Arya Stark is begrudgingly sweeping the floor, glumly pushing a broom, waiting for her chance — will today be the day she gets to kill? The director yells, “Cut!” and out from Arya’s grungy brown tunic Maisie Williams emerges. Gone is the sullen look, replaced by a goofy grin. The actress’s shoulders shimmy, and her hands start chopping the air in a dance move that belongs more to a pop-music video than Game of Thrones. The 18-year-old actress, in her fifth season on the HBO show, doesn’t let her character’s darkness linger between takes. On this chilly October day, she’s filming a season-five scene that takes place inside the House of Black and White, a temple for those who worship the god of death and help do his bidding (in other words: It’s a school for assassins). We’re supposed to be in the fictional city of Braavos, but it’s actually Belfast in Northern Ireland, where a wedge of Titanic Studios is doubling as this mythic space, lined as it is with ominous statuary and flickering fires tucked into shadowy alcoves. Arya, who, at this point in the saga, has given up looking for any of her surviving family members, hopes that this place will provide her with the tools needed for revenge. And Williams, who has played the role since she was 12, is reveling in the fact that her character is becoming someone new, and she’s comfortable with the moral ambiguities inherent to the transformation.

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By that point, you’ve been living it for three years. You know what drives this person, you have to watch her whole insides ripped to shreds by watching her son get murdered. The woman is just grief stricken, but she doesn’t lose control. She knows she’s dead, but in her mind she wants to be dead and wants to get revenge as well. Because of the way it’s filmed, as well, you felt incredibly static which is powerful – the fact she stays rooted to her spot. Her grief has to be expressed in some shape and form and it’s vocally and through the face.
—  Michelle Fairley on The Red Wedding