The Dangers of Being a Child Actor: How Game of Thrones Almost Ruined Maisie Williams' Life

The Dangers of Being a Child Actor: How Game of Thrones Almost Ruined Maisie Williams' Life
Image credit: Legion-Media

It's important to know who you are before you try to play someone else.


  • Game of Thrones has catapulted its cast to stardom.
  • Maisie Williams spent the most formative years of her adolescence on the show.
  • Appearing on GoT also proved to be pivotal for another young actress.

Although Game of Thrones has been over for quite some time, it remains one of the most popular shows to ever air on TV. When you think about it, the reasons for its success become clear.

At the time of its debut in 2011, Game of Thrones was the most daring show on television, with an uninhibited portrayal of violence and sex. But it would be unfair to overlook the show's cast, who have grown on audiences over its eight-season run. From Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke to Peter Dinklage and Gwendoline Christie, GoT had many notable actors that it helped make famous. But the show has also had a detrimental effect on the lives of some of its cast members.

Maisie Williams' Identity Crisis

Even if you've only watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones, you know that staying alive on the show is a tall order. Yet Maisie Williams' character Arya Stark, a small and seemingly helpless girl, managed to survive from the very first episode to the series finale. In the end, Arya became the ultimate hero and savior of the Seven Kingdoms when she killed the Night King.

Needless to say, the character's journey on Game of Thrones has been fascinating. But it turns out the actress struggled in real life during that time because she couldn't figure out who she was outside of the show.

'I was so lost for so long and I knew that I was, and when I couldn't pin down what I felt my identity was within that, it brought me a lot of discomfort,' Maisie Williams shared in a recent interview.

According to the actress, she is still fascinated by the fact that she played Arya Stark on Game of Thrones. At the same time, playing characters can be detrimental to a child actor's budding personality because it happens at 'a really formative time' in their lives.

Another Child Actor Victim of Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams was thirteen when the first season of GoT was filmed. Bella Ramsey, who portrayed fan-favorite Lady Lyanna Mormont on the show, was only eleven when she made her debut in season six. And when the episode was released, the young actress became an overnight celebrity, which was a 'terrifying' experience because everyone was suddenly interested in her and her personal life.

'We chose the route of doing absolutely nothing, do like no interviews, give no personal information, just like it was so terrifying,' Bella Ramsey said in one of her rare recent interviews.

Fortunately, both Maisie Williams and Bella Ramsey have moved on from the problems Game of Thrones caused them. The former is starring in Apple TV+'s The New Look, which is currently airing. The latter stars in HBO's The Last of Us with another former GoT star Pedro Pascal.

Sources: The Sunday Times, LADbible.

Do you think acting takes a toll on child actors?