The duo spoke about playing their famous characters throughout their adolescences, the highly-anticipated final season of the show, and saying goodbye to the hit that made them two of the biggest names in Hollywood in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
Williams, who started work for the show when she was just 12 years old, said auditioning for the role of Arya Stark was only the second time she'd ever tried out for a role.
"I remember looking around the room at all of these really pretty girls and feeling really scruffy,” she told Rolling Stone. “The audition I’d gone to before, in my screen test they were like, ‘We’re gonna change your top.’ I remember being so humiliated and knowing there was something about me that wasn’t right."
"Before that, I’d auditioned for ballet schools and stuff, with my grubby tights and crooked teeth, and all these stage kids were like they were in an advert," she continued. "Even that young, I could feel that. But for Arya, it’s perfect. That was exactly what they wanted. F--- you and your perfect smile!”
She shared that her upbringing and family life in the U.K. impacted how she went about playing Arya.
“I drew on a lot of very real emotions that I felt in my life,” she said. “People would always say when I was 12, ‘How could you ever -- what did you draw on?’ They just don’t know anything about my past. It’s such a freeing thing being able to explore these emotions in a really safe environment."
"I think it was really helpful for me when I was 12, 13, to just, like, go crazy, and then you go home and you’re like, ‘Phew, what a good day,’ ” she added.
Williams was able to emote for her character in a way that she wasn't able to off screen.
“When I’m myself, people ask me all the time, ‘What’s wrong?’ It’s because I’m not aware of what my body’s doing, and I’m feeling raw emotions just as they come," she said. However, she feels differently when she's in her "Thrones" character. “I feel hyperaware. You know that movie ‘Limitless’? I feel like that. Arya is very calculated in the way that she conducts herself -- she doesn’t like people to know what she’s thinking."
Aligning with that role so closely from a young age also had negative effects. "I’ve battled my whole adolescence with trying to put a stamp on my appearance, but also be a blank canvas as an actor,” she told the outlet.
“I was becoming a woman and then having to wear this thing that’s kind of like what the queen does -- I think the queen has to have a bra that pushes her tits under her armpits," she added. "And it got worse, ’cause it kept growing, and they put this little fat belly on me to make it even out. I was, like, 15: ‘I just wanna be a girl and have a boyfriend!’ That was when it sucked. The first time they gave me a bra in my trailer, I was like, ‘Yes! I’m a woman!’ ”
Turner said that she felt for Williams watching her struggle through it. “She’s going through all these changes, and yet she has to still look like a child and cut her hair short and look completely different to how she’s feeling inside," she told the magazine.
"I think she really envied me because I got to wear the dresses and have nice makeup and nice hair, and I wanted the trousers and the boyish clothes!”
Because Turner's character, Sansa Stark, was so different than Williams' character, she couldn't help but compare the two.
“In the beginning, I was jealous of Maisie because she got to do all these sword fights and be the bada--," Turner told the outlet. "I was like, ‘I know my character is very powerful.’ Sansa adapts better than Arya. If Arya was in Sansa’s situation at the beginning, she would have had her head cut off. And if Sansa had been in Arya’s position, Sansa would have been bullied to death. "
On her character evolving as the seasons progressed, Turner told the publication, "It was really frustrating how slow it was, but it just makes it all the more satisfying. I’m happy she’s only just coming into her power now.”
She also said that she sees some parallels between the fictional land of Westeros on the show and the current climate in Hollywood.
“There’s a lot of Sansa in me,” she shared. “You go into something and you think it’s going to be a huge dream, and then you figure out, ‘Oh, wait. I have to be very strategic about everything.'"
Turner said her character's plot line involved a traumatic scene in season 5 when Sansa Stark was raped by her husband Ramsay Bolton on their wedding night.
“I think the backlash was wrong because those things did happen,” Turner said of the outcry that followed the scene. “We can’t dismiss that and not put it in a TV show where it’s all about power -- and that is a very impactful way to show that you have power over somebody.”
Williams and Turner both remain tight-lipped on the components of the final season of "Game of Thrones," but they did share their reactions to finishing this chapter of their lives.
“What’s hit me the most about the show ending isn’t the show ending, It’s like, ‘I’m free. I can do anything now,'" Williams said. “It’s like a moment where you can just really enjoy everything that you’ve worked hard for. These last six months, I’ve really just done that.”
Turner believes the series finale does the show justice. “I feel very satisfied with the ending of the entire show. Every story arc came to a really good close,” she said.
"The power of family and unity is so strong that it can keep people alive. That’s the biggest thing I’ve taken away from the show: Family is everything," she added.