Williams made her opinion known in a Teen Vogue “Firsts” video. “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,” she admitted. “I thought that Arya was queer, you know? So… yeah. That was a surprise.”
There were a lot of surprises in Game Of Thrones’ final episodes, and fans found many of them unpleasant. Arya’s brief fling with Gendry was hardly the most controversial shake-up of the season. But it did rankle a certain group of dedicated fans that perceived the character–who was kind of a gender non-conforming icon, by Westeros standards–as not straight.
Back in the day, Williams recalled the first time she read the script for her sex scene with Joe Dempsie for Entertainment Weekly. “At first, I thought it was a prank,” she said. (Writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss had given their actors fake-out scripts before.) “I was like, ‘Yo, good one.’ And [the showrunners were] like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh fuck!”
In the same interview, Dempsie–who is around ten years older than Williams–pointed out another uncomfortable aspect of the scene: “It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old,” he admitted. “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.”
Fans can argue whether or not that one moment of passion served the story or the character or even the actors. But for this one moment, let’s join Williams in imagining Arya post-GOT, traveling the world, kick ass, and living her best queer life. Gendry who?!