Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, has been acting for an audience of millions for almost half of her life. As was the case with the Harry Potter franchise, fans of the HBO original series have watched the kids, including Williams, grow up before their eyes. And now Game of Thrones has finished and Williams has been nominated for a 2019 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Williams sure has grown up a lot since Game of Thrones first premiered so many years ago. So how old was Maisie Williams when she started working on Game of Thrones, and how old is she now?
Williams Was 12 When ‘Game of Thrones’ Started
Maisie Williams was born on April 15th, 1997, and when she first began portraying Arya Stark, she was only 12 years old. It’s hard to believe that she was so young, now that we see what they’ve done with her character. She started out as a child and then played one of the most dangerous characters on the series, who started out Season 7 by taking out an entire family. It’s crazy how much has changed.
She was cast as Arya in August 2009, a few months after her 12th birthday, and the pilot episode was filmed that October. However, Williams was 13 for the majority of the first season; although the pilot was filmed in October 2009, the rest of the season was shot starting in the summer of 2010. (Sadly, the original version of the pilot episode is nowhere to be found, despite fans’ searching for it for a long time. We’re hoping the original pilot might be released with a DVD compilation of all eight seasons, once the Season 8 finale airs. But it’s unclear if that will happen. The pilot that did air is mostly the same, but a few significant changes were made that fans have never gotten to see for themselves.)
During production of the show’s second season, Maisie Williams was 14 years old. During the third season, she was 15 years old. During the fourth season, she was 16 years old. During the fifth season, she was 17 years old. During the sixth season, she was 18 years old. And in the seventh season, she is 19 years old.
Today, Maisie Williams is 22 years old. So we’ve literally watched her grow up on Game of Thrones. Maisie Williams spent the entirety of her teenage years as a famous actress working on a wildly popular television series. In one interview, she said that she was not very happy for the first two seasons or so because she was so isolated.
“I look back and I think I wasn’t really very happy because I didn’t have many friends,” she told Rolling Stone. “I had left school and I was working a lot and it was a strange time. I remember in maybe season two or three, other cast members coming up to me and saying, ‘Your life is going to change,’ and to me that wasn’t exciting. I was, like, ‘I don’t want it to change. I quite enjoy my life.'”
Williams also told Rolling Stone that she was very confident when she started off in season one, but every year since then, she became more and more doubtful of herself.
“At 12, I was fearless and didn’t care, so I really enjoyed it,” she told Rolling Stone. “But then, as each season passed, the pressure built and it became a little destructive. Everyone goes through that dip in confidence. That also came with puberty. It all fizzled out a bit, and I lost my confidence, and now I’m slowly starting to get it back again.”
Williams shared in a more recent interview with Rolling Stone that she and Sophie Turner are best friends. She also said that she’s very different from her character, who never wanted to wear dresses and loves fighting with a sword. In real life, Williams says pink is her favorite color and she’s even colored her hair pink. “I come into the office every day and I get my pink laptop out with my pink hair, and I wear a pink hoodie and I have a pink background on my screen, and a pink screen saver. For so long I pretended that my favorite color was green — I thought I wasn’t a feminist if my favorite color was pink. And then I decided that’s f****ing stupid.”
This summer, Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas got married. She asked Maisie Williams to be one of her bridesmaids. In fact, Williams was one of Turner’s two maids of honor.
Take a look at how Maisie Williams has changed over the years.
And again, from Season 1.
Here she is on the set of Season 1:
Here are more Season 1 photos:
And now she’s all grown up.
Her pink hair looks great on her.
You might be surprised to learn that Williams wasn’t the youngest actor on the show. The youngest of the main characters on Game of Thrones is Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran Stark. Wright was just 10 years old when the show’s original pilot was filmed.