Note: Spoilers for the final season of Game of Thrones.
Were you disappointed Arya Stark never confronted Cersei Lannister in the final season of Game of Thrones? Especially given that the scheming queen had been on Arya’s assassination hit list for so many years?
It turns out the actors felt similarly — at least at first.
When EW asked Maisie Williams what was her biggest regret for her character, the actress said it was not getting a season 8 scene with Cersei actress Lena Headey.
“I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she’s good fun,” Williams explained. “And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought [while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.”
Then Williams began to think more about her character’s final season journey and embraced Arya’s different, more hopeful direction.
“The Hound says, ‘You want to be like me? You want to live your life like me?’” Williams said. “In my head, the answer was: ‘Yeah.’ But I guess sleeping with Gendry, seeing Jon again, realizing she’s not just fighting for herself anymore but also her family — it’s bringing up all these human emotions that Arya hasn’t felt for a long time. When The Hound asks her if she has another option, all of a sudden there are so many more things in [Arya’s] life that she can live for, that she can do. It was a shock for me because that wasn’t how I envisioned her arc going this year. Then I realized there were other things I could play, bringing Arya back to being a 16-year-old again.”
“It’s not a Game of Thrones ending for Arya, it’s a happy ending,” she concludes. “It gave me a place to take Arya that I never thought I’d go with her again.”
Headey said she hoped she’d have a scene with Williams in the final season as well.
“I lived that fantasy until I read the script,” Headey said. “There were chunky scenes and it was nothing that I had dreamt about. It was a bit of come down and you have to accept that it wasn’t to be. There is something poetic about the way it all happens in the end with her and Jaime.”
As fans know, Cersei instead perished with Jaime Lannister during Daenerys’ firebomb attack on King’s Landing which collapsed portions of the Red Keep.
For Williams, the actress is now preparing for her post-GoT life, which includes the upcoming X-Men spin-off The New Mutants.
“I’m nervous for what comes next and just want to prove myself as an actor and make the most of this series,” Williams says. “There are not as many opportunities where you get to do everything with one character and this season there’s a whole spectrum I get to do. So whatever happens afterward, I made this count.”
Exclusive coverage of the Game of Throne series finale:
— Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, producer on Game of Thrones‘finale’s shock twist
— Bran Stark speaks: Isaac Hempstead-Wright discusses the finale
— Game of Thrones series finale recap: This is the end
— Sophie Turner on whether Sansa wanted the Iron Throne
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