Williams told Entertainment Weekly that when she read the scripts for the final season her first reaction was disappointment.
“I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought, ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.”
Hard agree. This is the girl who, after a pretty easy childhood as the tomboy of Winterfell, watched her father die on the orders of Cersei’s son Joffrey. She became a skilled swordswoman, deadly assassin, and, as Williams mentioned, someone who can wear the faces of the dead. Through it all, she had a list of people to kill that she repeated like a mantra.
And while she didn’t finish the list through the course of the series, it always felt as though Cersei’s name would be one of those crossed off.
But it wasn’t to be. In the penultimate episode, Arya is on her way to kill Cersei as the Red Keep falls around her when she sees her former captor/quasi-father figure The Hound. He asks her if she wants her life to be consumed by revenge, as his was.
“In my head, the answer was: ‘Yeah.’ But I guess sleeping with Gendry, seeing Jon again, realizing she’s not just fighting for herself anymore but also her family — it’s bringing up all these human emotions that Arya hasn’t felt for a long time.”
“When The Hound asks her if she has another option, all of a sudden there are so many more things in [Arya’s] life that she can live for, that she can do. It was a shock for me because that wasn’t how I envisioned her arc going this year. Then I realized there were other things I could play, bringing Arya back to being a 16-year-old again.”
And despite the fact that we feel a little robbed by how things ended for Cersei, it’s hard to argue with Arya’s choice. She ends up back on her own, sailing to find what’s west of Westeros, while Cersei’s body lies underneath a pile of rubble.