With the popular TV series Game of Thrones becoming among the highest rated and most watched shows, quite a few new actors have enjoyed a brilliant start in their careers and have risen to fame. One such actress in particular is Maisie Williams, whom we’ve all watched from season to season, grow up into a beautiful young woman. Maisie is predominantly known for her portrayal of Arya Stark in the famous HBO series and she is definitely one of the most loved – not to mention that her character is also one of the few to have survived this long into the show.
We’ve seen Arya grow up and transform from the very first episode of the very first season and we cannot help but become curious about the girl behind the character. How much do we, the fans, really know about Maisie Williams and what she’s like when she’s not running around, yielding swords and trying as hard as she can not to be a lady in Game of Thrones? Well, we realized that we don’t really know all that much. And that is exactly why we have decided to compile the following list of facts about the woman behind one of the strongest characters in the series.
15. Her Name Isn’t Really Maisie
Nope, it isn’t. Her real name is actually Margaret Constance Williams and Maisie is sort of a nickname and a modernized version of the more traditional Margaret. But it’s not just any nickname either, it actually comes from a comic strip character of the same name. The Perishers is a famous British comic strip that was published for over 45 years, up until 2006, shortly after the author’s death. The character Maisie is described as an ‘adorable little girl’, yet a bit of a tomboy (kind of like Arya in Game of Thrones), who can sometimes turn rather violent when things don’t go her way. However, despite her rather unfeminine demeanor, Maisie is a romantic and dreamy girl, always picturing herself and other character of the comic Marlon in love together, he – the knight in shining armor, and she – his gentle loving princess.
14. She Dances
Yes! What’s more, she was dancing way before she took up acting and has actually declared dancing her ‘first love’ in an interview to Vulture. And she is also impressively good at it, too. Maisie Williams has been practicing her moves since a very young age and has been perfecting them in a variety of different styles: from classical, to jazz and street dancing. She has particularly been trained in ballet, pointe and also enjoys commercial jazz and technical jazz, alongside tap dancing. But her real passion appears to be hip hop and freestyle dancing, which she has also had the opportunity to demonstrate to her fans. A video that shows Maisie and her fellow dance students taking part in a dance-flashmob in Bath quickly went viral and introduced this side of the young actress to the public. Yet, despite dancing being her bigger love, she says it has helped her greatly with her work on-screen, particularly with handling a sword.
13. She Can’t Stand All The Graphic Scenes
Believe it or not, but one of the most recognizable members of one of the most graphic TV shows actually cannot handle watching any of the numerous gruesome scenes. Yes, she does willingly participate in a number of them, but if she has to watch them played back to her – she will probably cover her eyes and might even leave the room! This goes for all the violent and gory scenes in particular, and not only in Game of Thrones, but any other film or series also. She even admits to being uncomfortable with watching that kind of content in real life, too.
12. Maisie Is Actually A Lot Like Arya
We all know the vigorous little self-willed girl in the famous HBO series, daughter of Eddard Stark and princess of the North – Arya Stark. From the very first episodes, her character was introduced to the audience as a bit of a rebellious and headstrong girl, who had no intention of acting like a lady or being seen as one. She was always the tomboy, always closer to her half-brother than to her elder sister and always looking up to her father. Well, turns out Maisie Williams isn’t all that much different from her on-screen counterpart. She, too, has a mind of her own and despises being boxed into other people’s expectations, but she also sees herself as ‘fast on her feet’ and a ‘quick thinker’, which she believes she shares with her GoT character. They might, however, differ in their sense of style.
11. Had To Become Left-Handed For The Show
Now there’s not something you would expect from a twelve-year old child to do in the name of the accurate portrayal of a character. More so given the fact that the part of Arya Stark was Maisie’s first ever role on TV or in film, but she took the utmost serious approach that not every grown actor would. When she was first approved for the role, Maisie was told by her mother, who had read the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, that Arya is actually left-handed. Being right-handed, little miss Williams wasn’t caught aback by this news at all and started practicing using her left hand over her right whenever she had the chance.
As a result, she taught herself how to write with her left hand and perform other things and she was able to pull it off while filming, but, unfortunately, not all the time. Due to the specifics of cinematography, Maisie would still sometimes have to do things with her right hand, due to the camera angle. The actress expressed her desire to stay as true to the character as possible and acknowledged the fact that many fans weren’t happy with the discrepancies, but we can’t have it all.
10. Has Never Read The Books
Don’t be too shocked. Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones star and beloved cast member, has never read any of the books, on which the hit series is based. The young actress has pointed out that she hasn’t read even one of George R. R. Martin‘s novels to this date mainly due to their graphic content. At the beginning of it all, it was Maisie’s mother, who decided that the gore, violence and incest that riddle the novels are inappropriate for pre-teenage child. But later on Maisie was old enough to conclude for herself that she would like to distance herself from all the graphic content, which we have already determined Maisie is not at all a fan of. And there is also the fact that, as she herself confesses, she isn’t exactly into books so much, either. Maisie has mentioned, however, that she does aim to read the book series eventually, as she believes it will be interesting to compare her portrayal of Arya to the character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
9. She Is The Biggest Audrey Hepburn Fan
We mentioned that Maisie Williams identifies with her GoT character on many levels, but we also pointed out that style definitely isn’t one of them. Maisie is more of a girly girl than her fictional counterpart and she adores renowned actress and style icon Audrey Hepburn. To make our point: Maisie had even gathered a whole bunch of photos to demonstrate how similar the legendary Hepburn’s eyebrows are to her own. Well, we definitely can’t say that young Williams has chosen a bad role model. And Hepburn’s looks are apparently not the only thing she’s been admiring: just like the legendary actress, Maisie appears to be a humanitarian, fighting to spread awareness among teens about politics in the U.K.
8. She Loves Animals
Not only is she a humanitarian, striving to get young people engaged in the political life of her country, Maisie Williams is also an animal lover and is using her voice to do something about the well-being of the other creatures we share this planet with. More specifically, Maisie is a supporter of the nonprofit, volunteer organization called The Dolphin Project. The purpose of the organization is to educate people about the dangers dolphins face in their environment and provide information as to what the consequences of keeping these marine mammals captive can be. Maisie’s role in this is, again, spreading awareness of the cause using her status as a celebrity.
7. She Is Very Realistic About Her Fame
You’d think that a teenager rising to fame, as quickly as this young star did, would go straight to her head – after all, history has plenty of examples where things had gone terribly wrong for children-stars – but not in this case. Maisie Williams is admirably grounded and reasonable about her popularity and sees both the benefits and the drawbacks to being surrounded by so much attention and being in a place, where your voice can be heard by many. In fact, she never even thought of becoming an actress and she certainly wasn’t trying to escape her life by doing so. When the opportunity presented itself – she took it and that’s more or less all there was to it. But Maisie realizes how special it is to be listened to, especially at such an early age, and she also understands that being in that position is a great responsibility. And it’s something she is still learning to balance.
6. She Is A Social Media Star, Too
This one should probably not come as much of a surprise, considering the fact that Maisie belongs to a generation that was practically born into the era of technology, of which most of us couldn’t even dream about when we were younger. Thus, being best friends with the Internet and social media is kind of a given. Well, you might nonetheless still be intrigued to know that Maisie Williams was actually a pretty successful Vine star, with a solid number of fans and followers, as well as a fair share of some pretty entertaining and funny videos. However, those who enjoyed seeing Maisie’s vines, have been rather disappointed for quite some time and it doesn’t even have anything to do with Twitter’s announcement to discontinue the popular 6-second video platform. Maisie actually stopped making vines a couple of years back, saying that she believed the site had become home to a lot of sexism and racism and she felt that unless she provided that kind of content for her viewers – she wasn’t really ‘in’. The actress still remains very active on Twitter, however, and recently uploaded a video to her new YouTube channel to celebrate reaching the mark of 1 million followers!
5. Youngest ‘Best Supporting Actress’
With her brilliant talent and undoubted acting abilities, it seems rather expected that Maisie would be claiming award after award for her portrayal of Arya Stark in the famous series. And indeed she has! Back in 2012, at the age of fifteen, Maisie Williams became the youngest lady ever to win the Portal award in the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ category. She then went on to win a number of other awards, receiving wide recognition for her work in the series: in November 2013, Maisie won the BBC Radio 1 Teen Award for Best British Actor, after which she proceeded to win the Empire Hero Award in 2014.
4. Has Worked Outside Game of Thrones As Well
Of course, Maisie’s talent would be difficult to miss, so the rising star has made her way into other series along the way, as well as a few short movies, some full-length feature films and even a music video, too. Only a year after she was cast in the first season of GoT, Maisie Williams landed a part in the 2012 mini-series The Secret of Crickley Hall. Shortly after this, she steadily moved on to appearing in the independent movies Heatstroke (2013) and Gold (2014), followed by the short films Corvidae and Up On The Roof. With several of her latest movies still to be released, her greatest work so far, aside from GoT, is probably the 2014 British film The Falling. Her portrayal of Lydia Lamont won her the London Film Critics’ Circle Award and the Evening Standard British Film Award in the categories of ‘Young British/Irish Performer Of The Year’ and ‘Rising Star’ respectively.
3. Didn’t Realize How Big Game of Thrones Was Until Season 3
Talk about levelheadedness. Not only was Maisie Williams not blinded by her fame and fortune, it would appear she remained quite oblivious to it, up to the point, where she couldn’t avoid it any longer. In a Reddit AMA answer, the actress mentioned that she only came to realize how popular the series actually was only at the premiere of the third consecutive season. She went on to explain that it hit her, when she was getting out of the car and the roar of the people yelling out her name finally brought her to the understanding that the HBO show was actually a pretty big deal. In her response she added that it was at that moment that it became apparent to her, how much the show had changed her life. And though a bit scared at first, Maisie said she had time to get used to the popularity step by step.
2. Dropped Out Of School At 14
We’re guessing you probably didn’t see this one coming – at all. Because neither did we. It turns out that in choosing between her career and her formal education, the former prevailed. And just so we’re clear on this – the decision was backed by her parents, so this wasn’t some attempt to “run off with the circus” on Maisie’s part. Though the choice wasn’t the easiest, her parents reasoned that, once their daughter is being offered some pretty rare opportunities to be an actress and travel the world, meeting all sorts of different people, they weren’t going to stop her just so she could take her exams. The wise mother and father believe that each individual has their own path in life and what works for some may not work for others.
And at the time when her peers were receiving their GCSEs or high school grades, Maisie went straight to Twitter, urging those, who did less than well on the exams, not to be discouraged. In her post she said “…I would just like to say that I have no qualifications to my name and won’t have for a while. There is more than one route into your dream job.” But, to be fair, we should say that Maisie is currently attending Bath Dance College.
1. Sophie Turner Is Her Best Friend
Sisters off-screen, as well, it would appear. Though playing completely opposing parts in the series, in which both sisters Arya and Sansa Stark didn’t get along so well, the young women behind the characters are actually pretty close – they’re even almost the same age, with Maisie only being a year younger than her taller co-star. In fact, the two are so close, that they even got matching tattoos to mark their friendship and commemorate the date and occasion that brought them together. The two actresses visited the same tattoo artist in Belfast and got the date 07.08.09 tattooed in peach on their forearms. It’s the date when they both found out they were going to be on Game of Thrones.