Most of the conversation surrounding Game of Thrones' upcoming season has centred around one person: Ned Stark's bastard. Is he alive? Or just taking a blood-soaked nap before Melisandre revives him? With all that Jon Snow banter it's easy to overlook characters who are actually still alive and have stuff to do. Take Arya Stark. She's had a bonkers ride so far, and according to actress Maisie Williams it's going to get even tougher:
“People don’t realize last season Arya went blind," she tells EW. "Last season people asked: ‘Is she dead?’ I’m all, ‘No, she’s blind.’ It’s too easy to kill her. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Game of Thrones it’s that death is the easy way out. They’re gonna keep her and make her have a [bad] time. Look at Reek. I was so up for the contacts. I love having something weird going on on the set. There’s never a day where I just sat and did dialogue there’s always something going on.”
As well as putting herself through the ordeal of wearing contacts - "they're the most painful thing ever" - Williams says that Arya's journey steps up in season six. With the young Stark under the wing of the Many-Faced God, her training is going to get more physical and action-packed:
“I feel like I got a good one this time: Arya is being more physical again, but she’s blind. So her training has progressed even more, but it’s on a more physical level and a more technical level because she’s lost her eyes. And I love doing stunts. I’m so happy I’ve got some again. Last year, people have been like, ‘Arya’s sweeping floors!’ And everything I tweet, they’re like, ‘Oysters, clams and cockles!’ It’s part of the training, okay? It’s what goes into that. And this year there is more of that, but it’s also more exciting.”
Arya's story, like the entire cast of characters, has reached a very exciting stage because season six will venture into territory not covered in the books. "This year is so great because we’ve whittled it down," she adds. "You can see the final storylines forming. We lost a lot of people last year and that makes it really exciting. There are fewer people on Arya’s list. But there’s also fewer people to fight for the throne."
Can it just be April 24 now, please?
Game of Thrones season 6 premieres on HBO on April 24, 2016 in the US, and on Sky Atlantic a day later in the UK.