7 Reasons Maisie Williams Was the Real MVP of Game of Thrones

Step aside Bran the Broken, Arya is the true queen of the HBO hit

By Jamie Blynn Jun 16, 2019 12:00 PMTags
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones Season 8 PremiereAndrew H. Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or die. Or, if you're Maisie Williams, you absolutely thrive.

Throughout eight seasons of the HBO hit, Williams' Arya Stark has grown from a feisty kid to a confident, fearless woman who will never turn down a challenge. In fact, she boldly seeks them out. (And if you've crossed her family, be warned that she's about to cross you off her hit list.)

And off screen, Williams is just like her character. She's ready and willing to take on anything that comes her way. "Maisie does almost all of this stuff on her own," revealed the show's co-creator David Benioff. "She has an excellent stuntwoman for the dangerous stuff, but most of it is actually Maisie."

So, it should come as no surprise that the 22-year-old actress is now nominated for a 2019 MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Hero. (She's up against Brie Larson, John David Washington, Robert Downey Jr. and Zachary Levi.)

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Even Williams is struck by her character's abilities, especially in the final season

"Reading what I get to achieve and Arya's whole purpose in this world and everything she's trained for comes down to this one episode, it's just amazing," she raved. "And it's beautiful, it's poetry."

Scroll through to see all the reasons she's the true GOAT of GOT. (Sorry, Bran the Broken, we only bow down to this queen!)

She Doesn't Care About the Status Quo

From the get go, Arya (played by Maisie Williams) refused to follow the traditional meaning of what it meant to be a lady. While her sister Sansa (Sophie Turner) preferred dresses and boys, the youngest Stark daughter learned to sword fight under the tutelage of Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou). The nimble moves she picked up here through endless training sessions would go on to benefit her—and save her—throughout the series.

She Sticks Up For Her Friends

In season 1, the sadistic Joffery Baratheon—er Joffery Lannister, played by Jack Gleeson—is tormenting the butcher's weak son and Arya won't allow for any of that nonsense. She hits the future king in the back with her sword, showing him to be the wimp he truly is. Later, she befriends the complicated Hound (Rory McCann). While others may have run away from his gruesome exterior, Arya easily learned to look beyond his physical appearance. Come the show's end, she shows him the utmost respect she's carried and thanks him, calling him by his real name Sandor. 

And Defends Her Family's Honor

After witnessing the Red Wedding—and the brutal murders of both her mom and brother—Arya and he Hound hit the road. Along the way, the encounter the soldiers of Walder Frey, the man behind the mass killing. As they brag about the slaughter, she walks up and kills them. It'll be her first of many. After all, no one bad mouths the Starks under her watch. Later, she kills Frey himself (David Bradley). Posing as a server, she feeds him pie. No big deal, right? Well, she conveniently killed Frey's sons and baked them into the food. Yes, revenge tastes best baked in crust. "My name is Arya Stark," she tells him. "I want you to know that. The last thing you're ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die."

She’s Street Smart

After her father is executed, Arya is forced to leave King's Landing. With the help of Yoren, the Night's Watch recruiter, she chops off her hair and disguises herself as a boy, knowing it's her best chance at survival. She poses as a recruit for the Night's Watch and heads out of town and toward (what she hopes is) safety. Along the way, she frees one of the prisoners, Jaqen H'ghar. Trusting her gut and saving his life will in return save her own.

And Never Gives Up

A girl has no name and, at the beginning of season 6, no sight. Temporarily blind after crossing another kill off of her list, she becomes a beggar on the streets. Life is tough and only getting tougher. She must endure seemingly impossible physical and psychological tests at the House of Black and White under Jaqen H'ghar, the faceless man. Despite the intense training, she only finds strength and confidence, later turning her sword on H'ghar and showing him who is really in charge.

She Knows What She Wants

Assuming it may be her last night alive—the people of Winterfell were set to face the Night King and his army of the dead—Arya decided she did not want to die a virgin. So, she made a proposition to the bastard Gendry (Joe Dempsie): "We're probably going to die soon. I want to know what it's like before that happens." Later, when he's knighted, Gendry proposes to her. But, knowing what she needs and wants in life, she turns him down. "You'll be a wonderful lord and any lady will be lucky to have you. But I'm not a lady. I never have been. That's not me."

And Saved the Entirety of Westeros

She did so like it was no big deal. As the Night King was about to destroy Winterfell—and move on to the rest of Westeros—Arya pulls a surprise attack on him. Her knife kills him and his seemingly invincible army."Just when you think that it's all over," Williams said of the scene, "and just when you think that Jon Snow is going to be the hero—again—we realize that Arya appears through the mist." Because, after all, what do we say to death? Not today.

The 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards will air on Monday, June 17 at 9 p.m. ET.


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