Killer of the Night King on Game of Thrones Was Not Originally Supposed to Be Arya

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Killer of the Night King on Game of Thrones Was Not Originally Supposed to Be Arya

After years of being one of Westeros’ under-sung heroes—a real get-shit-done kind of guy who was able to return from the dead, defeat Ramsay Bolton’s army, and lead an expedition to capture a zombie—Jon Snow spent most of Game of Thrones’ Season Eight being pretty impressively useless. During the Battle of Winterfell, humanity’s big showdown against the army of the dead, he spent most of the night just flying around on his girlfriend’s dragon. In the end, his little sister, Arya, was the person who slew the Night King and saved the world.

But according to Arya actor Maisie Williams, the Jon vs. Night King showdown that seemed to be years in the making was actually originally planned. The actor told The Hollywood Reporter that, like pretty much everyone else in the world, her Thrones co-star Kit Harrington was under the impression that his character Jon Snow would be the one to slay the zombie lord.

“He even said, ‘It was going to go that way. Someone told me in season three that I was going to kill The Night King,'” Williams told THR. “And then, he read the script, and it was Arya the whole time.”

“Yeah, I think it would’ve been too obvious,” she continued. “I’m glad that it was Arya, honestly. I think I had the best storyline of the final season.”

Killing the Night King did cap off a pretty cool few days for Arya. Right before the battle, she loses her virginity to her old pal Gendry, which is truly a massive improvement from George R.R. Martin’s original pick for her love interest—her brother Jon. At the end of the series, she decides to go her own way, taking to the seas to find out what lies west of Westeros.

And it’s true that Jon killing the Night King would have been pretty obvious, especially for a show that seemed to determined to end its run without giving fans any of the endings we wanted. Besides, maybe Jon had to rest up his stabbing arm for the series finale.

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Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.

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