- Warning: Major spoilers ahead for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” season eight, episode three, “The Long Night.”
- Arya Stark killed the Night King by stabbing him with her Valyrian steel dagger.
- Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, wasn’t initially on board with the surprise twist.
- “I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.'”
- Williams said she came around after filming Arya’s important epiphany scene with Melisandre.
Arya Stark single-handedly saved Westeros when she destroyed the Night King with her Valyrian steel dagger – but Maisie Williams, who plays Arya on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” wasn’t initially on board with Sunday’s surprise twist.
“It was so unbelievably exciting,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “But I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it.”
The showdown with the Night King and his Army of the Dead has loomed over the show since the series premiere. And the most recent episode, titled “The Long Night,” has long been teased as the biggest, deadliest battle sequence ever shown on TV.
“The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them,” Williams continued. “It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool.”
Her fears were somewhat confirmed when she told her then-boyfriend about the twist ending: “He was like, ‘Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?'”
Many fans believed that Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, had been built up as the main hero on “Game of Thrones.” He also appeared to fit the description of Azor Ahai, a prophesied prince who would save Westeros from darkness.
- Alex Van Mecl/HBO
“I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me!” Harington told Entertainment Weekly. “But I like it. It gives Arya’s training a purpose to have an end goal. It’s much better how she does it the way she does it.”
“I think it will frustrate some in the audience that Jon’s hunting the Night King and you’re expecting this epic fight and it never happens – that’s kind of ‘Thrones.’ But it’s the right thing for the characters,” he continued. “There’s also something about it not being the person you expect. The young lady sticks it to the man.”
Williams said she eventually came around to the idea, especially after filming Arya’s important epiphany scene with Melisandre, also known as the Red Woman.
Melisandre was a loyal follower of the Lord of Light. She claimed to see visions in flames, and once told Arya on season three that she saw “great darkness” in the young warrior.
“I realized the whole scene with [Melisandre] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past six seasons – four if you think about it since [Arya] got to the House of Black and White,” Williams said. “It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does.”
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