- Maisie Williams‘ mum did a lot of travelling with her at the start of her “Game of Thrones” career.
- Williams was just 12 years old when she started shooting season one of the hit show, so had to be accompanied by a guardian.
- In an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Monday, Williams described shooting her first scene without her parents once she’d turned 16.
- It involved stabbing a man in both his eyes before the cast broke for pizza.
- Williams said she remembers thinking she made the right decision leaving school.
She was just 12 years old when she took the role of Arya Stark, the tomboy daughter of Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell.
In the nine years and seven seasons that have followed, fans have watched Arya and Maisie grow into an adult woman and a formidable force of vengeance.
In an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Monday – where she also fooled fans into thinking she’d leaked a massive “Game of Thrones” spoiler – Williams spoke about the unusual way she spent her formative years.
“To me, it’s just like, you live your life, and it’s not until you look back to like 10 years ago and you realise: Everyone’s seen me grow up,” she said.
Williams then spun the entertaining tale of the first time she shot a scene for the show without parental supervision, once she’d turned 16.
Fans of the show will remember the scene where Arya kills Ser Meryn Trant in revenge for his killing of Syrio Forel – her old swordmaster.
Williams said that they needed to work overtime to get the scene done: “For me, it was the first time ever doing that, so it was really, really exciting.
“When you do overtime they bring you pizza.
“And so they did this huge pizza order and we’re talking like a crew of 100 people so there’s [sic] boxes and boxes of pizza.
“And I come out, I’ve got this dagger in my hand, a nightie on and I’m covered in blood having just stabbed this guy in both his eyes.
“… I grab a slice of pizza, and I remember thinking: ‘This is my life, I’m so glad I left school.'”
Watch the full exchange below:
In the UK, all British children remain in education until they are 16. However, Williams decided not to sit her GCSE exams (which most students do at the end of high school), banking on her acting career instead.
Back in 2014, Maisie’s mother Hillary told The Mail on Sunday that the decision was not one they’d taken lightly.
“I’m a great believer in opportunities,” she said.
“Maisie was given a lot of opportunities that we didn’t feel we could turn down to concentrate on education.
“I know a lot of people wouldn’t agree with that, but that’s what we decided to do. At the time, Maisie was filming, there were appearances and other things. She didn’t have the time to sit her exams.
“It wasn’t a snap decision. It came after a series of events that made us think: Are we really going to say, ‘No, Maisie, you need to be in school doing your exams’ when somebody is offering the chance to travel the world and act in all these wonderful things?
She went on: “I’m not saying you don’t need an education. My eldest son went to university and got his degree, and that worked for him.
“But you have to look at each case individually. You can always go back and get your education and these opportunities aren’t going to be there forever.”
Williams herself has admitted that her school years were especially difficult as a teenager who’d found fame early on.
“Well, 12, not so much, but 15, 16, that’s when the hormones are really flying,” she told The Guardian last year.
“Going through that and trying to juggle other people’s opinions on who you are and how you should act, that’s difficult, just because you’re desperately trying to find your own identity.
“Whether you’re famous at 15 or not, you’re still confused as to who you are.”
She tried to go back to school during filming, but it was such a tough experience that she eventually turned to homeschooling.
“Leaving school, and then going back and having this awful experience, made me really bitter about life and people,” she said.
“People let you down and they hurt you. I went through a really dark phase of just thinking everything was awful.”
She added that she understands some people might have felt threatened, but it doesn’t excuse anyone’s bad behaviour.
“Being 15 and feeling threatened by someone who’s successful, that seems like quite a human thing,” she said.
“When I look back, I just think it could have literally been anyone. It just so happened that I was the one who got the success.”
“Game of Thrones” returns to HBO for its eighth and final season on Sunday, April 14.
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