Lyanna Mormont star Bella Ramsey 'shocked' by pivotal role in 'Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell

Ben Arnold
Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont (Credit: HBO)

Be warned, there are spoilers for Game of Thrones episode The Long Night ahead…

Without the diminutive but fearless Lyanna Mormont, the hero of Bear Island, the Battle of Winterfell could have ended in disaster.

But thanks to her bravery, she neutralised one of the Night King’s most fearsome weapons among his Army of the Dead in Monday’s climactic episode of Game of Thrones.

Though she sacrificed her life to do so, she used her last ounce of strength to plunge a dragon glass dagger into the eye of one of the re-animated wildling giants in the besieged courtyard of the Stark seat.

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As we saw in episodes like Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards, the wildling giants were able to do colossal damage to the opposition, so having one running rampant behind the gates of Winterfell could have spelled doom for Jon Snow and the army of the living.

But she saved the day, and no one was more surprised than Bella Ramsey, the 16-year-old actor who plays the leader of House Mormont.

“Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] gave me a storyboard picture of the moment where I attack the giant. I didn’t expect that at all. I didn’t really think I was a main character. I was very shocked when they gave me that. That’s my final memory; it was a very nice one,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Giant slayer (Credit: HBO)

“When I first got the scripts. It was probably about two years ago. I just remember reading that bit. I did a mini-battle cry, I think. (Laughs.) I was so excited. I was so grateful to be given such a great death.

“I had heard a rumour that if you died, they rang you up and told you before you got the scripts. But that never happened. I got the scripts, read it and that was the first time I knew it was going to happen.

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“If you’re going to die on Game of Thrones, you have to die well, haven’t you? I was very pleased. She’s the littlest fighter taking out the biggest wight. It did feel fitting. She’s always been sticking up for what’s right, especially in a room filled with grown men and women.

“Here, she’s doing the same thing, just extended a bit. It was very fitting that little Lyanna came up against a giant and killed him.”

Some have argued that killing off Lyanna in a somewhat gruesome fashion – less gruesome than some, sure, but more gruesome than others – was unnecessary.

But Ramsey appears to have had a marvellous time.

(Credit: HBO)

“Lots and lots of fake blood. (Laughs) It was actually quite nice. It was kind of sweet!” she added, recalling making the scene.

“It was basically coloured sugar water. There was lots of that that I had to have in my mouth, which I then had to dribble out and spit out. It was lovely. I was in a giant claw machine. I had to have a body cast so they could make a perfectly fitted seat for me. I was sitting on what was like a bicycle seat with [a harness] around my waist, in a giant claw machine that shook me around for hours.

“It made it seem like I was being shaken in the hand of a giant, [twenty feet in the air]. There was a massive staircase that had to keep moving backwards and forwards, before and after the shot, to give me more fake blood.”

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Ramsey also chimed in on Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark being the one to deal the decisive blow to the Night King.

“I think it proves that women can fight just as well as men, and young people can fight just as well as experienced warriors,” she said.

“There’s a theme of defying the odds, and proving how powerful these people are. I didn’t have the full script; I just had the pages for the bits I was in. I didn’t really know the full extent of what was happening until I saw it yesterday. It’s empowering, really. It’s inspiring and empowering.”

Game of Thrones returns to Sky Atlantic on Monday.