Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams
The child characters on Game of Thrones have had their share of troubles and heartache, but on Sunday's episode, titled "The Pointy End," Arya is the first of Ned Stark's children to show how to survive the deadly game the adults are playing.
Spoilers! If you haven't watched Episode 8, "The Pointy End," yet, it's best not to read further.
At only 11 years old, Arya (Maisie Williams) is forced to kill a stable boy when she discovers that the Red Keep is now swarming with enemies following her father's capture. "It was really stressful," Williams tells TVGuide.com. "But it was a big scene to shoot because it was Arya's first kill, the first of many [to come]."
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The necessity of Arya's actions doesn't make the scene any less horrific when she takes Needle -- the sword that half brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington) had given her -- and impales the stable boy who attempts to take her to Lannisters. This also marks the first time on the show that a child has killed someone directly, although the bloodthirsty Prince Joffrey and Lord Robin have previously been able to keep their hands unsullied by having others kill on their behalf.
"That day was really rushed because it was the last day we were allowed to film at the location where we were," Williams explains. "It was just us kids acting together and no adults acting with us to make it look easier. It was raining outside and it was stressful because people were packing around us, and we were told the next shot would be the last shot, but then the camera would shoot it from a different angle.
"They had to make sure that it looked like the sword had gone into the body when it actually hadn't," she continues. "And I had to use my right hand, which I was a bit annoyed about, but it was for the camera angles. And then there was blood on the ground and it was really dark."
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With Ned (Sean Bean) imprisoned and fencing master Syrio (Miltos Yerolemou) last seen fending off Lannister men, Arya is on her own. King's Landing has now become dangerous territory for the Starks and their liegemen.
"She's not with her mom and she doesn't know where her sister is," Williams says. "And even if Arya did know, she doesn't really want to look for her anyway because Sansa is so in love with the idea of being a queen someday. Her brother Bran is awake, but she doesn't know how to get to him, and her younger brother [Rickon] is too little. They're all up north, and so is Jon Snow."
Meanwhile, Jon Snow has his own unique battle up at Castle Black when he comes face-to-face with a White Walker, a dead human who becomes reanimated through some unknown mystical force. Harington also had difficulties shooting the scene because of the limited time and resources involved.
"That was a pretty cool day with a great stunt guy who gets set on fire," Harington says. "At the end of the day he gets put in this big suit and covered in this really flammable stuff. He only has a certain amount of time in the suit before he can't breathe anymore, so we only had only one take to do the scene. I wore this fire glove and then I had to grab this lantern and throw it ... and completely miss him, so someone had to run up with a lighter and light him on fire."
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It's clear to Harington at least, that his White Walker-fighting skills leave much to be desired.
"Then I had to run up to him and push him over," Harington explains. "I watched the playback of the scene afterwards and I was like, 'Oh God, that was such a wimpy push!' I had this flaming man running towards me and I looked like such a wimp. I wish I could have done it again, but with a scene like that you don't get that chance."
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
What did you think of the episode? Are Ned Stark's children living up to their potential?