The end of the fourth season of HBO's Game of Thrones saw massive changes in the status of two of the series more popular characters -- Tyrion Lanister and Arya Stark. Maisie Williams, the 17-year old actress who plays Arya, spoke about her character's changes in a recent interview, along with how she's turned into a bit of a monster heading into Season 5.
Warning: There are Game of Thrones Season 4 spoilers from this point forward.
Season 4 saw Arya develop a love-hate relationship with Sandor Clegane (The Hound) before leaving him to die following an especially brutal sword fight with Brienne of Tarth. The youngest of the Stark girls did not take pity on The Hound and kill him despite his pleading.
"He looks at her and realizes that he's created a bit of a monster," the actress told IGN in an interview. "She's really proud of that. Unfortunately, it's a really dark way of getting that message across, but she does."
"People were really pissed about that, and you have every right to be -- so was I -- but I think they're not looking at the bigger picture. People turn a blind eye to the kind of brutality that Arya's been put through. They just enjoy her storyline because she has these sarcastic lines and her and the Hound are constantly bickering. That bit's funny, and I think people really enjoy that, but it's not real, unfortunately. 'Game of Thrones' focuses on what's real. So that's why Arya leaves at the end."
Just as in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Arya ends up boarding a ship to Braavos, thanks to a coin she received from Jaqen H'Ghar in the Season 2 finale. That sets the stage for more important developments in the character as those who have read A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons are aware. However, Maisie also suggests that Arya's decision not to go with Brienne is part of the character's rejection of the concept of oaths and loyalty after seeing so many people not do anything for the right reason.
"I feel like Arya's just kind of done with that, really," William said. "That's all she's heard her whole life. That's all she ever knew, was her family was these perfect people and did the right things and never wanted to upset anyone intentionally. Then she realized, actually, it doesn't matter if you're that person or not. It doesn't count. No one is playing by the rules."
We'll find out more about Arya's development when Game of Thrones returns next April. Meanwhile, don't wonder if George R.R. Martin will die before he finishes book six and seven of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. He'll swear at you.
[Image via Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 10 - The Children]