Maisie Williams Attributes Obsession With Cults to Dad 'Indoctrinating' Her

Maisie Williams has opened up about her "traumatic" relationship with her father, stating that she is now fixated with cults because of him "indoctrinating" her.

The British-born Game of Thrones star's father left her mother when she was four months old. The youngest of four siblings, she was subsequently raised by her mother and stepfather in Somerset, South West England.

In a recently-released interview on Steven Bartlett's The Diary of a CEO podcast, the 25-year-old star has revealed how her relationship with her father affected the way that she navigated through life in her younger years.

Maisie Williams recounts "traumatic" experience with father
Maisie Williams is pictured left on June 20, 2022, in Cannes, France. She is pictured inset on May 23, 2022, in London, England. The "Game of Thrones" star has spoken about her "traumatic" experiences with her father. Dave Benett/Getty Images for Spotify;/Lia Toby/Getty Images

"I, as a young child before the age of eight, had a traumatic relationship with my dad," she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "That really consumed a lot of my childhood. Ever since I can remember, I've really struggled sleeping. And I think a lot of the traumatic things that were happening, I didn't realize that they were wrong."

Williams added the trauma led to her feeling distant from other children, as she struggled to understand why they didn't appear "to understand this pain or dread or fear" that she often felt.

She recalled that when she was struggling in school at the age of 8, a teacher took her to one side to ask how she was feeling and whether she was hungry—questions that the youngster found to be incredibly helpful.

"They were asking the right questions," said an emotional Williams. "I had so many people who loved and cared about me so much, but I'd never been asked the right questions where I could really say what was wrong."

That moment, recounted Williams, meant that "all of the doors were sort of open, and all of these things that we were experiencing were out on the table."

arya hbo game of thrones
Maisie Williams shot to fame as Arya Stark in HBO hit "Game of Thrones." HBO

However, she initially wanted to resist the emerging narrative and say: "These things aren't bad, and you're trying to take me away from my dad, and that's wrong."

Although she didn't provide specific details of what went on, Williams stated in the interview that she had essentially been "indoctrinated"—which she believed could serve to explain her obsession with cults.

"I get it, I was in a child cult against my mother," said the Pistol star. "So I was really fighting it at the beginning, but basically my whole world flipped on its head. And even though all these things I was feeling—'Oh my God, I'm so glad I don't have to see my dad anymore'—it still was against everything I knew to be true."

Reflecting on her reaction to her childhood experience, she went on: "It's not because of me that these bad things happened when I was a child.

"I felt there was something inherently wrong with me, or us, because we did lots of things wrong all the time, which is why you'd be mistreated... Especially because it was a parent, and they're supposed to like you."

"What happens that you get so stuck in your mind that you can just permanently mistreat people? Children, your own children?" Williams said of her dad. "But taking that step back and seeing it more objectively makes me quite interested in the guy—I don't know him at all—and like, what happened to you when you were a kid?"

"I don't know if any of the answers to that will help me in my journey," she added, "but it is sort of a nicer way to think of him than as someone who doesn't love me or like me."