Game of Thrones: A game of two characters

By Stephen Jewell

When I meet them at an exclusive London hotel, you have only to look at Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams to conclude that the two actors are as different in person as they are as Sansa and Arya Stark, the fictional sisters that they play in Game of Thrones.

For while Turner is the height of glamour in a stunning skirt and high heels, Williams has turned up in more practical trousers and flat shoes, although she insists that appearances can be deceiving.

"We probably get treated a bit differently because I'm a bit shorter," says Williams. "I don't look or act quite as girly as Sophie does. But it's interesting to look at the different styles we have, as it helps to bring our characters together."

Meanwhile, Turner insists that the pair have become firm friends. "We're really close," she says. "I don't see her as much as I used to when we did season one because Sansa and Arya don't have any scenes together anymore, but we're always texting or skyping each other. Maisie is actually a lot nicer than Arya but we get on really well, which benefits the relationship that we have on screen.

It's like if you watch Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Lena Headley's (Cersei) relationship. They're such good friends and they live in the same apartment in Belfast, so it's believable that they hate each other so much."

Set to turn 16, Williams is just over 12 months younger than Turner but at least two years older than Arya. "They've aged her up quite a lot as she was just nine when the books started," says Williams, who has adjusted to having cut her hair short when her character, disguised as a boy, went on the run at the start of season two. "My friends told me that I was mad because being a teenager is all about your image and having long hair."

While Arya has become a favourite with viewers, Sansa's more pliant attitude in the face of adversity has not proved so popular. However, Turner insists that she has been misunderstood. "Every decision she makes is kind of logical for a 13-year-old girl," she says. "Some of the other characters would fight back - either literally or verbally - but Sansa just takes it. Maybe she will fight back at some point but the good thing about her is that you never really know what she's thinking because she puts on this front."

Turner enjoys working with Jack Gleason, who plays her villainous fiance Joffrey. "He's like the coolest guy and he's a genius actor, which is why we all hate him so much," she laughs. "He's not like a method actor where he has to stay in the zone all day long, being mean to you. Between takes, he'll be like 'Sophie, let me give you a hug!' As dark as Game of Thrones is, making it can be lighthearted because of people like Jack and Peter Dinklage."

The third season of Game of Thrones begins on Sky's SoHo channel on April 1.

- Herald on Sunday

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