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Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Raff the Sweetling, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei. Valar morghulis.
~ Arya Stark going over her death list

Arya Stark is a main character of the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and its HBO adaptation Game of Thrones. She is the daughter of Eddard "Ned" Stark and Catelyn Stark, the youngest female child of the Stark family. Arya has five siblings: an older brother Robb Stark, an older half-brother Jon Snow (revealed to be cousin in the TV series), an older sister Sansa Stark and two younger brothers Bran and Rickon.

She was a resident of Winterfell, later of King's Landing until her family was almost entirely eradicated from Westeros during the War of the Five Kings. She trained with the Faceless Men of Braavos to learn how to become an expert assassin and take revenge for her fallen family members and friends. However, the Faceless Men revealed to her that she cannot kill whoever she likes, and she must forget her past and identity by becoming "no one". She is 9 at the beginning of the book series and 11 at the beginning of the TV series. She is currently 11 in the novels and 17 in the TV series.

She is portrayed by Maisie Williams, who will play Wolfsbane in The New Mutants.

Personality

Arya is a fiercely independent child who is unconstrained by social expectations like gender roles, courtly virtues, class distinctions, and the expectations of her parents and society. A tomboy since she was young, she never aspired to be a "proper lady" as her older sister Sansa did. Arya shares a sibling rivalry with Sansa, often clashing with her due to their differing interests, desires, and outlooks. While Arya deeply loves all of her siblings and both her parents, she is especially close to her older half-brother Jon, who gives Arya her first sword 'Needle'. Before the series of events that shatter her innocence and destroy her support system, Arya is full of life, and she makes others smile just by virtue of her spirited indifference to rules.

Once she begins the journey to King's Landing, however, she endures a constant stream of loss and trauma. As she watches her direwolf Nymeria, sword instructor, friends, and family members taken from her one by one, she becomes increasingly detached in her views toward murder and death. This is only exacerbated when she is captured by the Hound and is exposed to his fatalistic worldview as they traverse the war-ravaged Riverlands, though the two develop a mutual reliance and almost grudging respect for each other. When she witnesses and learns of the betrayal and murder of her family at the Red Wedding, Arya becomes even more determined to seek and exact revenge upon those who have wronged her and her family.

While she is initially horrified when she accidentally stabs the stable boy in King's Landing during the betrayal of her father and his men, by the time she and the Hound have fled the massacre at the Twins, she is able to kill without remorse and has accepted Syrio's belief that the only true god is Death. Following Yoren's advice to her before he died, Arya has taken to listing off the names of each person she intends to kill each night before she sleeps.

Kill list and victims

In the books

During her journey, Arya is subjected to many hard situations in the war-torn Riverlands. Her fiery personality prompts her to take the initiative and fight back, and so she is led to kill and ultimately wishes to murder specific characters herself. This course of action is supposed to end as of A Feast for Crows with her being an assassin trainee in Braavos, as the leader stresses becoming indifferent to death and killing. She continues, however, to repeat to herself the names of the people she wishes dead. Some names are added as she goes, and others are dropped when the character dies or becomes closer to her. She calls it a prayer, and ends it with the words Valar Morghulis. The names are:

Person Reason Status Fate
Ser Gregor His men captured Arya and other smallfolk Dead Stabbed by Prince Oberyn with a poisoned spear during Tyrion Lannister's trial of combat at King's Landing, but was presumed revived by Qyburn and became a mute named Ser Robert Strong (Arya currently is unaware of his death and Gregor is still on her list)
Dunsen Stole Gendry's horned helmet Alive
Polliver Stole Needle from Arya Dead Killed by The Hound at the Crossroads Inn
Chiswyck Boasted of his participation in the gang rape of Layna Dead Pushed off a wall by Jaqen H'ghar at Harrenhal on the orders of Arya
Raff the Sweetling Killed Lommy Greenhands Dead Killed by Arya under the identity of Mercy in Braavos
The Tickler Tortured captives during questioning Dead Killed by Arya at the Crossroads Inn
The Hound Killed Mycah Dead Succumbed to his infected wounds after the fight at the Crossroads Inn (Arya had removed his name from her list prior to his death, but did not grant him the mercy of a quick death)
Ser Amory Killed Yoren Dead Killed by Vargo Hoat's bear in the bear pit at Harrenhal
Ser Ilyn Beheaded Eddard Stark on the orders of King Joffrey Alive
Ser Meryn Killed Syrio Forel Alive
King Joffrey Ordered the execution of Eddard Stark Dead Poisoned with the Strangler at his own wedding feast by Olenna Tyrell in co-operation with Petyr Baelish
Queen Cersei Involved in the death of Eddard Stark Alive
Weese Violently abused Arya Dead Killed by his own dog under Jaqen H'ghar's influence on the orders of Arya

In the series

The people on Arya's death list currently are:

The people no longer on her list, because she knows they are deceased or believes them to be dead, are:

  • {Polliver}, for killing her friend Lommy, stealing her sword Needle, and taking part in the brutal torture at Harrenhal. Killed by Arya while repeating the same words Polliver said to Lommy when he killed him.
  • {Joffrey}, for ordering the execution of her father. Killed during his own wedding.
  • {Rorge}, for threatening to rape her. Killed by Arya just after adding him to the list.
  • The Hound, for killing her friend Mycah and being a Lannister lackey. Severely injured by Brienne of Tarth and left to die by Arya, though unbeknownst to her, he is still alive.
  • {Tywin Lannister}, for leading the Lannisters against her brother. Killed by his own son Tyrion Lannister.
  • {Ser Meryn}, for killing her dancing master Syrio Forel and aiding Cersei in her coup. Killed by Arya in a Braavosi brothel, disguised as an underaged prostitute.
  • {Walder Frey}, for his role in killing her brother and mother. Killed by Arya at the Twins.

Others

Arya stated she would have added the Freys to the list after the Red Wedding but she did not know the names of those responsible for her brother's death. In the TV series, she disguised herself as Walder Frey and killed many if not all the remaining sons of Walder present at the Twins.

She also killed a number of people who were not on her list herself:

  • a Red Keep stableboy, during the purge of the Stark household
  • several soldiers of Amory Lorch, during the attack on Yoren's recruit caravan
  • a Bolton guard at Harrenhal, to escape the castle
  • a Sarsfield squire, during the fight at the Crossroads Inn
  • Dareon, at Braavos after noticing he was a deserter of the Night's Watch
  • a Braavosi insurance salesman, under orders of the kindly man
  • The Waif, in the TV series only, for attempting to kill her
  • Lothar Frey, in the TV series only, for being one of the orchestrators of the Red Wedding and killing Robb's stillborn child
  • Black Walder Rivers, in the TV series only, for killing her mother.
  • Petyr Baelish, TV show only, for betraying her father and starting the war.
  • The Night King, TV show only, killed him just as he was about to kill Bran, and in doing so, destroyed the White Walkers and Wights, and saved the world from the Eternal Night.

She also initiated and, along with Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter, took part in the killing of eight Harrenhal jailors, an event that would be remembered as the "weasel soup," from the nickname she used at the time.

In the TV series, Arya added the Red Woman, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr to her list for a while, because she was upset the Brotherhood Without Banners let Melisandre take Gendry away. She later phased them out of her list, presumably because they didn't do anything remotely near what other people on her list had done.

Ilyn Payne, the executioner who beheaded her father, was also phased out of her list, maybe because he was just a hired hand. Furthermore, the actor who plays Ilyn Payne developed pancreatic cancer after Season 1 and very nearly died, so his return to the TV series became uncertain.

Arya later revealed to the Waif that she was no longer intent on killing the Hound when she left him.

Arya's list logically only contains those whom she knows have committed crimes against her or her family. Despite committing great crimes against her family, Littlefinger, Roose Bolton and Ramsay Bolton are not included in Arya's death list, as she never learnt of Petyr Baelish's direct involvement in betraying her father; or Roose Bolton's in the Red Wedding, much less that he personally killed Robb. She is also unaware of the fact that Ramsay sacked Winterfell.

Powers and abilities

Powers

  • Disguise: Arya can hide her true physical appearance under a disguise, due to her training with the Faceless Men. She has learned to control this power quite well, as shown in her early released chapter of the sixth novel. In the TV series, this skill shows no magical trait, however, being depicted as simply wearing a dead person's face. Regardless of the version, Arya learns to handle this technique, which will later work out in her favor, such as when she assassinates Meryn Trant in the Season 5 finale and later Walder Frey in the Season 6 finale in Game of Thrones, or Raff the Sweetling in the sixth book, The Winds of Winter.
  • Skinchanging: The ability to inhabit the body of an animal and control its actions by opening the "third eye". In a 2003 interview, the author of the series George R. R. Martin stated all of the Stark children (Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon) have a link with their direwolves (Shaw, Robert. "Interview With a Dragon". Fountainhead Quarterly. 2003). In the books, Arya demonstrates this power as she can slip into her direwolf, Nymeria, while asleep and wargs into cats in Braavos. It's not shown in the TV series.

Abilities

  • Swordsmanship: Unlike little girls of her social status, Arya learned to fight with a sword and has above-average swordplay skills, being trained by Syrio Forrel in the art of the Braavosi Water Dance. Arya showed her skills mainly during Amory Lorch's attack on Yoren's recruit caravan when she kills several Lannister soldiers.
  • Archery skills: Arya is showed to be fairly skilled with a bow. In the TV series, she is able to out-shoot Bran, loosing an arrow at the target while farther than him. 
  • Assassin skills: Her Faceless Men training has provided Arya with strong assassin qualities, such as being able to detect lies of the others or depict ingredients, potions, herbs and poisons. 
  • Eye-Less Combat: Thanks to her temporary blindness and combat training, Arya has arguably developed stronger senses than normal humans, to the point that she can move and fight in the dark. This ability is shown mainly in the TV series and, in the eighth episode of the sixth season, Arya takes advantage of this new skill and kills the Waif in the darkness of her hideout.
  • Multilingual: Arya is fluent in the Common Tongue (English) and Braavosi. She has also shown basic knowledge of High Valyrian. 

Gallery

Images

Trivia

  • So far, Arya is the only POV character who has POV chapters in every book of the whole series.
  • At the end of the sixth season of Game of Thrones, Arya's training was declared over and the Faceless Assassin known by Arya as "Jaqen H'ghar" told her that she finally became "no one". However, Arya corrected him that she is Arya Stark and she will never be "no one", leaving the House of Black and White without meeting any repercussions from the assassins, not even in the seventh season. The Faceless Men have to forget their whole identity, birth gender, and previous life. They have to learn the art of lying perfectly and how to detect every single lie, and they are not meant to simply chose specific targets to kill for emotional reasons and revenge, and are not supposed to feel pleasure in it (unlike in the show, with the Waif changed as a sadist with desires, when in the books she is acts as a dutiful tool with no desires). This would never happen in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, where Arya would need to flee secretely and hide forever from the Faceless Men, who would hunt her down constantly everywhere in the world, to fullfill their duty as servants of the Many-Faced God by killing Arya, who would use their powers for personal reasons and knowing who she really is.

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