Game of Thrones officially ended in 2019. It is one of the most-watched shows of all time, and still one of the most popular. This fantasy series is based on George R. R Martin‘s novel, A Song of Ice and Fire, though it went off-book post-season 4. Fans are impatiently waiting for Martin’s next installment, The Winds of Winter – but might be waiting a lot longer. The series’ quality declined after expanding without the book canon, but it can’t be denied that Game of Thrones dominated the world of television with its addictive fantasy story and brilliantly developed characters.
At the heart of Game of Thrones is the Stark family. From season 1, Patriarch Ned Stark (Sean Bean) is Warden of the North and raises his family in Winterfell with his wife, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley). We have Robb (Richard Madden), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson). Right now, we’re going to delve into everything Arya Stark. Arya is not much like her older sister and doesn’t enjoy being a ‘lady,’ favoring more traditionally masculine activities. After fleeing Kings Landing when her father is killed for treason, Arya Stark goes on a mission of revenge and will stop at nothing for retribution.
10 “The Dragon and the Wolf”
Season 7, Episode 7 (2017)
In one of the longest and highest-rated episodes of Game of Thrones, “The Dragon and the Wolf” is bursting with action. Jon is with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) in Kings Landing, appealing to Cersei (Lena Headley) for help with the White Walkers. It is also the big reveal of Jon being a secret Targaryen, as the lawful son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. But right now, we’re here for Arya. This momentous episode sees her outsmart Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) with the help of Sansa; Arya appears before her sister for punishment as a ruse, and Sansa accuses Littlefinger of treason and murder. Arya kills him.
As the show has progressed, Arya has turned more into a cold, detached version of herself and, understandably, so. Littlefinger has been at the centre of every scheme, plot and secret since the show began. It was only a matter of time until Petyr Baelish met his end, and Arya Stark had to be the one to do it. She kills him the same way her mother was died, likely in revenge for his hand in the Red Wedding taking place. This incredible episode was one of the highlights of the last 2 seasons, which were mostly awful.
9 “Winter is Coming”
Season 1, Episode 1 (2011)
The show’s pilot, “Winter is Coming,” sets up for one of the most exciting shows of all time. Viewers meet the characters for the first time, including a young Arya Stark, only 11 years old. King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) comes to Winterfell to see Ned, eventually asking him to be the Hand of the King and return to King’s Landing with him. Loyal and honorable, Ned accepts the duty, and makes plans to travel, taking Sansa and Arya with him. Jon intends to join the Night’s Watch.
This is a pivotal episode for everybody, but especially for Arya. When audiences first meet her, she shoots an arrow at a target behind her younger brother Bran, who is struggling. She takes the shot and smiles. This sets up what we know about her character, especially in comparison to Sansa, who desires the life of a lady, hoping to marry Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Arya is more comfortable in regular clothes over gowns, hunting and getting mucky. The pilot is a great introduction to Arya as an individual who is not afraid to speak up and do things her way.
8 “No One”
Season 6, Episode 8 (2016)
Skipping ahead again, by this point in season 6, Arya has been training with the Faceless Men in Braavos. After being introduced to Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) in season 2, Arya seeks out the House of Black and White, hoping to become a faceless assassin herself. The Faceless Men are a guild of religious assassins who worship the Many-Faced God, considering themselves servants of death. They are able to change faces. After being hunted by the Waif in her training, Arya succeeds in killing her in “No One.”
Arya endured torture and hardship during her training to become a Faceless Assassin, so seeing her kill the Waif was an iconic and memorable moment. When she returns to the temple, Jaqen tells her that her training is complete. But Arya denies him, refusing to give up her identity and calls herself Arya Stark once again. She also states her intention to return to Westeros. Despite not becoming a true Faceless Assassin, Arya still uses the technique of changing faces for her revenge.
7 “The Kingsroad”
Season 1, Episode 2 (2011)
Following the pilot, “The Kingsroad” sees Ned setting off for Kings Landing with Arya and Sansa. Catelyn begs him not to leave while Bran is in a coma after being pushed from a window. But they proceed, leaving Winterfell for the capital. Jon leaves for the Wall with Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). While on the journey to Kings Landing, Arya plays sword fighting with a boy, Mycah. Joffrey approaches and threatens Mycah, and Arya’s wolf Nymeria bites him while she points his sword, Lion’s Tooth, at him. Embarrassed and angry, Joffrey calls for the wolf to be killed.
This episode is a compelling exploration of Arya’s abilities, and how she is willing to do anything to stand up for herself. Even in the face of Joffrey, heir to the Iron Throne, she does not relent. With how awful Joffrey is, this scene is a good one to rewatch for viewers who hate him. “The Kingsroad” is also important, as Jon gifts Arya her first-ever sword, which she names Needle, showcasing their close sibling relationship. When she asks him how to use it, he says the iconic line “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”
Season 3, Episode 10 (2013)
In this season finale, following the events of the Red Wedding, Robb Stark’s body is paraded through the streets. It is revealed that Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) is the mastermind behind the massacre, along with alliances with Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) and Walder Frey (David Bradley). Warnings are sent out to warn people about the White Walkers, and Jon is shot by Ygritte (Rose Leslie). The freed slaves of Yunaki named Daenerys as their ‘mhysa’ (mother).
This is a turning point for Arya and one she can’t turn back from. After hearing about the Red Wedding and seeing her brother dead, Arya approaches a group of Frey soldiers and stabs one of them to death in a fit of rage after he boasts about displaying Robb’s body. The Hound (Rory McCan) kills another one. Arya is riddled with anger and grief, and this propels her need for revenge. This brutal moment solidifies Arya as a force to be feared, especially after she has lost so much, now including her brother and mother.
5 “Two Swords”
Season 4, Episode 1 (2014)
In the first episode of season 4, Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) is welcomed to Kings Landing but seeks revenge for his sister, who was killed by The Mountain, Gregor. Sansa deals with the aftermath of hearing about her mother and brother’s deaths. Daenerys takes on Meereen with her army. With Arya, The Hound tells her that he plans to give her to her aunt for a ransom. They stop at an inn and enter into a fight with Gregor’s men, including Polliver (Andy Kellegher), who had previously stolen Needle from Arya. Arya kills him and takes her sword back.
Arya’s time as a ‘captive’ of The Hound makes for excellent television, as their back-and-forth dynamic is endlessly entertaining. They hate each other but start to co-live as allies while they travel. Arya uncovers a different side of The Hound, which is explored in this episode. Despite that, he is still on her list of people that she wishes to kill. This episode marks another act of vengeance from Arya’s kill list, Polliver, who stole her sword. She gets it back and uses it against him. This is a difficult time for Arya following the Red Wedding, but she pushes on.
4 “The Old Gods and the New”
Season 2, Episode 6 (2012)
Heading back a couple of seasons, we have “The Old Gods and the New,” documenting some of Arya’s time at Harrenhal. Elsewhere, Theon (Alfie Allen) has taken control of Winterfell and Robb plots action against him. King Joffrey starts a riot after passing through Flea Bottom, and The Hound saves Sansa from a group of men. Meanwhile, Arya continues working as Tywin’s cupbearer, but he calls her out for being able to read, noting that she is lying about being lowborn. When she is almost caught stealing war documents, she has Jaqen kill the man.
This episode further explores Arya’s situation with Jaqen H’ghar, who, in return for saving his life, asks for three names of people she wishes to have killed. Ser Amory Lorch (Fintan McKeown) is the second name she gives, and Jaqen kills him as he goes to tell Tywin that Arya stole the documents. Arya almost getting caught is a tense moment but Jaqen comes to the rescue. Arya becomes increasingly interested in Jaqen and his work. Another highlight of this time in the show is Arya’s relationship with Tywin, especially as he figures out that she might be lying about who she is. Things are getting interesting for Arya Stark.
3 “The Children”
Season 4, Episode 10 (2014)
In this packed season finale, Bran finally meets the Three-Eyed Raven. Tyrion stands trial for Joffrey’s murder, but his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) frees him. Tyrion then proceeds to kill his ex-lover, and then his father, Tywin (Charles Dance). And with our favorite Stark, Arya encounters Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) in the Vale. Brienne tells Arya she promised Catelyn to protect her, but Arya is skeptical. Brienne fights The Hound, leaving him mortally wounded.
This episode is a turning point for Arya, who decides once and for all that she wishes to be responsible for herself and look out for her well-being. And in a shocking scene, The Hound begs Arya to kill him and put him out of his misery. Arya, colder than ever and ready to make changes in her life, leaves him there to die. He was on her list, after all. Audiences next see her boarding a ship to Braavos with the coin given to her by Jaqen H’ghar, as she embarks on her next journey to become a faceless assassin.
2 “Mother’s Mercy”
Season 5, Episode 10 (2015)
In the season 5 finale, Jon Snow is executed by his fellow Night’s Watchmen, leaving his fate up to chance for the next season. He comes back to life, though, of course. Stannis’ (Stephen Dillane) army is defeated, and he is killed by Brienne. Cersei is forced to do her walk of atonement for adultery. In this memorable episode for Arya, she is still in Braavos doing her training, and she uses the tricks of the Faceless men to execute Ser Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie). She is berated by ‘Jaqen’ or someone using his face and is blinded as a punishment.
In this iconic moment of revenge for Arya Stark, her Stark honor comes to the surface as she sees through another name on her list. Ser Meryn Trant, all the way back in season 1, killed Arya’s dancing instructor, Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) after the Lannisters accused Ned Stark of treason. Arya carried that anger with her throughout the years, and using her training, expertly rids the world of Meryn Trant. It feels like a full circle moment, as Arya avenges one of the first people she had a real connection with.
1 “The Winds of Winter”
Season 6, Episode 10 (2016)
We all know what’s coming. In “The Winds of Winter,” Cersei is crowned Queen with all of her children now gone. Wildfire destroys the Great Sept, killing hundreds inside, including Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Jon rallies various Northern lords to unite and face the threat of the White Walkers. They name him the new King of the North. We finally discover that Lyanna Stark is Jon’s mother, and Daenerys sets sail for Westeros. However, the most iconic moment, and a huge one for Arya, is the ultimate Red Wedding revenge.
Arya disguises herself, using the tactics of the Faceless Men, and serves Walder Frey a pie containing his own sons. She kills him, and appears as him at dinner, poisoning the rest of his family. This moment is a culmination of everything that Arya has been through and the coldest serving of revenge. She achieves her main goal of avenging her family members and the other Northmen who suffered at the hands of the Freys. She grew up into a strong and ruthless character, a true powerhouse who always stayed true to herself. The North remembers.
#Arya #Stark #Episodes #Game #Thrones