Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams stole hearts with her 2011 screen debut as the imperiled but indefatigable would-be warrior princess on HBO's phenomenal fantasy series "Game of Thrones" (2011- ). The U.K. native trained from a young age as a dancer, which proved handy as she auditioned for Arya Stark, the irrepressible "Game of Thrones" tomboy who was more interested in making herself a great swordswoman than becoming a demure object of courtly love. With the advent of "GoT" in spring 2011, Williams' portrayal of Arya drew adoration from both critics and the most diehard fans of author George R.R. Martin's source novels. In 2012, she took a starring role in the BBC horror miniseries "The Secret of Crickley Hall." Standing out among a vanguard of exemplary new talent on "Game of Thrones" and holding her own opposite some of the U.K.'s most venerable actors, Williams quickly established herself as one of Britain's most charismatic and naturalistic young thespians. Born April 15, 1997, Williams grew up in Bath, Somerset, U.K. She developed an early love of dance and supplemented her education at the Norton Hill School in nearby Midsomer Norton with study at Bath's Susan Hill School of Dance. Hill recommended Williams for a talent showcase of fellow youthful performers in France, where she was spotted and signed by a talent agent. In 2010, Williams joined a veritable army of Irish and British thespians recruited for HBO's ambitious project "Game of Thrones." The epic fantasy adventure, based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, chronicled the power struggle for the eponymous Iron Throne, the seat of power on the mythical continent of Westeros. Comprised of various fiefdoms and family dynasties, the players in the multi-sided gambit of violence and political intrigue were the usurping Baratheons, the wealthy Lannisters, the island-dwelling Greyjoys, and the noble Starks, a clan from the rugged northern region of Westeros. With the series' premiere in spring 2011, Williams' feisty unconventional princess carried key plot threads as Arya followed her father Ned Stark (Sean Bean) to court to serve King Robert Baratheon and, unlike her girly-girl sister Sansa (Sophie Turner), eschewed more distaff courtly pursuits for exploration and combat training. After the treacherous Lannisters staged a coup and murdered Ned, Arya's thread made her a major character in Season two as she fled to the war-torn countryside and, disguised as a boy, wound up a servant to the Machiavellian patriarch Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). Though acting amongst such stage luminaries as Michelle Fairley, Aidan Gillen and Conleth Hill, Williams drew critical raves as Arya's intrepid pluck and savvy made her a fan favorite. Off-season, Williams resumed her dance training at Bath Dance College. In 2012, she garnered her second major credit playing the teen daughter of a troubled family who moves into a haunted house in the BBC miniseries "The Secret of Crickley Hall." She supported another British stage legend, Patrick Stewart, as the two played a pair of grifters in the 2012 London Olympics-themed short film "The Olympic Ticket Scalper" for After appearing in the indie films "Heatstroke" (2013) and "Gold" (2014), Williams earned acclaim for her starring role in "The Falling" (2014), a British drama by writer/director Carol Morley about an episode of mass hysteria at a 1960s boarding school. She next appeared in a story arc on the canonical British science fiction series "Doctor Who" (BBC 1963- ).