‘Game of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams reveals how she really felt about playing Arya Stark

Image via HBO / Game of Thrones

As the sole butcher of the traitorous House Frey and the champion of the Seven Kingdoms through her skillful, albeit controversial, elimination of Night King in the final season of Game of Thrones, Arya Stark has cemented her name as one of the most badass characters in all of fiction. Apparently, however, playing the role of the deadly mystical assassin is something that actress Maisie Williams wasn’t really interested in while working on the series.

In a new GQ profile, Williams has discussed her most iconic role, playing the Stark sibling in the hit fantasy series that raised HBO’s profile. When the interviewer asked Maisie to reveal what part of the show she misses above everything, she paused and then replied:

“Can I say none of it? I don’t think it’s healthy, because I loved it. I look at it so fondly, and I look at it with such pride. But why would I want to make myself feel sad about the greatest thing that ever happened to me? I don’t want to associate that with feelings of pain.”

Williams further elaborated on this by bringing up a challenge she experienced while making the show, hinting that Arya’s coming-of-age story and how she presented to the world didn’t quite sync with what Williams was personally experiencing while playing the role.

“I think that when I started becoming a woman, I resented Arya because I couldn’t express who I was becoming,” she noted. “And then I also resented my body, because it wasn’t aligned with the piece of me that the world celebrated.”

After Game of Thrones, Maisie went on to bag a number of high-profile roles, including Marvel’s The New Mutants and BBC’s Doctor Who, where she could display a broader spectrum in her acting beyond one iconic character, and express her femininity to a much larger degree while she was at it.