Warning: Spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale follow.
Maisie Williams and Lena Headey both say they wanted Game of Thrones to end with an epic showdown between their characters, Arya and Cersei.
While everything seemed to indicate the pair were set for a battle to the death, Arya instead decided to turn around and abandon her mission to kill Cersei, while the evil queen met her fate while holding her brother Jamie as The Red Keep crumbled down on top of them.
Williams said she always believed that Arya and Cersei would come face-to-face in the final episode.
"I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she's good fun," Williams told EW. "And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means (Arya) dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei's with Jaime I thought (while reading the script), 'He's going to whip off his face (and reveal its Arya)' and they're both going to die. I thought that's what Arya's drive has been."
Williams said she had to embrace a more hopeful fate for Arya.
"The Hound says, 'You want to be like me? You want to live your life like me?'" Williams said. "In my head, the answer was: 'Yeah.' But I guess sleeping with Gendry, seeing Jon again, realising she's not just fighting for herself anymore but also her family — it's bringing up all these human emotions that Arya hasn't felt for a long time. When The Hound asks her if she has another option, all of a sudden there are so many more things in (Arya's) life that she can live for, that she can do. It was a shock for me because that wasn't how I envisioned her arc going this year. Then I realised there were other things I could play, bringing Arya back to being a 16-year-old again."
"It's not a Game of Thrones ending for Arya, it's a happy ending," she concludes. "It gave me a place to take Arya that I never thought I'd go with her again."
Headey says she always thought Arya would be the one to kill her character.
"I lived that fantasy until I read the script," Headey said. "There were chunky scenes and it was nothing that I had dreamt about. It was a bit of come down and you have to accept that it wasn't to be. There is something poetic about the way it all happens in the end with her and Jaime."
Listen to our Game of Thrones podcast: