ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Game of Thrones, ASOUE, and all things '00s. Twitter: @gen_vanvee Email: [email protected]
Genevieve Van Voorhis

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven't seen Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 6 "Blood Of My Blood," go do that right this second, then come back and enjoy this article in all its spoilery, fan-theory goodness.

From the start of the series, Arya Stark was a fast fan favorite — after Season 1, we even saw a rise in people naming their baby daughters after the middle Stark child. However, her training at the House of Black and White took a turn for the dry as she repeatedly had to renounce her identity (if you were a Stark of Winterfell, would you be able to say you were no one?), clean dead bodies, and get beat up by that arrogant little Waif.

Arya fighting the Waif. Source: NYT
Arya fighting the Waif. Source: NYT

BUT NOW Arya's storyline has resumed its adventure. After refusing to go through with the assassination of Lady Crane, she's on the run from the Waif, who wants nothing more than to kill her (but TBH, I doubt the Waif stands a chance now that Arya's taken Needle back and resumed her place on the war path).

If you've been following the theory of the Seven-Faced Starks, then you've already made the connection that there are seven Starks (not counting Jon Snow), and Seven Old Gods. As the theory goes, the fate of each Stark reflects the opposite of their corresponding deity (e.g., Ned Stark is the Father, who represents justice and honor, and he's killed at the tyrannical, evil hands of Joffrey).

The Stranger, Game Of Thrones
The Stranger, Game Of Thrones

The Stranger — the face that corresponds most strongly to Arya — is similar to the Westerosi version of the Grim Reaper. The only one of the Seven who is not depicted in a human form, the Stranger is often shown as a skeleton or part animal, bringing death to all.

According to the Seven-Faced Starks theory, Arya was never going to be able to finish her training at the House of Black and White:

The Stranger is known as the god of outcasts, which has befit Arya throughout the series. She's always been unlike other little girls, and now she's even unlike other orphans as she trains to serve the Many-Faced God. Calluna Reviews posits that if Arya's fate will be the inverse of the Stranger, she will never complete her training to become one of the Faceless Men. We can already see hints of that happening now as she struggles to fully release her name.

Now this has finally come to pass. Arya has blown her second and final chance to become Faceless. Assuming that her story continues to stick to this particular theory, what can we expect from her now?

1. Completing Her Kill List

Valar Morghulis. Source: Popsugar
Valar Morghulis. Source: Popsugar

Arya does relate to the Stranger in that she is an outcast, and associated with death (just think of her ever-growing kill list). But unlike the Stranger, Arya seeks to kill as a means of doling out justice to those she believes must be punished, rather than as a great equalizer among all people. Where the Stranger is cold, Arya is passionate. Therefore, now that Arya is on the road to becoming the inverse of the Stranger, it bodes well for her getting to off the rest of the people she's been itching to wipe out.

2. The Return Of Nymeria

Nymeria and Arya, Season 1
Nymeria and Arya, Season 1

Nymeria, Arya's direwolf, has entirely vanished from the Game of Thrones series after Arya forces her to run away in the first season. However, in the books, Arya dreams of Nymeria leading a pack of wild dogs, running around Westeros devouring men. Perhaps Nymeria is more of a nod to the Stranger than Arya, being an animal that brings death without pause. But now that Arya is starting her voyage out of Braavos, is a reunion on the horizon for the parted friends?

3. A Tragic Death

Source: GIPHY
Source: GIPHY

If the Stranger is the one who is meant to bring death equally, the inverse could well be having death brought to her. We've already gotten a glimpse of foreshadowing that Arya might not make it out of the long winter, from this passage from A Game of Thrones (the book):

"You’ll be sewing all through winter. When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers.” - Jon Snow to Arya

Although it was meant as a joke, and he was referring to actual needlework, this quote takes on a richer meaning in light of the fact that Arya named her sword Needle, and plans to do a great deal of work with it.

In light of everything that's been happening with Daenerys and Jon Snow, Arya hasn't been the subject of quite as many fan theory debates as some of the other Game of Thrones characters. But after this last episode, it looks like that could all be about to change.

Game of Thrones will return next Sunday on HBO. Check out the trailer below:

What are your thoughts on this Arya and the Stranger fan theory?


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