Fans who felt uncomfortable watching a now-grown Arya Stark have her first romantic encounter on Game of Thrones can rest assured that they're not alone, as star Maisie Williams took to Twitter to inform everyone her family went through the same thing. Maybe that revelation will help put the unexpected love scene into perspective for fans.
In the latest episode of the HBO series, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Arya chose to spend what might be her last night on Earth with Gendry (played by Joe Dempsie). Not wanting to die without having had a sexual experience, she took charge with her childhood crush and left viewers shocked and divided afterwards. While the depiction of a healthy and consensual relationship is a rarity in Westeros, and thus something to be celebrated, many audience members had a hard time grappling with the fact that they'd watch Williams grow up before their very eyes.
Which is exactly what Williams alluded to in her Tweet, seeing as no one would have more cognitive dissonance watching their little girl become a woman than Williams' own family. It was a humorous way for her to handle the confusion and discomfort that the scene inspired in many audience members, and it furthermore allowed fans to have more nuanced discussions on the topic in response to her. Or to just post some great memes.
if u feel uncomfortable just know that my mother and my step dad and my 2 sisters and my 4 brothers have all probably watched this too ahahakillmeehehe— Maisie Williams (@Maisie_Williams) April 23, 2019
Secondhand embarrassment aside, the much-talked-about scene is surprising for its portrayal of female-driven sexuality just as much as for the discovery that Arya Stark is all grown up. After all, Game of Thrones is a series that has dabbled in rape and dubious consent more often than is strictly necessary, and most of its victims have been women. In fact, the majority of its main female cast members - Daenerys, Sansa and Cersei especially - have been on the receiving end of sexual violence at one point or another in the show's run. So for Arya to be granted control over her romantic choices without any kind of coercion or fear is a beautiful thing in its own way, especially when the specter of death looms large in next week's episode.
Of course, that doesn't mean every viewer has to rejoice at the thought of Williams disrobing for the scene, especially as she does indeed feel like a little sister to many. But at least the actress was given a choice as to how much she wanted to show, according to her own account. Furthermore, the focus was on the two characters holding onto life for perhaps the last time rather than on shock value or titillation. Finally, if her real-life family could handle her big scene, so can her extended family of fans around the globe.
Source: Maisie Williams/Twitter