Game of Thrones is over, but fans still have questions about their favourite characters and the divisive way that it ended. Comic-Con put together an ensemble of cast and crew to do a panel before the series ended that included creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont), Conleth Hill (Varys), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), and executive producer Miguel Sapochnik. It was a real who’s who of Westeros.
However, once the ending of the much-beloved series was revealed, fans started devising a plan to heckle the cast and crew during the panel via an online petition. Weiss, Benioff, Glen, Emmanuel, and Sapochnik all had to drop out of the panel due to scheduling conflicts. Whether that was a coincidence or reaction to the fan outrage, we may never know.
Williams, exemplifying the unwavering bravery of Ayra, appeared as the only woman on the panel and capitalised on the opportunity to debunk a sexist rumour that Ayra needed help defeating the Night King. The unsubstantiated theory suggests that her half-brother/cousin Jon Snow played more of a role than he did, to which Williams gave a resounding no. “Ayra did it on her own,” said Williams. Her answer quickly followed by resounding applause. She did give credit where credit was due though, adding, “If we’re going to give credit to anyone, then it’s Melisandre. Melisandre knew what she had to do to put the mission in Arya’s head when she’s really at the lowest point.”
This plot twist wasn’t much of a twist. In fact, the absent showrunners Weiss and Benioff reportedly knew for years that this was how it would all go down. According to The Verge, they’ve been foreshadowing it since 2016. “For...God, I think it’s probably three years now, we’ve known that it was going to be Arya who delivers that fatal blow,” Benioff says in a behind-the-episode clip. “She seemed like the best candidate, provided we weren’t thinking about her in the moment,” Weiss adds. “Jon Snow has always been the hero, the one who’s been the savior, but it just didn’t seem right to us for this moment.”
The credit goes to Arya and Williams wanted to make sure that, even if not all the fans loved how the series ended, that the record was set straight.