Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams as Ayra Stark in the fourth season of Game of ThronesHBO / Sky Atlantic

Game of Thrones' young British star Maisie Williams has likened her fan-favourite character Arya Stark to Justin Bieber.

Speaking to Radio Times ahead of fourth season of HBO's hit swords and boobs fantasy series, the 16-year-old talks about joining the series aged just 11-years-old and when she first met seasoned thesp Charles Dance.

*** Warning: Game of Thrones Season Three spoilers follow ***

On how her character has changed since the show first aired, Williams says: "I'm definitely playing an Arya who's completely different to the one I auditioned for at the beginning. She is becoming ruthless and is starting to pick up influences from the Hound [her brutal captor], who maybe isn't the best person to be getting influences from when you're 12 years old."

Arya grew up in a sheltered world among a family who over the course of the show so far have mostly been brutally murdered.

"Arya grew up in a fantastic environment, and never saw any conflict between anyone in her family," continues Williams. "But she was wrapped in cotton wool because she was never told the truth about the world in which she lives.

"I feel like she's almost angry at her family because she could have done so much better in this game had she known then what she knows now – that it is a game. You have to play hard. It's like the real world, you know, you see these child stars – like Justin Bieber's little mishaps at the moment.

"If you're influenced by this stuff growing up, then it's not always going to turn out great. I feel like that's a possibility for Arya and that maybe one day she's not going to be such a likeable character."

Game of Thrones has had some big name actors on board since it began in 2011. While Sean Bean didn't last particularly long as Arya's father Ned Stark, Charles Dance has favoured better as Tywin Lannister.

"When I met Charles Dance he came up to me and said, 'Hello my name is Charlie,' and I just sat there and froze," said Williams. "I found him intimidating at the beginning, just by the way he carries himself and commands this sort of respect. When he's on set everyone is just silent for him."

The actress, born in Somerset, also spoke of her friendship with Sophie Turner – who plays Sansa on the show. "Sophie and I have really made a connection. I think our fans find it really that we get on because our characters hate each other."

Game of Thrones season four debuts Sunday 6 April in the US and in the UK early Monday morning at the same time (2am) in a simulcast then again that evening on Sky Atlantic.