'Game of Thrones' ' Maisie Williams on Why Her Mother Is Her Ultimate Role Model – and Her Date to the Emmys!

The GoT star also dishes on the unexpected present she gave her mother to celebrate her Emmy nomination

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

File this under “Cutest celebrity story you’ll hear all week.”

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams recalls the perfectly endearing way she found out about her Emmy nomination – on FaceTime with her mom!

“I found out in the best way,” gushes Williams, 19. “I was away from her last week, and I speak to her every day – so I FaceTimed her … and a little notification from Twitter came up – a tweet from Game of Thrones.”

Because she was on FaceTime, the full notification didn’t pop up and Williams wasn’t sure what the congratulatory tweet was for.

“I didn’t want to say anything, ’cause Mom was talking at the time, and I was kind of trying to speed up the conversation so I could click off and go look at what this tweet was,” says Williams – but she had forgotten that she’s actually logged onto her Twitter on her mom’s phone as well! (“She loves to keep up with everything that’s going on,” Williams explains.)

“So maybe like 10 seconds later, she got a ding on her phone and was like: ‘Oh, hang on a minute!’ – and I knew exactly what she was looking at,” Williams says.

Upon reading the news together of Williams’ very first Emmy nomination, the young actress says she was “just silent for about 30 seconds,” while her mom, still on FaceTime, “just started screaming” with excitement.

“I was just so happy and couldn’t quite believe it really – I still can’t believe it,” Williams adds. “And it was amazing to share that moment with my mom. She was crying.”

Of course, the moment was all the more special because of the extra-close bond Williams shares with her mother – a woman who has overcome several struggles, including a battle with breast cancer.

“She’s so caring and so lovely, but knowing her history and her past – she hasn’t been dealt the best hand in life, and there’s been a lot of things that have gone very against her,” Williams says. “She has survived many, many times … survived relationships, survived breast cancer and constantly is just trying to do more to help other people.”

Williams also credits her mother with her success for allowing her to quit school and pursue her acting career.

“She gave me the gift and gave me her blessing to do what I want with my life,” Williams says. “To be like, ‘Okay … you’re going to do this and we’re going to prove them all wrong,’ rather than, you know, making me stay in school. And I’m still educated, I’ve still got everything I need in life, I thank her every single day.”

Williams also reveals she plans on taking her mother as her date to the award show in September, but the best part of the whole story? The gift she got mom to celebrate.

“When I found out I got nominated for an Emmy, I got her a bottle of gin,” Williams says with a laugh. “Because it’s for her, she’s done this for me and I’m just grateful every single day.”

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles this Sept. 18, and Game of Thrones will return in 2017.

Reporting by MARY GREEN

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