‘Game of Thrones’: Maisie Williams on the Epic Ending in the Battle of Winterfell in ‘The Long Night’

Maisie Williams talks about her role in the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, which featured the battle between the living and the Army of the Dead…


Maisie Williams had mixed emotions when she found out about her role in the third episode of the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’.

The episode would feature the epic showdown between the living and the Army of the Dead as the Night King marched his wights and White Walkers south of the Wall in an attempt to wipe out all life in the Known World.

The battle has been teased since the opening scene of the very first episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ so it should come as no surprise that everyone in the cast was curious how the fighting would end.

While most everyone expected Jon Snow to save the day and finally battle the Night King after being locked in a perpetual grudge match with him for several seasons, the end game thanks to Arya Stark flying in at the last moment and then stabbing the icy monster with her Valyrian steel dagger. The Night King then exploded into a million shards of ice and his entire army soon crumbled right behind him.

“It was so unbelievably exciting,” Williams said about the ending when speaking to EW. “But I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it. 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. 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.
“And then I told my boyfriend and he was like, ‘Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?’”

According to Kit Harington, who portrays Jon Snow on the series, he was surprised by the switch as well that his character wouldn’t end up in the face off with the Night King but it would instead be Arya who finishes him off.

“I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me!” Harington said. “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. There’s also something about it not being the person you expect. The young lady sticks it to the man.”

In the end, Williams was happy with the way the scene played out because it wasn’t what the audience expected, which is why the payoff was so huge when she jabbed that dagger into the Night King, effectively ending the war between the living and the dead.

A big part of the payoff also came thanks to the return of Melisandre, who showed up just seconds before the fight began as she lent a hand with some fiery spells before then reminding Arya of a prophecy she spoke back in season three.

“When we did the whole bit with Melisandre, I realized the whole scene with [the Red Woman] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past 6 seasons — 4 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. So then I was like, ‘F—k you Jon, I get it.’”

Arya has obviously played a major role in a couple of vengeful deaths including the Night King and wiping out all of House Frey after they betrayed the Starks at the Red Wedding. Arya’s job isn’t finished, however, as the attention will now turn towards King’s Landing and the upcoming war with Cersei Lannister.

And in case anyone has forgotten, Cersei still occupies a spot on Arya’s infamous kill list as well.

‘Game of Thrones’ returns this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO with a brand new episode.

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