Maisie Williams will once again play Arya Stark in the seventh season of Game of Thrones, which returns on HBO on July 16th.
Williams was raised by her mother and her stepfather, and she was one of four children growing up. It was her mother who decided that it was okay for Williams to leave school in order to star in Game of Thrones, and the two evidently have a very close relationship.
Here’s what you need to know about the family of Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams.
1. Her Mother Is Hilary Pitt Frances, a Breast Cancer Survivor
Maisie Williams’ mother is Hilary Pitt Frances. According to the Evening Standard, Frances is a former university administrator who later became her daughter’s personal assistant.
Williams said in an interview with PEOPLE Magazine that her mother has gone through a lot in her life, particularly a battle with breast cancer.
“She’s so caring and so lovely, but knowing her history and her past – she hasn’t been dealt the best hand in life, and there’s been a lot of things that have gone very against her,” Williams said. “She has survived many, many times…survived relationships, survived breast cancer and constantly is just trying to do more to help other people.”
In this interview with PEOPLE, Maisie Williams also said that she speaks to her mom every day. In fact, she was on FaceTime with her mom when she received the news in 2016 that she had been nominated for an Emmy.
“I FaceTimed her, and I was in Berlin, and a little notification from Twitter came up… a tweet from Game of Thrones, and it said ‘Congratulate @M…,’ like @Maisie Williams, and I was like, ‘What does – congratulate me on…?’ I didn’t want to say anything because mom was talking at the time, and I was kind of trying to speed up the conversation so I could click off and go look at what this tweet was.”
Her mom soon got a notification on her phone, too, and when she found out that her daughter had been nominated for an Emmy, she “just started screaming,” Maisie told PEOPLE.
When Maisie Williams first started off on Game of Thrones, she had no idea about the Red Wedding. This plot twist would not happen in the show for several seasons, but in the books, it happened way back in 2000. Williams says that she found out about the Red Wedding from her mother.
“When my mom told me about the Red Wedding, I couldn’t get over it because I always thought the Lannisters were bad,” Williams told BuzzFeed. “I asked her, ‘What happens in the Red Wedding?’ She was like, ‘Robb Stark and Catelyn die,’ and I was like, ‘But they’re the good guys.’ Clearly I didn’t know anything about Game of Thrones then.”
2. Her Parents Divorced When She Was Young
Maisie Williams’ parents got divorced when she was young, and she has said that she thinks marriage is completely pointless.
“…I’m never going to get married,” Williams told Vulture. “Right now, my view on marriage is that it’s extremely pointless. I see why other people get married, but for me, I’ll never get married, so I always do designs on my wedding ring fingers, because I’ll never wear a ring there.”
She went on to say that marriage does nothing but create complications in a person’s life.
“My dad’s name is Williams, and my mum’s new married name is Frances, but she was a Pitt, which is her maiden name,” Williams told Vulture. “Had I just been a Pitt the whole time, then that whole thing, changing names wouldn’t be necessary. In my opinion, nothing changes after you get married. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Williams has indicated that she was mainly raised mainly by her mother, although she said in an interview with TIME that she spent time with both her mother and father when she was young. In a Father’s Day tweet in 2015, Williams dedicated the day to her mother, who Williams says played both roles for her when she was growing up.
She also dedicated the day to her stepdad, who Williams says played a role in helping to make her mother smile again. According to the Daily Mail, Williams’ stepfather is a business consultant.
3. Her Mother Allowed Her to Leave School in Order to Film ‘Game of Thrones’
Maisie Williams left school when she was 14 years old in order to film Game of Thrones. She continued to be educated by tutors after that.
This was a decision that was reached by Maisie’s mother, Hilary.
“I’m a great believer in opportunities,” Hilary Pitt told The Daily Mail. “Maisie was given a lot of opportunities that we didn’t feel we could turn down to concentrate on education. I know a lot of people wouldn’t agree with that, but that’s what we decided to do. At the time, Maisie was filming, there were appearances and other things. She didn’t have the time to sit her exams.”
Williams did well in school while she was there, though, and The Daily Mail reports that “according to her mother, Hilary, she had been predicted to get As and Bs.”
While Isaac Hempstead Wright, the actor who plays Bran Stark, was shown an edited version of Game of Thrones at age 10, Maisie Williams told TIME that her parents let her watch the real thing. The show premiered its first episode shortly after her 14th birthday.
“I think it was down to the parents’ discretion really and my parents didn’t really see an issue with it,” Williams told TIME. “I didn’t want to miss out on reading the scripts or watching the show, it was just the most exciting thing to ever happen to anyone in my family. We didn’t treat it like a normal TV show that you’d sit down and watch with your family. It was something totally new for us to watch a show one of us was in.”
Still, Williams says that she prefers not to watch the show with her parents.
“When I first started, I found it really awkward, and I didn’t really sit and watch it with them,” Williams told AdWeek. “But my parents watch the show every week, so if I’m at home, I’ll watch it. But I don’t make plans to watch it with them because it’s sometimes a bit embarrassing.”
4. She Has Two Brothers, James & Ted
Maisie Williams has two brothers, James and Ted.
According to the Irish Times, James is a history major, and he dabbles in body art.
In 2015, Williams posted a photo of herself performing acrobatics with her brother James, saying that siblings are the best thing in the world.
Williams also in 2015 posted a photo of herself and James getting their nails done.
In 2014, before the Bristol Pride Festival, Williams posted a photo of a text conversation with her brother James, with James saying that he was planning to go dressed as a woman and wanting Maisie to do his makeup.
Maisie Williams also has a brother Ted, and according to the Irish Times, Ted is a breakdance instructor.
5. She Has a Sister, Beth
In addition, Maisie Williams also has a sister, Beth.
Maisie Williams is an aunt, as her sister Beth gave birth in 2015. Upon making this announcement, Williams said that she now had something worth making the world better for.
According to the Irish Times, Beth sings, making her another member of the Williams family who at least dabbles in the creative arts.
Maisie Williams has said that when she was growing up, she was always performing for her family, including her older siblings.
“I loved to do funny accents and make my mum, my stepdad and brothers and sisters laugh,” Williams said, according to the Evening Standard. “It’s just something that I really enjoyed.’
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