You have no idea how hard this is.

By Erynn Brook
Updated: Apr 30, 2019 @ 5:06 pm
HBO

Arya Stark has long been Twitter’s chosen hero of Game of Thrones, but the actress who plays her, Maisie Williams, is even more extraordinary than you may have thought.

Maisie Williams is not left-handed, but Arya Stark is.

When she was first cast in the role, Williams decided that she would play Arya as a lefty in order to stay true to the books, she told TVGuide back in 2011. And that makes her sword-work even more incredible.

I’m right-handed and I can do exactly one thing well with my left hand, and that is bring food that I have speared onto a fork to my mouth when I’m eating the fancy way. Other than that, my left hand is for holding things and gesturing when I talk.

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This is an incredible amount of dedication to character. No one in their right mind would’ve been upset if Williams had said “Yeah, I tried, but it got too hard so we switched it to my right hand.” But here we are, eight years later watching her kick ass better than anyone else on the show.

You’re probably wondering if she’s ended up ambidextrous from all this training. She hasn’t. She told Vogue UK ahead of Season 8 episode 3, “Eight years later, and I’m still paying for that mistake.” At first, she says, she kept up the lefthanded fighting for continuity’s sake (a true expert at her craft). “In the beginning, I just had to do a little sparring. Now, I’m doing entire fight sequences with the wrong hand, and I’m like, ‘Why did I ever think this was a good idea?’”

You might think that the showrunners forced her to do this, or the fight choreographers, or some other adult on set who somehow has the designation of enforcing hand usage in young actresses. You would be wrong, this is a Maisie Williams-led-and-enforced detail, as she told Time back in July 2017: “The stunt guys always come in and say, ‘We have this routine for you,’ and I have to remind them, ‘Can we re-choreograph the whole thing, because I’m not doing it with my right hand.’”

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In the same interview, Maisie credits her gymnastics training for helping her to learn to do things on both sides. I had gymnastics training once too, and believe me, my left-handed cartwheels were an embarrassment. Not only that, but we’re talking about some incredible dexterity and hand-eye coordination. But it’s not only my childhood gymnastics Williams is putting to shame — it’s everyone she fights on Game of Thrones. Take this dagger move for instance:

Maisie Williams goes from a point-up to a point-up position, using a full-rotation toss, starting from her right (dominant) hand, and ending in her left.

You could try this at home with a half-empty plastic water bottle, just to see what it’s like. (Here’s what: Really hard to do!)

Now, I know what you’re thinking, a stunt double did that, I mean, her face isn’t even in the shot when the dagger flips, right?!

Wrong. Here’s Maisie Williams and Gwendoline Christie rehearsing the fight choreography, and even amid goofing around you can see Williams flip her dagger from her right to left hands like it’s absolutely nothing.

Stunt doubles are used in Game of Thrones, often for particular skill sets, but in the case of this particular skill, wielding a sword or a dagger with her non-dominant hand, that’s all Maisie Williams, and it’s been Maisie for eight years now.

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I can’t even put on eyeshadow left-handed. But I’m going to try! So, in honor of Arya Stark and Maisie Williams, join me and do something with your non-dominant hand today, and feel your own badass meter rising.

All hail Maisie Williams, the One True King.

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