Before we go ahead with this post, let us take a moment and appreciate when we saw the Waif’s mutilated face in the Hall of Faces, Arya Stark of Winterfell had us all awestruck by her sheer badassery. The 8th episode of season 6, ‘No One’ made us all believe in the beginning that Arya was being chased by the Waif, when in reality it was the Stark daughter making her family name shine with her smartness of actually having led the Waif into darkness so she could use her blind training to slay her attacker. Now that Arya has proven how tactful she really is, Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya Stark on the show, talked about the ultimate showdown between the Waif and Arya in the latest episode, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
She spoke about the harsh training scenes and how it was to shoot them: “It was great having [Waif actress Faye Marsay] with me because we spurred each other on in training. I had a bit of pride. I’ve done some sword-fighting before. But she had to be better than me and every time she’d be getting [the fighting] right and I’d be getting it wrong. I’d be like, “Hang on, I’m going to lose, but I still need to look like I’m getting better.” And every time I was doing well she’d be like, “Yeah, but I have to look the best.” So it was the healthy way to train.”
Maisie then elaborated about how Arya had a close call with the Waif in the last two episodes as well, by saying, “We wanted people to think this could be the end, or the start of the end. Like maybe her wound is going to fester – like The Hound. We did so many different takes of emerging out of the water the first time she’s stabbed and sliced. I had been to a music festival so I hadn’t slept the whole weekend. Then I was jumping in the Irish sea. It was a totally manic day. We did a million different takes. We wanted it to be real frantic and panicked. Arya hasn’t been emotional in a long time and we wanted to bring that emotion. When it’s a long-running series you have go give her light and shade. It’s the first time she thinks she’s not going to make it and it’s scary. She ends peoples’ lives like there’s no tomorrow, but when it’s finally happening to her she’s petrified. She’s petrified of dying. She’s got so much more to do. And just the sheer anger, too — The Waif? Really? Of all the people to kill her.”
She also talked about how the Waif was never even on Arya’s list: “She’s not even on the list! People are going to watch and be like, “Don’t put your blood on the wall. Have you learned nothing Arya? I hate you.” And then they’re going to be like, “Oh, she’s a smart girl.” There was this constant spectrum [of conversation with director Mylod] during the chase of about how petrified she needs to look, but also how safe she is. Arya’s been very lucky with the people she’s encountered so far. The whole time she was with The Hound she took a back seat because he was really good. So I wanted her to look like she was struggling. I didn’t want [the chase stunts] to be unnecessary or superhuman.”
On Arya’s list or not, we’re surely glad that the Waif is no longer there, making it one less character to hate on the show.