On the carpet with Maisie Williams and Rose Leslie

For our second round of interviews from the red carpet, WiC checks in with the actresses who portray two of the fiercest women in Westeros, Maisie Williams and Rose Leslie.

For Leslie, the pressure was on when she joined Game of Thrones in its second season as Ygritte, the fiery wilding who drives Jon Snow to distraction. Her preparation for the role included reading the A Song of Ice and Fire books.

“To read the books, it certainly helps me to get into the character of Ygritte more. It colors it.  And I do feel the pressure, because you don’t want to upset the fans and you also want to try your best to portray what everybody sees whilst they are reading the book. I feel that if you think too much about that then it’s going to be…a losing battle, certainly.”

When asked about the wildlings beyond the Wall, Rose speaks passionately of the wildling culture and its women.

“I think that as a wildling woman, you’ve got to be incredibly harsh and brutal and stick up for your own. I think that they’re true warriors, they are true fighters,” Rose explains. “They’ve got to live in this brutal, hard landscape, and they’ve got to control their men and control their children. I think that they as a result are incredibly powerful and they’re a force to be reckoned with. Ultimately, they’re warriors, they’re fighters and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the wildling woman!” She smiles with a wicked glimmer in her eyes that would do Ygritte proud.

Maisie Williams, on the other hand, is miles away from Arya Stark when she’s on the red carpet. The first thing Maisie does when we meet is apologize sweetly for stepping on the press sign at our feet. After reassuring her that she can do whatever she likes to the sign, we jump into discussing a subject that pops up a lot in Game of Thrones articles – the constant comparisons of Arya and her sister Sansa.

“I think we’re both very misunderstood. I think that we can learn a lot from each other,” Maisie says. “Arya gets herself into trouble a lot for saying what she thinks, and I think Sansa could learn a bit from that by not doing what she thinks is best for other people…But yeah, I don’t think – you can’t compare them, they’re so complex as characters. They’re so different. But yeah, they could learn a lot from each other. And they have traits that I think each other could benefit from.”

With no encouragement needed, Maisie dives into praising her costar and TV sister, Sophie Turner.

“Sophie’s doing fantastic things. I think, like, if people don’t like Sansa, she’s doing her job right…It’s kind of a hard thing to explain. She’s doing fantastically. People aren’t supposed to like the decisions she makes, but I think she’s kind of naïve and she’s making decisions someone of her age would make.” Maisie nods emphatically. “She’s the most believable character there.”

The actress refers to this coming season as her “favorite season to film.” This year, Arya encounters a colorful new batch of characters, but she was happiest to see the return of her costars Joe Dempsie (Gendry) and Ben Hawkey (Hot Pie) during filming.

“I think it’s nice to just come back and see Joe and Ben again. I have so much fun with those guys; they’re so funny and they keep me entertained all the time.”

With the show heading into its third season, I can’t help but wonder how Maisie has adapted to the change, becoming famous while still in her teens. Has her life changed significantly?

According to her, it hasn’t.

“At home, when I’m with my friends, behind closed doors and things, I’m just a regular teenager and that’s all I want. I haven’t changed at all. I’m still Maisie, who comes from the tiny little village…that’s no one’s ever heard of. I think it’s nice to go back home. I guess when I’m out in town and things like that, I get recognized. I have to be aware of what I’m doing because people may be watching, so it’s changed my life a little bit, but I haven’t changed.”

With that firm statement, Maisie is off to chat with the remaining reporters before heading in to visit the Game of Thrones exhibit.

The Game of Thrones Exhibition, presented by HBO in partnership with Time Warner Cable, will be in New York City through April 3rd.