Take a Bow: Maisie Williams

Arya Season 1

It has often been stated that Game of Thrones would not have worked if the child actors had not been spot on, given the many major plotlines that focused on children. Among the many child actors throughout eight seasons of television, you would be hard pressed to find an actor who made a stronger impression on the fanbase than Maisie Williams.

Maisie’s commitment to her portrayal of Arya Stark was so strong that, after being cast, she famously declared she would learn how to sword fight with her left hand, simply because the Arya of A Song of Ice and Fire is a leftie. Never you mind that Maisie is an avowed righty; she wanted to do Arya right, and to her that meant doing it left.

Like Arya, Maisie has always been against the grain. Before the show started, casting directors had the seemingly impossible of finding a little girl who could take on the mantle of Arya Stark. It needed to be someone who would both come out swinging, and be capable of having enough room to keep the character growing. Now, I am not a particularly pious man – I keep to the old gods as did my father and his father before him – but thankfully the old gods of the North heard our prayers:

HOW IS THAT A 12 YEAR OLD? LIKE, WHAT THE HELL MAN?! When they called Maisie in to read this scene, she delivered it like she was a successful actor returning to her acting conservatory to show the students how it’s done. I genuinely am in awe of how good this is. Some of the other actors (adults and children alike) on GOT took time to grow into their characters. But Maisie was one of perhaps two or three who nailed it from the very first scene. Speaking of her first scene, what an introduction that was! Without any dialogue whatsoever, Arya was introduced as the younger sister to someone who was clearly enjoying needlework more than she, only to have her vacate the room to grab a bow and one up her brother during his archery practice. It matched every tone you’d come to expect in Arya scenes, and it’s all thanks to this kid right here:

Arya 1st scene

While Arya spent much of the first season very memorably around her fellow Starks and her dancing master, Syrio Forel, Maisie’s talents were called to a higher purpose in season two. I’m talking of course about the decision to pair her with established actor Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister). Could this thirteen year old with one season’s worth of television under her belt pull off her several scenes with this established, experienced actor? You better believe she did. No one expected the unquestionably best moments of season two to be an older man and a younger girl sitting quietly by a fire, pouring water, and talking about the literacy of stonemasons:

Tywin: “Where is your father? Is he alive? Who was he?
Arya: “A stonemason.
Tywin: “A stonemason who could read!
Arya: “He taught himself.
Tywin: “Quite a man! What killed him?
Arya: “Loyalty.

This is the kind of dialogue exchange you expect from classically trained actors at The Globe, not from a teenager in a costume drama. What I’m saying is that Maisie is an international treasure (or a national one, if you’re a UK citizen).

Season three saw quite a tumultuous journey for Arya, with Maisie getting some great opportunities to test her acting prowess alongside Richard Dormer, Paul Kaye, Joe Dempsie, Carice Van Houten, and of course Rory McCann. Maisie’s best performance showcase may be how she played coy when Arya went up to a group of Frey soldiers bragging about their participation in The Red Wedding. It’s astounding how quickly Maisie can switch from menacing, to innocent-looking, to her psychopathic revenge-fueled look, to her “What did I do?” look to The Hound. It is golden:

So much of the reason that season four is my favorite is due to the adventures of Arya and The Hound. Every time their scenes were on screen, you would know you are in for a rollicking good time. Let us hearken back to a simpler time on Game of Thrones, when characters going places took forever and a day:

Arya: “Something wrong with your leg, boy?”
Polliver: “What? What do you mean?”
Arya: “Can you walk? I’ve got to carry you?”
Polliver: “Carry me?”
Arya: “Fine little blade…Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it.”

And we all know what she does next.

Maisie plays the vindictive girl so well that you wonder if she uses Needle in place of a toothbrush to prepare for these scenes. Her grasp of Arya, and moreover, who Arya has become, is so strong that I cannot believe how lucky we were. There was no way for the casting team to know in the original audition that, several years down the line, Maisie would be able to flip a switch so easily and become the stone-cold murder warrior to which we’ve become so accustomed, but, well, here we are.

Seasons five and six sent Arya off on a whirlwind adventure to Murder School in Braavos. But as we all know, the real gift was the friends she made along the way.

Arya Meryn

At this point, we were in full on Assassin Arya mode, and the world was Maisie Williams’ oyster. It’s her world and we were just attempting to not get killed by her in it. Given how far removed from the rest of the main story Arya’s plot had become, it was going to require a compelling actor to keep us invested. Maisie, as always, was all of that and more. As Arya navigated the complicated world of the Faceless Men, Maisie navigated her fighting prowess, never betraying the young girl she was still portraying. But then the show tried something new. A theatrical troupe came along, and Arya was the audience’s proxy for watching an in-world recap of seasons one-through-six. The looks of wonder and disgust on Maisie’s face sold us every bit on what was going through Arya’s head, as she relived Ned’s death, and all those terrible things all over again:

Maisie Makes Faces

With the journey’s end on the horizon, season seven brought Arya back to Westeros. With it came one of the best one-on-one fights we’ve seen the entire series, due to the incredible commitment of not only Williams but Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth.) One of the reasons it looks so good is that you can see the hard work that Maisie is putting in. She’s always one step ahead of the next blade swing so that it never looks mechanical. Hard work shows, and no one works harder than Maisie:

Season eight had so many incredible Arya moments to pick from, from Maisie perfectly capturing the adult woman Arya has grown into, in her intimate moments with Gendry, to the work she put into crafting the library horror sequence, to the number of takes she apparently suffered through to pull off the Night King’s death scene perfectly.

But the strongest season eight moments for me were Arya’s hellish escape through the ruins of King’s Landing. Eight seasons of building up Arya as a “survivor” were leading up to this moment, and there is no one I would have rather spent that much time with during the decimation of King’s Landing than Maisie Williams. Every turn brings a new look; with every glance, her eyes know exactly what to look for and to look at. As I’d mentioned, Maisie knocked it out of the park from day one, but this scene alone eclipsed it all. Maisie never looked more at home in her character, and I am entirely grateful to her for the talent she poured into this harrowing sequence.

Arya Stark bleeding The Bells

Game of Thrones has more iconic characters than it knows what to do with. You can’t go anywhere in the world without hearing Jon Snow or Daenerys at least 3 or 4 times. But no one gets people excited like Arya does. Maisie Williams slammed the door down of what was possible for twelve year old female representation in TV, and made grown men fall in love with her character. She recently gave a TED Talk, performed on West End, and created Daisie, a platform for creatives to meet and collaborate. Her stardom has barely begun to rise, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Take a bow, Maisie. You’ve earned it.

136 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. ASNAWP! (not Hodor today)
      Thank you, Maisie for this journey, I wish you all the best in the future and am looking forward to it.

      All the scenes mentioned were absolutely great and I also enjoyed season 4 the most thanks to her. I would also like to highlight her scene with Ed Sheeran as it showed her human side while still mostly in assassin mode and started her change back to embrace humanity, her family and eventually herself.
      Also one has to highlight her season 5 scene of not throwing needle in the water in Braavos. No words but emmy-deserving acting. Well done!

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    2. I was thinking of doing a top 5 Arya scenes of the entire series, but I’m going to have to sit and think about that more because there are so many to choose from. Since season 8 is still fresh in our minds though, here are my top scenes from this recent season:

      1. Arya and Sandor part ways, and Arya escapes King’s Landing.
      I’m kind of cheating here as these are two separate scenes, but they are strongly linked thematically as it deals with Arya rejecting her dark path of revenge and choosing life. It was beautifully acted and represented on screen (even if I did want her last moment with Sandor to last even longer).

      2. Arya gets intimate with Gendry.
      This scene paid off a lot of sexual/romantic tension that was established early in season 8 and as far back as season 2 & 3, and it explored a side of Arya most people (myself included) never thought we would see. It added depth and layers to an already deep and extremely layered character, and I think it was the perfect way to have Arya reconnect with her humanity and explore life outside of killing and death.

      3. Arya kills the Night King.
      Perfect culmination of her ASNAWP arc and the theme of death, which has defined her arc along with identity. Unfortunately, Tyrion was not mentioned in Ebrose’s book, but you can bet your Needle that Arya is in there.

      4. Arya bids farewell to Jon and sails west.
      This hits me in the feels every time. It’s so beautiful, and seeing Arya smiling and optimistic heading off into new adventures was a wonderful way to end her story. (If I had my way, Gendry or Sandor would be with her, but we can’t have it all..)

      5. Arya kills a whole bunch of wights, Sandor snaps out of his fear to save her, and she gets a pep talk from Mel.
      Maisie expertly pulls off the fight scene (though I’m sure her stunt double had a good hand in this too) to convince us of her amazing skills. It’s so fun to watch her fight! And then seeing Sandor instantly snap out of his daze when he sees her in danger just shows us how deep their caring is for one another despite how they communicate on the surface of things. I also loved the whole sneaking around the library part of this sequence as well.

      Ok, that’s enough Arya fanboying for now. 🙂

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    3. The Queen of the cast, long may she act.

      Wonderful actress, can’t wait what she does next, I think Massie is one of those actors who can choose which role she will play from now on. I hope she will be shown in some small roles the next couple of years and over 5 a 10 years another big story like GoT with her in the main role.

      She has something that few actors has, whichever role she plays she will fit in. Some other actor that that has is John Noble. Which no matter what role he is in, he is on top of his game, good with emotion, changing emotions in natural way. I will put Maissie that high, she can do that too. Can’t wait for her next adventure.

      “Roles are coming” for this amazing Stark.

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    4. Enharmony1625,

      And season 2, that scene with Yoren is many times on my mind:

      How do you sleep? When you’ve seen things, horrible things. How do you sleep when you, when you have those things in your head? I close my eyes and I see them up there. All of them standing there. Joffrey, the Queen, and, and my sister.

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    5. Maisie Williams was the perfect choice to play Arya. I loved all her scenes especially those with Charles Dance (as Tywin’s cup bearer) and of course her road trip with The Hound. Season 4 was outstanding in that respect. One of the best IMO.

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    6. kevin1989,

      Yes! Wonderful scene, and one of the reasons I love season 2 due to such a strong arc for Arya. I still want to try to narrow down a top 5 for the entire series, but that’s going to be incredibly difficult.

      I also need to think about favorite scenes just based on Maisie’s acting, which is nothing short of iconic. She absolutely nailed the part and the show simply would not be the same without her. I completely agree with David in that Maisie embodied the part perfectly right from the get-go. It’s amazing to see her so strong in the role early on and just speaks to her talent and charisma.

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    7. There hasn’t been a single scene involving Arya that I found to be boring. That says it all.
      Thank you, Maisie.
      (And thank you, David, for this excellent tribute).

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    8. Thats the first time I saw that audition tape – wow, where did she come from? Amazing
      She was my favorite character when I read the books, and was thrilled beyond measure at the young actor who portrayed her in the show. Nina Gold really did strike goldd with this young cast, but I think Maisie was her best catch. Loved watching her grow, and loved seeing the end of her arc. Just wish there was a sequel Arya the Explorer!

      Cant wait to see what she does next!

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    9. ash,

      Just saw this:

      It was announced in August 2018 that Williams has joined the voice cast on gen:LOCK, an animated series on the Rooster Teeth subscription service. Williams plays Cammie MacCloud, a mischievous Scottish hacker, alongside a cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, David Tennant and Dakota Fanning.

      Williams will star alongside Asa Butterfield and Nina Dobrev in teen drama Then Came You in which she plays a teenager with a terminal illness. The movie is set for North American release in 2019.[42] In April 2020, Williams is set to star as Wolfsbane in the delayed Disney/Fox superhero horror film The New Mutants.

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    10. I’ve done more than my share of praising Maisie since the series premiere… Well, more than my share and the combined share of many people. I’ve also made it no secret from the beginning that Arya has been my favorite character since I first read AGoT. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how perfectly Maisie melded into and became Arya! So much so that I never once even bothered to consider what-ifs with another actress, other than the general thought that nobody would have done it better.

      The greatest sadness I have with GoT ending is not being able to see any new scenes of Maisie being ASNAWP. Some may want to compare other characters to Arya from past or future roles but to me Maisie made it a one of a kind that will stand out for years. I send all my praise at her and hope that she gets some final awards recognition as a ‘thank you’ for an excellent performance throughout the series. 🙂

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    11. It’s hard to find the words. I truly hope that Maisie decides to come back to acting quickly. I’ve heard her interviews where she is loving the freedom of no longer being under contract. I’ve heard rumors of her wanting to do a comedy buddy movie with Sophie. Sure that would be fun, but I’m hoping she gets an offer she can’t refuse to do a serious role. Her short film “Cyberbully” was an important film. She was the only actor in that one for an hour, and it was an extremely important topic. And she gave an extremely believable performance. I think what amazed me the most about her GOT performances was how “real” she made it. She was totally believable and I never thought she was “acting”. Even as a 12 year old, she was spot on. She had a quote about acting that said something like she would just pretend she was really there when she was little. She said that’s all she knew how to do since she didn’t have acting training. Well, I can say that if you can pretend you are really in the scene and it’s really happening to you and make it totally believable, I don’t think you need any other acting training! Thank you Maisie for your years of work on the show. I loved her scenes with Sandor and Tywin. I loved her scenes as she came together with her sister for the pack. I loved her battlements fight scene and how much she prepared for those action shots (including Brienne’s sparring scene). I loved her reunion with jon as well as her goodbye. She’s curious about behind the scenes work, so I won’t be surprised if she directs one day as well. I’m going to stop here and read other people’s comments. I can’t say it as eloquently. Thanks Maisie Williams!!!

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    12. Among the many child actors throughout eight seasons of television, you would be hard pressed to find an actor who made a stronger impression on the fanbase than Maisie Williams.”

      Ah, David, the master of understatement. 😃

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    13. Tron79,

      I would’ve clicked the remote midway through S1e1 and never watched another GoT episode were it not for Maisie Williams. When that arrow zinged through the air and hit the bullseye, and Arya took a bow and ran away… I was hooked.

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    14. As a book reader before show watcher, Arya was my favourite character when I started to watch the first season and I hoped they’d got the casting right. It took just a couple of scenes before I thought “They’ve absolutely nailed it, and this actor is just terrific”.

      Pretty much every scene she was in throughout was compelling no matter what she had to say or do, and she looked completely at ease in the part when sharing scenes with such luminaries as Sean Bean and Charles Dance. Throw in the black comedy of the scenes with Rory and her ability to carry off action scenes and you have to say this was a really stellar performance.

      Having since seen Maisie in shows such as ‘Cyberbully’ and films like ‘The Falling’ suggest there’s not much of a limit to what she could achieve, and now to add to that the off screen work of the Daisie App…a girl has too much ability!

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    15. “I could be your family.” (Heart breaks.) That moment was one of the most special moments in a show filled with amazing moments. Maisie is definitely a treasure, and one of the reasons GoT is so addictive.

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    16. Yeah, for some crazy reason some have dissed season 2 ….
      I had wondered what they would do with Arya’s adventure at Harrenhal, the Jaqen story was going to be fine but no one wanted to see Arya scrubbing stone stairs all episode! So that clever, very clever one on one Arya and Tywin …that was great!
      That season also had Blackwater.

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    17. Ten Bears,

      I love it so much! The way Maisie transitions from being hell-bent on pursuing Cersei to her surprise when Sandor grabs her, to then seeing the more vulnerable little girl when he grabs the back of her head is just fantastic! I watched this clip after reading the article and it brought tears to my eyes (again!). Her “thank you” is really Arya realizing how much he cares for her and how he has saved her.

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    18. Aw, Maisie! What a treasure indeed.

      The very first interview she did was for our community! Just before the premiere of the show 🙂

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    19. Hear Marko Roar:
      Aw, Maisie! What a treasure indeed.

      The very first interview she did was for our community! Just before the premiere of the show 🙂

      Where can one find it? I’d like to read it.

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    20. It’s been said many times before but this show is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to casting. Even when her story got slow, sometimes painfully so, we knew right around the corner it all would add up to something magnificent. The arc of Aryas story was one that I am so impressed by. Lots of patience from the writers to let her story unfold. No abrupt shifts, just slow, deliberate storytelling.

      Maisie is an absolute gem. This young woman impressed from day 1. She can play cool, calm to vengeful at the drop. Her feelings ever present on that expressive face. While I have long been a SanSan fangirl, seeing Arya and The Hound interact was easily my favorite parts of the entire show. The chemistry between Rory and Maisie was off the charts. That last scene between them was perhaps the most beautiful conclusion to a “love story” that this show has produced.

      In my mind eye, there is nobody else who could do what Maisie has done. She’s absolutely brilliant and deserves all the awards for eight fantastic seasons.

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    21. Excerpt from interview of GRRM back in April, 2011…

      Casting Child Actors for GoT – Excerpt from April 15, 2011 Time Magazine: Interview of GRRM, Part 1 of 4

      ________________________

      [Interviewer began by mentioning that he’d seen two episodes of the show at that point, and particularly liked the casting of the difficult children’s roles.]

      GRRM: The child actors were the hardest to fill because we looked at literally hundreds for the three major children’s roles. I mean, most child actors. Well you know, you see these kids and they’re kids, they’re not actors. Their triumph is that they’ve memorized the lines. And mommy and daddy are very proud that they’ve memorized the lines, but that’s all.
      And then you’ve got the other extreme. You’ve got some kid whose obviously been told by mommy and daddy or by their school drama coach that part of acting is you have to emote. So those kids go to the other extreme and they emote all over the place, they’re rolling their eyes and they’re grimacing and they’re really going way over the top for everything and it’s completely unnatural.
      So you watch all this stuff and you reach a point where you’re just ready to despair and say, this can’t be done here because most child actors—a lot of child actors out there are in sitcoms. And their role in sitcoms is to mug and look cute, you know. Our kids have actual dramatic roles where they have to deal with grief and loneliness and anger and a lot of very adult stuff. [I thought] “my God, how the hell, are we going to do this”, you know? But then you find that one in a hundred, or one in a thousand that suddenly… “oh my God, thank God, this is great.” And Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, was one of those. I mean, just from the moment we saw her audition, I knew she was, she was our Arya and you know, the same was true for Sansa and Bran; two good actors who played those roles too. They were extraordinary.
      ***

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    22. Maisie not only made Arya come to life, but the characters and actors around her. She had a key part in the development of many other major characters and she had such an insane way of bringing us into those relationships with her.

      Her tomboy was the perfect foil to proper-lady Sansa.
      Her vulnerability allowed us to empathize and connect with the Hound.
      Her chemistry with Gendry made us love him.
      Her relationship with Jon made us anticipate their reunion like no other.

      Not to mention her relationships with Ned, Tywin, Jaqen, Hotpie, Syrio, Lady Crane etc.

      All of Maisie’s scenes were better because of her.

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    23. You can really understand why Arya is many fans favourite character. The scene which stood out for me was in season four when an injured Hound asked her to kill him. The look of despair in her eyes that she was going to lose someone else was as good a piece of acting as we saw in the whole series.

      An aside, is there any chance we can review the series as whole now we know how the pieces fit together. Not specifically focusing on season eight, although for a more satisfying conclusion (same end result) all it would taken is two additional episodes (including one from splitting episode four into two smaller episodes) and some minor changes to small number of scenes to flesh out the storyline.

      In the series as a whole, I know the things that I would have done differently including keeping alive some minor characters, which would have benefited the overall story.
      It will give us the opportunity to discuss issues like the dearth of storyline in Kings Landing over the last two seasons and how this would have fitted in to some fans vision of a extended season seven and eight, whether Daenerys actually needed the northern army to take Kings Landing or even if she needed to initially assist against the Night King, after all there was an invulnerable magic wall preventing him to attacking the North.

      I won’t go into anymore detail but it would be good to have the discussion amongst such insightful and amiable people.

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    24. This is the tribute I was particularly looking forward to – my favourite character in the books brought to vivid life by one of my favourite actors in the show.

      Maisie Williams is also an excellent interviewer. She’s got a new podcast series – Thinking Big with Maisie Williams. It’s associated with Daisie, I think, and the episodes have focused (so far) on creativity, networking, and mental health. As someone who gets bored easily with podcasts, I’ve enjoyed each of the 3 eps so far. The first is on YouTube:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjwB7NiLwcI

      and the others on Spotify, iTunes etc.

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    25. Clob,

      Nice interview. Thanks for sharing.

      I am pleased that generally the fans like me as Arya but I know it may not always be like that.

      Ha. It was like that — to the very end!

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    26. Brought vividly to text by your favorite author, I hope!

      Bufferzone:
      This is the tribute I was particularly looking forward to – my favourite character in the books brought to vivid life by one of my favourite actors in the show.

      Maisie Williams is also an excellent interviewer. She’s got a new podcast series – Thinking Big with Maisie Williams. It’s associated with Daisie, I think, and the episodes have focused (so far) on creativity, networking, and mental health. As someone who gets bored easily with podcasts, I’ve enjoyed each of the 3 eps so far. The first is on YouTube:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjwB7NiLwcI

      and the others on Spotify, iTunes etc.

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    27. Clob:

      Thanks for this. I just watched on my roku on TV. It’s very powerful to watch her journey all together. I appreciate the work it took to edit this. However the soundtrack they used was a bit much and drowned out some dialogue and they left out her Sandor moment when she decided to leave her revenge behind and called the Hound Sandor. But it was still very moving to watch. Thanks for the link.

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    28. First, David–thank you thank you thank you. There are many others who should take a bow, and hopefully will, but you pointed out all the reasons she and her portrayal of Arya are so special. And it is so well written–especially that jewel of a line about how doing it right meant doing it left! I generally don’t care for child actors, but as an early ASOIAF reader I had gravitated immediately to this engaging young and plucky can-do child who has the cards stacked against her but always keeps a tender place in her heart for others. Finding a child who could capture that seemed an impossible dream. But Nina Gold came through.

      Young Maisie wasn’t even allowed to read the books and later decided not to because it might affect show Arya. Yet somehow (instinctively?), and despite D&D’s focus on Arya’s badass talents, Maisie encompasses the multitude of emotions, sentiments, and talents that book Arya showed in her POVs. And Arya’s journey (a classic but uncanny hero’s journey) got so dark. The HoB&W story is unsettling with an adult, but a young girl?!?!? And yet I never doubted she would emerge, somewhat haunted no doubt, but herself. And indeed, her terseness this season reflects that. Even the old vulnerability is still there–her face when Sandor made his final plea was that of 11YO Arya. And the range of emotions she showed wordlessly in the season’s opening sequence and Episode 5’s final sequence–were nothing less than masterful.

      At any rate, others have been more eloquent on this subject than I can be. I wish Maisie well, and hope she manages to accommodate her bent for normalcy within a brilliant career. Like Arya, she definitely marches to a different drummer…in a business where conventionality is prized. I expect her to score an Emmy nod this season and possibly a win. She can go from strength to strength, but in her own very special way.

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    29. Thank you so, so much for this wonderful tribute, David. My daughter fell in love with GoT because of Arya, and subsequently got me into it. Maisie has been uniformly brilliant throughout the series, portraying a wider variety of experiences and emotions than arguably any other actor. As I’m still in mourning for GoT and so many of these characters I’ve come to love, there are none I’m missing more than Arya. She’s one for the ages.

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    30. Thank you for the tribute, David. And thank YOU! Maisie! for such a fine performance from the very beginning. GoT fandom is so lucky to have you filling those shoes- Arya’s character is among he most wonderful creations of GRRMs.
      My daughter has just turned 10. Her name is Aria (at the time- We knew nothing of the books and the show had not yet arrived). She has heard plenty of this warrior princess (everyone asks- oh, like Arya Stark on game of thrones?!). She and I are both looking forward to another 6 or 7 years when we will watch together. We read The Ice Dragon several times years ago – so she has been (somewhat) prepped for GRRMs storytelling- particularly the concept of strong girls taking flight, and taking charge.
      Anyway. Can’t wait for her to find inspiration in this glorious character Maisie has so deftly brought to life. And best of luck, Maisie, for whatever you decide to do in life.

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    31. I remember watching season 4, the scene where Arya left the hound, just her eyes, her emotions, it was mind blowing.
      And then I watched the actors commentary and Lena was gushing over Maisie in that scene. A great actress, hope in an industry where casting choices are not always based on merit and talent, she gets the parts she deserves in her career.

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    32. Thank you David for this proper Take a Bow for our beloved Maisie! She captured Arya brilliantly and Essie Davis gave us that meta moment telling “Mercy” she had very expressive eyes. Maisie’s acting was expressive and incredible. I’m sure this has already been mentioned but one of the many standout moments for me was how great she pulled off the passage in ASOIAF where Arya refuses to get rid of Needle before joining the House of Black and White. Ugggh such an emotional scene with only Maisie’s eyes and emotions to guide us. Also, deciding to have Arya and Tywin interact with each other instead of her and Roose is one of THE best book-to-show adaptation decisions made! Fantastic! I was excited for the New Mutants film she will be in with Anya Taylor-Joy but she addressed in an interview that she has no idea what’s going on with that. Either way, I’ll keep an eye out for whatever’s coming next for her. Thank you Maisie Williams!!!

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    33. Bufferzone,

      Thanks for that! I was not aware Maisie Williams did a podcast.
      She could have her own talk show.
      Is there anything she can’t do?

      #ASNAWPTWP!!!

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    34. Black Raven,

      Thanks for posting this Arya-Yoren scene. This is exactly what I had in mind when I read GRRM’s interview describing the difficulty of casting the child actors, i.e.:

      “Our kids have actual dramatic roles where they have to deal with grief and loneliness and anger and a lot of very adult stuff.”

      Maisie Williams didn’t just play a super ninja assassin warrior princess. She played a human character with extraordinary depth of emotion.

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    35. As others have already related, Maisie was a highlight from the beginning (so much so that you might forget that her only line of dialogue in the pilot is a hastily-overdubbed bit of exposition). She had the qualities of an excellent child actress, and she matured well in the craft over the subsequent decade.

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    36. Arya was the most interesting of the Stark kids and Maisie is a talented actress. I look forward to seeing more of her work.

      I watched GOT because of Peter Dinklage whom I liked from the Station Agent. Over time, I grew to appreciate the work of many others including Maisie’s.

      Arya’s storyline had a few hiccups but overall she did much better at the hands of the storytellers than the other mangled characters.

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    37. Many thanks for the wonderful tribute to the exceptional talent of Maisie Williams. I was fascinated with her character in the books and completely enchanted with her Arya from the beginning of the show. I always looked forward to her scenes, not only for masterful delivery of her lines but the way she used her eyes and expressions to help tell her story. Finding out that this was her first attempt at acting blew me away. I became so engaged with her that during her fight scenes in season 8, I would literally be on the edge of my seat in fear knowing that “Anyone can be killed.” Thankfully she survived. The sense ofmourning that I feel is due to not being able to see more of her character. (Same for Jon ).

      I look forward to seeing her again in whatever roles she chooses. Such natural talent is a gift, not only to Maisie herself but for her fans.

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    38. This is one of my favourite Arya scenes from early on when she talks with Ned after her fight with Sansa. These two sell their close father/daughter relationship masterfully. And here again, Maisie exhibits her ability to hold her own against seasoned veteran actors like Sean Bean and Charles Dance.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E75i0dNnTs

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    39. Everything’s pretty much been said already that I wanted to say, so I’ll just give a simple thank you to Maisie for such a memorably delightful performance.

      One of my favorite scenes with Arya was at the end of “Lord Snow” when she had her first training session with Syrio. It’s still one of my favorite scenes to this day, even though we’ve had the privilege to watch so many great scenes since then.

      I’m enjoying the pleasant comments while I can since we still have Sophie Turner’s “Take a Bow” remaining. That one should be interesting.

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    40. Black Raven: One of my favorite scenes – Yoren tells Arya a bedtime story

      O man! Francis Magee. I remember when his character came to an end in season 2 thinking that guy is so good wish they had cast him as a long time recurring character.

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    41. Is Maisie a nickname for Amazing? Just asking. She was amazing as Arya and there is no reason to think she’ll be otherwise in all future endeavors, but I’ll miss our warrior princess.

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    42. Enharmony1625: Maisie exhibits her ability to hold her own against seasoned veteran actors

      We’ve been saying this very accurate statement since this early S1 scene. Looking back at all of her scenes now though I’d say it’s just as accurate to say that her performance with all of them even elevated her partner’s performance, beyond simply holding her own, no matter how experienced that person was.

      In my opinion some of the strongest/best acted scenes by the ones Maisie interacted with a lot were in one-on-one scenes between Arya and their character. Ned, Syrio (by default), Yoren, Tywin, Hot Pie, Gendry, Beric & Thoros, Jaqen (by default), Sandor, Sansa… All of them had some scenes with Arya that I would put in their character’s ‘acting performance’ highlights.

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    43. We should be getting news on Emmy submissions in about a week (usually around mid-June) and nominations are to be announced Tuesday, July 16th this year. Just making a note… 😉

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    44. Ice Hunter:
      Is Maisie a nickname for Amazing?Just asking.She was amazing as Arya and there is no reason to think she’ll be otherwise in all future endeavors, but I’ll miss our warrior princess.

      aka The Many-Faced Goddess

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    45. Clob,

      For what it’s worth, “Gold Derby” has the following top three Emmy Supporting Actress odds:

      Lena Headey (GoT). 4:1
      Julia Garner (Ozark). 9:2
      Maisie Williams (GoT). 5:1

      I can envision a “split vote” between Lena Headey and Maisie Williams, though it’s hard to dispute that Maisie Williams was the MVP of S8 and relatively speaking Lena Headey didn’t get to do much in S8.

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    46. Ten Bears,

      Lena definitely deserves an Emmy for her overall performance as Cersei, but I agree that she really didn’t have much to do in season 8 other than try to break Littlefinger and Sansa’s record for how much screen time one can spend looking out from a balcony.

      Everyone was great in the last season, but I think Maisie and Emilia in particular knocked it out of the park. They deserve an Emmy for season 8. I would probably throw Peter Dinklage in there too, but he’s already won more than once.

      I also think Sophie was great this season.

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    47. Mr Derp,

      My “simple” thoughts about it…
      Yes, everyone thinks Lena was a great Cersei and she probably does deserve a win for her complete and total series performance. I just think her part was so, so limited this season (even more limited than S7 that didn’t earn a win) that I can’t say she earned it SOLELY on S8. It was so limited that I personally would consider her on the fence for even a nomination. Nothing against Lena, the character just wasn’t used much.

      In my eyes Sophie has performed the last two seasons head & shoulders above the previous seasons. The issue I have is that this season was “easy work” again and didn’t require much range. She spent most of the season basically just giving the side-eye at Daenerys. Just an opinion

      Emilia simply earned a nomination this year.

      Maisie on the other hand had quite a bit to do and needed to show a lot of acting range, spoken and unspoken, as well as a lot of physical action, and I think she nailed all of it. Like Lena, I believe Maisie is also deserving an Emmy for her overall series performance, but I also believe she’s deserving for S8 as well. Her S6 nomination felt like the recognition for her performance in the series to that point. Another nomination is earned and it would be a huge snub if she doesn’t get it, but I’m pushing for a win! 🙂

      So, just considering S8 only, in my opinion Maisie and Emilia 100% earned and deserve a nomination.

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    48. Boojam: O man! Francis Magee. I remember when his character came to an end in season 2 thinking that guy is so good wish they had cast him as a long time recurring character.

      Me also – Francis Magee was great as Yoren. All his scenes were good and I too was saddened by his demise shortly after telling his story about how he avenged his brother’s death to Arya.

      I believe that was a ‘show only’ addition and not mentioned in the books? It certainly put Arya on the path with her ‘kill list’ right up to the final episode in S8. Cersie was the last remaining name on her list. I really thought Arya would have pulled a FM trick to get at her, but as we all know, that was never to be. The cellars in the Red Keep coming down on her (and Jaime) doing that job for her.

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    49. From the pilot to the finale, Maisie clearly established herself as the best young actress on the show (Jack Gleeson deserves an honorable mention nod). Like someone stated upthread, when she fired that arrow into the bullseye and bowed and then was wearing the soldier’s helm when meeting King Robert, I was hooked. She immediately became my favorite and never relinquished the top spot.

      No matter who she was sharing a scene with, she held her own. Her adventures with the Hound were so good, I’d have taken a Dunk & Egg style show with just those 2 exploring what’s west of Westeros. Maisie is the cream that rose from a crop of very talented young actors and actresses. It’s been an honor and pleasure to watch her work.

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    50. Clob,

      Totally agree! Lena should have won earlier for season 5, 6 or 7. Not that I would be upset if she won it this year, but I think Maisie deserves it. Considering what has been said repeatedly in this thread, Maisie nailed the part from day one, so she deserves a “legacy” win about as much as Lena.

      I also think Sophie was very strong this season (and last) and has proved herself to be a great actress, but the sheer range and demands placed on Maisie this season easily puts her ahead. She exhibited a wide range of emotions, not to mention all the physical acting and performing she did. From her amazing fighting in 8×03 to all the long takes (“one-ers” as Miguel Sapochnik calls them) of her escaping King’s Landing, they really made her work this season, and it shows!

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    51. Clob: In my eyes Sophie has performed the last two seasons head & shoulders above the previous seasons. The issue I have is that this season was “easy work” again and didn’t require much range. She spent most of the season basically just giving the side-eye at Daenerys. Just an opinion

      I would agree with much of this, but I will say that, when called upon to deliver range in season 8, Sophie delivered. I.E. the funeral pyre with Theon.

      It’s kind of strange. I liked the character Sansa better in seasons 2-5 when her acting wasn’t as good, but I disliked the character more in seasons 6-8 even though her acting got better. I’ll save this for the Sophie “Take a Bow” thread, though.

      It’s too bad the entire cast ensemble can’t get some type of lifetime achievement award or special recognition award for their work on GoT. They all deserve it.

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    52. Black Raven,

      Yoren was in the books, but like so many other characters, was softened in the show adaptation—for example, iirc in the book he did get Arya away from the Sept of Baelor during Ned’s execution, but did not embrace her protectively. I did like what D&D and the actor did with his character!

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    53. Wolfish,

      Fine on that. I agree, D&D did a great job with Yoren’s character and HBO getting Francis Magee to play the part.

      Seems that quite a few scenes we saw and heard on the TV show was not in the books. Another I believe was Theon’s classic speech to his men at Winterfell : “… And whoever kills that fucking hornblower will stand in bronze above the shores of Pyke!” … etc.

      I’ve never read the books and TBH it seems a bit pointless if GRRM never gets to finish the novels!

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    54. Arya has never been my top favourite character but Maisie Williams is my top favourite female actor in the show. She was just so a-maisie-ing!

      Lady Crane knew what she was talking about when she looked at Arya/Maisie, and deemed her expressive eyes, eyebrows perfect for her trade.

      Throughout the series, Maisie Williams’s face acting has been so amazing, out of this world. And to think how young she was when it all started.

      Nina Gold literally hit gold when she cast Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

      My two favourite Arya scenes, in which Maisie Williams displays her acting chops: 1) S4, Arya attempting to treat the Hound’s wound, the Hound opens up to her (I cry every time I see that scene). 2) 806, the Hound cupping her head, and somehow the adult Arya, the 21-yr-old Maisie Williams, looked like a 11-yr-old little girl.

      All the other young actors have proved themselves but Maisie Williams as Arya is probably the most iconic.

      I want to thank Maisie Williams for bringing to life such a fan favourite character, in such a great way virtually nobody has any criticisms or nitpics – that’s a rare thing in the ASoIaF/GoT fandom!

      I wish all the best to Maisie Williams in all her future endeavours!

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    55. Arya was my first favorite and the reason I was Team Stark all the way. Maisie is just SO talented and I will watch anything I see her in!

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    56. Enharmony1625:
      This is one of my favourite Arya scenes from early on when she talks with Ned after her fight with Sansa. These two sell their close father/daughter relationship masterfully. And here again, Maisie exhibits her ability to hold her own against seasoned veteran actors like Sean Bean and Charles Dance.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E75i0dNnTs

      … And at 2:13, there’s little Arya seeing and speaking the truth (here, about Joffrey):

      “But how can you let her marry someone like that?

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    57. Watching that scene made me think of Arya killing the NightKing. The Hound talks about Meryl Trant as “wearing armour and carrying a big fucking sword” which keeps him from getting killed. Yet little Arya, years later , managed to slide a dagger through a vulnerable spot in armour and kill the horned fucker who carried a huge ice sword.

      Everything Maisie and Rory was perfection. She said that he inspired her to buy a piece of land near the sea because of his attachment to it.

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    58. By the end of season 1, Maisie Williams has quickly become one of my favorite actresses, and not just in the show. She has tremendous range and is a master of her facial expressions. She had some of the best pairings in the entire series, my favorites being Ned, Tywin, and the Hound, though she was also very good with Gendry, Hot Pie, Yoren, Beric, and Jaquen. My top five favorite Arya scenes are:
      1. Arya leaves the Hound to die
      2. Arya gives up revenge and races through King’s Landing as Drogon destroys it
      3. Arya and the Hound at the inn
      4. Arya fights against the dead and kills the Night King
      5. Arya and Tywin

      I very much look forward to seeing Maisie Williams in future projects and can’t wait to see New Mutants and The Owners.

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    59. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

      As I’ve noted before, Arya learned her lesson from Sandor (emphasized with a smack to her face). She told Sandor when Meryn F*cking Trant killed Syrio, Syrio “didn’t have a sword, or armor; just a stick.” Sandor’s lesson: “Your friend’s dead and Meryn Trant’s not, because Trant had armor and a big f*cking sword.”

      So what did Arya do? She waited until MFT didn’t have a sword, or armor; just a stick (inS5e10). And then she poked his eyes, face, neck, and torso with so many holes… 🙂

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    60. Ten Bears,

      That was also an amazing scene! It was hard just choosing five. You may have noticed that I cheated a little by putting Arya and Tywin, since they had several scenes together. I also wanted to put the Hound telling Arya about childhood, one of my favorite scenes, but I felt that was more about the Hound/Rory McCann than Maisie Williams.

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    61. Clob,

      Hey Clob, Submissions happened last week. Maisie is submitted in two categories:

      Outstanding Supporting actress for GoT
      Outstanding Voice Over performance for gen:LOCK

        Quote  Reply

    62. I think I don’t have much to add to the general praise of Maisie Williams and her amazing work. With that expressive eyes, she made her scenes always so vivid. And she is nuanced in her facial expressions. Even in her quiet or uneventful scenes, it was easy to pay attention to what Arya was doing.

      Her first four seasons were strong. Her personal story, a bit detached from the central plots of the show, drove her to meetings with interesting characters (Yoren, Tywin, Thoros and Beric, Hound). And those characters were made better by her too.

      Many highlights were already mentioned above. I’d add some more

      2×06: The scene with Tywin where he asks about her father: “What killed him? Loyalty”

      3×02: Farewell to HotPie

      3×05: The scene where she asks Thoros to bring back one man without his head, only one time

      3×09: The Red Wedding

      The last seasons weren’t so strong, but there were good moments (Needle, Lady Crane, some training scenes).

      And her ending fitted the journey that came before. Her tale can be enjoyed on rewatch.

      Thank you Maisie for your portrayal of this beloved character.

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    63. Sai:
      You can really understand why Arya is many fans favourite character. The scene which stood out for me was in season four when an injured Hound asked her to kill him. The look of despair in her eyes that she was going to lose someone else was as good a piece of acting as we saw in the whole series.

      An aside, is there any chance we can review the series as whole now we know how the pieces fit together. Not specifically focusing on season eight, although for a more satisfying conclusion (same end result) all it would taken is two additional episodes (including one from splitting episode four into two smaller episodes) and some minor changes to small number of scenes to flesh out the storyline.

      In the series as a whole, I know the things that I would have done differently including keeping alive some minor characters, which would have benefited the overall story.
      It will give us the opportunity to discuss issues like the dearth of storyline in Kings Landing over the last two seasons and how this would have fitted in to some fans vision of a extended season seven and eight, whether Daenerys actually needed the northern army to take Kings Landing or even if she needed to initially assist against the Night King, after all there was an invulnerable magic wall preventing him to attacking the North.

      I won’t go into anymore detail but it would be good to have the discussion amongst such insightful and amiable people.

      This is a good idea, sort of an episode a day/week to help alleviate the months until the next show begins 🙂

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    64. Bufferzone:
      This is the tribute I was particularly looking forward to – my favourite character in the books brought to vivid life by one of my favourite actors in the show.

      Maisie Williams is also an excellent interviewer. She’s got a new podcast series – Thinking Big with Maisie Williams. It’s associated with Daisie, I think, and the episodes have focused (so far) on creativity, networking, and mental health. As someone who gets bored easily with podcasts, I’ve enjoyed each of the 3 eps so far. The first is on YouTube:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjwB7NiLwcI

      and the others on Spotify, iTunes etc.

      I have been enjoying them as well, I hope this venture (Daisy) works out for her as it does sound like a good idea born out of the best intentions… I like that she wants to share her great good fortune to land a life changing role to help others on the cusp of realizing their dreams get to that next level/collaboration to help realize theirs.

      Maisie is so multi-talented… she can even do spoken word poetry!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbIhfuyWLRA

      I think of all the actors that I’ve been introduced to on this show, she the one I am the most interested in seeing where she lands in her career. Many of the older actors are seasoned veterans, and will no doubt continue to work as much or as little as they want… Emilia and Kit, the two most prominent ‘faces’ of the series – it seems to me that Emilia will have an easier time (she has been working a lot lately), especially because her natural look is different enough to disassociate from Dany – plus she really is compelling on screen, especially when she plays a girl-next-door type, she shouldn’t try for the harder/action roles imho – when comedy/drama is such a natural fit for her. Kit may need to prove himself more, but I have no doubt he will find interesting/great projects to work on… he has been so immersed in this character and THAT hair (LOL) that I hope the next projects he works on are vastly different. Took Richard a few years to find his footing, and now he is on fire! The Bodyguard is fantastic, and Rocketman too.

      Of the ‘kids’ Sophie is a Hollywood wet dream, beautiful, celebrity marriage, and talented… she will have no problem transitioning. Issac is over the worst of his ‘growing pains’ and since his role wasn’t as prominent by association I don’t think it will hinder him in future roles… it will be interesting to see how much range he has as the show really didn’t showcase it much in later seasons. As for Maisie I think she is really associated with ‘Arya’ and that may hinder her a bit, just see how her ‘sex’ scene freaked everyone out and had them googling her age as they couldn’t believe she had actually aged before their eyes, lol she might fall into the category of child actors that can’t escape their roles… but she is really talented, so I have hope that and her following will help her moving forward in the industry… I hope she becomes a great character actor and really embraces what makes her such a standout.

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    65. Black Raven:
      Wolfish,
      I’ve never read the books and TBH it seems a bit pointless if GRRM never gets to finish the novels!

      I disagree, GOT is an adaption – there is so much more in the books, that they are definitely worth the time to read and re-read, cause you will miss a lot – there is so much story and subtly in the text that they are always interesting new takes/theories to find and contemplate… it really is a series that needs thought and discussion to fully grasp all that is happening in the text… IMHO 🙂

      I noticed when I venture into forums that discuss the books, many dismiss Arya’s story as not being as important, a cliche type that is just there to complete her revenge list (that is not the point of her list) probably why many felt that she didn’t deserve the NK kill, because she isn’t as important as Jon or Dany, and it wasn’t her place to rob them of the ‘hero’ moment. Even Maisie feared that would happen!

      It is true Arya doesn’t effect the major plots – she isn’t dealing with the magic or the Others, she isn’t dealing with IT politics, she isn’t destroying slavery, birthing dragons, and amassing a huge army… You could literally take her out of the story and not effect much of the actual plot(s) going on… What people fail to realized that SHE is her own story line… most of her story is dealing with trauma, experiencing it along with those that are suffering from the wars and how that affects her as she learns to survive and become stronger. Her journey is important and she will play a major role once she has developed enough to impact it. I love and feel so challenged when I read Arya chapters, you can understand how/why she is doing what she is doing, but at the same time I fear for her – she really had no one to rely on, more so that any other character she feels alone, abandoned and no longer has anything to lose.

      I wasn’t always happy with how Arya was written, but Maisie never failed to deliver all that was asked of her, and despite all the changes to her character I still felt so much for GOT Arya and really felt protective of her – that is the true power of Maisie’s performance! She has a fan for life in me 🙂

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    66. Clob: We’ve been saying this very accurate statement since this early S1 scene.Looking back at all of her scenes now though I’d say it’s just as accurate to say that her performance with all of them even elevated her partner’s performance, beyond simply holding her own, no matter how experienced that person was.

      In my opinion some of the strongest/best acted scenes by the ones Maisie interacted with a lot were in one-on-one scenes between Arya and their character.Ned, Syrio (by default), Yoren, Tywin, Hot Pie, Gendry, Beric & Thoros, Jaqen (by default), Sandor, Sansa…All of them had some scenes with Arya that I would put in their character’s ‘acting performance’ highlights.

      It is also interesting to note how many major characters she never had conversations with even when they were in the same location: Catelyn, Robb, Cersei, Tyrion, Jamie, Dany, Jorah, Theon, Yara (I don’t count a threat as a conversation), Varys, Davos, Pod, Greyworm, Missandi, Thormund, Sam, Lyanna, etc… so many prominent characters too!

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    67. Clob:
      Mr Derp,
      My “simple” thoughts about it…
      Yes, everyone thinks Lena was a great Cersei and she probably does deserve a win for her complete and total series performance.I just think her part was so, so limited this season (even more limited than S7 that didn’t earn a win) that I can’t say she earned it SOLELY on S8.It was so limited that I personally would consider her on the fence for even a nomination.Nothing against Lena, the character just wasn’t used much.

      In my eyes Sophie has performed the last two seasons head & shoulders above the previous seasons.The issue I have is that this season was “easy work” again and didn’t require much range.She spent most of the season basically just giving the side-eye at Daenerys.Just an opinion

      Emilia simply earned a nomination this year.

      Maisie on the other hand had quite a bit to do and needed to show a lot of acting range, spoken and unspoken, as well as a lot of physical action, and I think she nailed all of it.Like Lena, I believe Maisie is also deserving an Emmy for her overall series performance, but I also believe she’s deserving for S8 as well.Her S6 nomination felt like the recognition for her performance in the series to that point.Another nomination is earned and it would be a huge snub if she doesn’t get it, but I’m pushing for a win!🙂

      So, just considering S8 only, in my opinion Maisie and Emilia 100% earned and deserve a nomination.

      Well said, but you also have to consider that this the the last time any of these actors can be nominated for these roles… and that has an impact on who wins as well… I agree Lena was robbed in previous seasons, but her entire work on the show will still impact some voters who feel that she should be recognized finally for the role. Same goes for Emilia and Maisie – of the women on this show I would say that Dany is the most iconic role (Mother of Dragons!) her look and story just demands iconic status. Emilia did a fantastic job and had so much to convey I hope she wins.

      Cersei and Arya are also very memorable and icon in a lesser way to Dany… their roles depended more on the performances to elevate them and both actresses did that in spades over the years. I hope they both don’t win because of a split vote!! Each deserves a win.

      I also think Jamie should win over Tyrion, Peter has won so many and I think Nikoja has also done a lot to create a very compelling, complex character over the years and deserves a win.

      Of course I’m bias as I don’t even know who their competition is nor care, lol as this is the last time any GOT actor can win something, I feel that they have given so much over all these years that they deserve the votes – but I fear the negative reception of the last season may influence voters who can’t separate their disapointment over the fantastic performances…

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    68. AryaAyra:
      Clob,

      Hey Clob, Submissions happened last week. Maisie is submitted in two categories:

      Outstanding Supporting actress for GoT
      Outstanding Voice Over performance for gen:LOCK

      Ooh, Maisie was fantastic in gen:LOCK – easily stole the show character/performance wise. Didn’t even know this was a category, especially as it was a web-series… but would be weird if she wins in voice-over category over her GOT performances, but a win is a win I guess!

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    69. viki,

      Excellent points on Arya’s purpose in the story that some fail to realize. Personally I never felt that her arc was just going to be a revenge-only type of story that would just eventually lead to her heartbreaking death. George deserves more credit than that for such a prominent character in his epic tale (for those who don’t know, she is the only character to have a PoV chapter in every book and she has the 3rd most chapters of any character behind Jon and Tyrion). That’s one of the reasons I love that she killed the NK (beyond making absolute sense for her story), it proved those people wrong who underestimated her importance. In fact, in one of the Inside the Episodes in season 8, Benioff says straight out that Arya is one of the most important characters in the story.

      To add to your points about Arya being her own storyline, she is also our view into the Faceless Men, who will very likely play a more significant role in the overall plot in the books. And also the small folk and the affects the war is having on them, which is a very important theme in George’s writing.

      Being able to look back on it now, I love that the skills she sought out and learned for the purposes of revenge led ultimately to her using them to save humanity. All while she was beginning to reconnect with her humanity. The way this was all coloured by her dealing with trauma, revenge, identity is George’s genius, and so wonderfully adapted for the show (minus a few hiccups along the way).

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    70. Ten Bears…as the Arya expert…

      ….When Arya and Hound rode out of WF together, she declared that she was never returning to Winterfell. Were we to conclude that she was simply leaving without saying goodbye to Sansa, Bran and Jon?

      In the end, when they all finally said goodbye, it did not seem that Arya would have simply left. Are we to assume that she was emotionally moved by the burning of KL but not by the fight against the dead? Are we to credit the Hound?

      Are we still to conclude that she will never return to Winterfell?

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    71. AryaAyra:
      Clob,

      Hey Clob, Submissions happened last week. Maisie is submitted in two categories:

      Outstanding Supporting actress for GoT
      Outstanding Voice Over performance for gen:LOCK

      Oh really. I don’t usually look for it because we normally have a thread here about the submissions. It must have slipped by while they’re taking a breather. 😉

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    72. Mango:
      Ten Bears…as the Arya expert…

      ….When Arya and Hound rode out of WF together, she declared that she was never returning to Winterfell. Were we to conclude that she was simply leaving without saying goodbye to Sansa, Bran and Jon?

      In the end, when they all finally said goodbye, it did not seem that Arya would have simply left.Are we to assume that she was emotionally moved by the burning of KL but not by the fight against the dead? Are we to credit the Hound?

      Are we still to conclude that she will never return to Winterfell?

      I would like these questions answered myself. In my head as a major fan, Arya will survive her adventures and return home. The lessons she learned during The Battles for Winterfell and KL were invaluable in restoring her connection to family and home. I felt her words to Sandor upon meeting him on the road meant that she felt she was going to die trying to kill Cersei. I had never seen such vulnerability from Arya as she said good-bye to Jon. Her humanity had been reborn.

      ETA: Many thanks for the clips. I’ve pinned them to repeatedly enjoy!

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    73. Mango,

      I think what she actually said was she didn’t plan on coming back. She meant she didn’t expect to survive King’s Landing.

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    74. Tiago,

      If you don’t have much to say then why do you do it then, attention seeking ? Can you not comprehend what these articles are for ?

        Quote  Reply

    75. Young Dragon,

      I have a different take. For me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that she would be so cavalier towards dying considering she has spent pretty much the whole story surviving. “What do we say to the God of Death? Not today.” It would seem out of character for her to suddenly accept death. However, I think the writers want us to think that, and be afraid for her to create tension in the upcoming episode.

      More likely in my mind is that after reconnecting with her family and the huge climax of saving humanity, what does she do in Winterfell? Just hang around? Chill? I think Gendry’s proposal offers a clue. Even though she deeply cares for him, she’s not willing to stick around and just live in a castle. She’s too curious, independent and free-spirited for that. I think she’s already made up her mind at the time she leaves Winterfell that she will sail west. She probably figures that she’ll cross Cersei off her list and then peace-out on a ship.

      One thing I wish they did after the battle with the NK is explore a bit more how Arya feels about being a “hero”. They could have had her in the feast at the beginning (in episode 4) and had people come up to her and thank her (much to the amusement of Sandor), and then we see her grow increasingly uncomfortable and leaves. Then Gendry goes to find her. This could have led to an additional scene with Arya and Sandor where he teases her about her fame and that could have given us more context as to why she leaves Winterfell, and subsequently sails west. She doesn’t want to hang around and be known as “The Hero of Winterfell”.

      As for her adventures out in the sea, I think she’ll return. She has to in order to tell people what she’s discovered, and that will help fill in the maps of what’s west.

      That’s my take anyway. Definitely interested in what Ten Bears has to say! Such possibilities.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Mango,

      I think Young Dragon (at 12:25 pm) got it right: Arya didn’t plan on coming back because she figured whacking Cersei was a suicide mission. And she was fully prepared to follow through with it until Sandor physically and emotionally yanked her back.

      As for not saying goodbye to her family before leaving WF… not sure about that. But she did deliberately miss the victory party in which she was the guest of honor. I can only guess that she assumed if she told Jon, Bran and Sansa she was headed to KL on a kamikaze mission they wouldn’t let her leave.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Young Dragon,

      Maybe. I won’t say it’s out of the realm of possibility. I just don’t know what would have made her think killing Cersei is so risky after all the killing she’s done before against far more capable people. I mean, Cersei herself is no fighter, and one would think Arya could easily get the drop on her. Obviously there’s The Mountain to deal with, but that was Sandor’s business.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Enharmony1625,

      Well, I thought Sandor made it very clear that Cersei was going to die anyway and that Arya would die too unless she left — and at first Arya didn’t want to listen to him. (The transcription below may not be entirely accurate. However, from the dialogue and action it seemed that Arya was fixated on going after Cersei regardless of the consequences.)

      Sandor & Arya last scene (S8e5)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DgACkATLvA

      Sandor: “Go home, girl. The fire will get her, or one of the Dothraki. Or maybe that dragon will eat her. It doesn’t matter. She’s dead. And you’ll be dead too if you don’t get out of here.”

      Arya: “I’m going to kill her!”

      Sandor: “You think you wanted revenge a long time? I’ve been after it all my life. It’s all I care about. And look at me. Look at me! You want to be like me? You come with me, you die here.”

      Arya: “Sandor! … Thank you.”

      Me: 😢

        Quote  Reply

    79. Ten Bears,

      Yeah.. I think you’re probably right. It makes Sandor’s plea for Arya to save herself more imminent and powerful, so it makes sense. It also makes her slide back into revenge mode more.. “dangerous” in a sense.

      However, like I pointed out above, I guess I’m struggling a bit with the fact that she’s always fought so hard to survive and to reunite with her family, so why would she be somewhat indifferent to the possibility of dying by going after Cersei at this point? I suppose it’s another small consequence of the rushed narrative of season 8, so I probably injected my own interpretation into explaining it.

      And yeah, teary-eyed-emoticon x100!!

        Quote  Reply

    80. Enharmony1625,

      Whether it was deliberate or not, I thought there was quite a bit of regression or “back-sliding” by certain characters. I thought Jaime had completed a “redemption arc” and was finally rid of his attachment to Cersei…. but nope. I thought Sandor had taken to heart Beric’s words “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane, it’s not too late for you” and had abandoned his misanthropic revenge fixation… but nope.

      So in that sense, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that after saving the world, Arya decided to get her paperwork in order and check off* the #1 name on her list.

      * It’s not as if the show didn’t hang this Chekhov’s Gun. and remind us of it often.

      (I’ll see myself out. 😬)

        Quote  Reply

    81. Ten Bears,

      True, but to be honest, some of the backsliding doesn’t bother me that much because it’s realistic. Cersei had been such a fixation for Arya for so long that it would have perhaps been a bit strange if it never came up again. Especially given the threat Cersei posed to everyone in season 8. And it served as a catalyst for her eventual rejection of her revenge, and Sandor was the counterpoint. So on those grounds, it worked for me even though it still stings about Sandor’s death.. but at least his last act was to save Arya!

        Quote  Reply

    82. Ten Bears:
      Mango,

      I think Young Dragon (at 12:25 pm) got it right: Arya didn’t plan on coming back because she figured whacking Cersei was a suicide mission. And she was fully prepared to follow through with it until Sandor physically and emotionally yanked her back.

      As for not saying goodbye to her family before leaving WF… not sure about that. But she did deliberately miss the victory party in which she was the guest of honor.I can only guess that she assumed if she told Jon, Bran and Sansa she was headed to KL on a kamikaze mission they wouldn’t let her leave.

      Why would she tell them (her siblings) that she planned to kill Cersei if she was worried they would try to stop her? She could say goodbye without disclosing that.

      And why would Arya expect to die in the attempt on Cersei? This was just shortly after killing a more dangerous enemy while he was surrounded by white walkers. Did she fear Cersei more than the Night King? She killed more than 50 (?) Freys earlier. It would such a crisis of confidence after such a big kill re the Night King. In the story, the NK was supposed to be the great death – she defeated him and his squad using a knife. She did not even need her shape-shifting skills.

      Interesting.

        Quote  Reply

    83. Enharmony1625:
      Young Dragon,

      Maybe. I won’t say it’s out of the realm of possibility. I just don’t know what would have made her think killing Cersei is so risky after all the killing she’s done before against far more capable people. I mean, Cersei herself is no fighter, and one would think Arya could easily get the drop on her. Obviously there’s The Mountain to deal with, but that was Sandor’s business.

      That is my thinking too.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Ten Bears:
      Enharmony1625,

      Whether it was deliberate or not, I thought there was quite a bit of regression or “back-sliding” by certain characters. I thought Jaime had completed a “redemption arc” and was finally rid of his attachment to Cersei…. but nope. I thought Sandor had taken to heart Beric’s words “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane, it’s not too late for you” and had abandoned his misanthropic revenge fixation… but nope.

      So in that sense, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that after saving the world, Arya decided to get her paperwork in order and check off* the #1 name on her list.

      * It’s not as if the show didn’t hang this Chekhov’s Gun. and remind us of it often.

      (I’ll see myself out. )

      hahhahhaahaa!

      Do not get me started on the character arcs that were dismantled, mangled, vandalized. And not even in interesting ways. Not in life-affirming ways. Not in thoughtful ways that enriched the work. Just dross.

        Quote  Reply

    85. Enharmony1625,

      I’m all for back-sliding and regression. It’s part of human nature.

      We were reminded of Cersei’s unchecked name on Arya’s list, e.g., in S7e1 (with friendly Lannister soldiers, “I’m going to kill the queen” – ha ha); S7e2 (with Hot Pie, “Cersei would do that” [blow up the Sept]); S7e4 (Bran: “Cersei’s on her list of names”).

      Unlike other open-ended or unfinished plot lines, I’m glad this one came to a head, and I like the way it played out. I agree: Enabling Sandor to be the one to set her straight was a perfect conclusion for their story.

        Quote  Reply

    86. Mango,

      I’m still kind of attached to my original idea as well, even though Ten Bears and Young Dragon has made me question it. And she really thought she might die in her attempt to kill Cersei when she tells Sandor that she doesn’t plan on returning either, why didn’t he stop her then? I still think it makes sense that she planned on taking out Cersei, then sailing west after the deed. But the other interpretation is perfectly valid also.

      Mango,

      I didn’t mention Jaime for this very reason! 🙂 I think we’ll just have to disagree on that. Though he is definitely one of my favourites as well, Jaime is to you what Arya is to me, so.. I can understand your frustration with it. I was definitely rooting and wishing for his redemption and was upset at first, but then I grew to appreciate the ending and how it fit. But you are clearly on the other side of that.

      Ten Bears,

      Thumbs up!

        Quote  Reply

    87. Enharmony1625:
      Young Dragon,

      Maybe. I won’t say it’s out of the realm of possibility. I just don’t know what would have made her think killing Cersei is so risky after all the killing she’s done before against far more capable people. I mean, Cersei herself is no fighter, and one would think Arya could easily get the drop on her. Obviously there’s The Mountain to deal with, but that was Sandor’s business.

      I’m coming around to your way of thinking. After pulverizing the UltraVillain threatening all human life, Arya probably figured: “Cersei? Pffft. The Mountain? Blah. Piece of cake…I’ll just use my hungry little girl act.

      Perhaps going to KL wasn’t a suicide mission to begin with. However, once she (and Sandor) had infiltrated the city and Dany started her road rage on steroids, Sandor recognized that Cersei was doomed and Arya would be too if she didn’t abort her mission. (Scene breakdown to follow.)

      (P.S. Off-topic detail: Upon rewatch, I realized that although Gregor had been transformed into a virtually mindless cyborg programmed by Qyburn to obey Cersei, his psychotic hate for Sandor remained, and overrode his programming.)

        Quote  Reply

    88. Enharmony1625,

      I rewatched Arya & Sandor’s last scene together. That should be the episode the show submits for Maisie Williams’s Emmy nomination… just the way she transitions seamlessly from anger to compassion in about sixty seconds.

      Anyway, I broke down the scene and realized Arya remained intent on killing Cersei even after Sandor’s initial assurance that Cersei was as good as dead anyway, and that Arya would (needlessly) die too unless she left immediately.

      It finally took an emphatic “Look at me!!!” followed by a gentle touch from Sandor, to snap her out of assassination mode.

      Sandor & Arya last scene (S8e5)

      0:34 Sandor: “…And you’ll be dead too if you don’t get out of here.”
      0:36 Arya: “I’m going to kill her!”
      0:39 Arya starts walking when Sandor grabs her by the arm, tries to talk to her about the corrosive effect of revenge.
      0:44-0:48 Arya still looks back toward towards her target with anger on her face.
      0:49 Sandor: “Look at me!” – finally gets her attention. “…Look at me! You want to be like me? You come with me, you die here.”
      0:59 – 1:13 Her expression changes completely. Anger melts away into innocence and compassion.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DgACkATLvA

      Just engrave her name on the Emmy now. 👸🏻

        Quote  Reply

    89. One other thing…
      I’ve been intrigued how Melisandre’s prophesizing evolved (paraphrasing):

      1. Mel: “Stannis Baratheon is the Prince That Was Promised!”

      ⤵️

      2. Mel: “Jon Snow is the Prince That Was Promised!”

      ⤵️

      3. Dany (w/ translation by Missandei): “Are you saying I’m the Princess That Was Promised?”

      Mel: “Prophecies are tricky. [*Unspoken: My track record is sketchy*.] Let’s just say I think you and Jon Snow both have roles to play.”

      ⤵️

      4. Mel: “Arya Stark is the Princess That Was Promised!”
      (To Arya: “Now go stick that horned f*cker in the ribs and shut his blue eyes forever.”)

        Quote  Reply

    90. Ten Bears,

      Yes, I think everything changes for them once Dany starts her rampage. Prior to that, I don’t think they thought of it as a suicide mission (at least Arya didn’t). If we consider the scene in 8×05 when they ride up to the soldier in the camp, Sandor says that if Arya kills Cersei, there will be no need for a siege and lives will be saved. Cersei’s death was still probably inevitable to them, but at least there was a purpose in killing her early at this point (with low risk, at least for Arya).

      What they couldn’t have foreseen was Dany torching the city, and it’s then that it becomes an almost guaranteed suicide mission. At this point, it’s near-certain that Cersei’s death is imminent (if she wasn’t dead already at this point to their knowledge), and Dany is already killing people by the thousands, so there’s no purpose in pursuing her apart from pure blind hatred. So this is the turning point, and represents the futility of living a life of revenge and hate.

      Here Arya seems resigned to press on regardless of the consequences, but Sandor snaps her out of it. When she leaves Winterfell, however, I think it was more about her saying she feels like she doesn’t belong at home. She won’t be satisfied living a docile life in a castle. She’s been out in the wild for years ever since Ned’s death, and that brimming curiosity we see when she’s on the ship heading to Braavos in 4×10 has taken hold of her. She’s thinking she’s got one more name on her list that needs crossing off before she heads out on adventure, but the danger of living the life of revenge almost destroys that until Sandor steps in!

        Quote  Reply

    91. Enharmony1625,

      Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t remember the earlier “scene in 8×05 when they ride up to the soldier in the camp, Sandor says that if Arya kills Cersei there will be no need for a siege and lives will be saved.”

      I have not rewatched any of the episodes; only the memorable Arya and Sandor scenes.

      Whatever Arya’s intended assassination tactic may have been, it probably all went to sh*t once Dany torched the playing field and buildings started collapsing – but it took Sandor to talk some sense into Arya and convince her of that: “You come with me, you die here.”

        Quote  Reply

    92. Enharmony1625,

      “When she leaves Winterfell, however, I think it was more about her saying she feels like she doesn’t belong at home. She won’t be satisfied living a docile life in a castle. She’s been out in the wild for years ever since Ned’s death, and that brimming curiosity we see when she’s on the ship heading to Braavos in 4×10 has taken hold of her…”

      ________
      That could’ve been it. After all, she avoided the celebration and (I think) agreed with Sandor as they started riding south that neither of them likes crowds or adulation. *

      It also occurred to me that she could’ve gotten restless. After all, do we know how many days (or weeks) had passed between the Long Night battle and the victory party?

      It would just seem kind of odd if she finally reunited with Jon after ~ 7 or 8 years apart, that she wouldn’t want to spend a little time with her family before leaving WF. Then again, if she assumed Jon. Dany and their armies were going to be heading south sooner (per Dany) or later (Sansa’s preference), it’d make sense for Arya to get a head start in order to infiltrate the city before it came under attack. (Yet, she still found herself in the middle of the firestorm.)

      * … At least I assumed she and Sandor were riding off while the party was still in progress.

        Quote  Reply

    93. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this scene in a Maisie Williams appreciation thread. This brief scene had three moments that made me smile or chuckle…

      (S3e9: Sandor, Arya & the Pork Merchant; Arya begs Sandor not to kill the pork merchant he just clobbered)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll8hB7ywcYI

      • (at 1:00 – 1:14)
      Arya tells Sandor she knows a real killer, and “you’d be like a kitten to him; he’d kill you with his little finger.”

      Sandor: “That him?”
      Arya (meekly): “No.”

      • (at 1:25 – 1:44)
      Right after Arya pushes Sandor away and again begs him “Please don’t kill him! Please! Please don’t”, Sandor relents and tells Arya she’s “very kind“; then the merchant regains consciousness – and Arya whacks him on the head, knocking him out again.

      • (at 1:44)
      I loved Sandor’s double-take as Arya walks by him.

        Quote  Reply

    94. Lovely tribute, David! You really said it all.

      Arya had my favorite arc of any character in Season 8, and the more I think about it, of the entire series. For 8 seasons she water-danced with Death, and her slaying of the Night King was the perfect culmination of that dark journey. Then … she turned from that path, choosing life and the possibility of something better. Seeing her sail off on that ship heading west of Westeros at the end … I just love it more than I can properly express.

      And Maisie … what more can be said? I’ve just loved everything about her performance, and incredible as she’s always been, she has taken it to another level. I truly believe that she’s done her best work ever this year.

      Shine on, Maisie! Your future is indescribably bright!

        Quote  Reply

    95. Raenarys:
      Soooo are we going to get a Take a Bow from literally everyone else? Lol

      I don’t know why we wouldn’t… We had Curtain Calls for all of those that died. I just needed this Maisie one though and now I’m good. 😉

        Quote  Reply

    96. Mango: Why would she tell them (her siblings) that she planned to kill Cersei if she was worried they would try to stop her? She could say goodbye without disclosing that.

      And why would Arya expect to die in the attempt on Cersei?

      This response is waaayyy too late and you probably won’t see it, but just in case you do…

      1. Bran, Sansa and Arya had an exchange about her list in the godswood in S7, so at least two of the siblings were aware of her intention to kill Cersei.

      2. Parts of the Red Keep were literally falling on Sandor and Arya, and they both saw the dragon overhead. I didn’t think the implication was that Arya was afraid of Cersei (or even the Mountain at this point), but simply of being crushed.

        Quote  Reply

    97. Clob:
      Then Came You is finally on Netflix – watching it now.Maisie is super fun in it

      Yes, I rewatched it last week. She gets to show more range towards the end, but I thought she did a great job with the role. Looks like Maisie is enjoying her freedom now, but I’m hoping she is offered an adult role that she can really dig into that she won’t be able to refuse.

        Quote  Reply

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