Fans across the world held their breath as the final episode of Game of Thrones aired on May 19, 2019. For the stars of the show, however, it may have been a relief. Maisie Williams, in particular, said she had several reasons to be thankful that the show concluded. Williams, of course, portrayed Arya Stark throughout all eight seasons of the series.
Arya Stark comes with a lot of baggage
Arya quickly went from being the smallest of the family to its fiercest warrior. Williams earned critical praise for her portrayal, but now that the show has ended, she’s eager to look forward to other things. “I got to the end and I didn’t want more. I had exhausted every possible piece of Arya. And this season was quite big for me. I had a lot more to do,” the actress said in an interview with The Guardian. She also mentioned the fact that she was looking forward to enjoying her own schedule rather than living on the show’s calendar. Freedom and relief weren’t the only reasons Williams happily anticipated the show’s end.
The actress also shared with Vogue that filming the show made her feel uncomfortable with her body image. During season two, Williams hit puberty and started going through bodily changes that made it difficult for the actress to wear certain costumes. Around that season, Williams’ character was still being disguised as a boy, so the actress had to use chest binders and face makeup to look more “manly.”
Maisie Williams still loved the show
Williams admitted that the experience was “horrible” at the time, but she now looks forward to showcasing a new style that is more feminine. She also clarified that she did enjoy the character and loved shooting her final scenes. “I ended on the perfect scene,” Williams said. “I was alone — shocker! Arya’s always bloody alone. But I was alone and I had watched a lot of other people wrap. I knew the drill, I had seen the tears and heard the speeches.” She even made her own impromptu speech to the cast and crew after she wrapped.
She’s already back on a busy schedule, though. Williams recently launched an app called Daisie that is designed to give young adults connections in the entertainment industry. She’s also doing her fair share of acting on stage and has several productions in the works.
The rest of the Game of Thrones cast also had to adjust
While Williams had a positive outlook on her character’s ending, her co-stars had a different experience. Kit Harington, who played Arya’s older brother Jon Snow, had a tough time during the ending of the series. The actor was exhausted after saying goodbye to his character after nearly a decade and checked himself into a wellness center after the show aired its final episode.
Harrington was later nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance, which he felt brought everything into full-circle. “This [nomination] feels full circle, too. It’s a lovely way to say goodbye to the character. It’s a lovely way to say goodbye to the show. It’s perfect, in my book,” Harington stated. The actor even met his wife, Rose Leslie, on the show. Leslie and Harrington married in 2018 after dating for five years. For all the stress and pain that come with filming a series for years, there seems to be an equal amount of joy and success as well.