Maisie Williams On Killing The Night King: I Thought Everybody Would Hate It

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Maisie Williams arrived at the table read for the final season of Game of Thrones not yet realizing that Arya Stark kills the Night King.

Like her co-star Kit Harington (Jon Snow), she hadn’t read the season 8 scripts (well she had read some parts) and instead wanted to largely experience the final season performed live by her castmates around a conference room table in Belfast.

“I was coming into work and everybody was talking about episode 3 and [director Miguel Sapochnik] was like, ‘Have you read the [season 3 script] yet?’” she recalls.

When GoT star said she had not yet read the episode, Sapochnik replied, “Oh, I can’t tell you then.”

Williams couldn’t understand his reluctance. “I was like, ‘Are we fighting the wights? Does The Night King die? So who kills him? What happens?’ And no one would say anything. Why is no one saying it? This is crazy.”

When the cast reached the end of episode 3 where Arya saves the Seven Kingdoms by sprinting into the action and stabbing the Night King with her Valyrian steel dagger, “it got a huge f—king cheer,” Harington recalls.

The twist is a monumental success for her character, and entirely unexpected. It was so unexpected, however, Williams initially worried fans wouldn’t like it.

 

Maisie Williams aka Arya Stark never thought the makers would choose her over Kit Harington (Jon Snow) to finish off Night King, the leader of Army of Dead. The actress thought the fans might not like the twist as they may think Arya didn’t deserve it.

“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?’

However, Maisie after shooting for the portion where Melisandre gives Arya a pep talk and reminds her of the Red Woman’s prophecy from Season 3 which meant trying to stop the Night King is Arya’s destiny.

When we did the whole bit with Melisandre, I realized the whole scene with [the Red Woman] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past 6 seasons 4 if you think about it since [Arya] got to the House of Black and White. It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does. So then I was like, Fk you Jon, I get it,’ she said.

Kit Harington on Arya Stark’s moment of glory

 

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. It’s much better how she does it the way she does it. I think it will frustrate some in the audience that Jon’s hunting the Night King and you’re expecting this epic fight and it never happens that’s kind of Thrones. But it’s the right thing for the characters. There’s also something about it not being the person you expect. The young lady sticks it to the man.

Director explains the surprise twist

Miguel Sapochnik, the director wanted this twist to come all of a sudden. I thought, Hmm, if I see Arya running then I know she’s going to do something. So it’s about almost losing her from the story and then have her come in as a surprise and pinning all our hopes on Jon being the guy going to do it because Jon’s always the guy. So we follow Jon in a continuous shot I want the audience to think: Jon’s gonna do it, Jon’s gonna do it’ and then he fails. He fails at the very last minute. So I’m hoping that’s a nice switch that no one sees coming,” Sapochnik told Entertainment Weekly.

Maisie Williams on shooting the iconic scene

I’ve never been in a battle before. Arya’s never in it. Episode 9, I skip every year. Which is bizarre since Arya’s the one that’s been training the most. I’ve never been around that way of working. I feel like I’ve always been part of this big show but in terms of being part of the episodes that really define us, this is my first taste of it. And I’ve been thrown in the deep end, as well You try and you train but nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night and again and again and it just doesn’t stop. And you can’t get sick you have to look out for yourself because there’s so you have to do that nobody else is going to But the sense of achievement after a day on set is unlike anything else. One of those really tough days, you know it’s going to be part of something so iconic and it will look amazing,” Williams told the website.

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Here’s How They Set Up That Twist On “Game Of Thrones”

Game of Thrones is known for its plot twists, but halfway through Season 8 we’ve probably gotten our biggest one ever.

THE NIGHT KING IS DEAD. AND ARYA STARK DEFEATED HIM.

While we were all busy trying to figure out who was born amidst smoke and stone, the show was quietly setting Arya Stark up as the real hero all along…

Take the way we meet Arya in the very first episode. While Bran is struggling to act because he’s thinking too much, Arya sneaks up from behind and nails the target.

Just like what happens in the godswood! It’s also signficant that the first thing Arya does in the fight against the army of the dead is fire an arrow, which serves as a nice reminder of her introduction.

In Season 1, Episode 2, when Jon gives Arya Needle (which is also the episode the catspaw dagger is introduced), Arya tells him she can be quick.

You bet she can.

And Jon gives Arya her first lesson in killing.

Which, again, this week’s episode reminded us of.

And again, this is exactly what Arya did with the Night King.

Arya’s whole arc has been about learning to be the ultimate killer. After Jon, she learned from Syrio Forel, who taught her how to be quick like a cat – and to say “not today” to the God of Death.

Which Melisandre reminds Arya of…right before she says NOT TODAY SIR to death personified, the Night King himself.

 

Side note: Ned Stark sacrificing himself in order to save his daughters takes on a whole new level of meaning now that Arya has single-handedly won the Great War.

Moving forward to Season 3, and Melisandre predicts rightfully that she and Arya will meet again.

Little did we realise at the time just how significant that BLUE EYES remark would be.

Arya goes on to learn from the Hound, who teaches her to find gaps and weak spots in armour…

And how to stab someone in the heart.

She learned those lessons well.

Speaking of the Hound, we’ve long been told he had a great purpose – mostly by Ser Beric Dondarrion, who himself believed he was brought back to life for a reason.

He first mentioned it to the Hound back in Season 3, in a scene where, certainly not coincidentally, Arya was also present.

He first mentioned it to the Hound back in Season 3, in a scene where, certainly not coincidentally, Arya was also present.

It turns out their purpose was literally to make sure Arya Stark stayed alive through to the end.

It’s significant that it was the two of them Arya spoke to in Season 8, Episode 2 (before she got busy with Gendry, anyway). And it’s Beric and the Hound who back Arya up and protect her during the Battle of Winterfell.

Meanwhile, Bran giving Arya the catspaw dagger that was used to try to kill him back in Season 1 was way more important than it seemed at the time.

Arya used it to prevent him from being killed by THE NIGHT KING HIMSELF. Did Bran know how this was going to play out the whole time?!

We even saw Arya’s hand-switching trick when she fought Brienne in Season 7.

Basically, there have been lots of little moments of foreshadowing throughout the series.

My mind is blown.

Our small stabby murder child really saved the world.

 

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