Warning: Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season eight, episode two.
Last night, Game of Thrones pulled a move that no one was ready for — and given that we expect most of the main characters to die this season, that’s saying a lot. Arya Stark, played by Maisie Williams, had her first-ever GoT sex scene. And apparently, the 22-year-old Williams was just as shocked as we were to see this side of Arya come out.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Williams reveals that it was co-star and BFF Sophie Turner who brought this scene to her attention. “Whatever you do, you have to skip to this episode, this scene first,” Turner told Williams. For a while, Williams admits it was “practically all [she] knew about the entire season.”
Given how much of a shift this is for Arya’s character, Williams first assumed the scene was a prank. The GoT showrunners have done this before: in season 1, they pranked Kit Harington with a scene where his character’s face becomes disfigured. (And earlier this year, Harington mused on whether they’d pranked the cast again with a fake ending to season 8.) But when the actress confronted David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, they told her the scripts were for real. Williams’ response? “Oh f—k.”
While 22 isn’t particularly young to shoot a sex scene (by Hollywood standards), Williams has been part of the Game of Thrones cast since age 11, and has known much of the cast and crew as long. So, it was of utmost importance to everyone involved that Williams be comfortable. The showrunners told the actress upfront that she could “show as much or as little” as she wanted — and Williams ultimately decided to keep it fairly modest. “I don’t think it’s important for Arya to flash,” Williams shared. “This beat isn’t really about that. And everybody else has already done it on the show, so… “
So, what was the scene about for Arya? “It’s interesting to see Arya be a bit more human,” Williams offers, adding that “this is something she’s stayed away from, an emotion we’ve never really seen her engage with.” It’s true: we’ve seen Arya heartbroken over the loss of her family, fighting for survival, and acting on blind rage — but never so curious about sex or romance as she was last night. It was a humanizing moment for Arya’s character, and a true testament to how much Williams has grown as an actor.
As for co-star Joe Dempsie, 31, he admits it was “slightly strange for [him],” having known Williams as long as he has. But he understood that she’s a grown woman doing her job, and had no intention of being “patronizing” toward the actress: “we just had a lot of fun with it,” he concludes. Speaking on behalf of the audience, we did too.
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