There aren’t many babies who can boast a role in one of the world’s biggest TV shows, but ten months-old Arya Hasson from the Waterside has just made her screen debut in cult hit Game of Thrones.
And it was a role she was born to play as the local tot is named after one of the key characters in the series, which is based on the bestselling books by George RR Martin.
Set in the mythical land of Westeros, Game of Thrones tells the story of different Houses including the Starks, Lannisters, and Targaryans battling for their place on the Iron Throne.
Her parents, Emma and Niall both “self confessed nerds”, are huge fans of the series and the books.
“We loved the character of Arya Stark in Game of Thrones.
“She is a very strong character - fiesty, independent and a survivor - and we thought these would be great traits for our daughter to aspire to.”
Of course when the pair told their families they were naming their daughter after a character in a series of fantasy books, they were greeted with some strange looks.
“But I just kept reassuring them they would grow to love the name, and as they have started watching the series themselves they have.”
Arya was just two months- old when Emma spied a call for a baby to take part in filming through Extras NI.
“I knew they took care of the extras from Game of Thrones and I knew from reading the books that babies would feature in the third series so we just decided to give it a go and see if she could get a role.”
Arya was selected to film the role of Gilly’s baby boy in series three and the family filmed for four different scenes over a number of weeks, both in the Paint Hall in Belfast and on location.
On one occasion they were lucky enough to meet the producers of the show, DB Weiss and David Benioff.
“They asked us had we named Arya after Arya Stark and we told them we had.
“They thought that was really cool and said that George (RR Martin) would get a real kick out of it.”
With a very adult theme, Emma and Niall say it will be many years before baby Arya will get to see her own screen debut.
“The production team were brilliant; they put the welfare of the child first and everything was explained to us in great detail.” Arya’s first scene was screened in episode 4.
Game of Thrones season 3 is now showing on Sky Atlantic, Mondays at 9pm.