‘Game of Thrones’: Maisie Williams Recalls Finding Out Arya Stark Kills the Night King — ‘I Was Thrilled, Absolutely Thrilled’

For the first half of the final season of Game of Thrones, the biggest threat to Westeros was an undead king of White Walkers who existed since the age of the first men. The chillingly silent, blue-eyed monarch was the supreme leader of the Army of the Dead. And he was bent on world domination.

Jon Snow tried to warn the warring leaders of Westeros that their silly fights over the Iron Throne were all irrelevant because a greater war was looming. And many Game of Thrones fans assumed that Jon would be the one to defeat the mighty Night King by driving a Valyrian steel blade into his ice-cold heart.

Only, it’s not Jon who saves the day. Much to the surprise of actress Maisie Williams, the Night King is defeated by one determined Princess of the North: Arya Stark.

Defeating the Night King is a key event in season 8

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If they get through, everyone dies #ForTheThrone.

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The White Walkers begin plaguing Game of Thrones characters starting in season 1 when the members of the Night’s Watch first get wind of them. By the time the Army of the Dead is defeated in season 8, these powerful, numerous foes seem undefeatable. Especially when they convert one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons into an undead monster who breathes ice instead of fire.

The characters, led by Jon Snow, eventually figure out that they’ll never defeat the army using hand to hand combat because they’re badly outnumbered. However, killing the Night King would automatically disintegrate the entire army and win the war.

Maisie Williams couldn’t believe Arya killed the Night King

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark on "Game of Thrones"
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark on ‘Game of Thrones’ | Helen Sloane/HBO

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Fans were shocked to see Arya sneak up on the Night King and stab him in the heart during the confrontation between the icy villain and Bran Stark in “The Long Night.” But no one was more surprised than actor Williams, who didn’t know she’d have the honor of essentially winning the Great War.

She said during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that her story notes on the script included the note, “Arya kills NK.” But she didn’t immediately know the significance of those initials, Insider reported.

“I had no idea which character that was,” she told Fallon. “It turns out it was the Night King. The character to kill. I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled.”

She’s happy with how ‘Game of Thrones’ turned out

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What’s west of Westeros? #GameofThrones

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After defeating the Night King, the central conflict on Game of Thrones shifts to who should really sit on the Iron Throne and rule Westeros. Daenerys believes she should be the rightful heir. Meanwhile, a growing contingent of followers think it should be Jon Snow, who turned out to be the lovechild of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.

Eventually Daenerys decides to become a ruler through fear and burns down King Landing in a fiery rage. Her Mad Queen moment and the resulting events in the final episodes left many fans divided and angry. But Williams defended Arya’s final storyline at least.

“I was so happy with my ending and it was just a beautiful end to a decade of my life, and I just couldn’t be happier with it,” she said. Killing the Night King was the pinnacle of it all.