On screen, fans everywhere know Maisie Williams as the unstoppable, bad-ass warrior/assassin Arya Stark. Behind the camera though, the 22-year-old actress was facing a different kind of battle.

Being a teenager is hard enough as it is, but for young stars like Maisie Williams, growing up in the public eye can add a whole new level of pressure to some already turbulent years.

Now 22, WIlliams was just 13 when she was cast as Arya Stark on HBO's mega-hit series Game Of Thrones, so the British actress is no stranger to fame.

Recently though, Maisie opened up about how her very public adolescence affected her mental health and how international celebrity wasn't always all it was cracked up to be.

As Game Of Thrones sets to air its final episode this weekend, many fans across the world the are getting ready to tearfully say goodbye to the characters they've known and loved over the last 8 seasons. For Williams though the end of the series will be a welcome change of pace.

Earlier this month, Maisie sat down for an interview with Fearne Cotton on the Happy Place podcast where she opened up about the downsides of fame at such a young age.

"It got to the point where I'd be in a conversation with my friends and my mind would be running and running and running and thinking about all the stupid things I'd said in my life, and all of the people that had looked at me a certain way, and it would just race and race and race. We'd be talking and I'd be like, 'I hate myself'...

Years later Maisie says she's still feeling the effects of public life.

"I still lie in bed at, like, 11 o'clock at night telling myself all the things I hate about myself. It's just really terrifying that you're ever going to slip back into it. That's still something that I'm really working on, because I think that's really hard. It's really hard to feel sad and not feel completely defeated by it."

Fans sympathized, agreeing that young actors often pay too high a price when achieving fame so early in life.

Although Maisie and her character Arya Stark have been long-time fan favorites the young actress has always had to face intense criticism on social media. No matter how bad it got through some times Williams could never fully turn away from it.

"It got to me a lot, because there's just a constant feed in your back pocket of what people think of you. It gets to a point where you're almost craving something negative so you can sit in a hole of sadness, and it's really bizarre the way it starts to consume you."

But true fans came out in support for Williams, applauding her for opening up and speaking candidly about mental health.

As the show that made her a star finally comes to an end fans will undoubtedly miss Maisie and the amazing character she brought to life.

But as for Williams the 22-year-old seems ready for life after Game Of Thrones.

"People keep asking me like, 'The show is going to end, what do you want?' And I'm like, honestly I want a normal life with people that I love and people that I know are true and care about me. And I don't want any of this crazy crazy world because it's not worth it."
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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