If you caught Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, you may have been disappointed by the slow pacing and lack of action or carnage that mirrored last week’s premiere.
However, you were probably shocked or thrilled or deeply uncomfortable by watching little Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) lose her virginity.
With death quite literally approaching as the White Walkers slowly make their way towards Winterfell, the youngest Stark daughter made her move. She hooked up with Gendry, the blacksmith/rowing fan (Joe Dempsie) who is the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon.
Arya told him that if they were going to die in the morning, she didn’t want to go down without ticking this item off her *other* list.
The two characters have cared about each other for a long time, so many viewers were thrilled to witness the “Gendrya” relationship they’d long been hoping for come to fruition.
Still, many others still felt a tad awkward watching a character they first met as a child engage in some very adult behavior.
HBO even took to Twitter to remind viewers that by this stage in the show’s universe, Arya is 18 and more than capable of making her own decisions. (Oh, and Maisie Williams is 22 FYI.)
Still, Dempsie told Entertainment Weekly the scene was a little awkward for him.
“It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t want to be patronizing toward Maisie — she’s a 20-year-old woman. So we just had a lot of fun with it.”
Williams told EW she couldn’t quite believe the scene when she first read it and thought the show’s creators had given her a fake script as a joke.
“At first, I thought it was a prank,” she said. “I was like, ‘Yo, good one.’ And [the showrunners were] like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh fuck!”
“I got to the read-through and I’m reading the scene and thought, ‘Oh, we’re actually going to do this. When do I shoot this? I need to go to the gym!’”
She and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) both got their scripts for the final season at the same time, and her friend and onscreen sister immediately called her when she read the scene.
“Sophie said, ‘Whatever you do, you have to skip to this episode, this scene first,'” Williams said. “So I just read that and it was practically all I knew about the entire season.”
The actor said the show’s creative team were very respectful in asking what level of nudity she’d be comfortable with onscreen.
“David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] were like: ‘You can show as much or as little as you want,’” Williams told EW. “So I kept myself pretty private. I don’t think it’s important for Arya to flash. This beat isn’t really about that. And everybody else has already done it on the show, so…”
Williams said that the director rushed the scene during filming, but that she just got down to business, adding that the crew was very respectful.
“No one wants to make you feel uncomfortable, which kind of makes you feel more uncomfortable, because no one wants to look at anything that they shouldn’t look at, which in turn makes you feel like you look awful!”
Williams said the scene, while an acting challenge, was an important one for her character.
“It was really interesting because it’s a very human relationship for Arya,” Williams says. “This is something she’s stayed away from, an emotion we’ve never really seen her engage with.”
“It’s interesting to see Arya be a bit more human, speak more normally about things people are scared of,” she added.