"BURN IN HELL!!!"
Screaming such murderous rage is all in a day's work for Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, aka the angriest girl in Westeros. "When I read [that line] in the script, it was like, 'Ah, I'm moving up! I've got capital letters and a few exclamation marks,'" Williams tells TVGuide.com.
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Arya's fury is not unfounded. Lies and betrayal prompted the murder of her childhood playmate and the public execution of her father. Is it any wonder the youngest Stark daughter has a hitlist of people she wants dead?
On Sunday's Game of Thrones (9/8c, HBO), Arya is forced to spend some quality time with Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann), one of the names on her hitlist. After fleeing the Brotherhood Without Banners, who were going to ransom Arya to her family, she ran straight into the arms of The Hound, a skilled warrior who killed her friend.
Arya's resolve will be put to the test when the two become reluctant traveling companions. "It's all kind of like a love-hate relationship," Williams says. "I think Arya kind of looks up to him in the way that he's got everything that she hasn't. No one's going to pick on The Hound because they respect him. I think that's what Arya lacks, that respect. People will just look at her and don't look twice. I think she wishes people would be more threatened by her. They kind of go well together."
Check out what else Williams has to say about Arya's bloodlust, The Hound and tea with a Lannister:
Last season Arya was a prisoner. This season, she's barely free before she becomes a hostage for the Brotherhood and then gets caught by The Hound. How frustrated is she?
Maisie Williams: Pretty much. I think when she first gets captured by The Brotherhood, they're always saying to her, "Oh, you can walk free." But she knows that she can't really do that without the other two and she realizes that throughout the whole thing, Gendry (Joe Dempsie) is really starting to get on with them all. She's a bit like, "What are you doing? I was supposed to help you and now you're leaving me." Amongst all of that, I think Gendry's being kind of selfish because Arya's got so much going on, maybe he doesn't know about it all. She finds it very hard to cope with all the anger that she feels. No one who she's with can really help her apart from The Hound, but she kind of hates his guts. I don't know if he's going to help her anytime soon.
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Well, Arya did try to kill The Hound once already. After he won his fight with Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), why did she rush him with a knife?
Williams: The Starks are very loyal and she knows that The Hound is guilty [of killing her friend] and it's in her blood to kill him. That's what should be done and when she realizes that's not going to happen ... she realizes that she's going to have to do it herself. So she runs over and gets the knife and jumps over and then surprise, surprise, Gendry stops her. She's kind of furious actually. She's like, "What do you know? You weren't there. You weren't even part of any of this. I just picked you up along the way. What gives you the right to stop me from killing someone?"
Arya is just filled with anger. When she says, "More 'is' than 'isn't,'" she's calling out Thoros (Paul Kaye) for keeping her held hostage while pretending that he's not.
Williams: It was great. I think it's all been building up to it. She doesn't really know who these people are, so she's not going to be really rude, but she's like, "Don't try and sweet-talk around this. I know why you're keeping me here, now that you realize that I'm worth something, you're going to sell me off. And you didn't even know [who I was]. It was someone else who told you that."
When it comes down to it though, do you really think Arya could find it in herself to kill The Hound in cold blood? She's only killed in self-defense before.
Williams: Yeah, I think she knows she wouldn't be able to kill him easily. I think maybe in her head she's thinking of different ways she could do it. The whole knife thing when she runs over to him, it's not really to kill him but it's because she's really, really angry. I don't know what she thought would happen. Maybe she hoped because he was caught off guard she could be able to swordfight him. But he'd probably just slice her in two.
We know Arya hates The Hound, but how does he feel about her?
Williams: I think he kind of admires her a little bit for how determined she is. But he really is like, "Why are you making everything so hard for yourself? Why don't you just stop fighting me and let me take you home?" I think that maybe she should keep her mouth shut more because she's getting herself into more trouble when there's lots of people trying to help her. I think she cares too much about little things for that to happen.
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Arya has lost two friends. First, Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) decided to stay and bake for an inn. Then Gendry wanted to stick with The Brotherhood before they gave him away. Does Arya feel abandoned?
Williams: I think so, yeah. Ever since Gendry found out about her being highborn, I think she thought they always looked up to her. Then she realizes that they're not really very in awe of her at all. It's like, "Oh, cool. Well, I would rather stay here and bake stuff," or "I'd rather stay here and fix armor." She really does feel abandoned. She felt safer with them as well, kind of a little family away from family. Now she's really on her own. For so long, she convinced herself that she doesn't really care. Now that it comes down to it, she's kind of like, "Oh, it would have been nice to stay with these guys, and they're choosing to leave me." It's a bit of rejection, I guess.
Since Arya is on the run, she can't really intercept any ravens. Just how much news of her family has trickled down to her?
Williams: I think when she was with Tywin (Charles Dance) at Harrenhal, she had heard that Robb was going to attack. I don't think she heard about [Bran and Rickon] yet. She's only ever had little droplets here and there, so she's kind of got to make up the middle bit. I think she's just trying to get home and find out for herself what's really happened. She's kind of reluctant to believe anything because so many people are not loyal.
Michelle Fairley, who plays Arya's mother, Catelyn Stark, once said that she viewed Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) as sort of a grown-up Arya. Do you think that's a fair comparison?
Williams: I do see similarities to them. Gwen Christie, who plays Brienne, I kind of get along really well with her. We have a lot in common. We both had to have our hair cut off. There's a lot of swordfighting we have to do, not very feminine clothes, a lot of mud. I think Arya can relate to Brienne in that kind of sense as well. She doesn't know Brienne, but I think that's kind of who she's going to grow up to be like. I've never seen Arya as really worrying about her appearance or anything like that. "Armor is to keep me safe and not all pretty like Cersei wears it. It's to keep arrows out of my heart."
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You're always on the run on Game of Thrones, but if you could have tea with any character, who would it be?
Williams: Cersei. I think I'd be kind of offended by her, but to watch that happen would be great. She's got such a great humor, the way that Lena [Headey] plays her. I think it would be really interesting to talk to her as well. I don't know if she'd really answer many of my questions, but to watch her kind of get out of them would be interesting.
What is your favorite trait in Arya?
Williams: Her ability to just say it as it is. It makes scenes kind of funny as well when everyone else is kind of speaking with fancy words, especially with the Brotherhood when they talk about their god and stuff. I think it's kind of funny when this little girl comes out with things like that. Just her ability to say, "I don't like that guy. I don't mind him." Instead of being all mysterious about everything.
Yes, there was that time when she asked Thoros if the Lord of Light could resurrect a man without a head, "not six times, just once" -- and they didn't know what to say ...
Williams: It's just very brutal. "I'm asking you a simple question. Please give me a simple answer." And they're like, "I don't know if it really works that way." "Say no. If you mean no, say no."
If only everyone on Game of Thrones spoke as straightforwardly as Arya does!
Williams: The story would be a lot shorter.
What's your favorite trait about Arya? Do you think she can kill everyone on her hitlist?
Check out this preview of Game of Thrones' Sunday episode "Second Sons," which airs at 9/8c on HBO:
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