Halt! This post is dark and full of spoilers for season seven of Game of Thrones. If you're not caught up, turn away and head back to the Citadel to complete your homework.
Arya Stark has been on her own since the end of season one of Game of Thrones. After witnessing the beheading of her father at the Great Sept of Baelor, she fled King's Landing and embarked on a journey across and beyond Westeros—the kind of journey that would break most people. Arya turned herself into a weapon. She killed. She protected. She made a bloody to-kill list. It seemed like her destiny was set until she was reunited with her family.
“The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
The Starks are back in Winterfell, but no longer the children they once were. The location of their home means they're in the direct path of the Night King and his always-growing army. They have to defend their house. All of that makes us wonder if Arya's plans for sweet, sweet revenge are no longer on the table. Is she going to leave Sansa and Bran behind while she goes south again to eliminate Cersei and the Hound, two important remaining names on her death list?
While Arya has survived in a series of unlikely circumstances and become sharp and cunning, it's always been mildly horrifying to watch. To root for Arya is to be torn between admiring her moxie and being scared of what she's capable of doing. Her path has descended into ever darker and disturbing territory. She can remove people's faces. Their. Faces.
So maybe it's time for Arya to use her unique skills to help her family and settle down in Winterfell. Just as Sansa has had to figure out to make a fist and punch down those who would manipulate and hurt her, Arya could learn to be more than a weapon. She shouldn't put her talent for murder aside—her willingness to use the blade paired with Sansa's sentences makes the sisters formidable—but looking at the big picture and all the undead on the march, Arya's retribution against everyone who's wronged a Stark seems petty.
On the other hand, Cersei's name is on Arya's list. She's a power player and one of the biggest enemies the Starks/all of Westeros have to face, second only to the White Walkers. And with his death, Arya has Littlefinger's face now. Lord Baelish had a reputation for switching sides, so Cersei would have no reason to suspect anything if he came to grovel in front of the Iron Throne. It would get Arya close enough to take a dagger to Cersei's throat. (Another possibility that better fits into Maggy the Frog's prophecy is that Arya will kill Tyrion or Jaime and wear one of those faces to kill Cersei).
In talking with Making Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams confirmed Arya hasn't forgotten about her to-dos. "I think Cersei is still very much on her list. I think they're all still very much on her list. But at the moment she’s sidetracked," she said, "She'll always have that list, though. That's what keeps her ticking."
At this point in the series, Arya assassinating Cersei would serve the greater good. It would still be personal for the Stark sibling, but it would be a boon for Sansa, Daenerys, Jon/Aegon—anyone who isn't a Lannister. She can support House Stark and meet her personal goals; she really can have it all!
What do you think Arya's next steps are? Is she still on track to finish her kill list? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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