Game Of Thrones Season 06: Maisie Williams and 2nd Chances with Tom Wlaschiha
Q: Set the scene for Arya and Jaqen for Season Six.
MW: Arya has been left out on the streets, out on her own and unable to see. She is totally helpless when well, what do you know but the Waif rocks up, who has been sent by Jaqen to teach her a lesson. But their methods of teaching at the House of Black and White, as we’ve come to realise, are not very conventional at all – the Waif simply throws her a stick and starts whacking her which is in order to teach her how to fight blind.
TW: Sometimes I think it’s like, what do you call it in English? It’s like a zoological experiment for Jaqen: let’s see what happens if I blind her; see what happens if, on top of that, I just hit her… I have no idea if he has a secret agenda of his own or if he wants to use her. I think he likes her and he sees potential in her and he wants to train her to the best of his abilities. Either way, the training definitely goes beyond what she can imagine. That’s why she hits points where I have to punish her because she disobeys me, because she doesn’t really see what I want from her.
Q: Wasn’t Jaqen dead anyway at the end of season five after swallowing a potion?
TW: No, he just played a little trick. I mean he showed her how the Faceless Man worked. Jaqen is just a face. He’s just a face that probably came back because it was a face she was most familiar with. But the person underneath is totally interchangeable: he is no one.
Q: What is Arya’s motivation through all of this?
MW: She’s come so far and the only thing that’s been keeping her going is this list and this hate inside her and this rage. Now this guy is asking her to just drop it all. That’s really, really tough but she knows that this is important and she knows that becoming a Faceless Man is what is going to make her a serious contender and give her a future.
Q: How is Arya made to appear blind?
MW: We used contact lenses and it was really, really difficult, particularly the stunts. We had a couple of different types of lenses. One of them I couldn’t see anything out of and one of them I had a little bit of vision and one of them had a lot more vision. But they were all pretty uncomfortable and probably a little freaky for other people looking at me.
TW: It looked quite freaky.
Q: You think it looked freaky?
TW: All clouded over and with those dead eyes.
MW: Yeah. I guess staring at people, they might find it a little bit weird. But then she is put to the test to learn to fight blind basically, the hard way. She’s put up against the Waif who is a much better fighter than her, a much more efficient fighter. Arya learnt water dancing, which is a very honourable fight I guess but the Waif is pure brutality and pure efficiency – the stick fights I had with Faye Marsay were brutal! That’s something that Arya’s immediately not used to. And then she doesn’t have her sight so it’s something that she definitely struggles with. Then we see a whole montage of her learning and getting better and using her ears and her other senses.
Q: Does she get her sight back?
Yes, in episode three or four.
MW: And he basically says the last time you misbehaved you were made blind, this time you’ll be dead and so Arya is like, ‘Okay, best behaviour.’
Q: What has it been like for the cast now that you’re off book?
MW: I mean obviously the story that George has written is absolutely incredible but it’s very different because you have to pick and choose certain bits from the book that you’d want to put in the series. Now, they can think of this whole story and put it all in because it lends itself well for TV. This has been my favourite season. The whole journey that we go on this year feels like it’s really fully formed and there’s nothing cut out of the middle and nothing missing. I feel like we go on a bigger journey this year, us three, one that’s much more rounded.
TW: The good thing is now nobody can be disappointed anymore. None of the hard-core fans can go, “That’s missing from the book. That’s totally different.“
Q: But presumably the flip side of that is that any time you get a phone call from David and Dan that could be that?
MW: Yeah, exactly, you can’t be confident how long you’re going to last at all, which is petrifying. I just think it’s given it a little breath of fresh air I guess, a little kick in a different direction. Lots of people are going to be unhappy with things and lots of people are going to disagree with this, that and the other but you can’t deny that it’s a nice breath of fresh air into the show that will pick it up. Because six series in, it’s hard to do something new.
Q: What’s been the highlight of filming this year?
MW: I got to do a lot of stunts this year. I had to do this one scene where I run up on to a wall and then just jump and realise that the step is below me and panic and then roll down all of these steps. There was a big jump where I was on a massive wire and I got to do it.
Q: Does the show still feel like it’s getting bigger each year?
MW: It does – particularly this year, this is setting up for the end now. It’s so exciting because you can really see the end in sight now. It’s narrowing down. We have a lot of bloodshed this year and everyone is joining forces and it’s becoming more about four or five contenders now. It’s really, really closing off. I feel like just knowing that is exciting enough and then seeing actually the season that we’ve got together this year… I’m half gutted that I didn’t get to sit and watch this as a fan. Knowing all the secrets is amazing but I would have loved to have just watched it all without knowing what was going on.