Why Arya Stark Was the Hardest Game of Thrones Character to Cast

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Choosing acting talent for a cast as large as the one in Game of Thrones is a daunting task. It’s hard to imagine the show if the creators chose someone other than Peter Dinklage to bring to life Tyrion Lannister. Or if they had stuck with Tamzin Merchant, who played Daenerys Targaryen in the original (unaired) pilot, instead of putting Emilia Clarke in the role.

What made casting even more difficult is the show’s length. Over the span of eight seasons, certain characters are bound to have some major developments. And the younger characters are going to grow up.

Co-creator and showrunner David Benioff discussed those struggles during a SXSW Q&A in 2017. "[Arya and Sansa] start so young, but we knew if the show worked, [the characters] were going to go to extremely dark places, so it was a tricky thing, casting people and just hoping they would blossom into the women that they've become," Benioff said.

Ultimately, according to Benioff, it was Arya who ended up being the hardest character to cast—which is fitting, as she is often the most hard-headed character on the show.

"I remember we probably looked at 300 girls in England and could not find the right Arya," Benioff said. “We just could not cast her. We were sitting in this hotel lobby in Morocco—the only place we could get wireless—and looking at casting videos.”

The role ended up going to now-21-year-old Maisie Williams, who started playing Arya at the age of 12.

“There was a little thumbnail picture of Maisie Williams,” Benioff continued. “There was just something about that little tiny thumbnail face that just seemed right. She looked about 7. Like she was 12, but going on 7. So we clicked on the audition video and waited about 40 minutes for it to download. When we saw that audition video she was just f***ing awesome.”

In the years since Game of Thrones made its original premiere, Williams has made an indelible impression on both viewers and her co-stars. Sean Bean, who played Arya's dad in season one, believes that Ned Stark's youngest daughter may be the only character to make it out of the series finale alive. Williams herself has described Arya's final scene as "beautiful."

Game of Thrones will begin airing its final season on HBO in April 2019.

Game of Thrones Counseling Available for Upset Fans Following Series Finale

Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

It’s no surprise that some fans are having a hard time dealing with the fact that Game of Thrones is over. The show ran for eight seasons, and became a huge part of fans's lives and Sunday night routines. Moreover, since the season 8 premiere first aired, fans haven’t been too thrilled with the trajectory of the show, and it has only gotten worse. (The final episode in the series scored the lowest rating in the show’s history on IMDb).

But if you’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around the end of Game of Thrones, or just want to vent, there's a counseling service here just for you. CNN reports that if you go to Bark.com, a UK-based online marketplace, you can find a Game of Thrones counselor who will listen to your every qualm about the show. "The professionals will help them digest their feelings and interpretation of the show, which could range from anger and confusion to sadness and grief," the service description reads.

"We watch them to escape our daily lives and immerse ourselves into the 'unknown,'" Lynette, a counselor from Bark.com, said in a statement regarding people's TV show obsessions. "This is the very reason why we sometimes become addicted to watching them, the stories they tell become part of our identity."

There’s options of booking a 30-minute or 60-minute session, which range from $25 to $51. Fans can choose from a face-to-face session, group session, or online, and can specify which specific problems they’re having regarding the show. 

What do we say to Game of Thrones-related anxiety? Not today!

New Coke is Making a Comeback Thanks to Stranger Things

Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Netflix

In what was considered one of the biggest consumer product marketing blunders of all time, the Coca-Cola Company upset devotees of their signature beverage by introducing New Coke in 1985. Sweeter and smoother than the original, people practically revolted over the change, and the drink eventually disappeared from shelves.

In 2019, New Coke is not only resurfacing—it might turn out to be one of the company's savviest marketing moves to date.

CNN reports that Coca-Cola will be producing 500,000 cans of New Coke in collaboration with Netflix to promote season 3 of Stranger Things, the 1980s-set paranormal drama. Cans will be featured on the show in a kind of retro product placement.

Fans can look for the cans online, which will be offered as a free gift with the purchase of two special Coca-Cola Classic or Coke Zero Sugar glass bottles with Stranger Things artwork beginning Thursday. Special vending machines will also be set up in major cities, and visitors to Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola can purchase the product there, too.

The company is using the exact same recipe for New Coke that got them in hot water back in 1985. For many, it will be their first chance to sample the drink that anti-New Coke activist and retiree Gay Mullins described as being "unbelievably wimpy" and tasting like Pepsi (a comment meant to be derogatory). Originally intended to replace Coca-Cola Classic, the drink was eventually rebranded Coke II and sold through 2002.

Coca-Cola anticipates demand will exceed their 500,000 can allotment, which means you're likely to see them pop up on eBay before long.

The new season of Stranger Things premieres July 4.

[h/t CNN]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER