‘Game of Thrones': Maisie Williams on what’s best for Arya Stark

April 22, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
1387321 et 0318 thrones 04 Game of Thrones: Maisie Williams on whats best for Arya Stark

Maisie Williams, left, Michelle Fairley and Sophie Turner are three of the stars in HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones." Fairley plays the mother of the two girls. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

1387321 et 0318 thrones 03 Game of Thrones: Maisie Williams on whats best for Arya Stark

Sophie Turner, left, Michelle Fairley and Maisie Williams are three of the stars in HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones." Fairley plays the mother of the two girls. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

1387321 et 0318 thrones 01 Game of Thrones: Maisie Williams on whats best for Arya Stark

Sophie Turner, left, Michelle Fairley and Maisie Williams are three of the stars in HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones." Fairley plays the mother of the two girls. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

1387321 et 0318 thrones 05 Game of Thrones: Maisie Williams on whats best for Arya Stark

Maisie Williams, left, Michelle Fairley and Sophie Turner are three of the stars in HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones." Fairley plays the mother of the two girls. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Fans of HBO’s lavish fantasy series “Games of Thrones” all seem to love plucky Arya Stark for her fearlessness and her brash, outspoken ways.

But Maisie Williams, the 16-year-old British actress who plays the youngest daughter of House Stark, says she thinks that if her screen alter ego really wanted to survive the brutal world of Westeros and make it back safely to her family home of Winterfell, she perhaps should be just a bit more strategic about her behavior.

“Her ability to tell people what she thinks gets her into trouble a lot, and it’s kind of unnecessary, but it’s the way she is,” Williams said in an interview last month. “That’s one of the things I don’t like about her. Her ability to just tell people what she thinks, it makes her a likable character but it doesn’t mean she’s making the right decisions. I think people forget that sometimes. If you really want what’s best for Arya, maybe you have to lose a bit of that kick-ass-ness.”

Although she might have a point, “Game of Thrones” viewers probably shouldn’t expect to see a more demure Arya anytime soon. She demonstrated her high-spirited side once again in Sunday night’s episode, “All Men Must Die,” speaking out against the Hound (Rory McCann) — and it’s that Arya fans are likely to see more of as Season 3 of the hit series progresses.

QUIZ: Test your “Game of Thrones” knowledge

Although Arya unquestionably has served as a breakout role for Williams, the actress said she is as surprised as anyone to find herself on the cusp of a new career. Prior to the series, she had studied dance, and she said she only auditioned for “Game of Thrones” at the suggestion of the agent she landed following a recital.

“I’d never really thought about acting before,” Williams said. “It had never been something that I’d wanted to do or set out to do. When [‘Game of Thrones’] all came about, it was a bit of a surprise and I realized how big it was, it was kind of daunting and I was sort of nervous. It was a bit nerve-wracking, I think. I felt a little bit out of my comfort zone and maybe a bit of an underdog.”

Even for the most accomplished of actors, navigating the rocky terrain of the world created by George R.R. Martin in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels — which chronicle the masterful manipulations and wars that break out over who will control the Iron Throne — isn’t easy. Williams decided early on not to read the novels and to rely simply on the events depicted in the scripts for each episode to give screen life to Arya.

“My mom and my stepdad have read the books,” Williams said. “For the reason that they’re very complicated, I haven’t. I know that in previous seasons, the stories have changed slightly, and I don’t want to get my hopes up for things that maybe won’t happen. At the moment, the scripts are complicated enough and I get confused enough with them. I think two stories would be too much.”

Williams, like her costars, is unwilling to divulge many details concerning what audiences might expect from the show’s third season, though she did say she would welcome the opportunity for Arya to appear somewhat less tomboyish and more outwardly feminine during her scenes (even if her rough-and-tumble exterior does come with certain advantages).

“In the first season, Arya’s wearing dresses a lot, and [you can see] how much she’s changed up until now with the short hair and everything,” Williams said. “It’s cool. I sit down in the middle of the woods in the dirt and stuff and it doesn’t make a difference. They’re always adding dirt to my costume. I can sit on the tree stump and relax and they don’t mind about getting food on my shirt and stuff like when I’m eating my lunch because you don’t notice. Wearing a dress would be tough for that reason.

“I think people think I’m a lot younger than I am because of how I look on screen,” she continued. “I think it would be nice if there wasn’t quite so much of a difference between Arya and Maisie, but you can’t have everything. I’m still happy with the way it’s going.”

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


3 Responses to ‘Game of Thrones': Maisie Williams on what’s best for Arya Stark

  1. hagit says:

    i love you arya !!!! love the name and the girl in the show !!! i wanna name my baby arya so she be strong and pretty like her :)

  2. lbjack says:

    Ironic, that she's so outspoken about how she thinks her character is a bit outspoken. Nevertheless, it's a great part, and I hope she's enjoying it. She sounds like as interesting and fine a young lady as her character.

  3. godzilla1 says:

    Jaqen H'ghar is a great character. The way Arya and he interact is fantastic. I love that scene where she gives him his own name as the target of assassination. He says "the girl is without honor." She says nothing but shrugs. Great scene!

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