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Character-Defining Scenes: Arya Stark

Each of the remaining major characters in Game of Thrones has a pivotal scene that has changed them from who they were at the beginning of the show to who they are leading into the final season. This scene for Arya Stark comes in episode 8 of season 6.

The Lead Up

Arya has no problems pretending to be someone else. Starting with season 2 she takes on the identity of an orphan boy traveling with the Night’s Watch. Once she’s taken to Harrenhal, she pretends a to be random girl while serving as Tywin Lannister’s cup bearer. While at Harrenhal she has more interaction with Jaqen H’ghar, who makes a tantalizing offer to follow him to Braavos in order to learn how to assassinate people. She turns him down, but he gives her a coin to use in case she ever changes her mind — at the end of season 4, she does just that.

The House of Black and White

Upon arriving in Braavos, Arya goes to the House of Black and White, which is a headquarters of sorts for the Faceless Men, who assume the identities of others by putting on their faces like masks. However, what happens is more than just a mask. Some type of magic that isn’t explained in the show, transforms the Faceless Man completely into the other person. (We see this at the beginning of season 7, when Arya has transformed into Walder Frey.)

The Faceless Men use this ability to carry out assassinations. These assassinations are initially passed off as justice, but Arya learns later that the Faceless Men are paid to kill people. This is when she becomes disenfranchised with them.

The Waif

Throughout her time with the Faceless Men, Arya is harassed and eventually taught by another woman whose name we never know. In the beginning she resents Arya for coming to the join the Faceless Men when she hasn’t earned the right.

Who are you? You who walk in here with a coin you never earned, whose value you don’t respect. Who are you?

Once Arya leaves the Faceless Men after learning they’re no more than hired killers, the Waif is given permission to kill her, something she has wanted to do since Arya arrived. She tries but does not succeed.

The Scene

After Arya thwarts the Waif’s attempt to kill her, she returns to the House of Black and White and adds the Waif’s face to the Hall of Faces. After two seasons of trying to become “No One,” Arya reclaims her identity. Not only is she Arya Stark again, she now has the tools to carry out the assassinations of the people on her list.

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