[The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones’ series finale]
Actress Maisie Williams has shared her one regret regarding Arya Stark’s journey in the final season of Game of Thrones. Based on the hugely popular books by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones debuted on HBO in 2011. Quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, the series ran for eight seasons before officially concluding last Sunday night. As one of the show’s original cast members, Williams has been with the show since the outset. She was also consistently one of the show’s most beloved characters – which made it all the more pleasant when she lived through to the very end.
Across the show’s eight-season run, Arya accumulated a whole list of names of people she wanted to kill. She would repeat those names to herself each night before she went to sleep. Over time, the young Stark would cross many of them off in some of the show’s best and most brutal moments. The one name that remained throughout, however, was that of Cersei Lannister. Arya went as far as to travel back to King’s Landing, only to be dissuaded from pursuing vengeance by The Hound before she could officially stick her with the pointy end.
Speaking to EW, however, Williams revealed that one thing she laments Arya not getting to do was kill Cersei Lannister. Cersei would ultimately go on to die alongside her twin brother Jaime as Daenerys’ rampage caused The Red Keep to collapse upon them. In the wake of the final episode, Williams wished that things had, in that regard, played out differently:
“I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she’s good fun,” Williams explained. “And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought [while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.”
Lena Headey, who played Cersei, also hoped for a scene between her character and Arya. Williams, meanwhile, elaborated further: “The Hound says, ‘You want to be like me? You want to live your life like me?’” Williams continued. “In my head, the answer was: ‘Yeah.'” Ultimately, however, the young actress came around to the idea. “It was a shock for me because that wasn’t how I envisioned her arc going this year. Then I realized there were other things I could play, bringing Arya back to being a 16-year-old again. Her final words bring her in line with Sophie Turner, who also stood by her character’s fate.
Williams’ words are sure to resonate with fans – especially those who also feel that season 8 didn’t deliver on character’s arcs and journeys as well as they could have. There’s no doubt many who would have loved to see Arya confront Cersei. Unfortunately, it was clearly as not meant to be as Arya sitting on the Iron Throne. Whatever people’s view on the final season, no amount of petitions is going to change the characters’ ultimate fates. As such, barring a potential Game of Thrones spinoff, fans will just have to be pleased that Arya got a rare happy ending as she set sail to explore unchartered regions. And keep their fingers crossed that the still-to-be-released books will bring Arya and Cersei back onto a collision course.