HBO Clarified Arya’s Age Before Airing ‘Game of Thrones’ Sex Scene, Plus Maisie Williams Reacts

Zack Sharf

The second episode of “Game of Thrones” Season 8 ended with the Army of the Dead ready to attack Winterfell, but the only thing most fans were left talking about was Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) losing her virginity to Gendry (Joe Dempsey). The moment was the 22-year-old Williams’ first sex scene on the show and many fans were left shocked since Arya is the youngest of the main characters. Arya was introduced on “Thrones” as a child, so watching the character come of age in a sexual manner proved divisive for some viewers. Many “Thrones” fans even took to social media during the episode to question Arya’s age.

Whether or not HBO knew Arya’s sex scene would cause a stir online remains to be seen, but the network did get ahead of any potential controversy by confirming Arya is 18 years old in a social media post published hours before the episode aired. The post seemed like a fun way to recap all the hardships Arya has gone through as a teenager (“been blind for a while,” “had a kill list”), but after the episode aired it became a resource for fans wondering if Arya was old enough to be having sex.

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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Williams said “everyone was really respectful” on set the day she filmed the scene. The actress added that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss let her be the one to decide how much nudity to reveal on camera. Williams said it wasn’t important for Arya to be fully nude on camera in this moment, but she did find the value in portraying this scene on screen for the character.

“It was really interesting because it’s a very human relationship for Arya,” Williams said. “This is something she’s stayed away from, an emotion we’ve never really seen her engage with. David and Dan were like, ‘It’s the end of the world, what else would you have her do?’ This may be a moment where Arya accepts death tomorrow, which she never does — ‘Not Today.’ So it was that moment where she says, ‘We’re probably going to die tomorrow, I want to know what this feels like before that happens.’ It’s interesting to see Arya be a bit more human, speak more normally about things people are scared of.”

The final season of “Game of Thrones” continues on HBO this Sunday at 9pm ET.

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