Maisie Williams, Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, grew up on the five years the HBO show has been on the air.
With each new year, Game of Thrones has upped the ante, causing the show, and the actors employed by it, to grow in popularity. Now Williams, the child who walked onto the set at the age of 12 not knowing anything, not knowing “if it was a good show or a big show,” has had the full experience of the sometimes crushing demands of fame.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Maisie talked about how Arya and her popularity has changed her life.
“This last year, [Game of Thrones has] become massive, overwhelming. It’s made me think about my future. I want to [act] the rest of my life, but I don’t want paparazzi everywhere. I don’t want to take a private jet everywhere. People don’t just do that because they’ve got the money, but because they’re sitting in airport lounges and literally doing photo after photo. And I don’t want to be an asshole to anyone. If I watched somebody on television every week and I met them and they were an asshole to me, it would break my heart. But it is an overwhelming life. Since the beginning, people said, ‘Your life is gonna change,’ but I never believed it until this year.”
Williams doesn’t want to leave the life entirely, like her former castmate Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) did.
“I want to stick with performing — acting, singing, dancing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s the only thing I’m good at. But I don’t want to f**k it up. And I can totally see how it happens. I’m lucky to have a great group of people around me. I look at Lena Headey; I admire her lifestyle. She goes to the awards shows and does the famous things, but still lives a very normal life. I also want to live anonymously, and that’s the one thing I miss: being anonymous.”
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) May 27, 2015
And from the way things are going, with an upcoming starring role in The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and a guest starring role on two episodes of Doctor Who, Maisie’s going to have to get used to her lack of anonymity. Especially with the praise she recently received from the showrunners of Game of Thrones, Dan Weiss and David Benioff. In an interview appearing in the May 4, 2015, issue of New York Magazine, they talk about the risk they took casting Williams, an unknown with very little experience, in the role of Arya, a role that would become increasingly demanding and challenging with each new season.
“You never know how raw talent is going to develop over the long run. The fact that [Maisie Williams] developed into an actress of astounding subtlety, range, humor and intensity is entirely due to her work ethic.”
There is much hope that Maisie won’t go the way of certain young celebrities who’ve taken a serious left turn because they let their fame go to their heads, because she’s made it a priority to continue to be a person she can admire. “I don’t want to be an a**hole.”
Take a look inside Arya’s introduction to the House of Black and White and the Hall of Faces. [Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 6]
[Image courtesy Ian Gavan / Getty Images Entertainment]