Interview

Maisie Williams on Arya’s killer Season 4 debut: “It’s kind of frightening”

arya

Arya and The Hound stole the show this past Sunday, as they closed out the premiere episode of Game of Thrones Season 4. We finally got to see the dark turn we’ve been hearing about, as Arya crossed Polliver off of her list, and reclaimed her sword, Needle.

Now that the premiere episode has aired, Maisie Williams can finally talk about Arya’s turn in detail. She tells Entertainment Weekly, “It’s kind of frightening. She hasn’t done much that’s really that effective. In this moment after she’s killed Polliver, she’s realized her own power as well. It was about being in the right pace at the right time. I think she’s also trying to show The Hound too — I got this list and I can do this if I want to. She’s definitely kind of changing and putting on a more brutal approach to things. It’s a lot more risky, as well, she’s not afraid of death.”

Fans of the book will have noted that the scene at the inn played out a little differently on screen, as Polliver’s fate was originally dealt to The Hound instead of Arya. Maisie reveals that we can expect more changes this year, keeping every viewer on their toes. “This year there’s a few key plot twists and the way [the show’s] writers go about it is different than the books. I think fans of the books will be a little confused … which I think is fantastic because it keeps it interesting for everyone.”

The online fan reaction to Arya and The Hound’s victory was huge, but for Maisie, it can hardly compare to being seated with 7,000 applauding fans at the Lincoln Center just a few weeks ago. She recalls the experience in a new interview with Vulture.

“It was crazy. And really embarrassing! I just lit up so much, I buried my head. I’m glad people liked it, because something is finally starting to go right for Arya. She’s finding what she’s good at. I feel like she’s finally finding something … that doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t feel good, either. It’s just like that line, “Nothing is better or worse. Nothing is just nothing.” And nothing is a really safe place to be, actually. And that’s kind of what she’s feeling at the moment. It’s a nice, stable point. But I’m basically weaving on in taking all the thunder after the Hound has just killed everyone. Taking the applause for it.”

She may have stolen some of The Hound’s thunder, but at least she isn’t trying to kill him anymore. Arya forgave him for killing her friend Mycah, the butcher’s boy, but Polliver was not given the same courtesy for killing Lommy. Maisie explains, “She’s gotten to see more beyond the Hound’s exterior, where with Polliver, she has one exchange. If the scene had played out differently with the chickens, maybe. But then he turns around and degrades her. That just fuels her even more. Had he behaved differently, it might have changed her mind.”

For more from Entertainment Weekly, including David and Dan’s thoughts on Arya’s dark turn, and the premiere’s cold open, click here. For more from Maisie’s interview with Vulture click here.

80 Comments

  • Book readers, what do you think she means by: “This year there’s a few key plot twists and the way [the show’s] writers go about it is different than the books. I think fans of the books will be a little confused … which I think is fantastic because it keeps it interesting for everyone.”

    I don’t like change… but i wonder what D&D might do differently… do you think someone dies who shouldn’t? or someone who should die stays alive…?

  • As long as the book changes are minor changes with high quality writing like Arya’s scene I’m all for it.

  • Ser Davos Seaworth,

    One of the changes we know about is Jon going to Crasters keep to seek justice for the death of Lord Commandor Mormont. They also take the baby we see in the trailer back to Castle Black. I assume this baby will replace Mance’s child. The change I would be upset about would be if they have Ygritte live, Shae live, Tywin lives, kill Bronn, or have Yara kill Roose or Ramsay. So far I think we’re in good hands

  • I wonder if they’ll kill off the Hound for real. If GRRM has told D&D he’s not coming back, they may want to give him a definitive ending.

    Or they’ll send the Hound on a boat with Arya. Now that would be confusing.

  • Family, Duty, Hodor,

    I think they have no choice but to dispatch the hound. We need Arya and the Hound separated for when she goes to Braavos. Its very interesting to see what gets him though since he just finished fighting off 5 dudes. Maybe he runs into his brother and receives a wound? If so than Unsullied will be pissed as we will also see The Mountain dispatch another character

  • Ser Davos Seaworth,

    She might be referring to the fight at the Inn and the Hound being injured. In the books he takes a wound during the fight at the Inn and it festers. He sits down at the base of tree and can’t go any further, so Arya leaves him to die on his own. On the show, the Hound wasn’t injured and the fight at the Inn came earlier in the story than it did in the books. So one of the changes she’s talking about may be letting the Hound live longer and let him travel with Arya for a little while longer. I don’t think he’ll end up going to Braavos with her. That would throw off her whole in disguise assassin in training and would through off the Hound ending up in disguise at a monastery that Brienne passes through later.

  • Maisie Williams was incredible during the entire scene. I love the dynamic between Arya and The Hound (and Maisie and Rory) so i hope that they have added plenty of content for them throughout the season. This is also ‘probably’ Rory’s last season on the show so it would make sense for them to give him (and Maisie) as much to do as possible

  • Well, one change is obvious, the Hound wasn’t injured at the Inn. We know from filming that the Hound and Arya will make it to the Vale. It wouldn’t surprise me if they crossed paths with Brienne. Arya is going to Braavos eventually, so I wouldn’t worry about any changes ruining her future storyline.

  • As you know there are only (I believe) 6 1/2 published chapters of Arya remaining, 5 of which are of her in Braavos. Unless she’s hardly in the show at all for a couple of seasons they would have to flesh her storyline out a bit. My guess is that they won’t stick her on the boat until late this season and have her and the Hound doing various “made up” things until then.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Well, one change is obvious, the Hound wasn’t injured at the Inn. We know from filming that the Hound and Arya will make it to the Vale. It wouldn’t surprise me if they crossed paths with Brienne. Arya is going to Braavos eventually, so I wouldn’t worry about any changes ruining her future storyline.

    I’m not sure why people assume there’s going to be only one fight with a bunch of thugs all year. Sometimes I think the actors mention that D&D have changed up a couple of things just to make the book readers freak out.

  • Ser Davos Seaworth:
    Book readers, what do you think she means by: “This year there’s a few key plot twists and the way [the show’s] writers go about it is different than the books. I think fans of the books will be a little confused … which I think is fantastic because it keeps it interesting for everyone.”

    I don’t like change… but i wonder what D&D might do differently… do you think someone dies who shouldn’t? or someone who should die stays alive…?


    D&D already confirmed in interviews that a female character alive in the books will bite it this season. My bet is on Brienne or Margaery.

  • bufkus,

    Where did they confirm this? Brienne cannot die because of the whole Jaime thing and LS and Margaery has to stay alive for whole drama with Cersei’s accusations

  • bufkus: D&D already confirmed in interviews that a female character alive in the books will bite it this season. My bet is on Brienne or Margaery.

    Link please.

    Sherlock Holmes: My journey to cast Mads Mikkelsen took me some what further down the rabbit hole than I intended and though I dirtied my fluffy white tail I have emerged, enlightened.

  • bufkus, what what whaaaaat?

    I haven’t seen a source for that anywhere. Link? Also, if I were to think of a female character still alive in the books to be killed off at this juncture, I would NOT think of Margaery or Brienne. Olenna, maybe, but Margaery? No way.

  • I think that last scene with her and the Hound battling at the inn is now my all time favorite scene. Watching the Hound do what he does best was so sweet. Him bouncing that guy’s face on that dagger was priceless. And Arya’s killing Polliver was sweet, sweet revenge. Such a satisfying scene. I’ve watched it about ten times already. The whole episode only 5 times so far though.

  • Weezy:
    What if they keep Ygritte alive in order to blend her character with Val?

    This is something I too have thought about. There is no Val. And Jon needs a woman to be his wife if they are to keep the offer of Winterfell. But Ygritte dying is so vital to Jon’s story, I doubt they change it. Plus in an interview the director Marshall said “There is heartbreak in my episode”. I’m sure he’s referring to Ygritte dying.

  • I loved how the scene played out like an Old West standoff at a saloon like the Hound just accused Polliver of cheating at poker and then the SHTF. Classic scene.

  • About Arya and the Hound’s arc in Season 4:

    I think with the Hound dying or not dying, we’re going to run into one of those “inherent spoiler” situations where no matter what happens, we’ll be spoiled as to post-ADWD books (the show version of Jeyne Westerling dying was another inherent spoiler). If the Hound dies in the show, that means that even if he is the gravedigger on the Quiet Isle, he won’t be relevant to the outcome of the books (no Clegane Bowl, for example). He’s essentially out of the story for all intents and purposes. If he lives in the show–or it’s left ambiguous–that means that the Hound still has a significant part to play.

  • If you watch this scene closely, you do see the Hound take a wound to the back of his leg, whether that ends up being significant is debatable since he appears fine in the final shot.

  • As long as the changes are minor and make sense for Arya’s arc I don’t mind.

    I’d love to see the hill tribes battle with the Hound while he attempts to take Arya to the Vale, that’s a good way to mortally wound Sandor.

  • Oh fuck off Arya you coward! After the Hound did all the fighting for you, you hamstrung Polliver from behind and then killed him with his arms raised in surrender. Where’s the honor that your father should have bestowed upon you?

    Hey someone needs to change the perspective….

  • I always believed that the Brotherhood caught up with the Hound and that Thoros brings him back. And then I think the Hound actually joins the brotherhood and does eventually face what used to be his brother. At least that’s what I’m hoping for. The Hound is one of my favorite characters in the books and especially the show.

  • D&D don’t really make changes, they take detours, but still end up on the same place…

    OT: Given the shows ability to confirm or dispel certain fan theories (like they did with Robb’s heir by killing Talisa), how cool would it be if they touched on the theory that Oberyn poisoned Tywin? They could have a scene in Tywin’s office(?), Oberyn pours wine and offers Tywin a glass. He says: “You think I’m stupid enough to drink that?” Theory dispelled!

  • King DBC,

    I’d love to see that theory used on the show but them confirming it. It just sounds so convincing when you read the chapters with it in mind.

  • I think the changes, or ‘detours’ will be the training scenes in the godswood of harrehal we didn’t get in season 2. But instead they will be in the Vale. Also the warging will appear this season because they haven’t touched it at all. Other scenes will show us the wartorn riverlands like in episode 1 and some stuff D&D came up with :)

    Also I don’t think we will see the hound die onscreen. Just pondering and in pain, while arya leaves him for dead. As with the bookreaders, viewers will be left in the dark :)
    (And we can still hope for a reformed hound Vs Robert Strong showdown!!!)

  • MM:
    About Arya and the Hound’s arc in Season 4:

    I think with the Hound dying or not dying, we’re going to run into one of those “inherent spoiler” situations where no matter what happens, we’ll be spoiled as to post-ADWD books (the show version of Jeyne Westerling dying was another inherent spoiler). If the Hound dies in the show, that means that even if he is the gravedigger on the Quiet Isle, he won’t be relevant to the outcome of the books (no Clegane Bowl, for example). He’s essentially out of the story for all intents and purposes. If he lives in the show–or it’s left ambiguous–that means that the Hound still has a significant part to play.

    Wasn’t it a spoiler of this type when Oberyn said that Rhaegar left Elia for another woman? I don’t believe that this was ever mentioned in the books. It was never explicitly stated that there was a romantic connection between Rhaegar and Lyanna and was just hinted by the fact that he gave her the flower at a tourney, right?

    This seems to be the first indication that Rhaegar left Elia for Lyanna and that was the cause of the war. It was certainly a fan theory before, but this seems to be a confirmation of that.

  • Personally, I think that D&D are setting up this improved relationship between Arya and the Hound. Although he doesn’t take a wound at this Inn, he may receive a wound later on (maybe fighting Rorge and Biter with Brienne?). Remember, except for the Brotherhood, the only one who knows Arya’s true identity is the Hound. Brienne’s never seen Arya before. Imagine a fight somewhere else down the road, the Hound takes a wound Brienne is pinned by Biter, and instead of Gendry, the Hound puts his sword through Biter’s head (similar to the books). His defense of Brienne and relationship with Arya enables Arya to just leave him to die instead of just killing him outright. He goes to the Quiet Isle, is recruited by the Faith Militant, and serves as their champion against Robert Strong. The Hound dies but not before learning that Gregor’s truly dead, allowing him to go in peace. Bittersweet – right up GRRM’s alley.

  • ebb5,

    Daenerys mentions in ADWD that had she been born sooner she would have wed Rhaegar and perhaps then he wouldn’t have ran off with “the Stark girl.” It was during a conversation with Barristan. Dany was lamenting marrying Hizdahr without loving him, and Barristan mentions something about Rhaegar not loving Elia when they were wed, but becoming quite fond of her later.

  • CM Punk,

    Yeah!!! As gaudy and needless as some say GoT’s nudity is, there is no such thing as showing too much Carice. Examining her filmography makes this apparent.

  • Does anyone else think that Oberyn Martell will die in a completely different way?

    I’ve always found his death in the books to be necessary, but the way it happened I was never happy with. Something so simple as ‘he got cocky’ is not good writing to me.

    If I had to guess what this change will be, I can see Cersei somehow handicapping the fight into the Mountains favour in order to see Tyrion be found guilty. That will make Unsullied sympathise with the Red Viper somewhat which I think could be a good thing since his daughters play a fairly large part in the next few books/ seasons.

  • Snapbackd,

    No. End of story. Seriously, I have seen multiple people suggest that he won’t even die. When has the show drastically altered a major event? Never.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    How is it drastically altered? I’m not saying he won’t die at all, I get frustrated by those peoples too. This would just change it somewhat.

  • Snapbackd,

    It would take the suspense and shock of the outcome out of it. How exactly would Cersei “handicap’ the fight anyway?

  • Why do I have this feeling in my gut that Joffrey will not be dead in episode 2 of this season at his wedding? I am just puzzled at where else he could die. I would love to see Oberyn poising Tywin touched upon, but Tyrion has to ultimately end Tywin. I am very curious assuming it’s true as to which woman of the show that is alive in the books will die this season. I don’t have the slightest clue. Gilly perhaps? I really don’t see Margaery dying before Cersei’s downfall, no way. I really think the only options are Gilly, Osha, and Yara.

  • RV of D,

    I believe the poster who brought up a D&D quote about a woman who was alive in the books that will die in the show has it backwards. The quote was actually that a female character that dies in the books may live longer in the show.

  • “This year there’s a few key plot twists and the way [the show’s] writers go about it is different than the books.”

    Dear show,
    Please keep The Hound alive. Kthxbai.
    ~Angie79

  • Rygar,

    Rygar:
    Where’s the honor that your father should have bestowed upon you?

    Lisa: You don’t fight with honor!

    Bronn: No, (Looks out moon door), but he did.

  • King DBC: lace…

    OT: Given the shows ability to confirm or dispel certain fan theories (like they did with Robb’s heir by killing Talisa), how cool would it be if they touched on the theory that Oberyn poisoned Tywin? They could have a scene in Tywin’s office(?), Oberyn pours wine and offers Tywin a glass. He says: “You think I’m stupid enough to drink that?” Theory dispelled!

    Why would people think that Oberyn poisoned Tywin? Tyrion kills Tywin with a crossbow, that is no mystery.

  • axia777,

    People think so because of the rot that afflicts Tywin’s body as it decomposes rapidly and horribly after his death. And Martin takes the care to mention a type of poison that shuts down the body from within. I’d like to think Tywin would not be so incautious as to give Oberyn the chance, knowing the Red Viper’s reputation, but it’s a popular theory. It also gives GRRM a chance to revel in how full of shit Tywin was.

  • Gilly’s a reasonable guess, given all the rumours about the way they’ve changed her storyline, but if they ARE killing an extra female character off, pretty much all my money’s on Meera.

  • Wolfemann,

    I did see that but I didn’t see any blood or other sign of an injury. From a practical standpoint, I doubt that D&D will do away with him so early in the season. If he’s wounded episode one and it festers, it’d be impractical for him to spend the whole season slowly dying. Then again, I could be wrong. We’ll have to see!

  • If I had to guess I would say they are going to stretch out their arc so it shows more of whys and hows of Arya becoming so cold blooded. They skipped over the vast majority of horrible stuff she had to survive during season 2. in the books the dark path she starts along makes perfect sense. However I can see how someone who doesn’t have that context might be like WTF? When did this happen? Besides the Tickler was conspicuous by his absence I’m guessing they’ll catch up with him later on in the season and thats when she goes truly over the edge. I can’t wait to see her shanking him and screaming those questions.