Warning: This article contains spoilers for the eighth series of Game of Thrones.
In this week’s Game Of Thrones, fans were shocked when Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), a former tomboy turned revenge-fueled assassin suffering from murderous tunnel vision, showed her humanity by propositioning and losing her virginity to her friend Gendry (Joe Dempsie).
Yet no one was more surprised by the scene than Maisie herself, who told Entertainment Weekly on Monday that when she first read the script, she thought it was a joke.
“At first, I thought it was a prank,” the 22-year-old said. “I was like, ‘Yo, good one.’ And [the showrunners were] like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh f—k!”
Entertainment Weekly noted that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have sent hoax scripts to cast members in the past, including a Season 1 scene sent to Kit Harington in which Jon Snow’s face was to be disfigured.
Maisie, who was nominated for an Emmy in 2016 for her portrayal of Arya, explained that she first learned of the scene from her BFF and co-star Sophie Turner (aka Sansa Stark), who had zipped through the final season’s scripts before her.
Sophie thought the scene was “awesome,” but Maisie stood by her belief that the scene was bogus until the cast did a table read and the sex scene was still in the script.
“I got to the read-through and I’m reading the scene and thought, ‘Oh, we’re actually going to do this. When do I shoot this? I need to go to the gym.’ A whole list of things,” Maisie told EW.
She noted that she was given a certain amount of control over how much nudity to reveal, which is refreshing considering that Game Of Thrones is notorious for its gratuitous sex scenes.
“David and Dan were like: ‘You can show as much or as little as you want,’” Maisie said. “So I kept myself pretty private.
“I don’t think it’s important for Arya to flash. This beat isn’t really about that. And everybody else has already done it on the show, so …”
Joe Dempsie, who is a decade older than Maisie and has known her since she was a young girl working on the show, had the same concerns about the scene as many fans did.
But he seems to have handled the whole thing pretty well.
“It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old,” the 31-year-old actor told EW. “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.”
It should also be noted that the scene took place on the eve of an epic battle in which many beloved characters believe they’re going to die, including Arya.
So, regardless of how one may feel about this shocking scene, it was nice to see Arya finally just be human again — even if it took the threat of death to allow her to embrace life.