This piece is dark and full of spoilers, obviously.
Williams, who plays arguably the most badass “Game of Thrones” character, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Sunday’s episode, “The Long Night,” and that surprising ending that left audiences chanting “Arya” far and wide. In a bombshell turn of events, Jon Snow, the watcher on the wall who’s been fighting the undead since Season 1, does not kill the Night King ― his little sister, Arya, does.
When Williams read the shocking scene before filming, she worried fans would be upset.
“I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it,” she told Entertainment Weekly.
“The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them,” Williams continued. “It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool.”
Once she realized Arya’s whole journey has been leading to this moment, Williams said she was more than happy it wasn’t Jon who dealt the final blow to the leader of the undead.
“It all comes down to this one very moment,” she said. “It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does. So then I was like, ‘F—k you Jon, I get it.’”
Showrunner David Benioff said in extras after the episode that they didn’t want to have Jon kill the Night King because that’s what audiences were led to believe would happen.
“We hoped to kind of avoid the expected and Jon Snow has always been the hero, the one who’s been the savior,” he said. “But it just didn’t seem right to us for this moment.”
Even Kit Harington, who plays dutiful Jon, thought he’d be the one to slay the Night King.
“I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me!” Harington told Entertainment Weekly. “But I like it. It gives Arya’s training a purpose to have an end goal.”