Arya Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire
In A Dance with Dragons, we last see Arya after she has made her first kill for the Faceless Men. She is given an acolyte’s robe and assigned as an apprentice to a mummer’s troupe led by Izembaro. In a sample chapter from The Winds of Winter – entitled Mercy – Arya encounters Raff the Sweetling while she is performing with the troupe. Raff is one of Gregor Clegane’s men who captured Arya and her friends in the Riverlands, killing Lommy Greenhands in the process. Arya avenges him, and in doing so she crosses another name off her list.
I think this event will lead to repercussions for Arya, as she wasn’t assigned to kill Raff and did it instead of her own volition. This proves she hasn’t truly become “No One,” and I don’t think she ever will. I’m not sure if Arya will leave the Faceless Men and escape back to Westeros, or if she will be sent to Westeros on an assignment and then decide to leave. Either way, there is still too much Arya Stark in her to ever completely give up her identity.
It’s likely she will continue to cross names off of her list, although there are few left. I could see her being responsible for killing Walder Frey and possibly Ilyn Payne, who are both in the Riverlands. I also believe she will encounter her undead mother, Lady Stoneheart, and kill her out of mercy.
Although George R. R. Martin’s original outline for his novels has Arya surviving to the end, there are hints in the novels that she will die. Her father tells her, “You have a wildness in you, child. The ‘Wolf Blood’, my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave.” Ned also says, “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives” – while her siblings are scattered like she is, they have maintained their identities and are emotionally close to others. Arya is very much alone in a physical and spiritual sense.
While in disguise at Harrenhal, Arya encounters Elmar Frey – the boy to whom Catelyn promised Arya when she made her pact with Walder Frey (of which Arya is unaware). Elmar is upset that his betrothal to his “princess” has been called off, and after insulting Arya, she tells him “I hope your princess dies.” However, the biggest hint at Arya’s death is Jon Snow’s comment to her that “when the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers.” Should she die, I believe she will warg into Nymeria and live out her second life as her direwolf.
Arya Stark in Game of Thrones
As of episode 8 (No One), Arya has survived the Waif’s attempt on her life and reclaimed her identity as Arya Stark. She tells Jaqen that she is going home. I’m not sure if we will see Arya in the season finale, but I think her story will play out similarly to the books.
It’s possible that she may be in disguise at the Frey celebration on Sunday. There is reason to suspect there will be a bad end for the Freys (possibly another Red Wedding type of scenario), so Arya could have a hand in what occurs. I think she could also potentially meet up with Sandor and the Brotherhood Without Banners once again. They are in the Riverlands, heading north, and if she goes with them hopefully she will reunite with Jon and Sansa. I still feel that she is destined to die, but the show may decide to take her character in an entirely different direction.
What do you think her fate will be?