played by Maisie Williams
At 14 years of age, Maisie Williams looks much younger - which stands her in good stead as the younger of the Stark sisters in Game of Thrones. Her years of dance training make her an excellent choice for the rambunctious princess who wants to be a warrior rather than a bride! Williams is bright, articulate, and animated - all the traits that make her so fun to watch as Arya.
Maisie was a near miss for a role in Nanny McPhee 2, but didn’t have much time to mourn the part before being asked to audition for the role of Arya. Her audition with co-star Sophie Turner (who plays Arya’s older sister Sansa Stark) went so well that each young actress was convinced the other had landed their respective role.
Arya is as different form her sister as two girls can be. While Sansa is content to be married off to an heir to the throne, Arya wishes to be a leader like her father. Jon Snow gifts her with a small sword before leaving for the wall, telling her to ‘Stick ‘em with the pointy end!’. She names the sword Needle. When Arya’s father, Lord Stark, discovers her with the weapon, he enlists a ‘dancing master’ to teach her swordplay, knowing she may need to protect herself form enemies.
Arya’s direwolf is the fiercely loyal Nymeria. When Arya and her friend the butcher boy are attacked by the arrogant Prince Joffrey, Nymeria bites the royal brat causing Arya to send Nymeria away into the woods. This turns out to be a wise move yet one that holds tragic consequences for sister Sansa - a vengeful Queen Cersei demands that Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, pay for Nymeria’s ‘crime’.
Did You Know?
Maisie is right handed - but Arya is a southpaw. Williams insisted on shooting her fight scenes using her left hand to swordfight with to stay true to the authenticity of the books! That’s a lot of dedication for such a young actress. Arya is a fan favorite, and Maisie already has a large Twitter following.
(Picture copyright HBO)