By Madeline Farber
Published May 23, 2019
(Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Games of Thrones” Season 8)
Williams, 22, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about what she would’ve liked to see happen with her character of 10 years, revealing she originally wanted Arya to kill her arch nemesis Cersei Lannister.
“I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she’s good fun,” Williams said of Lena Headey, who played Cersei in the HBO hit series.
“And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) I thought [while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been,” she continued.
But, Williams said, it was Arya’s final conversation with The Hound (Rory McCann) that made her realize her character had more to live for than just revenge.
“The Hound says, ‘You want to be like me? You want to live your life like me?’” In my head, the answer was: ‘Yeah.’ But I guess sleeping with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), seeing Jon (Kit Harington) again, realizing she’s not just fighting for herself anymore but also her family — it’s bringing up all these human emotions that Arya hasn’t felt for a long time,” the actress explained.
She continued: “When The Hound asks her if she has another option, all of a sudden there are so many more things in [Arya’s] life that she can live for, that she can do. It was a shock for me because that wasn’t how I envisioned her arc going this year. Then I realized there were other things I could play, bringing Arya back to being a 16-year-old again.”
Williams also said Arya’s ending was not an infamous “Thrones” ending — but “a happy ending.”
“It gave me a place to take Arya that I never thought I’d go with her again,” she concluded.
Headey, too, agreed that she would’ve enjoyed having more scenes with Williams in the final season — but noted: “you have to accept that it wasn’t meant to be.” Cersei and her brother/lover Jamie Lannister die together as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her dragon torch King’s Landing and destroy much of the Red Keep.
“I lived that fantasy until I read the script. There were chunky scenes and it was nothing that I had dreamt about. It was a bit of come down and you have to accept that it wasn’t to be,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “There is something poetic about the way it all happens in the end with her and Jaime.”
As for Williams, the star added she is “nervous” for what comes next after her decade-long stint on “Thrones” — a sentiment that echoed comments she made in March ahead of the airing of the eighth and final season.
“I’m nervous for what comes next and just want to prove myself as an actor and make the most of this series,” she said. “There are not as many opportunities where you get to do everything with one character and this season there’s a whole spectrum I get to do. So whatever happens afterward, I made this count.”