Spoilers ahead — don’t read if you haven’t seen the season finale of Game of Thrones, “The Children.”
Why is it that the more Arya becomes a killer, the more we love her? Even though the finale means no more Arya-and-the-Hound misadventures, we can’t wait to see what happens to the littlest Stark daughter in season five, as she becomes even more badass. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya (and who we’ve named as Best Child Actor in our weeklong Vulture TV Awards), can’t wait as well, but she’s trying to keep her excitement at bay by learning how to drive before she starts shooting again next month. (“Changing gear is one of the hardest things!” she reports). The actress took a break from her lessons to chat with Vulture about Arya’s laugh, mashing her face with the Hound, and why you probably won’t find any new Vines from her for a while.
You have the very last scene of the finale, Arya setting out on the next stage of her journey. That’s a pretty big deal!
[Laughs] I was super excited when I found that out. I kind of thought it might happen, because my mom read the script before I did — she’s a quicker reader than I am. So when I got to the end and realized it was Arya sailing across the Narrow Sea, I was very, very happy about that. Particularly in this last season, we’ve seen a massive change in Arya. The old Arya that we used to know was slowly being chipped away, so I feel like this is a breath of fresh air. She’s not trying to control her future anymore. She’s just letting go of everything that she used to know, and she’s starting fresh.
Ever since Ned Stark was beheaded, she’s been trying in various ways to get to different members of her family — to the Wall, to find Jon Snow; to the Riverlands, to find her mother and brother; to the Eyrie, to find her aunt. It’s like she had that list — who’s left? who’s out there? — in addition to the wish list of people to kill along the way.
Yes! Although she wasn’t going to the Eyrie by choice. She’s given up on finding her family now.
Your laugh, when she learns that her aunt in the Eyrie had just died, was classic.
[Laughs] Thank you. That was the writing. That wasn’t really me. But I was thrilled when I saw her reaction. I guess someone had to laugh! I’m glad people liked it. I don’t even know if she’s necessarily laughing at something, or more the fact that they’re in this situation … again. It’s not like she’s laughing at the Hound, or laughing that more of her family is dead. It’s more like, “What do we do now?”
What do you think would happen if she could have reunited with Sansa? Since unbeknownst to her, Sansa was nearby?
I don’t think it would be a good idea for Petyr Baelish to have both Arya and Sansa. That would be the worst combination ever. So I think it’s good that they don’t meet up at this point of time. It’s a good thing Sansa is under an alias. And they’ve changed so much, but I don’t know if you ever really forget your sister. Emotionally, I think that bond would still be there. But whenever I’m reading the scripts, and whenever there’s anything like that, where one of the Starks is about to meet up with one of the other Starks, I just give up on it immediately, because I know that it’s never, ever, ever, ever going to happen. You don’t want to get your hopes up.
Throughout this whole season, Arya’s had this very complicated relationship with the Hound. They’ve been friendly at points, but he’s still on her list of people to kill, for what he did to Micah, the butcher’s boy. Is that why she walks away?
Yeah. It’s that saying — keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. And I think that’s so true with Arya and the Hound, where they have an uneasy truce and they do kind of help each other, but they know at any given moment, they could turn on each other. They’re both kind of dangerous people, and they both have strengths and weaknesses that the other doesn’t, and it makes it interesting, because they could try to kill each other. Although now, can she really bring herself to kill him? And finish it? I think in her head, it’s not a spiteful thing. It’s not like, “I’m going to leave you here to die.” I think there’s so much more going on in her head at that point than, “Okay, I’m going to kill you,” or “I’m not going to kill you.” It’s almost what he wants, so she’s not going to give it to him.
Apparently one time when you were out and about with Rory McCann, you guys got stopped by the police?
Oh, yeah! We were in Iceland, and it was a whole minibus of us, and apparently we were playing music a little too loud, singing along, so the police pulled us over. [Laughs] And the officer was trying to ask us questions, but we didn’t understand the questions, so we kept quiet. And Rory just took his hat off, and he goes, “Do you watch Game of Thrones? I’m the Hound!” or something like that. And the officer was like, “Oh my God! Okay! You guys can go.” So that was really funny. [Laughs]
There was a photo of you as the Hound on one of your social media sites …
That’s like a face-mash. So that’s photoshopped. We don’t have time when we’re shooting for me to try out the Hound’s makeup or anything like that, but I had posted this really funny face-mash of Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, and then I said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if any of you who were good at photoshopping could do a mash of Arya and the Hound?” And they came back with some pretty great ones. I got on Twitter when I was quite young, and being part of the younger generation, we’re all obsessed with social media anyway. And then all my friends got Instagram, so I got Instagram. I just have a very different sort of take on it now, because there are so many people who want to look at what I post. I never really did it to show the world … I never really did it for fans or anything, it was more just what I wanted to do.
And then I saw a Vine that I thought was funny, so I went on there and started playing around. I don’t really go on it anymore. I don’t find it as nice of a place as it used to be. I used to find it really funny, and now it’s just full of racial stereotypes, and I’m not really into that. It’s just taken a turn. It’s still fun, but it’s very hard to find jokes, and it’s not something I want to be as associated with anymore. It’s hard to get followers or to get likes unless you say something racist or sexist, you know? So I stopped Vine-ing. But I have Twitter and Instagram for the public, and Facebook and Tumblr for my private ones. And I might do something new, because it is so lovely to share things, share what I like. Because some people are so used to seeing Arya Stark on television, and that is fantastic. But that is a character, so it’s nice to show people yourself. I mean, Arya and I are similar in lots of different ways, but we are different people, and I don’t want to be known as Arya Stark for the rest of my life. I mean, that would be amazing, but it’s not me! I’m not that cool! [Laughs]
You’re certainly not running around killing people, at least.
Exactly! Not that you know of. We can’t speak about that right now. [Laughs]