Aisling Franciosi on playing Lyanna Stark in The Winds of Winter

Robert Aramayo as Young Ned Stark and Aisling Franciosi as Lyanna Stark. Credit: Helen Sloan/ HBO

Robert Aramayo as Young Ned Stark and Aisling Franciosi as Lyanna Stark. Credit: Helen Sloan/ HBO

Fans were absolutely ecstatic when at long last Lyanna Stark made her Game of Thrones debut last season. Her performance, though short, was incredibly moving and worthy of a bouquet of  winter blue roses. Since then, Aisling Franciosi has also appeared alongside Gillian Anderson on Netflix’s series The Fall and dropped by Rotten Tomatoes to discuss the newest season and her Game of Thrones experience.

A newcomer to the world of Westeros, Franciosi touches on the secrecy behind her audition and how quick she watched the series:

I binge-watched, and could say it’s excellent, just an amazing series, and I can see why it’s become such a huge success. In a way, I think I would have been really, really nervous, if I had known how — like, say if I had been a fan, like everyone else, from the books and then, seeing the series before auditioning, I think I would have been mad with the pressure playing her. (Laughs.)

She also reminisces bringing the iconic “Promise me, Ned” scene to life with Rob Aramayo:

I tend to believe you can’t please everyone, but most people really liked it. It was a lovely scene and working with Rob Aramayo, as young Ned Stark, as well. He was really lovely, and great fun to work with, and we got on really well. You know, when you instantly have a short scene with someone, but you’re supposed to have this deep connection with, to find that when you arrive on set, that you guys get along really well, it’s always helpful and reassuring. It comes across on screen.

Franciosi even got to know Jon’s fate a little early as Kit Harington visited his TV mom on set!

Actually, it’s funny, when I was filming the scene, that day on set, Kit Harington was there. I don’t know what he was there for, but, you know — my Mom, or something, or my brother, who all knew that I was there — I hadn’t said what part or what scene or anything about it — if they said, “Did you see anyone, from the cast?” I was like, “No! No, I didn’t.” Because, obviously, the question was still there as to whether he was alive or not. (Laughs.)

Head on over to Rotten Tomatoes to read Franciosi delve into her character Katie in The Fall and you can now stream seasons 1-3 on Netflix!

43 responses

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    1. But .. is she filming anything for season 7 or not ? That’s what I want to know. If that Devin Oliver dude actually proves to be Rhaegar then we need Lyanna back as well !
      Whenever I think of them, I keep remembering the scene with Littlefinger and Sansa in the crypts at Winterfell in season 5 when Sansa says Rhaegar raped her aunt and Baelish takes a long pause and looks at her with that long and solemn stare that in my mind said “Oh my sweet summer child, you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

      I am sooo damn curious !

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    2. A long time before she was cast I said on WoTW I hoped they would find a GOT role for her :thumbs up:

      I did think there is a slight facial resemblance to Maisie’s Arya, as per the books.

      Her first name is pronounced “Ashling” in case anyone was wondering…

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    3. Rhaenys Stark,

      I’ve seen the first two seasons and enjoyed them, the third one recorded and ready for a binge watch. There are a few GoT cast members in the 1st & 2nd seasons.

      3rd season they say isn’t so good.

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    4. Count me as one of the “most people” who really liked Aisling’s portrayal of Lyanna.

      Jon physically resembling the Starks is a big deal. It is why no one every suspected he was a Targ. Now we can say, (show) Jon does look like a Stark. He looks like Uncle Benjen AND his mom, Lyanna even if not really like (show) Ned.

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    5. Sou,

      Haha. It has a dark, moody and creepy tone. Season 1 specially came across as creepy because everything was unknown. I would recommend watching season 1 with someone, something I regretted not doing.?

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    6. A quick scan of social media reveals that, amazingly, there are still people confused about that scene and don’t understand what they saw or the importance of it. “Jon Baratheon” is an example of something you’ll see written often by those who remained confused. I hope there are more flashbacks and that was not a one and done. But this interview gives the impression of a one and done. A mistake I think.

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    7. Nice to hear from her. I can’t imagine stepping into such a mythic role. I had high expectations for the Tower of Joy scenes and they didn’t disappoint.

      Will we see her and/or Robert Aramayo in S7? I don’t think that it is necessary. Of course, the real question is how much Bran understands about that scene and how he chooses to move forward with that information.

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    8. orange,

      I finally gave up trying to explain Jon’s paternity to people on less informed fansites. “But Jon can’t be a Targaryen because he doesn’t have blond hair. All Targaryens have blond hair. Jon has black, curly hair like King Robert. He’s the R in R+L=J.” As if R+L=J was a fill in the blanks clue left by GRRM. Apparently, many people didn’t study Punnett squares in school. Then there were the “Ew, Ned boinked his sister!?!?” posts.

      I hope we see Lyanna and Rhaegar next season. Perhaps some only see it as fan service, but it is practical as there are a lot of show viewers who are very confused.

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    9. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

      Rhaenys Stark,

      I’m glad to read that there are folks who liked Aisling’s portrayal. There were a few who whinged that she wasn’t “hawt” enough and I thought – er, she’s supposed to be dying. Also, despite her being Irish her northern accent sounded – to me at least – convincing. Fandoms can be toxic and I don’t want to go that way myself but some suggestions I’ve seen as possible castings for Lyanna have made me wonder what planet people were living on – but folk are entitled to hold different opinions to me and I’m not going to “slag off” anybody’s fan cast here. The girl who played the even younger Lyanna (I think her name was Cordelia Hill) apparently got the job because she had some acting experience and was also a competent horsewoman.

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    10. I agree with people here. A lot of people were confused and think Ned is that father and with Lyanna his mother. Or Robert, Arthur Dayne his father. They need to adress it a bit further and Isaac said that Bran doesn’t know full truth either. Rhaegar must be next season and explained it.

      Also, if they were married or not and if it was kidnap or just concensual. Littlefinger knows t was concensual and he was at the Tourney of Harrenhal as a young boy.

      If Jon interacts with Dany, dragons. It would be fitting just like Jon’s arc with reclaiming Winterfell with Sansa and proclaimd KitN by Lyanna Mormont. Once Bran understand full truth and maybe Sam at citadel or Howland Reed will testify. Who knows if clues are in the crypts.
      Btw love Aisling portrayland just like Robert Aramayo’s Ned Stark

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    11. Netflix’s series The Fall

      Just to say that although it may be shown on Netflix, the series is a co-production of BBC Northern Ireland, because the province should have the acclaim 🙂 and Artists’ Studio – an independent British production company.

      /pedantry

      “Barristan” and “Roose” also appeared in it.

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    12. Rhaenys Stark,

      Please, don’t bring spoiler news/pics/whatever, even if covered, to non-spoiler posts. It will make people discuss them on the only sections where those of us who want to remain spoiler-free can visit and comment.

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    13. jentario,

      Thanks – I had not heard that.

      I don’t think that we will ever see Rhaegar; I think he will be left to our imaginations. Having that said, it will be interesting to see if/how D&D address the “confusion” about the scene between Ned and Lyanna. There has to be a way to clearly explain Jon’s parentage to Jon and to the viewers…right?

      Firannion: Erg. I don’t want to see Theon punished any more. He has suffered enough.

      Me neither. Its too much…

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    14. Dame of Mercia,

      Thank you!!!! Lyanna was never supposed to be hot (especially while dying).She became a legend as the woman who started a war but she wasn’t as pretty as Cersei ,Cat ,Ashara or queen Rhaella.She had a wild beauty, a dark northern beauty that separated her from all the other southern ladies .She wasn’t the most beautiful ,she was unique .Arya suppose to look like her. And the actress looks like Maisie .Like Arya she charmed people with her personality and those stark expressive wolf-eyes.The only one obsessed with her beauty was Robert but Robert was in love with her even before he met her (from stories he heard from Ned) and he wanted to be a member of Ned’s pack. Later she became the one that got away .He always had what he wanted except Lyanna.She was very pretty but not the kind that makes heads turn, like Cersei ,Dany or Sansa.Also the actress is far prettier than she looks in that scene , that means she played the role of a dying women ,who just gave birth , PERFECTLY!!

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    15. Add me to those who thought she totally nailed it. Hope to see her again! Still want to know what the Daynes have to do with anything. I know…obsessive. 😉

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    16. Loved her performance; she had an almost impossible job of portraying an iconic character with extremely limited screen time and completely nailed it.

      I would love to see Lyanna back again – I feel that they need to establish that Rhaegar is her child’s father, and that she ran off with him willingly. No new scenes with Young Ned are necessary – but I do think that at least one with Rhaegar is. With the importance of Rhaegar to the history of the plot, it would be a travesty if we never saw him – and if we never saw him with Lyanna.

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    17. konna:
      Alba Stark,

      The knight of the laughing tree and him crowning her Queen of love and beauty !!! Please D&D make it happen!!!!

      I have to say that I see the Knight of the Laughing Tree as the most logical aspect of the Harrenhal Tourney to adapt for the screen; LF has already told us about the crowning of Lyanna as QoLaB, and we have already established that Bran’s visions only cover a short period – we cannot have a multi-day tourney in one vision. IMO, the Knight of the Laughing Tree establishes they why of Rhaegar’s crowning of Lyanna. I would hope that if they do cover the Knight of the Laughing Tree sequence, that they link it visually to Jon discovering that Ygritte was a woman; there are so many Rhaegar/Lyanna and Jon/Ygritte links that this would tie the two together amazingly.

      The only other Rhaegar/Lyanna scenes I can really see are either their elopement or a potential wedding. They need to establish that Lyanna went willingly. For me, a wedding would be about establishing that rather than Jon’s legitimacy (though that would be a side debate).

      For casual show-viewers, there is no confirmation that Jon is Lyanna and Rhaegar’s son – they HAVE to confirm that!!

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    18. It seems pretty obvious to me that because there were Targaryen soldiers stationed outside the tower -‘our Prince wanted us here’, and the fact that she says ‘If Robert finds out he’ll kill him’ that that would be enough for casual viewers to know that Jon was Rhaegar’s son too, but yeah, it could have been made more explicit.
      I’ve loved her work in ‘The Fall’ for years, an amazing show with themes you rarely get in crime drama (unapologetic feminism, paramilitary and damaging masculine culture, Northern Irish politics) – it’s amazing, and Gillian Anderson is ?
      I really really hope we get at least one or two Lyanna flashbacks, it seems pretty vital to storytelling, and it would break my heart if we didn’t properly get to meet and appreciate the woman who put everything in motion. I hope people keep an eye out for her in Belfast, but she’s Irish so it may not mean anything if she’s there!

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    19. I thought she was great. That scene makes me tear up even after watching it over a dozen times (I’ve watched the last 2 episodes of season 6 at LEAST that much!). I hope to see her and Aramayo (who was equally as awesome) again in season 7 in one of Bran’s visions…

      Off topic: With Halloween coming up and being obsessed with GOT, I was pondering if I should dress up as a character- the only brown-eyed brunette women on the show have been Lyanna, Shae and Gilly… right?

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    20. Flayed Potatoes,

      I wonder if when they had her and the actor that plays young Ned on the set, if they didn’t film some more scenes for season 7? Would make sense given their scenes are short and don’t involve many other people. It would be a money saver as well, instead of paying them to come back again at a later date and risk them not being available?

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    21. I would really like to see Aisling expand on Lyanna before GoT ends because I did find it hard to separate her from her character in The Fall with so little GoT screen time. She is really strong in The Fall and can hold her own against some strong actors. As Hoosamawatsit says- ‘unapologetic feminism, paramilitary and damaging masculine culture, Northern Irish politics’ make for a really layered show. Although the first season was the best and maybe it has been made a bit longer than it should have been, Gillian Anderson can outact anyone with her eyes in it.

      Hoosamawatsit: Hoosamawatsit

      Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

      Having seen season 3 I think it makes season 2 the weaker season. The tension in season 3 considering the storyline is pretty amazing. I always love the little moment they show and the

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    22. I thought she did a great job for such a limited, but crucial, scene. My one complaint with the casting is she, in my opinion, didn’t look like a Stark at all. Of course, I reasoned it away that she was sweaty and bloody and just gave birth, so she won’t look her “best” of course, but I thought she looked like she could’ve been a Sand Snake. I thought she looked Dornish (and in real life, Spanish or even Middle Eastern), as oppose to the fair lot that hails from north Westeros.
      It’s neither here nor there, I am admittedly one of the very few who really isn’t invested in R+L. The end result (Jon), yes, but I am good if they never revisit those particular flashbacks.

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    23. Jo2,

      Thanks, it may be that the whole season was being judged prematurely without waiting for the last episode which gives the payoffs perhaps? We have seen that before with GoT!

        Quote  Reply

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