20 Things You Didn't Know About Maisie Williams

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At the age of 22, Maisie Williams has already had a career that most actors would dream of.

Cast as Arya Stark in HBO's epic fantasy series Game of Thrones aged 11, a little over a decade later Williams is only just wrapping up her time on the biggest show of the decade.

Along with co-stars Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, Williams began Game of Thrones as an unknown. Now, she's one of the biggest names in showbiz.Still, Williams is more than just the show that broke her into the mainstream - so much more, in fact.

Here are 20 things you didn't know about Maisie Williams, the working-class West Country girl who became one of Britain's biggest stars.

20. She didn't want to be an actor

It probably goes without saying that, thanks to Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams is set for life where the acting career is concerned.

However, unlike the rest of her young co-stars, being an actor wasn't initially in Williams' game plan.

Having attended Bath's Sue Hill School of Dance as a youngster, in a 2011 interview, Williams admitted: "My first love is dancing".

Having attended Bath Dance College during her time on Game of Thrones, Williams is now proficient in musical theatre, ballet, tap, street and freestyle.

She told the Guardian in 2016: "If I could have had a career in dancing, I would have left acting in a second."

19. She almost didn't bother going to her Game of Thrones audition

Back when the cast were auditioning for the show, Game of Thrones was just another TV pilot in the early planning stages.

With acting then only a passing interest, an 11-year-old Williams wasn't exactly keen on auditioning for a role in a TV series she knew nothing about.

Instead, Williams wanted to go on a school trip to a pig farm, but her agent insisted she attend.

Begrudgingly, Williams nailed the audition, and won herself a part on the biggest show of the decade.

In a 2019 interview on Lorraine, Williams admitted: "I desperately wanted to go on a school trip instead - good job I didn't! I wouldn't be here now."

18. She left school at 14

As Game of Thrones grew from an acclaimed HBO series into a TV behemoth watched by millions worldwide, the show became an all-consuming occupation for the cast.

With the shooting schedule stretching out to up to nine months of the year, Williams for one had to drop out of school - at age 14.

As a result, Williams never sat her GSCE exams, though she had a tutor on the Game of Thrones set to learn in the gaps between filming.

Although she was predicted high grades, the actress was taken out of school early by her mum and stepfather to focus on her career.

In 2014, Williams' mother told the Mail on Sunday: "Maisie was given a lot of opportunities that we didn't feel we could turn down to concentrate on education."

17. She criticised Emma Watson for being a 'first-world feminist'

Refreshingly for a celeb, Maisie Williams isn't afraid to be disarmingly open and honest about her take on the world.

This became obvious in 2014, when Williams criticised Emma Watson - another former child star - in an interview with the Guardian.

It wasn't long after Watson gave a now-famous speech on feminism to the UN, and Williams - herself a staunch feminist - was asked her opinion.

Dismissing Watson's "first-world feminism", Williams said: “A lot of what Emma Watson spoke about, I just think, ‘that doesn’t bother me’".

Williams elaborated: "I know things aren't perfect for women in the UK and in America, but there are women in the rest of the world who have it far worse."

16. She once made a 'kill list' of British political figures

Before Brexit even happened, things were getting heated in British politics, to say the least.

This was perhaps evidenced best by the fact that Maisie Williams made a kill list of British political figures in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

In a short video made for Dazed, Williams encouraged young people to vote while standing by a collage of famous faces and an Arya-esque 'kill list'.

Controversially, the list included names of such notable British political figures as David Cameron, Tony Blair and Russell Brand.

Also on Williams' list: Piers Morgan, Rupert Murdoch and Kanye West, as well as Take That's Gary Barlow, who she labelled a 'tax dodger'.

15. She's a devoted animal rights activist

Williams isn't just proudly outspoken where politics and feminism are concerned: she's also a keen advocate for animal welfare.

Williams has used her social media presence to encourage followers to protest corporate animal testing.

In 2015, Williams headed up a march through London in protest against the practice of hunting and capturing dolphins for captivity in Japan.

She performed a charity jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet in the same year for the cause.

Williams was also a signatory in 2019 of an open letter urging Vladimir Putin to release dozens of captive whales from a so-called 'whale jail' in Srednyaya Bay.


14. She's been relentlessly bullied on social media

One unfortunate consequence of being famous and outspoken in today's world is that social media bullying inevitably seems to come with the territory.

While she's a popular social media presence, with millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram, Williams has been vocal about the dark side of her online experience, too.

In a 2018 Guardian interview, Williams said she experienced online bullying "on a bigger scale" than the average person, something that left her "really bitter about life and people".

Williams was so affected that she even starred in a 2015 TV film about cyberbullying called Cyberbully.

Speaking about the film, Williams said: "I've been on a train, right next to my mum with my phone in my hand, scrolling through constant abuse...and feeling completely on my own."

13. She invented her own social media app

The pressure and negativity of social media has been a key concern of Williams' throughout her career.

Rather than put up with the angry comments and hate messages, however, Williams has been fighting back.

In response to her social media experience, Williams recently launched a positive-thinking social media app of her own with business partner Dom Santry.

Daisie, a social media app for people who want to break into creative industries, was designed by Williams and Santry to encourage users to work together to create.

The idea behind Daisie, says Williams, is also for creatives from more humble backgrounds like herself to build a list of contacts from scratch.

12. She's best mates with Sophie Turner in real life

#Mophie isn't just a Game of Thrones fan's dream - Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner really do have a relationship close enough to earn their own hashtag.

In a 2017 interview, Turner told Business Insider: "She's my best friend, she's my soulmate. I love that girl to pieces".

Williams thinks so too, having referred to Turner as "my best friend" and spoken at length about the close relationship that has developed from their decade of working together.

Williams told Glamour magazine in 2019: "Whenever I'm like, 'I need help! This is bigger than anything I can sort out on my own,' Sophie is my point of call."

The pair even have matching tattoos, while Williams will be a bridesmaid at Turner's upcoming wedding to partner Joe Jonas.


11. She learned to do things left-handed to play Arya

Let it never be said that Maisie Williams hasn't put the effort in to play Arya Stark.

A minor detail in George RR Martin's books - that Arya is left-handed - convinced the right-handed Williams to learn how to do things southpaw.

Williams says that she began learning after her mum informed her that Arya was left-handed in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Williams would from then on often practice "in the garden and things I would do left-handed just to feel that rhythm".

Watch the show closely, and you can see Arya even fights and wields a sword left-handed.


10. She thought that Game of Thrones sex scene was a prank

It wasn't just you: Maisie Williams didn't expect Arya would end up sharing a sex scene with Gendry in Game of Thrones' final season, either.

In fact, Williams was so shocked by the scene when she read it, she assumed Thrones showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff were playing a practical joke on her.

"At first, I thought it was a prank. I was like, 'Yo, good one'", Williams told Entertainment Weekly.

"And [Weiss and Benioff were] like, 'No, we haven’t done that this year.' Oh f***!"

Williams later tweeted: "If u feel uncomfortable just know that my mother and my stepdad and my 2 sisters and my 4 brothers have all probably watched this too".

9. Her real name isn't Maisie

Thanks to Game of Thrones, everybody knows the name Maisie Williams - though that isn't what the Bath girl is really called.

Though she goes by Maisie in both private and public life, Williams was actually christened Margaret Constance Williams.

Not unlike GoT co-star Kit Harington, however, Williams has rarely ever gone by her birth name.

Instead, Williams has been referred to by the nickname Maisie for as long as she can remember.

Nicknamed by her family after the precocious Maisie in the cartoon strip The Perishers, Williams later carried the nickname over to her professional acting moniker, too.

8. Her mum is her personal assistant

Despite all those months spent away from home filming Game of Thrones, Williams has never lost touch with her roots.

Coming from a big family with three older siblings, Williams has always remained closest to her mum.

So close, in fact, that the pair, according to Williams, can't go a day without speaking to one another.

Furthermore, Williams put Mum on her payroll, making her both manager and personal assistant.

Williams' mother, Hilary Pitt Frances, actually quit her job in university administration to work at her daughter's side.

7. She doesn't have a relationship with her father

Though she bears his surname, Maisie Williams has never had much of a relationship with her father.

Williams' parents divorced when she was very young, leaving her with a lasting distaste for marriage ("I’m never going to get married...my view on marriage is that it’s extremely pointless").

After her parents' split, Williams was raised by her mother and stepdad, with her father hardly featuring in her life.

Williams made this clear on Father's Day, 2015, when she tweeted: "Happy Father's Day to my mother who played both roles for me growing up".

Williams also used Father's Day to pay tribute to her stepdad, while in a 2014 interview with Vulture she declared "I would rather be a Pitt", referring to her mother's surname.

6. Lena Headey is her role model

Unsurprisingly a fan of strong women, Maisie Williams' ultimate role model is none other than one of her Game of Thrones co-stars.

Despite the fact that she plays Williams' sworn enemy on the show, Lena Headey is actually Williams' fave.

In 2014, Williams told the Guardian she thought Headey represented the perfect balance between personal life and working life.

"She's a fantastic actress but she doesn’t live in the limelight. I never see headlines about her."

Williams added that she thought Headey had "just cracked it - I don't want to be on the pages of Hello! magazine."

5. Game of Thrones was her first ever acting role

Almost none of the young 'newcomers' who made their names on Game of Thrones were really new to acting at all.

Kit Harington began his career on stage in War Horse, Emilia Clarke had the 2010 SyFy TV movie Triassic Attack, while Richard Madden had made his film debut all the way back in 2000.

On the other hand Maisie Williams, like 'siblings' Sophie Turner and Isaac Hempstead Wright, had never appeared on-screen before.

Though Williams had previously auditioned for Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Game of Thrones was the first acting role she ever got.

In 2011, Williams told WinterIsComing.net that being turned down for Nanny McPhee 2 almost put her off auditioning again, but that "all auditions are good experience so I went along and after the first audition in London I knew I wanted to be Arya."


4. She set up her own film production company at 19

Not content with just inventing and running a new social media app, Williams also has a film production company all of her own.

Along with Dom Santry, who also worked with Williams on Daisie, Williams runs Daisy Chain Productions.

The company, built to develop and produce TV and film, was set up when Williams was just 19-years-old.

"I want to give other people the opportunity to make incredible things," Williams told Highsnobiety in 2017. “There are so many members of my generation that have all the talent and just no platform.”

Daisy Chain has already made its first film, a 2018 short called Stealing Silver, that was produced by and stars Williams.

3. Fellow child star Bill Milner is her flatmate

Maisie Williams and Son of Rambow star Bill Milner have a few things in common: with both having acted professionally since they were 12, they've also been in their fair share of blockbuster productions.

Williams has Game of Thrones, and Milner has Dunkirk and X-Men: First Class, while both have iBoy, which the duo starred in in 2017.

It makes sense, then, that these two up-and-coming Brit (former child) actors would choose to be roomies.

Milner, who also founded Daisy Chain Productions along with Williams and Santry, recently revealed he and the Thrones star had been living together with a telling tweet.

Following the spoiler-friendly s8 ep3, Milner took to Twitter to write: "You all think it’s hard avoiding #GameofThrones spoilers? Try living with Arya. I’m dodging them in my own goddamn kitchen."

2. She revealed a massive Game of Thrones 'spoiler' live on television as an April Fool's joke

If there's one thing Game of Thrones fans hate about Game of Thrones, it's the need to watch the show ASAP/completely avoid all media until then in order to avoid spoilers.

For a true fan, having even minor Game of Thrones details spoiled is heresy - which is why Maisie Williams' 2019 April Fool's prank was so amusing.

It was April 1st, and Williams had showed up on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to talk the upcoming final season.

Before anyone knew what was happening, Williams accidentally let slip a huge spoiler - "When I found out that Arya died in like the second episode..." - to audible gasps from the audience.

This was later revealed to be just an April Fool's gag, thankfully for any Game of Thrones fans watching in horror.

1. She was an incessant prop-stealer on the Game of Thrones set

Once production on a film or TV show has wrapped, it's not unheard of for cast members to take props home with them.

Maisie Williams, on the other hand, has been lifting bits and pieces from the Game of Thrones set seemingly from day one.

In a 2015 Esquire interview, Williams revealed she had amassed a sizeable faceless man coin collection ("I have no idea where they went") while also eyeing up Needle ("I'm hoping to steal one in the future").

In a 2018 interview with BBC Radio One, meanwhile, Williams admitted she had taken a favourite leather jacket from the GoT wardrobe department.

Add to this a breakable prop stick Arya used to hit Joffrey in season one, and Williams has herself a veritable treasure trove of Thrones memorabilia.

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