Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season seven.
The seventh season of “Game of Thrones” accelerated Sunday evening with a jaw-dropping dragon battle, but the real emotional weight of the episode lay with Sansa and Arya’s long-awaited reunion.
The actors behind Arya and Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner, are best friends in real life. They spend time together off set, and have matching tattoos, and Turner told INSIDER that Williams is her “soul mate.”
According to director Matt Shakman, this friendship led to some weirdness on the set of their character’s reunion.
“They were giggling and having kind of an awkward time,” Shakman told INSIDER, “because they’re very, very good friends and they felt awkward acting with each other.”
“They felt that they weren’t up to it,” Shakman said. “They were worried the other one would think they were bad, but they’re both amazing actors so they quickly settled into a rhythm.”
Arya and Sansa’s first meeting took place in the crypts of Winterfell while standing in front of their dead father’s statue. The moment is very stoic, slightly strange, because Sansa and Arya have been apart for so long but also very emotional. Turns out that weighty scene had a lot of laughter weaved into it on set.
“The scenes together are fantastic, but whenever we would cut they would just giggle,” Shakman said. “Or even sometimes when we didn’t cut, they’d be giggling through the scene. But they eventually found their way through it.”
The finale product had zero laughter, but it took several tries to get the moment right.
“Our first scene together was our reunion scene and we f—– up so many times,” Turner told Entertainment Weekly. “We couldn’t keep a straight face!”
After the episode aired, Turner and Williams tweeted at each other about their shared scene.
For Shakman, their friendship ultimately benefited the episode.
“I think the warmth that they have off screen is certainly an asset for what they have to go through on screen as well,” Shakman said.
To learn more about challenges with the Arya and Sansa reunion, and why dragons are a metaphor for napalm, read our full interview with “Spoils of War” director Matt Shakman.