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‘Game of Thrones’ Star Maisie Williams Thought Arya Stark Was Queer and Same, Girl

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in 'Game of Thrones'.

While the 2019 series finale of HBO’s juggernaut fantasy series Game of Thrones was a disappointment to many, most fans were happy to see trained assassin and all around badass Arya Stark make it out of the series alive. The fan-favorite character, played by Maisie Williams, was one of the few characters who had a satisfying ending, as she set sail to explore countries beyond Westeros. Arya’s tomboyish qualities and penchant for dressing in men’s clothing (and disguising herself as a boy for a full season) led many fans to wonder if the character was queer and/or gender non-conforming. And they weren’t alone: Williams herself assumed that Arya was queer as well.

In a new interview with Teen Vogue, Williams discussed her surprise that her character would have a love scene in the final season with Gendry (Joe Dempsie). “The first time that I was surprised by Arya I guess was probably in the final series where she whips off her clothes and sleeps with Gendry,” Williams said. “I thought that Arya was queer, you know? So… yeah. That was a surprise.” The scene took place during the night before the Battle of Winterfell, when many characters were looking to hook up before their violent battle with the Army of the Dead. Arya and Gendry’s sex scene was shocking, partly because fans of the series had watched Williams grow up throughout the show’s run and felt icky about seeing the youngest Stark daughter in a sex scene. But it was also surprising because Arya was so heavily coded as queer. Fans took to social media, reading Arya’s dissatisfaction as confirmation of her queerness.

On reading the scene in the script, Williams assumed it was a prank from the showrunners. “At first, I thought it was a prank,” Williams told Entertainment Weekly. “I was like, ‘Yo, good one.’ And [the showrunners were] like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh f—k!”

Dempsie (who was 31 years old at the time) was somewhat uncomfortable with the scene, saying “It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old, … At the same time, I don’t want to be patronizing toward Maisie — she’s a 20-year-old woman. So we just had a lot of fun with it.”

Out of all the GOT spinoffs pitched over the years, the one I would be most interested in watching would be Arya Stark’s adventures, sailing to uncharted lands and embracing her queerness. But that seems unlikely, as Williams told GQ Magazine. “I’m not saying it would never happen, but I’m also not saying it in this interview so that everyone goes ‘The spin-off! It’s coming!’ Because it’s not. It has to be the right time and the right people,” adding “It has to be the right time for me.”

(via Teen Vogue, featured image: HBO)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.