By Steve Marzolf
Watching Arya Stark, it's hard to believe that 'Game of Thrones' was Maisie Williams’ first acting job. And, as if landing a big role with the second audition of her career weren’t daunting enough, there was also the matter of getting to know her new movie-star dad.
HBO: Arya has this intense moment during her escape from the castle when she stabs the stable boy. What was that like for her?
MAISIE WILLIAMS: This is the part where everything starts to change for Arya. Her father's always said to her, "We've come to a dangerous place, so you've got to act like a proper girl now." And she just sort of thinks, "Yeah, whatever." But when Ser Meryn and his people come, and she thinks she's just lost Syrio, and this boy won't get out of her way ... She's just desperate to get away and find help. I think she's just trying to scare him and it goes a bit too far. Then she realizes what she's done, and she just runs.
HBO: Did she ever really expect to use Needle to take a life?
MAISIE WILLIAMS: I think swords were always a thing that the men used, so she wanted one. She didn't really think of them killing people and being weapons. I think she just thought of it more as a symbol of power. But when it comes down to it, and someone dies, she isn't really expecting it. Like she doesn't know her own strength.
HBO: Sophie Turner plays Sansa, but you're friends in real life - what's it like to shoot these confrontational scenes with her?
MAISIE WILLIAMS: It's funny because she's so not like Sansa in real life. She's a great lass, and we both like the same things. And then onscreen, we have our little arguments and things, so you get to see a different side of each other. In real life, I've never seen the side of Sophie where she says, "Oh, you're an idiot." But I didn't find it difficult to hate Sophie onscreen - I mean, I love her to pieces - but I didn't find it a challenge, really, as an actress.
HBO: Do you think Arya hates her sister for being so close with the Lannisters?
MAISIE WILLIAMS: I don't think she hates her, but she's really upset that Sansa can't see what's going on around her. It is Sansa's fault, but she can't help it. She's grown up to be like that and loves Joffrey. I don't think Sansa is really thinking straight.
HBO: Have you read George R.R. Martin's books at all, to get to know your character?
MAISIE WILLIAMS: I haven't read the books, partly because they're very graphic and also, they're really heavy and I'm not the strongest reader. But my mom has told me all about the story. She's just going through book two again now to see what happens to Arya, since Season Two has been greenlit.
HBO: Are you getting excited to start shooting again?
MAISIE WILLIAMS: Yeah - I was just talking to Sophie about it. At the end of shooting Season One, it started to become real that we were going to be on television. And now that it's just about to be finished on television, all of a sudden you think, "Hang on, we get to go back and do it all again with loads of new people, and scenes and situations..." It's so nice. I'm not excited about the early mornings, but I'm looking forward to getting back on set. Because even though it's half-past-stupid in the morning, everyone's got a smile on their face. I'd never done any acting before, so this was the first time I'd ever done anything. It was such a great experience - it's definitely something that I want to get into in the future.