Meaghan Kirby
May 22, 2019 8:30 am

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 8.

In the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, Arya Stark found herself in the Red Keep of King’s Landing, just steps away from crossing the final and arguably most important name off her long-kept kill list. However, the highly anticipated, much-theorized showdown between the young assassin and Cersei Lannister never came to be thanks to an impassioned (and late-in-the-game) speech from one Sandor “the Hound” Clegane.

On a mission to kill his brother and Cersei’s bodyguard, Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane, the Hound warned Arya against living a vengeful life like him. When she resisted, he reminded her that with the castle crumbling around them, Cersei’s death was guaranteed, but Arya had the chance to live. Ultimately, the Hound was right. Cersei didn’t survive the destruction of the Red Keep, though Arya (barely) made it through the carnage in King’s Landing alive.

However, given the many theories surrounding how Arya would kill Cersei, fans were disappointed they didn’t have one last scene together.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Maisie Williams admitted that even she was disappointed at first, since she had been hoping for one final scene with Lena Headey.

Headey also admitted to EW that she was surprised Cersei didn’t meet her end at the hands of Arya. After spending years burying her emotions and training to be a deadly assassin—and insisting on exacting revenge on the woman who destroyed her family—Williams was fully prepared for Arya’s arc to end with one final kill (and potential death).

In fact, Heady’s initial response to the final scene between Arya and the Hound in the Red Keep was the exact opposite of Arya’s.

Ultimately, Williams is at peace with Arya’s quieter, optimistic ending. “It’s not a Game of Thrones ending for Arya, it’s a happy ending,” she concluded. “It gave me a place to take Arya that I never thought I’d go with her again.”

While it was definitely a little disappointing that Arya didn’t exact revenge on behalf of the Starks and kill Cersei, in choosing to live she ensured the pack survived—giving us one final bittersweet scene with the remaining Stark siblings in the finale.

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