This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
More than three years after the series finale, the ending of Game of Thrones is still dividing fans and actors alike. While some of the series’ actors, like Kit Harrington and Isaac Hempstead Wright have spoken out in defense of Game of Thrones’ final season, others like Lena Headey have vocalized their disappointment in how things ended for their characters.
Maisie Williams, who played Arya Stark in the series, has shared her mixed feelings on her characters’ arc in the final season before, telling Entertainment Weekly in 2019 that she originally saw things ending very differently for Arya, saying “And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought [while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.”
“Then I realized there were other things I could play, bringing Arya back to being a 16-year-old again.” Williams continued “It’s not a Game of Thrones ending for Arya, it’s a happy ending. It gave me a place to take Arya that I never thought I’d go with her again.” However, even though Williams grew to appreciate the final arc of her character, she’s not afraid to admit that she isn’t a fan of how the series ended overall.
In a recent conversation with her brother during a Twitch stream, Williams admitted that she’s recently rewatched Game of Thrones, and that she agrees that “it definitely fell off at the end.” While she doesn’t mention any specific plot points or character arcs that she isn’t a fan of, Williams and her brother have a kindhearted laugh over this reveal before she jumps in to defend the beginning of the series saying “it started really strong” and admitting that she was “heartbroken” when Ned Stark (Sean Bean) died in season 1 even though she knew it was going to happen.
Ultimately though, she’s still proud of the series as a whole. She confesses to her brother later on in the stream that “[the series] kinda popped off. I could never see it from the outside. So I could never say that and actually understand it. For the first time, it feels good to be proud of it. It was ten years of my life.” Maisie Williams was only fourteen years old when Game of Thrones first started, so it makes sense that it’s taken some time and distance from the series for her to be able to look back on it objectively.
No matter where you stand on Game of Thrones’ final season, it’s great that Williams is able to look back on the series with fondness and yet still critique it. As time goes on, it will be interesting to see if other cast members change their opinion or maintain their position on the series’ ending. It’s unlikely that such a divisive conclusion will ever truly be gone from public discourse, but hopefully conversations like these will help bridge the gap between series finale lovers and haters.