– EN Showbiz – Actress Maisie Williams feared die-hard Game of Thrones fans would despise her character’s big plot twist in Sunday’s (28Apr19) Battle of Winterfell episode, confessing even she questioned the shocking finale.
The young star portrays Arya Stark in the cult fantasy drama series, and in the third episode of the eighth and final season, viewers were left stunned as she became the one to take down the villainous Night King and his army of White Walkers over series favourite Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington.
Maisie had decided to avoid reading the full script ahead of the cast’s first table read, so when she turned up to work on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she couldn’t understand why everyone was buzzing about the storyline.
“I was coming into work and everybody was talking about episode three and (director Miguel Sapochnik) was like, ‘Have you read the (script) yet?'” she tells Entertainment Weekly.
Admitting she hadn’t, Maisie began peppering Sapochnik with questions: “I was like, ‘Are we fighting the wights (zombies)? Does the Night King die? So who kills him? What happens?'” she shares. “And no one would say anything. (I thought), ‘Why is no one saying it? This is crazy.'”
It was only when the table read reached that pivotal plot point that Maisie finally understood their odd behaviour: “It got a huge f**king cheer,” Kit says.
But Maisie feared fans of the show wouldn’t be as positive – and her boyfriend’s reaction to the plot twist didn’t help either.
“It was so unbelievably exciting,” she remembers. “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?'”
Even Kit was left flabbergasted: “I was surprised. I thought it was gonna be me!” he exclaims, before admitting he was pleased with the way the Battle of Winterfell concluded. “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.”
The epic fight episode took the cast and crew 55 nights to shoot in cold and wet Belfast, and show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss insist they’ve been planning Arya’s big story arc for years.
“For… I think it’s probably three years or something, we’ve known it’s gonna be Arya who was going to deliver that fatal blow,” Benioff explains in a special Inside the Episode featurette.
“She seemed like the best candidate, provided we weren’t thinking about her in that moment,” Weiss adds, referring to Arya’s near death experiences earlier on in the episode.
It’s the second surprise plot twist that Maisie has been involved in in as many weeks – Arya stripped off and lost her virginity to co-star Joe Dempsie’s character Gendry in season eight, episode two.

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