Following her introduction in “The Broken Man,” feisty Lady Lyanna Mormont has quickly become a GoT fan-favorite. Bella Ramsey, the 12-year-old actor who portrays the formidable leader of Bear Island, chats for the first time about her role.
HBO: What did you first think of Lyanna when you read the script?
Bella Ramsey: I thought, “This is a character to really get my teeth into.” Lyanna is strong about what she believes, and wants to keep her family and island protected; she wants to be treated like an adult. She's strong, and firm when she needs to be, and wants the best for her house and the North.
HBO: Fans love Lyanna! What do you think about their reaction?
Bella Ramsey: It's crazy really. I didn't expect anything like it. I am very, very happy that people like Lyanna Mormont. We had to keep it quiet that I had a part in GoT so now it's out, my family have had lots of people they know contacting them, really excited they have seen me.
HBO: Had you seen the show before filming your scenes?
Bella Ramsey: When I knew I got the part, I was allowed to watch a few suitable snippets. I was interested to see the bit in Season 5 when Stannis [Baratheon] received Lyanna's letter.
HBO: How do you approach your scenes?
Bella Ramsey: I read through the whole scene first, not necessarily focusing on my lines, but on the scene as a whole. I think it's important to have an understanding for it before I start approaching actually learning my lines.
HBO: Did you realize how important your character was going to be?
Bella Ramsey: It took me a while to realize it. I actually woke up one morning and the first thing I thought was, “Wow, I really am integral to the storyline.”
HBO: What was it like playing such a fierce character? Was that easy for you?
Bella Ramsey: It was good, really good, being fierce. It all kind of comes naturally when I become Lyanna because it's in her nature; it's just who she is. I loved the script for Episode 10 ["The Winds of Winter"] – how she doesn't care that she is the youngest person in the room, and proceeds to shame the three leaders.
HBO: Why do you think Ser Davos changed Lyanna’s mind about helping the Starks?
Bella Ramsey: I think Lyanna realized she was named after a Stark, and her house should be supporting them. Davos spoke to her as a leader of a house, rather than a child, which she was grateful for. He empathized with her, without babying her, which she respected. I think that influenced her decision.
HBO: Did they tell you about the character you are named after?
Bella Ramsey: Not really. I knew that Lyanna was named after her, but that's all I needed to know, I think. Lyanna Mormont is very much her own person.
HBO: What inspires Lyanna to declare Jon Snow her king? Why does she believe in him?
Bella Ramsey: She wants to get the other houses to follow him. She believes that Stark blood runs through his veins … and she believes he is the only one that can make a difference.
HBO: How do you imagine life on Bear Island?
Bella Ramsey: I think it's pretty calm and relaxed, no stress, no rush. I think the food would be good and Lyanna would probably love the waterfall. It would be serene and peaceful. I'd like to live there!
HBO: Which scene was your favorite to shoot?
Bella Ramsey: I loved them all, as it was my first experience of filming. I loved Episode 10, but the room we were filming in was like an overheated sauna, so probably Episode 7 ["The Broken Man"]. Although, I also loved riding Iggy the horse, too.
HBO: What do you think of the costumes?
Bella Ramsey: They're amazing; I would wear Lyanna's costume every day. The bear around her neck just made it. I called him Boris.
HBO: What animal would be on your house banner?
Bella Ramsey: A tiger, or an elephant, or a monkey. Actually, a lion! I hate decisions!
HBO: If you could pick an area from Westeros to live in, would it be the North?
Bella Ramsey: Yes, definitely.
HBO: Would you rather have a pet dragon or direwolf?
Bella Ramsey: Dragon, by a mile.