WARNING: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead
HBO's Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams initially thought that her recent love scene was a prank played on her by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The actress has portrayed Arya Stark since the show’s first season and remains a mainstay even as it moves into its last.
If you haven’t watched last night’s episode of Game of Thrones yet, we advise you to stop reading now, because there are spoilers ahead. Since the show’s return, there has been an obvious attraction between Arya and Gendry (Joe Dempsie), whom she met back in season 2. The two had grown quite close, but Arya was still very much a child at that point. They were recently reunited at Winterfell after not seeing one another for years. Well, it didn’t take too long for things to heat up, as the pair got together in last night’s episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Knowing that it may well be their final night on Earth, thanks to an impending battle with the Night King and his vast army of the undead, Arya chose to spend what time she had left in Gendry’s arms.
Now, EW reports that when Williams first read the scene - at the urging of her close friend and onscreen sister, Sophie Turner, who’d gotten through the script first - she was sure that Benioff and Weiss were messing with her. Apparently, this is something that the duo have been known to do. Back in season 1, they sent Kit Harrington a phony scene in which Jon Snow’s face becomes incredibly disfigured. Williams stated, “At first, I thought it was a prank. I was like, ‘Yo, good one.’ And [the showrunners were] like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh f—k!” The actress didn’t truly process that the scene was legit until she was sitting down for the table read, at which point she found herself with a sudden desire to hit the gym. Williams also mentioned that how much or how little skin she showed was entirely up to her. However, it wasn’t the logistics or awkwardness of filming the actual scene that Williams felt should be the takeaway here. What mattered most to her was what this decision meant for Arya, who was finally reconnecting with a human part of her that she had largely forgotten.
The pairing of Arya and Gendry has already become a popular one, but with the inevitable bloodbath that’s to come, it’s unclear if either will manage to survive. Williams even shocked fans with an April Fool’s gag as to the youngest Stark daughter’s early demise. Viewers are flocking to their televisions in record numbers to see who lives, who dies and who (if anyone) will sit on the Iron Throne. Keeping the show’s secrets has been a constant struggle for both those on camera and behind-the-scenes, with the recent leaks only serving to make it more difficult for those hoping to remain spoiler-free.
Arya has had quite a journey across the past seven seasons, with the character losing more of her humanity with each passing year. Her desire to be intimate with Gendry is the most human reaction that she’s had to anything in quite some time. There are plenty of viewers who would choose to spend their final moments in the exact same way. Fans may not have been too surprised by this development, as the show’s hints about their feelings for each other had been less than subtle, but it was certainly a new emotional beat for Arya, adding even more depth to the fan favorite. Now let’s just hope that she makes it through the remaining episodes of Game of Thrones alive.
Game of Thrones season 8 continues Sunday April 28th at 9pm on HBO.