From the first moment she appeared on screen, Bella Ramsey seemed to be a natural fit in the world of Game of Thrones. She was a young woman who commanded respect, loyalty, and had a fierce commitment to the North that no other Northerner could match.
It is almost impossible to believe that Lady Lyanna was supposed to be a one-scene character. But Bella stole the episode with such a ferocious on-screen presence that showrunners David Benioff & D. B. Weiss decided to substantially increase her role. That ferocity is made all the more impressive since Bella’s performance in “A Broken Man” was her first performance as a professional actress!
I can’t even imagine what it must be like, on your first performance, to so thoroughly slip into a character as if you had been her your entire life. That’s what it felt like when Bella addressed Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, and Liam Cunningham in that great stone hall. She wasn’t simply playing Lyanna Mormont. She was Lyanna Mormont through and through.
Bella brought to Lyanna an incredible amount of strength, courage, and bravery. From her first appearance on Bear Island to her heroic sacrifice in the courtyards of Winterfell, Bella imbued Lyanna with a sense of what a true leader does. A true leader knows when to lead and when to follow and when to stand up for what is right even if those who say they are older and wiser than you have lost their way. Her performance was all the more remarkable that we simply do not see enough young women leaders depicted in the stories that form our cultural tapestry.
When Lyanna sees the dead giant wight crashing through the gates of Winterfell, Bella brings a complex facet of bravery, fear, and surprise to her performance. She reminds us that Lyanna is a human being, after all. But even in a weakened state, Lyanna raises her axe and utters a battle cry that in its tone doesn’t display a blank sense of wanting to fight for the sake of fighting or an empty desire to prove something she doesn’t need to. Her battle cry evoked a leader who was willing and ready to sacrifice herself by using the rest of her energy to take down a being who would no doubt destroy countless others. She was a true and noble leader to her very end and Lyanna’s impact would not have been possible without Bella’s incredible performance.
As Bella notes in her interview with Entertainment Weekly, when you’re on Game of Thrones, you either want the Iron Throne or a great death. She may not have won the Iron Throne, but she had one of the most memorable death scenes in Thrones history and gave us a hell of a character to remember on her way out.
Bella has been in a number of projects, most notably in the CBBC series The Worst Witch and the upcoming Hilda on Netflix. We know that her star, having burned so brightly in Westeros, will only increase as her career rightfully continues to grow. Thank you, Bella, for bringing the ferocious giant known as Lyanna Mormont to such incredible life. We can’t wait to see what you do next!