williams teases. “She’s learning a lot from The Hound and she’s being heavily influenced by that. She’s so young, she’s like a sponge and getting knowledge. She’s heavily influenced by people around her. Being next to The Hound she’s learning his brutal ways.”
Thrones showrunner Dan Weiss describes their storyline this year as like “a twisted road movie,” and makes a prediction about fan reaction to season 4: “If there’s going to be any breakout center of interest that’s going to blow people’s minds from a direction they never saw coming it will be Arya and The Hound,” he says. “Which is entirely on the power that Maisie and Rory bring to those scenes. Maisie is just a phenomenon. And when you have access to that, and are lucky enough to have her in your show, you take advantage of that. And Rory keeps upping the ante each year with this portrayal of a man who actually has a lot of nuance, though he didn’t seem like it out of the gate. The two of them together are so perfect it just seemed crazy not to give them a proper meaty storyline.”
So far, the relationship between Arya and The Hound has been pretty antagonistic, with Arya wanting to kill him for murdering a peasant boy in season 1 and Joffrey’s disgraced
knight bodyguard merely interested in getting a finders fee for returning the young Stark to her family. This season, Williams says, “They’re not angry with each other anymore. They’re not friends or anything like that. They’re trying to get along a little better. She’s still awful to him and pulls on his strings and he’s very brutal and physical with her. They’re almost helping each other now and trying to teach each other rather than just being annoying.”
Some things won’t change for the 16-year-old actress, however, like her costume — which has evolved very little over the years as her character has been on the run ever since fleeing King’s Landing in the first season. The costume department has occasionally made adjustments as she’s grown, though Williams wishes they had a reason to make more. “My biggest growth spurt was season 1 and 2 and I got a different costume then,” Williams says. “I’ve never really grown that much — which is good for [the show] but kinda sucks for me.”
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