Maisie Williams Awestruck at ‘Impossible Challenge’ of Game of Thrones Season 8

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Admit it – every time you see ‘Game of Thrones season 8’ in the headline, you get excited that there’s going to be some news, or photos, or…something! Well, dear reader, you’re not alone; many share that quest for knowledge alongside you! However, we’ll take any news we can get our hands on these days, given the extraordinary vows of secrecy the cast has seemingly solemnly sworn. As you all know, no matter the topic, if there is an interview held with someone even remotely associated with Game of Thrones, conversation will inevitably turn to it. Conveniently for us, it just so happens that the inevitable happened in a recent interview with Maisie Williams (Arya Stark!)

When Metro interviewed Maisie Williams about the upcoming Bronze Age-set animated film, Early Man, talk naturally turned to the impending final season of Game of Thrones. Expressing shock at the sheer audacity of the season when first looking at the scripts, she thought to herself, “Oh God, we have to shoot this now. And it is kind of an impossible challenge. It will be really difficult.” She feels very lucky that she is only an actor currently, stating “I’m glad I don’t write the show,” noting “the huge amount of pressure” season 8 impresses upon everyone. “You are constantly trying to do a better job than you did the year before,” she says. I believe it – the stakes are higher than any show in recent memory. In fact, the only fantasy/sci-fi show I can recall this many people anticipating the final season of at near-GOT-level popularity is perhaps LOST, and even for that, I don’t think there were as many viewers as there are for GOT.

It would be cruel if I left you without even remotely whetting your appetite for season 8 news, right? So, in the spirit of paying it forward, what do you make of this quote from Williams?

“I am currently on my way to a night shoot, which is week 4 of 12 weeks of night shoots. It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.”

She has at least 12 weeks of shooting, which suggests to me that Arya will be around for at least a good portion of the season (not that I personally think she’ll die anyway, but ya know). And they are night shoots, which suggests dark and foreboding times to me, and I would imagine that with Winter as well as the White Walkers upon everyone, there will be battles ahead in which Arya will have a part to play. Perhaps with Needle and her new dagger, she’ll become something of a Michonne for the upcoming zombie onslaught?

Of course, if you have been following our recent reports about the Moneyglass night shots, you may already have an idea of what Williams is talking about, but her comments do confirm something we didn’t know before: Arya is involved in that massive sequence.

What do you make of the three-month long night shoots for which she is scheduled? What glaring oversight did you catch me missing? Let us know in the comments below!

98 responses

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    1. Looks like we will be seeing something of a “Long Night” in season 8 which will be pretty awesome. To finally see it come to life in the current timeline would be very satisfying. Old Nan’s tales are the only significant description we get of that period.

      I’m so ready for this season.

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    2. Arya ..is going to kill Cercei in the night of her Wedding[the Gold Black Wedding ] with Euron[killing him first for to take his face and to disguised as Euron]..That could be THE TWIST…Also what if Arya is the One to kill the NK?She was live and trained to fight in the the dark to ..There a Long Night and will be complete dark for the whole world ..She cant have problem with this i assume..or i maybe be wrong?

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    3. There’s our girl!! I love hearing anything out of Maisie. 🙂

      So, she has 12 weeks of just night shoots… I imagine she has weeks of non-night shooting to do as well.

      Perhaps with Needle and her new dagger, she’ll become something of a Michonne for the upcoming zombie onslaught?

      While I don’t like comparing anything GoT to TWD’s brain-dead merry-go-round story, I guess hoping Arya gets into that sort of action would be great.

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    4. Re: the night shoot, I just hope that it’s visible on screen. Some scenes were too dark, on occasion.

      That said – of course Arya will be fighting in and for Winterfell. Why wouldn’t she? That’s what she’s really trained for all this time, even if she didn’t know this before.

      Personally, after their fight last season, I’m hoping for an awesome tag-team with Brienne and Pod. Bri takes them from above, Pod takes the middle, Arya takes the kneecaps. 😀

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    5. “there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest”

      Notice she didn’t say END the show, but leave it….. interpretation, Arya’s character comes to and end before the final season is complete. I too was hoping she would make it to the end, Valor Morgulis, Valor Doharious. both completed…..

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    6. jeffery young,

      I’m not sure it’s too wise to be microanalyzing every little phrase that sounds ominous. They’re pros at media training by now so whatever answer she gives is almost certain to not contain any ounce of spoilers.

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    7. NO, NO, NO!
      Read EXACTLY what she said.
      “I am currently on my way to a night shoot, which is week 4 of 12 weeks of night shoots. It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.”

      The night shoot IN TOTAL is 12 weeks.
      Maisie will be there for week 4.
      No suggestion of the whole 12 weeks!

      Anyway that does give hope to a major arc for Arya in the wars.

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    8. jeffery young,

      That’s how I feel lol. I’m still holding on to the prediction that Euron is the Valonqar and will turn on Cersei next season. But we’ll see. I literally have no idea on anything else that’ll happen aside from my “hopes” of my favorite characters.

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    9. Colin Armfield:
      NO, NO, NO!
      Read EXACTLY what she said.
      “I am currently on my way to a night shoot, which is week 4 of 12 weeks of night shoots. It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.”

      The night shoot IN TOTAL is 12 weeks.
      Maisie will be there for week 4.
      No suggestion of the whole 12 weeks!

      Anyway that does give hope to a major arc for Arya in the wars.

      Yeah, that’s how I interpreted it as well

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    10. Hmmm the subheadline in the Metro article makes it seem that Maisie is involved in all 12 weeks of the night shoots, however, I don’t see any specifics to indicate if it will be consecutive. I’m assuming not. So perhaps she did slip up and the “no better way to leave the show” quote indicates these are her last scenes she’s shooting? Not that I’m suggesting she’s dying, but perhaps D&D have been shooting scenes at the studios for the final episode since they shoot out of sequence.

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    11. You would think that there would be creative ways for interviewers to ask specific questions without making the actors feel like they’ve ventured too far into spoiler territory. Entice them to say something enticing instead of retreating into coached vague statements. Something like: “So, Arya has a Valyrian steel blade now, which should come in handy with wights and White Walkers invading. Won’t Needle feel a little lonely this season?”

      But maybe that’s expecting magazine writers to be the same kind of obsessively detail-oriented uberfans as us Watchers.

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    12. No better way to leave the show..
      I hope the scenes she’s fiming.. Aren’t the end for Arya Stark. Or I’ll have a heartbreak.

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    13. stoneman,
      That is cool and sounds promising. Everybody loved just that little bit we got in the scene with Brienne. It would be badass to get multiple or extended scenes of her fighting like a boss!

      If Arya ‘goes out’ it better be in some major fashion not in a stupid wight attack or something. If that happens I’m putting all the blame on D&D. George didn’t give the character her own storyline (for nearly the entire series so far) to include some very specific elements just to get snuffed out in a random manner. I’ll be pissed as hell no matter how if it happens, but if it’s dumb… things will be broken!

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    14. They are all leaving the show after this season. Actors, Directors, writers, stuntmen, caterers, set designers, wardrobe designers, hair and makeup specialists, visual effects teams, extras, dogs, wolves, and dragons. I think that is what she meant by this statement. And if she dies, she’s a warrior, live by the sword and die by the sword

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    15. Stoneheart:
      No better way to leave the show..
      I hope the scenes she’s fiming.. Aren’t the end for Arya Stark. Or I’ll have a heartbreak.

      I’ll have heartbreak for any remaining Stark dying.

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    16. Yaga: That said – of course Arya will be fighting in and for Winterfell. Why wouldn’t she? That’s what she’s really trained for all this time, even if she didn’t know this before.

      At first I was excited thinking this meant Arya would be shooting scenes in the Winterfell crypts, but those would be indoor shoots rather than night shoots. So, I imagine she’ll be creeping around the outskirts of Winterfell, wreaking havoc among unsuspecting pods of wights, working her way toward the Night King or an undead dragon. I can’t think of a scenario where she’d have to do a night shoot anywhere in the vicinity of KL. Cersei isn’t an outdoor girl, so Arya wouldn’t be stalking Cersei at night, outside. So I agree that she’s probably shooting around Winterfell.

      My take on her comment is that the night shoots have been going on for 4 weeks and she’s going to participate in them now, for an unamed amount of time, not that she’s scheduled for 12 weeks of shoots. If that’s correct, it means there have already been a month of night shoots with someone.

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    17. David Rosenblatt,

      Thanks for the article, but IMO it would be worth to add some comparative analysis. 12 weeks of night shoots translate into 3 months of night shoots and that equals to the time of shooting the Battle of Helm’s Deep in the LOTR (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings:_The_Two_Towers). So, the action sequence should be simply huge and it’s fair to expect it to outdo both the Battle of Helm’s Deep and the Battle of the Wall of Ep 409 (I wonder how long was that shooting?) Even if the night shoots are goinf to be distributed between several sets, it still looks on the level of the best large screen action sequences. One way or another, it just sounds crazy.

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    18. Clob,

      I love Michonne, but that’s a line that diminishes Arya 🙂 Just as putting TWD anywhere in context to GOT, is a tad insulting to GOT.

      Arya will be Arya. The Dark Sister she’s always been growing into. Now she gets to use all her skillz. Gonna be legendary

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    19. Long Night 2. should last up until the very end, as was always in the cards.

      I better get all the gritty Old Nan stories come to life. Food shortages. Freezing people — people turning to eat other people LOL.

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    20. Thronetender,

      Why wouldn’t she be near Kings Landing?

      I would think Arya will be needed, in the final battles as the Long Night moves south. Winterfell will kick ass, but, unless she’s far removed, I can’t see an image that doesn’t put her in the final battles outside of KL.

      It’s gonna be so amazing. All the dead, will rise and that final battle before Night King would invade KL, should be the best of the battles, I HOPE. Ayra should be right there in the thick of it.

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    21. “It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.”

      Thank you, David. Watchers are indeed sharp-eyed! I saw this interview elsewhere yesterday and not one fan picked up on that line. I did, but I’m a former English teacher. I also cringed because of bad syntax, which Maisie, God bless her, is often guilty of. Bad syntax can render meaning ambiguous.

      However, her context was the scale of the “impossible challenge” and everyone’s commitment to bringing their best to help GoT go out on top. Among the possible interpretations: 1) She’s leaving the show; 2) all the actors are leaving the show; or more broadly, 3) there’s no better way to end the show. Even if she is (which I doubt), that does not necessarily mean Arya’s end. Readng GoT tea leaves is bloody confusing. For one thing, GoT is shot out of order. In S7, LF’s last scene was the first one Aiden Gillen filmed. This year there’s allegedly only one filming unit, so with some locations and groups of extras shooting is used for different episodes, and different directors can work–more or less–concurrently. Example: David Nutter, who’s directing three episodes, shot in Dubrovnik. In photos there, Dave and Dan, who direct Episode 6, may have been directing too. They certainly seemed to be giving direction to the actors. But they’re usually on set, so who knows? It’s just hard to tell what’s going on. BTW, Maisie has apparently been in Belfast a lot recently, more than many cast members. Maybe Arya’s ability to fight in darkness will really pay off in the Long Night!!

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    22. ae:
      Clob,

      I love Michonne, but that’s a line that diminishes Arya 🙂 Just as putting TWD anywhere in context to GOT, is a tad insulting to GOT.

      Arya will be Arya. The Dark Sister she’s always been growing into. Now she gets to use all her skillz. Gonna be legendary

      I think you are projecting your own (albeit similar to my own) feelings of The Walking Dead onto Game of Thrones. Michonne is a sword-wielding warrior is simply the comparison I was making.

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    23. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      “BTW, Maisie has apparently been in Belfast a lot recently, more than many cast members. Maybe Arya’s ability to fight in darkness will really pay off in the Long Night!!”
      ——————

      I would like that! Although I was not thrilled with the offscreen deaths of the Blackfish and the Waif, I wouldn’t mind a scene of Arya facing off against a squad of WWs and wights…and after 15 seconds of pitch darkness, someone comes along with a torch and we see the remains of disintegrated WWs and minced wights on the floor, and Arya standing calmly over them, wiping off her dagger blade on wight’s torso and picking her teeth with Needle … with a ho-hum, “just another day at the office” attitude.

      God I love Arya.

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    24. For those thirsting for a battle as big as LOTR at the helm and the wall…. I’m not with you! Battle sequences take too freaking long. Sure, I stayed interested longer with all the battles in GOT. The characters are better fleshed out, it’s run a much longer time period, has more complexity in story lines and stakes against a mysterious dark force or multiple evil opponents. Altogether, puts more interest in the battle as they happen and you are at edge of seat…. but still, by the time GOT big battles ended I was always exhausted and felt they did drag too long. So if we are getting bigger and darker battles scenes… IDK that my long wait will be as satisfying as anticipated. I will likely have to tune out to those lengthy battles. Unless they keep something to be invested in with every sword that clashes.

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    25. Olli,

      The battles on GoT are amazing. Battle of the Bastards was a damn masterpiece. Personally, I’ve never been bored for a second watching any of the battles.

      Also, it is guaranteed that this last season will have at least two huge battles. Like promised to be much bigger than any battle we’ve seen before. So you might not like it, but better to come to terms with it now. These battles very well could take up the better part of a couple of episodes. And I really hope they do, after what the myths have promised this Long Night will be.

      Part of me even wishes that they could stretch out this season into two seasons, so we could get a proper Long Night that actually lasts years like the first one did. Might be hard for D&D but I have faith that they could make this work. Oh well, wishful thinking. I’m sure the ending that they have in mind will be perfect.

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    26. GodsEye,

      I was incredibly thankful to see that they edited out all the extra flipping and somersaulting during that fight, since it would have completely undermined what credibility that scene had.

      Turning Arya into a somersaulting, superhuman ninja trope really would have tipped this show over into stereotypical Hollywood drivel.

      The mere fact that they even choreographed and filmed Arya fighting like that actually depresses me, since it reveals an underlying mentality in the production team that is pushing this show towards mainstream Hollywood tropes.

      Earlier in the episode we had that awful moment where she dodged the Winterfell guard’s attempt to hit/grab her. It couldn’t have been more cliched and unnecessary if they had tried.

      And it makes me nervous about what sort of silliness they might come up with for Season 8. There’s simply no need for Arya to become some sort of flawless, superhuman ninja, leaping and dodging her way around Westeros like an extra from The Matrix.

      She’s a trained fighter now. Good. Quick and nimble. Fine. She knows a some impressive moves and people will undoubtedly underestimate her. Excellent.

      You’ve got all the ingredients for any fight scenario they might film with her. They don’t need to make her so overpowered and incongruously accomplished a fighter that she makes everybody else on the show seem pathetic in comparison.

      It’s just too much.

      Especially since we’ve only ever seen Arya training with The Waif up until that point. She killed The Waif off-screen. She surprised Meryn Trant. She murdered old Walder Frey while he was sat down. She killed Black Walder and Lothar off-screen, presumably by quietly slitting their throats, not in some grand duel.

      Yet suddenly we’re presented with this incredibly accomplished, somersaulting, over-confident Arya humiliating Brienne of Tarth in a duel?

      I really found it tenuous. And had they included all the extra flipping and somersaulting they filmed, I think that would’ve really crossed the line.

      At least if they include all sorts of miraculous Hollywood silliness in Season 8 the show will be over for good shortly after and I won’t have to worry about how much further they could corrupt the world and storytelling that they originally depicted in earlier seasons.

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    27. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man: we’ve only ever seen Arya training with The Waif up until that point. She killed The Waif off-screen. She surprised Meryn Trant. She murdered old Walder Frey while he was sat down. She killed Black Walder and Lothar off-screen, presumably by quietly slitting their throats, not in some grand duel.

      Yet suddenly we’re presented with this incredibly accomplished, somersaulting, over-confident Arya humiliating Brienne of Tarth in a duel?

      I don’t feel quite as strongly as you do, but I agree with the sentiment. I remember commenting here a number of times about it. The Waif whooped Arya’s ass every time they trained/fought except when in total darkness. Yet Arya is now this undefeatable badass who can seemingly beat anyone anytime. At what point did this happen? If she can’t come close to beating the Waif then how the hell does she hold her own with Brienne of Tarth? Was the Waif the greatest fighter in Planetos or something? It’s not something that pisses me off or anything. It just confuses me.

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    28. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      You’re letting your negativity for the show’s current quality cloud your judgement of the actual content. Arya in no way embarrassed Brienne. The fight was fairly even. And the only reason Brienne was caught off guard at the end was because she had no prior notion of Arya’s fighting style or ruthlessness with a blade. Hence why she asked who trained her in the end. Have you forgotten that she literally saw Brienne battle to the death against the Hound? It’s not far fetched to assume she recalled some of her movements and technique in order to counter her effectively. The thing with live action versus the books however is that not all of that context can be spelled out for the viewer.

      This opinion that season 7 made Arya out to be some overpowered ninja is just not true at all. Even in episode 702, when Arya encountered all of the wolves, she froze and assessed her options before noticing Nymeria. She’s still very capable of succumbing to fear as any warrior with sense would. So I doubt she’ll come into season 8 decimating anything in her path with little to no ease. She’s a great fighter, but she’s not impervious to damage or magic.

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    29. Ten Bears: I wouldn’t mind a scene of Arya facing off against a squad of WWs and wights…and after 15 seconds of pitch darkness, someone comes along with a torch and we see the remains of disintegrated WWs and minced wights on the floor, and Arya standing calmly over them, wiping off her dagger blade on wight’s torso and picking her teeth with Needle … with a ho-hum, “just another day at the office” attitude.

      Okay… now I need that to be on the show!! 🙂

      At some point we have to see what she can really do. The sparring and faceless stuff is neat ‘n’ all, but I need to see her get down and kick some ass! “The only one that needs protecting is the one that gets in her way.” I seriously need to see some people/things getting in her way…

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    30. Mr Derp,

      Exactly.

      I just find it frustratingly lazy, inconsistent and too Hollywood, which is not what this show used to be like.

      I mean, let’s consider a few things said about other fighters in Westeros:

      “I’m not sorry. You’re the best fighter I’ve ever seen. You beat The Hound. I’m proud to be your squire” – Podrick about Brienne – S5x03

      “I keep hearing stories about you, bastard. The way people in The North talk about you, you’re the greatest swordsman who ever walked” – Ramsay Bolton about Jon Snow – S6x09

      Jorah: “I killed a Dothraki bloodrider in single combat”
      Malko: “Liar”
      Jorah: “It’s no lie. His name was Qotho. He was bloodrider to Khal Drogo”
      – S5x06

      Arya: “You’re wrong. I know a killer. A real killer”
      The Hound: “Is that so?”
      Arya: “You’d be like a kitten to him. He’d kill you with his little finger.”
      – S03x09

      Yet we reach Season 7 and after a few training montages Arya is now depicted as capable of going toe to toe with Brienne “the best fighter I’ve ever seen” Tarth, could presumably hold her own against Jon “greatest swordsman who ever walked” Snow, could surely beat a Dothraki bloodrider, if not a handful of them, and The Hound has been reduced to a kitten in comparison to her.

      It just undermines the internal logic and consistency of the show, in my opinion.

      And bear in mind that Jon, Brienne, The Hound, Jorah, Jaime, Bronn and so on have been shown surviving fights just through sheer luck or brawling or last minute interventions from third parties etc.

      Yet we’re now supposed to accept that Arya “Neo” Stark after, what, a year (?) training in Braavos is one of the most accomplished fighters on Planetos?

      Nope. Sorry.

      And it’s really annoying, because I really really like scrappy, plucky underdog Arya. I don’t like overpowered, overconfident, cocky Arya. I don’t want to see one of the most intriguing and endearing characters on the show turned into a lazy Hollywood trope/anomaly that sticks out like a sore thumb in this show.

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    31. Yaga: Re: the night shoot, I just hope that it’s visible on screen. Some scenes were too dark, on occasion.

      Hear, hear! (And, we can hope, “see, see”). Unfortunately, the directors seem to be going for “medieval realism”, which means no additional lighting, and while it may work fine for folks who are actually on the set and close up, the effect is a almost totally black screen for those of us who have to watch it on the teevie screen. Hope the foley work and background music are good, as that may be all we’ll be able to enjoy.

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    32. Edward,

      Quite the opposite. The content, including the way they treated Arya, is the basis for my negativity towards last season.

      She did kinda embarrass Brienne. She scored multiple hits, parried or dodged every attack and it ended at a stalemate.

      Brienne’s got the size, reach and experience advantages. She’s bested Jaime Lannister, The Hound and Loras Tyrell in single combat.

      And yet she’s held to a stalemate by Season 7 Arya.

      After Season 7, I have little reason not to suspect that they will turn her into the Legolas of Game of Thrones in Season 8, leaping and dodging round the battlefield, doing lots of ‘cool’ things. Which would be a real shame.

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    33. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I believe GRRM had some difficulties with this too… if I’m not mistaken, at one point in time he had planned on putting in a lengthy gap in the story (maybe a couple years?) so that Arya had longer to train in Bravos and other storylines had more time to develop, but us readers wouldn’t have to sit through too much unnecessary plot development because he would just have a gap in his story. He didn’t do it obviously, probably because it screwed up his timeline and he couldn’t put all the storylines on hold for multiple years.

      Not sure if all of this is accurate, but I’ve definitely read/heard of this and it could explain why Arya’s training accelerated so drastically. They knew where they wanted her character to end up, but they just didn’t have the time to make all the training perfectly accurate because her story had to move along at the same pace as the rest of the story.

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    34. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Brienne kicked the shit out of Arya and sent her flying. That blow had more impact than anything Arya did throughout the entire fight so I’m still a little confused on why you feel as though she was “embarrassed”. I really thought the fight was fairly even until the last part where Arya only “won” because of the element of surprise.

      I have no idea how they’ll make Arya out to be in season 8 combat wise but I doubt she’ll be able to decimate wights like some overpowered assassin when the “Beyond the Wall mates” had trouble taking them all out en masse. The only thing I’ve ever thought was poorly done and weak was the way the Waif perished. As long as nothing remotely close to that is featured in season 8 regarding Arya, I’ll be happy.

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    35. Edward,

      Dude, they showed Brienne as incapable of scoring a hit on Arya even after she’d been disarmed. Arya was just dodging all of her lunges until she saw an opportunity to put a knife to Brienne’s throat and it ended in a stalemate.

      So Brienne couldn’t even clearly beat Arya when armed with a sword and Arya only a dagger.

      Brienne pretty obviously came off looking worse in that sparring session, given her relative size and experience.

      I have no doubt they’ll depict Arya navigating the Season 8 battlefields with consummate ease. How could they not, after she’s proven herself a match for Brienne of Tarth?

      As for the Beyond The Wall squad, about 7 of them took on an army of hundreds of wights, chopping them down with relative ease for minutes, one after another, and only a couple of Wildling extras died.

      That whole sequence was also painfully Hollywood-esque, so it’s not a great example to use to disprove the potential pitfalls in depicting the Season 8 battles.

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    36. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Dude, I still don’t see how Brienne was embarrassed. I feel like that particular word in general implies that she was was hopelessly bested by Arya which was NOT the case. And as I said, Arya has seen Brienne fight before. Brienne had never seen Arya fight. Arya is extremely short. And considering Arya has faced multiple enemies taller than her, while we have never seen Brienne face someone noticeably shorter than her, that makes a difference as well. So to sum it all up, Arya had the element of surprise to aid in her duel with Brienne. She didn’t outclass her by some large margin. Ignorance in an enemy’s fighting skill and having to adjust your own technique to accommodate the size of an enemy are huge variables.

      We can go back and forth about this all day, but I do not care to do so any further than we have. You are entitled to your opinion and while I can see where you’re coming from, I just don’t see it in that particular light.

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    37. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Edward,

      I have little reason not to suspect that they will turn her into the Legolas of Game of Thrones in Season 8

      Let us hope, then, that the Army of the Dead does not show up with a regiment of wight mammoths, lest we discover that somewhere in her travels Arya has mastered the art of mumak-surfing!

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    38. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,
      Most of that issue was caused by the show abbreviating her training and time spent in the HoBaW. Since she’s still there as of the last published page she’ll have even more training than what is already more than the show depicted. That doesn’t help in believing that Arya is now an awesome fighter on the show, but I do think it’s something we just have to accept. The character is suppose to now be skilled through all of her training and practicing whether we saw it or not. It’s not really any different than any of the other characters. Jon grew up sparring a lot but never actually fought ‘for real’ in any battles. We just had to accept that he’s good with a sword. We didn’t see any of the others really learning to fight. We were just told they’re good and we’re suppose to believe it.

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    39. Clob,

      Thank you lol. Even in the books Arya is shown receiving the most formal training out of anyone else in the current timeline. Her prowess to me has always been fairly realistic except for the Waif confrontation.

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    40. Jaehaerys:
      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I believe GRRM had some difficulties with this too… if I’m not mistaken, at one point in time he had planned on putting in a lengthy gap in the story (maybe a couple years?) so that Arya had longer to train in Bravos and other storylines had more time to develop, but us readers wouldn’t have to sit through too much unnecessary plot development because he would just have a gap in his story.He didn’t do it obviously, probably because it screwed up his timeline and he couldn’t put all the storylines on hold for multiple years.

      Not sure if all of this is accurate, but I’ve definitely read/heard of this and it could explain why Arya’s training accelerated so drastically.They knew where they wanted her character to end up, but they just didn’t have the time to make all the training perfectly accurate because her story had to move along at the same pace as the rest of the story.

      This is the “five-year gap” plan that GRRM ended up abandoning. He wrote AFFC and ADWD instead, ‘parking’ Arya in Braavos and Sansa in the Vale.

      Talking of whom, Maisie Williams has commented on the Season 7 Winterfell storyline: https://www.metro.us/entertainment/tv/game-of-thrones-maisie-williams-arya-kill-sansa

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    41. Jaehaerys,

      Yup that’s totally true. Though, I can’t remember where I read that either haha. GRRM does explain his chronology a lot in his acknowledgements so I may have read it there. I know he addressed that AFfC and ADwD happen simultaneously, and then progresses the story once the POVs from AFfC reappear in ADwD. I think I read that GRRM did this rather than the time jump but I can be mistaken.

      Arya’s training is described in more detail in the books of course, so D&D have to adapt what they can to the show. They did that montage of her training and they even took the sample chapter for Mercy in TWoW for season 6. Either way, I find it believable that she’s a badass warrior/fighter/assassin in her own right now.

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    42. Edward,

      When it comes to Faif, I came to believe that Arya as tricking her and concealing her skills at least since she got her eyesight back. They were playing the game of faces nonstop etc., and IMO Arya knew that all of that was going towards some ultimate confrontation, so it would have been reasonable for her to keep an ace or two up in the slieve. And probably that’s why Waif tried to provoke her: to learn her full potential (but eventually her hubris took over). If we accept that, we can fully accept Arya as this badass killer. But by no means, that makes her Holywoodish: she may have skills, but when it comes to mind and temper, Arya still looks like an angry egoistic child and worse (much worse). That might not be the character development her fans wanted – sure, we all wanted our girl to keep her good heart and develpop more empathy, rather than martial skills – but you rarely get what you want in GOT. And if you thought that Arya’s dream about becomming a warrior wouldn’t have a price, you haven’t been paying attetion.

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    43. Mr Derp,

      you are correct, it ciuld very well be as simple as. the difference the way Brits use the verbage compared to the American verbage. Very subtle differences, but they do exist.

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    44. Inga,

      I agree! Thank you for this great interpretation.

      In life, and especially in the entertainment medium, the stronger foe doesn’t always win the battle. In fact, if that was the case, so many protagonists and other ancillary characters that have survived in our favorite tales would be dead. Even though the Waif confrontation bothered me, it didn’t anger me half as much as some of the book purist/show criticizers. If we look at your reasoning it does provide a decent amount of sense. Hubris is often the downfall of very skilled men and women. And the Waif happened to be one of them, fortunately for Arya’s sake.

      As far as being too “Hollywood”, I also agree. Arya is definitely not very comparable to any other female protagonists in the current television landscape. And to have experienced the amount of carnage and death she has, if she ended up NOT becoming a little sinister then that in itself would be very Hollywood. Some people’s nostalgia goggles make it exceedingly hard to process any intrinsic change in personality of certain characters.

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    45. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      “And it makes me nervous about what sort of silliness they might come up with for Season 8. There’s simply no need for Arya to become some sort of flawless, superhuman ninja, leaping and dodging her way around Westeros like an extra from The Matrix.”
      —————–

      Look at it this way: Would you rather watch Arya as a superhuman ninja warrior princess… or Baby Sam getting reclaimed by his WW Craster brothers; Baby Tyvek Lannister getting kidnapped by Euron, and Baby Eddard Targaryen throwing temper tantrums?

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    46. jeffery young,

      Looking at it from a strictly logical point of view, the security around season 8 is tighter than it’s ever been for GoT. But yet we have a principal cast member implying that she’s off to shoot her final scenes midway through the shoot? Not likely! 🙂

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    47. the Arya vs Brienne scene was most probably not trying to introduce Arya as WF’s new weapon of mass destruction. Arya’s sword has only one pointy end, and i doubt she’d have the stamina to wield a long and heavy blade for a long time.

      sure, that was some interesting display of acrobatic skills and cockyness she gave to Brienne. but she wasn’t facing the Brienne who hammered the Hound down a cliff or dominated Jamie Lannister. it was the Brienne who had sworn an oath to protect Arya, and this protection seems to include taking herself back a little bit in case her protegee becomes a bit cocky.

      Arya will be smart enough to know her limits. she’s a good one on one fighter, but when it comes to mass murder, she needs ideas and camouflage. some camouflage like a WW mask for example. including the eyes.

      ok no, that won’t happen!

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    48. I never really saw a problem with Arya’s “surprise” skills in season 7 against Brienne. In the early seasons, she has had her training with Syrio and can be seen constantly practicing her sword moves in season 4. At this point, however, she has the moves down, but not the training for how to use them effectively in an actual duel. But then she starts learning some of this from The Hound. Then we come to her training with the Faceless Men, and it’s clearly very intense and goes on for quite some time (as we can assume). It may not be with a sword, but she learns skills like anticipation, dodging, and effective attacks that she then applies to her sword fighting.

      It’s also important to know that Arya is very precocious and driven, so she will pick up stuff like this very fast. And from a storytelling/show perspective, it would be pretty boring to telegraph her every step in learning how to fight. What made her duel with Brienne that much more fun was not really knowing how far along she’d come. And then we see it to our pleasant surprise.

      And I’m certain we can assume that Arya got more training from Brienne apart from that one sparring match, so come season 8 we can expect her to be even more skilled.

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    49. Edward,

      I just wanna see Arya go full-on MFT on someone in S8.

      Especially when it comes to terminating villains who’ve caused so much suffering for so many for so long (eg Walder Frey and MiddleFinger), quick surgical slices of the jugular don’t do it for me.

      As a wise man once said:

      “All over in an instant. Where’s the punishment in that?”

      – S. Clegane

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    50. Ten Bears,
      Could you please write out the abbreviations or acronyms? I mean, I get WW, but YMBQ the other day was already a brain twister for me (got it eventually). Thanks so much.

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    51. Ten Bears: I just wanna see Arya go full-on MFT on someone in S8.

      Cliohna:
      Ten Bears,
      Could you please write out the abbreviations or acronyms? I mean, I get WW, but YMBQ the other day was already a brain twister for me (got it eventually). Thanks so much.

      I do believe “go full-on MFT” would be a desire to see Arya do a Meryn Fucking Trant – esque attack on someone else in S8.

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    52. Ten Bears:
      Edward,

      I just wanna see Arya go full-on MFT on someone in S8.

      Especially when it comes to terminating villains who’ve caused so much suffering for so many for so long (eg Walder Frey and MiddleFinger), quick surgical slices of the jugular don’t do it for me.

      As a wise man once said:

      “All over in an instant. Where’s the punishment in that?”

      – S. Clegane

      Haha. I personally don’t want this. It’s clear that there are those who want Arya to just do her assassin thing and be a ruthless killer, and then those who want her to reconnect with her roots and her humanity — to remember that she is a Stark. If she continues going MFT on people, that is not something Ned or Jon would approve of, and it would be indication that her soul is lost; darkened beyond repair, and that she’s no longer a true Stark.

      That’s not to say I don’t find her killing MFT, Walder Frey, etc. satisfying. And I love that she’s such a badass and an amazing fighter, but I don’t want her to become the villains she’s swore vengeance against.

      So I’ll quote another line from the great S. Clegane:
      “Remember where the heart is?”

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    53. They are definately building her character up for an all-around badass! I think she will square off and easily kill a WW, may even have a hand in killing Ser Night King lol. I could see her and Brienne be Knighted by the end, it’s what she always wanted (but girls can’t be knights season 1, not sure which episide)

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    54. Inga:
      Edward,

      When it comes to Faif, I came to believe that Arya as tricking her and concealing her skills at least since she got her eyesight back. They were playing the game of faces nonstop etc., and IMO Arya knew that all of that was going towards some ultimate confrontation, so it would have been reasonable for her to keep an ace or two up in the slieve. And probably that’s why Waif tried to provoke her: to learn her full potential (but eventually her hubris took over). If we accept that, we can fully accept Arya as this badass killer. But by no means, that makes her Holywoodish: she may have skills, but when it comes to mind and temper, Arya still looks like an angry egoistic child and worse (much worse). That might not be the character development her fans wanted – sure, we all wanted our girl to keep her good heart and develpop more empathy, rather than martial skills – but you rarely get what you want in GOT. And if you thought that Arya’s dream about becomming a warrior wouldn’t have a price, you haven’t been paying attetion.

      I think you’re right, Inga. She probably planned the whole thing in 6.06 (except the miscalculation on being badly wounded!) while hiding with Needle and the candle in the small dark room. It helped that she knew the Waif as well as the Waif knew her. Rather than be taken unawares, in 6.07 she paraded around ostentatiously to the Westerosi ship captain, which drew out the Waif. When she inevitably showed up, Arya was waiting on a bridge that offered her quick escape. The later chase was weird, but she managed to lure the Waif to the room and snuff the candle. Later she drank from the healing well in the HoB&W. In S7, I do think the Lannister soldier, Hot Pie, and Nymeria scenes were meant to let her humanity shine through once more. Plus she paid a price by abandoning her lonb-term plans for vengeance on Cersei! Too bad she struggled just to get into Winterfell and found the family’s archenemy there. Once her covert efforts against Littlefinger were over, on the battlements she gently said to Sansa, “Are you all right?” I think and hope her reunions with friends and Jon in episode one next season will allow her to further reclaim herself. Soon enough the shite will hit the fan.

      Enharmony1625,

      Enharmony–You’re no doubt right about the training and that she was “constantly practicing her sword moves in season 4”. Arya has handled a variety of weaponry from 1.01 on–sticks, swords, bow&arrow, quarterstaffs, and now a dagger. She closely watched several duels, including some brutal ones with the Hound. (She also does quite well in duels of wit!) She even came up with the dagger flip. Because she has fighting smarts as well, she achieved a stalemate with Brienne. I suspect she’ll mostly be using archery at Winterfell, but assuming the castle’s curtain wall is breached, she’ll probably be engulfed in hand-to-hand combat. That requires strength and stamina as well as versatility. If the foe is human, she can probably outwit them. If it’s not, we shall see. But she does know Winterfell’s hidden pockets, and if need be might take shelter and/or lead others to shelter. By the way, I also don’t want her to go MFT. While she’ll be as badass as needed during the wars, but I hope she’ll let it go afterwards. She wanted to be like Ned, picking up a sword and going off to battle. But the Ned she knew and loved was man of peace and justice who raised a family, taught them life lessons and values, and ruled his people well. In S1 she had asked him, “Can I rule a holdfast?” That is what I hope for her–to rule a castle, not as mistress, but as the ruler. And do it like Ned did. GoT doesn’t usually allow happy ends, but one can hope.

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    55. Cliohna:
      Ten Bears,
      Could you please write out the abbreviations or acronyms? I mean, I get WW, but YMBQ the other day was already a brain twister for me (got it eventually). Thanks so much.

      I am SO sorry! I swear I intended to footnote “MFT” with an asterisk to explain that it meant Meryn F*cking Trant, and then forgot to do so. No excuse. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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    56. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      “She [Arya] probably planned the whole thing in 6.06 (except the miscalculation on being badly wounded!) while hiding with Needle and the candle in the small dark room. It helped that she knew the Waif as well as the Waif knew her. Rather than be taken unawares, in 6.07 she paraded around ostentatiously to the Westerosi ship captain, which drew out the Waif. When she inevitably showed up, Arya was waiting on a bridge that offered her quick escape. The later chase was weird, but she managed to lure the Waif to the room….”
      ______________
      Unfortunately, all of the instances of inexplicable, out of character behavior of Arya that you cited were the result of questionable and cheaply manipulative directorial decisions.

      In interviews, the director said he purposely chose to have Arya walk around in broad dalight like a carefree, oblivious tourist. He decided to increase the severity of the stabbing so fans would actually think Arya might die. He was so intent on filming [what he thought was] the most exciting foot race scene ever, that he ignored that Arya was still recuperating and could not humanly

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    57. Stark Raven’ Rad: …
      In S1 she had asked him, “Can I rule a holdfast?” That is what I hope for her–to rule a castle, not as mistress, but as the ruler. And do it like Ned did. GoT doesn’t usually allow happy ends, but one can hope.

      True, but I think some good things have to happen in the end. Even GRRM has said that you need hope at the end, so I do believe we’ll get some reasonably hopeful things to offset the brutality that we’re in for. Otherwise the story just gets depressing, and that’s not a good place to leave it. And in the bittersweet ending, I hope the sweetness comes from Arya and Sansa, who have suffered enormous trauma yet have found the strength and will to survive.

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    58. Ten Bears:
      Stark Raven’ Rad,

      “She [Arya] probably planned the whole thing in 6.06 (except the miscalculation on being badly wounded!) while hiding with Needle and the candle in the small dark room. It helped that she knew the Waif as well as the Waif knew her. Rather than be taken unawares, in 6.07 she paraded around ostentatiously to the Westerosi ship captain, which drew out the Waif. When she inevitably showed up, Arya was waiting on a bridge that offered her quick escape. The later chase was weird, but she managed to lure the Waif to the room….”
      ______________ Unfortunately, all of the instances of inexplicable, out of character behavior of Arya that you cited were the result of questionable and cheaply manipulative directorial decisions.


      In interviews, the director said he purposely chose to have Arya walk around in broad dalight like a carefree, oblivious tourist. He decided to increase the severity of the stabbing so fans would actually think Arya might die.He was so intent on filming [what he thought was] the most exciting foot race scene ever,that he ignored that Arya was still recuperating and could not humanly

      Yeah, that super pissed me off when Mark Mylod justified Arya’s obliviousness to the Waif being after her (and I’m paraphrasing):
      “You have to remember that this is a young girl, and she lets her guard down.”

      Really? Have you seen GoT seasons 1 – 5 you twat? Arya impressed Tywin himself with her wit, singlehandedly planned the escape from Harenhall, saved Gendry (and probably a lot more people too from having their eyes gouged out) with her quick thinking, etc. But yeah, let’s have her admire the view just after running out on an assassin’s guild. I’m glad he’s not back directing in season 8! 🙂

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    59. Enharmony1625:

      So I’ll quote another line from the great S. Clegane:
      “Remember where the heart is?”

      No way that line isn’t going to resurface before the end, undoubtedly in some five-hankie heartbreak scene. In the show, it seems likely to be the Hound’s demise, in the presence of one or both Stark girls. In the books, I’m still holding out for Arya’s destiny to be to mercy-kill Lady Stoneheart. And ultimately, Arya needs to remember where her own heart is.

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    60. Firannion: No way that line isn’t going to resurface before the end, undoubtedly in some five-hankie heartbreak scene. In the show, it seems likely to be the Hound’s demise, in the presence of one or both Stark girls. In the books, I’m still holding out for Arya’s destiny to be to mercy-kill Lady Stoneheart. And ultimately, Arya needs to remember where her own heart is.

      Blargh I hope not – Houndie and Jorah are tied for #1 in my own heart, I expect everyone I love to die but dammit it’ll ruin me for a good while.

      I fully expect Arya to mercy-kill LSH as well, not in small part because

      Arya herself was somewhat responsible for bringing her back, via Nymeria bringing Catelyn to the riverbank where she was found. And after all, her pseudonym is Mercy. Hmm.

      I never quite know what is a book spoiler anymore. 😜

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    61. Enharmony1625,

      I’m also disappointed with that director for the Nymeria-Arya scene in S7e2. It should have been an indelible moment. I should’ve been bawling my eyes out. Instead, if was just…middling. And I had to explain to friends who are casual show watchers what Arya’s words “That’s not you” meant. They all mistakenly thought that Arya realized the direwolf wasn’t Nymeria.

      They should’ve had Michelle McLaren direct that episode (and many others). She knows how to portray suspense and emotion, without resort to cheap gimmickry.

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    62. I think all this talk about Arya losing her soul or heart as a warrior/killer is bad for the message of feminine empowerment. Did Jon lose his soul by fighting, did Jorah or any of the great warriors? More importantly, did we worry they had lost their souls? Barrister, or whatever was the name of Danerys’s commander, was a superior warrior who killed more men than most and we never wondered about his soul. When he was warm and defensive toward Danerys, it was easy to accept a mix of heart with duty. Can we not just accept Arya will be a great warrior and her soul will be as intact as any hard edged defender of the realm? That is, weary from battle and the burden of duty, but brave and worthy of the task. We should expect that her soul will rest with all the other great warriors in the end. Same with Brienne!

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    63. Olli:
      I think all this talk about Arya losing her soul or heart as a warrior/killer is bad for the message of feminine empowerment.Did Jon lose his soul by fighting, did Jorah or any of the great warriors?More importantly, did we worry they had lost their souls?Barrister, or whatever was the name of Danerys’s commander, was a superior warrior who killed more men than most and we never wondered about his soul.When he was warm and defensive toward Danerys, it was easy to accept a mix of heart with duty.Can we not just accept Arya will be a great warrior and her soul will be as intact as any hard edged defender of the realm?That is, weary from battle and the burden of duty, but brave and worthy of the task.We should expect that her soul will rest with all the other great warriors in the end.Same with Brienne!

      I’m with you, man! What a scholasticism! Poor Arya! Grab hold your great soul, my brave girl! hahaha!

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    64. Firannion: No way that line isn’t going to resurface before the end, undoubtedly in some five-hankie heartbreak scene. In the show, it seems likely to be the Hound’s demise, in the presence of one or both Stark girls. In the books, I’m still holding out for Arya’s destiny to be to mercy-kill Lady Stoneheart. And ultimately, Arya needs to remember where her own heart is.

      Pigeon,

      I definitely think that line will come back in some way too, and The Hound seems like a good candidate. I’m with you though, Pigeon, he is one of my favs as well, so I’ll be crying buckets if it happens. ‘:(

      I like the theory of Arya having to mercy kill LSH from the books, but damn.. how much trauma is going to be thrown at poor Arya?

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    65. Ten Bears,

      I agree that her reunion scene with Nymeria could have been better, and I would have loved to see Michelle MacLaren direct more episodes. Although I think Maisie really saved the scene, and the “that’s not you” line, with her amazing acting. Look at her expression as she’s about to say that line and you can see how Arya is recalling back to her time with Ned and the way she says it is very much a bittersweet remembrance.

      I think you had a comment on another post about how pre-show book readers felt about Maisie’s casting (I read the books right after season 6 aired), and I must say I can’t imagine anyone else as Arya! She nails it!

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    66. Olli:
      I think all this talk about Arya losing her soul or heart as a warrior/killer is bad for the message of feminine empowerment.Did Jon lose his soul by fighting, did Jorah or any of the great warriors?More importantly, did we worry they had lost their souls?Barrister, or whatever was the name of Danerys’s commander, was a superior warrior who killed more men than most and we never wondered about his soul.When he was warm and defensive toward Danerys, it was easy to accept a mix of heart with duty.Can we not just accept Arya will be a great warrior and her soul will be as intact as any hard edged defender of the realm?That is, weary from battle and the burden of duty, but brave and worthy of the task.We should expect that her soul will rest with all the other great warriors in the end.Same with Brienne!

      Yes, you make some good points, and I fully support Arya as a great warrior with her soul firmly intact. However, there is a difference between how Arya has killed and how others like Brienne, Jon, Barristan, etc. For example, after killing Walder Frey her expression is almost orgasmic. And she not only kills him, she psychologically taunts him. Same with Meryn Trant and Polliver. So there is definitely an element of her killing for her own pleasure mixed with the justice they deserve. And I think the story is meant to make it a little unsettling for us, in that it is both satisfying to see her get revenge on these vile people who have done her and her family wrong, but also concerning that she’s going too far.

      It’s actually interesting if you compare Jon with Arya in this case, because Jon has definitely shown impulses of revenge as well, but he’s always had someone around him to pull him back. Whereas Arya has had people around her that nurtured her impulses (Yoren, Jaqen, The Hound). I’m hoping for a scene in season 8 between the two that addresses this. I’m hoping that Jon will be more understanding and not horrified at what Arya has done, and reassure her that there is nothing wrong with being a warrior and being skilled at it (he gave her Needle after all), but to pursue it as a means of personal revenge and pleasure will lead to nothing good.

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    67. Olli,

      Alright: There is someone who deserves the full-on MFT* treatment in S8.

      Someone who told Arya they’d meet again. Someone who foresaw the “eyes [Arya] will shut forever.” Someone who burned alive at the stake a good and kind little girl. [“Bad way to go.” – Mance R. “No s**t.” – Me] Someone who f*cked Gendry, probably gave him permanent PTSD-induced ED** by putting a leech on his “pillar” or “stones”, and would’ve killed him had Davos not freed him. [Arya: “You’re a witch! You’re going to hurt him!”] Someone who might think she could sneak back into the North in her old lady (real) form – not realizing that Arya has learned that seemingly harmless old ladies aren’t always what they seem. Someone who beguiled the One True King and led him to his doom. And killed Renly too. Someone who tried to f*ck Jon Snow by feeding him the “it’s a holy sacrament line” she used successfully on Gendry. Someone who promised Stannis she’d never abandon him – and then abandoned him and his army to march off to their slaughter. Worst of all, someone who caused Davos to choke up with grief and anger: “I loved that girl like she was my own. She was good, she was kind, and you killed her!”

      * Meryn F*cking Trant
      ** Erectile Dysfunction

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    68. Enharmony1625,

      I’m hoping that Jon will be more understanding and not horrified at what Arya has done, and reassure her that there is nothing wrong with being a warrior and being skilled at it (he gave her Needle after all), but to pursue it as a means of personal revenge and pleasure will lead to nothing good.”
      ——————–

      I think Sandor will be the one to do this. He’s so much different than the brute who cared so little for human life (“Dead rats don’t squeak”; “Dead men don’t need silver”), and Arya was instrumental in turning him around: “Please! Please don’t kill him!” [the pork merchant]; and “You’re the worst sh*t in the Seven Kingdoms” for robbing the farmer and daughter who took them in and fed them, leaving them destitute and defenseless. Since then, he’s learned to feel guilt, remorse – and maybe a sense of belonging to humanity. (That wonderful scene in S4e7 when he opens up to her was – I believe – the first time he showed empathy for another human being.)

      Beric told Sandor: “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane. It’s not too late for you.” Telling Arya she was right all along, and not to continue down the vengeance trail, will be part of his absolution. I hope.

      I cannot fathom that the writers would miss the opportunity to have Sandor remind her of her best, true self by repeating the words, in a different context this time: “Remember where the heart is.”

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    69. Firannion: No way that line isn’t going to resurface before the end, undoubtedly in some five-hankie heartbreak scene. In the show, it seems likely to be the Hound’s demise, in the presence of one or both Stark girls. …And ultimately, Arya needs to remember where her own heart is.

      I just read your comment, already saying pretty much what I just wrote at 5:24 pm. And yes: though it pains me to acknowledge it, Sandor will probably say that line to one or both sobbing Stark sisters as he’s dying.

      But we all know that the Lord of Light or whoever’s pulling the strings, brought him back “for a reason.” The god(s), and the show, could’ve left him dead. I’m looking forward to some real heroism from him – helping his fellow man much more than he’s harmed them – on his way out.

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    70. Ten Bears:
      Enharmony1625,

      I’m hoping that Jon will be more understanding and not horrified at what Arya has done, and reassure her that there is nothing wrong with being a warrior and being skilled at it (he gave her Needle after all), but to pursue it as a means of personal revenge and pleasure will lead to nothing good.”
      ——————–

      I think Sandor will be the one to do this. He’s so much different than the brute who cared so little for human life (“Dead rats don’t squeak”; “Dead men don’t need silver”), and Arya was instrumental in turning him around: “Please! Please don’t kill him!” [the pork merchant]; and “You’re the worst sh*t in the Seven Kingdoms” for robbing the farmer and daughter who took them in and fed them, leaving them destitute and defenseless. Since then, he’s learned to feel guilt, remorse – and maybe a sense of belonging to humanity. (That wonderful scene in S4e7 when he opens up to her was – I believe – the first time he showed empathy for another human being.)

      Beric told Sandor: “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane. It’s not too late for you.” Telling Arya she was right all along, and not to continue down the vengeance trail, will be part of his absolution. I hope.

      I cannot fathom that the writers would miss the opportunity to have Sandor remind her of her best, true self by repeating the words, in a different context this time: “Remember where the heart is.”

      Very true! I would love this actually. Their dynamic was one of the best in the series, so I think it would be a huge missed opportunity if they don’t follow through on this (or some variation of it). And I wonder if Jon might just be too busy and preoccupied with the White Walker threat to really “be” there for Arya. Although they have to have at least one good sit-down together. Not just a quick emotional reunion and then they separate again.. Ugh. We need at least one extended heartfelt scene between Jon and Arya or I’ll go full-on Faceless Men on D&D. 🙂

      I wonder if a scene like this could play out similarly to the one at the end of 4×10.. Ahh, getting chills just thinking about it.

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    71. Ten Bears: I just read your comment, already saying pretty much what I just wrote at 5:24 pm. And yes: though it pains me to acknowledge it, Sandor will probably say that line to one or both sobbing Stark sisters as he’s dying.

      But we all know that the Lord of Light or whoever’s pulling the strings, brought him back “for a reason.” The god(s), and the show, could’ve left him dead. I’m looking forward to some real heroism from him – helping his fellow man much more than he’s harmed them – on his way out.

      And he’ll go out having gained the love, respect, and caring of one or both of these girls that he protected and cared for. Oh god, the feels!! ‘:(

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    72. Enharmony1625: And he’ll go out having gained the love, respect, and caring of one or both of these girls that he protected and cared for. Oh god, the feels!! ‘:(

      You’re both wrong – Arya will repeat his words back to him, with a sad smile, as he is given no choice but to give HER the gift of mercy. 😢

        Quote  Reply

    73. Pigeon,

      If that happens, a brick goes through my TV screen; I cancel HBO immediately; syndication rights to GoT plummet to $0; Benioff, Weiss and GRRM will be vilified by the fandom more rabidly than Steve Bartman was trashed by Chicago Cubs baseball fans in October, 2003.

      I assume you were being facetious though. 😬 In my mind, everything points towards Sandor pushing Arya out of the way and taking the proverbial bullet for her; or running into a burning structure to rescue her; or otherwise sacrificing his own life so that she may live.

        Quote  Reply

    74. Ten Bears,

      I was trying to come up with something that would make me even MORE likely to offer myself up as Drogon food, but honestly, the brick shall be thrown regardless in my tv room when those two go. Or perhaps just a wail so high pitched that it shatters the tv anyway and makes the neighbouring dogs howl.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Pigeon,

      Ah, ha. You tease! 🙂

      But seriously, The Hound is high on my list of characters that will cause me grief and pain if they go down, but to see a young, strong-willed, independent girl who has suffered immense trauma and found the fortitude to survive (however misguided it is) in this brutal world go down is just.. a bridge too far!

        Quote  Reply

    76. Enharmony1625,

      Right???

      I love that so many people have be introduced to Rory through Game of Thrones. I’ve really loved him since he was in a little show called The Book Group way back when, and I damn near jumped around like a toddler on sugar when I saw he was going to be Sandor. I suspect his role was expanded for the show somewhat simply because of how great it was received. He and Maisie are just the bees knees together.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Pigeon:
      Enharmony1625,

      Right???

      I love that so many people have be introduced to Rory through Game of Thrones. I’ve really loved him since he was in a little show called The Book Group way back when, and I damn near jumped around like a toddler on sugar when I saw he was going to be Sandor. I suspect his role was expanded for the show somewhat simply because of how great it was received. He and Maisie are just the bees knees together.

      I’d never seen Rory before GoT, but after seeing his incredible portrayal of The Hound, there’s no one else I can imagine in the role. One of the standout scenes for me (out of many outstanding ones) is the one at the end of 4×10. The way he goes from being affectionate and concerned for Arya’s safety (when he tells her to go with Brienne), to being faux-menacing when he tries to taunt her into killing him, to breaking down in tears begging for mercy is just.. wow!

        Quote  Reply

    78. Enharmony1625,

      “…One of the standout scenes for me (out of many outstanding ones) is the one at the end of 4×10. The way he goes from being affectionate and concerned for Arya’s safety (when he tells her to go with Brienne), to being faux-menacing when he tries to taunt her into killing him, to breaking down in tears begging for mercy is just.. wow!”
      —————
      For me, the #1 standout scene (among many) is in S4e7, when Sandor’s trying to stitch his neck bite wound and barks at Arya “No fire!” when she tells him he has to cauterize it.

      In 2-3 minutes, Rory conveys the entire spectrum of emotion: From snarling at her (“Shut up about it! Shut up about everything! Thanks to you I’m a walking bag of silver…I wish I’d never laid eyes on you!”); to letting down his guard and telling how Gregor burned him and how bad the pain was, but the emotional betrayal was worse (“the worst thing was that it was my brother who did it”) and his father protected Gregor by telling everyone Sandor’s bedding caught fire; to empathizing with Arya (“You think you’re on your own?); to finally letting her wash out his wound and help him stitch it. That look on his face when she’s tending to him as the scene ends…😢

        Quote  Reply

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