WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2.
Arya Stark's hookup with Gendry in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 was so surprising that actress Maisie Williams thought it was a prank at first. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have a reputation for playing jokes on their characters, but when they revealed to Williams that they weren't playing around, her reaction was "Oh f*ck!" according to Entertainment Weekly.
In this week's episode of GoT, recently-reunited travel companions Arya and Gendry sleep together at Winterfell before battling the Army of the Dead. "If we’re going to die soon I want to know what that’s like before that happens," she tells him frankly before they get busy. In the show, Arya is believed to be 18 years old in Season 8 while Gendry is believed to be around 23 (though his age isn't confirmed onscreen). In real life, actors Maisie Williams and Joe Dempsie are 22 and 31 respectively.
This marked Arya's first sex scene in the show, and since it was Williams's first time stripping down as her character, Benioff and Weiss let her decide how much skin she wanted to show on camera. "David and Dan were like: ‘You can show as much or as little as you want. So I kept myself pretty private," she told Entertainment Weekly. "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…"
Parts of the filming was "uncomfortable," Williams said. "In the beginning, everyone was really respectful," she told EW. "No one wants to make you feel uncomfortable which kind of makes you feel more uncomfortable, because no one wants to look at anything that they shouldn’t look at which in turn makes you feel like you look awful because everyone is kind of like-“ [Williams averts her eyes]. "You want people to act more normal."
The actress also said that the process of filming the scene felt "rushed," partially because director David Nutter (who helmed the episode) has a fast speaking voice to begin with, but that didn't throw her off. "And I’m like … ’Okay. Let’s do it," she added to EW.
Dempsie said the scene was "slightly strange" for him because he's known Williams since she was 11 or 12, when she first started GoT. The actor previously told BAZAAR.com that he "felt a little uncomfortable" being asked about a potential romance between Gendry and Arya in earlier seasons due to his and Williams's real-life age difference. "I couldn't help but know that as an actor, at the time, I was maybe 25 and Maisie was 14 or 15," he told BAZAAR. "I was a bit uncomfortable talking about it for those reasons."
For this scene, though, Dempsie respected Williams as a fellow actor. "At the same time, I don’t want to be patronizing toward Maisie - she’s a 20-year-old woman," he told Entertainment Weekly. "So we just had a lot of fun with it."
Williams added that the most important part of her scene with Gendry was that it shows "a very human relationship for Arya," which isn't something we often see from the young, stone-cold killer.
We'll see how she and Gendry fare in the Battle of Winterfell when Game of Thrones returns next Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.
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