Artwork by John Picacio©
Cat of the Canals
the blind girl
the ugly girl
|Born||In 289 AC, at Winterfell|
The World of Ice & Fire (appendix)|
A Game of Thrones (POV)
A Clash of Kings (POV)
A Storm of Swords (POV)
A Feast for Crows (POV)
A Dance with Dragons (POV)
The Winds of Winter (POV)
|Played by||Maisie Williams|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6 | Season 7|
Arya Stark is the third child and second daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Tully. A member of House Stark, she has five siblings: brothers Robb, Bran, Rickon, half-brother Jon Snow, and older sister Sansa. She is a POV character in A Song of Ice and Fire and is portrayed by Maisie Williams in the television adaptation, Game of Thrones.
- 1 Appearance and Character
- 2 History
- 3 Recent Events
- 4 Arya and death
- 5 Quotes by Arya
- 6 Quotes about Arya
- 7 Family
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Appearance and Character
Nine years old at the start of A Game of Thrones, Arya's appearance is more Stark than Tully, with a long face, grey eyes, and brown hair. She is skinny and athletic. She is generally regarded as plain, as exemplified by a nickname "Arya Horseface", and is often mistaken for a boy. However, there are instances of her being called pretty and compared to her beautiful late aunt, Lyanna Stark.
Arya is a spirited girl interested in fighting and exploration, unlike her older sister, Sansa. Arya wants to learn how to fight with a sword and ride in tourneys, to the horror of Sansa, who enjoys the more traditional pursuits of a noblewoman. Arya is particularly close to her half brother, Jon Snow, who encourages her martial pursuits. She is said to take after the fiery Lyanna in temperament. Arya often bites her lip.
Arya is left-handed, quick, and dexterous. She received a noble's education from Maester Luwin at Winterfell and is said to be good with mathematics and an excellent horse rider. She knows at least a bit of High Valyrian.
Born in 289 AC at Winterfell, Arya is the youngest daughter and third child of Lord Eddard Stark, the head of House Stark and Warden of the North, and Lady Catelyn Tully. Arya has an older sister, Sansa, an older brother, Robb, and two younger brothers, Bran and Rickon. She also has an older bastard half-brother, Jon Snow.
Arya has spent her entire life at Winterfell, though she did accompany her father on two occasions to White Harbor. Arya has been tutored by Septa Mordane in the womanly arts (including needlework), and received lessons from Maester Luwin as well. Arya was also taught to ride a horse, but due to being called "Arya Horseface" by Jeyne Poole because of her long face, she could not enjoy the fact that riding horses was one of the few things she was better at than her older sister. The House Stark guards call her "Arya Underfoot".
Jon Snow, having covered himself with flour to appear as a ghost, once tried to scare his younger siblings in the crypt of Winterfell. While Sansa and Bran were frightened, Arya instead punched her half brother.
Lord Eddard often eats in the same hall as his staff, and always keeps a seat next to him reserved, inviting a different servant or advisor to dine with him each night. Arya loves listening to their stories.
A Game of Thrones
Arya and her sister, Sansa, travel with their father, Lord Eddard, to King's Landing when he is made Hand of the King. Before she leaves, Arya's half-brother Jon gives her a sword called Needle, after her least favorite ladylike activity, as a parting gift. He tells her she will need to practice, but that the first lesson is to "stick 'em with the pointy end". On the way south, she befriends a peasant boy named Mycah, and they often play at swords.
While walking near the ruby ford, Prince Joffrey Baratheon and Sansa happen upon Arya and Mycah "battling" in the woods. Arya defends Mycah from Joffrey's torments, and Nymeria helps Arya fight off Joffrey, wounding his arm in the process. Knowing that Joffrey will likely want retribution, Jory Cassel helps Arya chase the direwolf away when he finds them. Arya is brought to Darry before King Robert I Baratheon, who counsels Eddard to discipline Arya. Queen Cersei Lannister is not satisfied with this, however, and orders Sansa's direwolf, Lady, to be killed in Nymeria's place. Mycah, having fled, is tracked and killed by Joffrey's "dog," Sandor Clegane. From this moment, Arya harbors enmity for the Hound.
While in King's Landing, after Arya fights with Sansa, their father discovers Needle. Questioned how Arya gained possession of the sword, she refuses to give up Jon's name as the gift giver. Eddard realizes that she must be trained if she is entertaining ideas about swordsmanship, and hires Syrio Forel, a celebrated Braavosi swordsman, under whom Arya begins her training. Under his strict, but creative, tutelage, Arya learns to fight in the Braavosi water dancer style with Needle.
Arya spends most of her time doing balancing and swordplay exercises as Syrio instructed her. During one of these she discovers a secret passage in the Red Keep. She overhears two men, who by description seem to be Varys and Illyrio Mopatis speaking about her father, Cersei, and spies.
When tensions heighten in the capital, Ned intends for Sansa and Arya to return to the north via the Wind Witch. His plans are halted by the Robert's death, however, and the succession of King Joffrey I. During the purge of House Stark from the Red Keep, Ser Meryn Trant and House Lannister guards attempt to take Arya into custody, but Syrio holds off Arya's attackers with a practice sword so she can flee. Arya kills a stableboy with Needle and escapes the castle using the passage she found earlier, but Sansa is captured by the Lannisters and Septa Mordane is slain.
Arya cannot leave King's Landing since the city gates are heavily guarded, so she lives on the streets of Flea Bottom, catching pigeons and rats to trade for food. Arya witnesses her father's public condemnation at the Great Sept of Baelor. She is found in the crowd by Yoren of the Night's Watch, who saves her from the sight of Eddard's execution and drags her from King's Landing.
Cersei has Sansa send letters to Winterfell, but Arya's mother, Catelyn Stark, notices that no mention is made of Arya. Catelyn negotiates an alliance between Robb, her eldest son, and Lord Walder Frey at the Twins, and the agreement calls for Arya to wed one of Walder's sons, Elmar Frey.
A Clash of Kings
Arya escapes King's Landing with Yoren and his party of Night's Watch recruits, with Yoren planning to return her to Winterfell on his way back the Wall. Yoren shaves her head and makes Arya assume the identity of "Arry", a boy recruit traveling with Yoren to the Wall. They make it as far as a deserted town near the Gods Eye lake, where they are attacked by House Lannister raiders led by Ser Amory Lorch. Yoren is killed and Arya is one of the few to escape alive, along with Gendry, Hot Pie, Lommy Greenhands, and Weasel. Before escaping the burning town, she saves the lives of three chained Night's Watch prisoners: Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter.
Arya heads out with the survivors until they are captured by Ser Gregor Clegane and the Mountain's men in a village, where they are held for eight days, while the Tickler tortures the villagers. Rafford kills Lommy and Polliver takes Needle from Arya. During the journey to Harrenhal, Arya creates a prayer of those she hates and wants to kill. These include Gregor Clegane, Dunsen, Polliver, Chiswyck, Raff the Sweetling, the Tickler, Sandor Clegane, Amory Lorch, Ilyn Payne, Meryn Trant, Joffrey Baratheon, and Cersei Lannister.
At Harrenhal Arya is assigned to the steward Weese to work at the Wailing Tower. Several days later, Arya reunites with Jaqen, Rorge, and Biter, who are now in the employ of Amory. Jaqen comes to her at night and offers her three deaths for the three lives—Rorge, Biter, and himself—she saved from burning at the Gods Eye. After several days Arya names Chiswyck, after she overhears him boast at how he participated in a gang rape, and he dies three days later. Next she names Weese, for striking her. Weese's death is untraceable, apparently linked to his small dog that he raised from a pup. While trying to figure out the last name to say, Arya realizes she should have said a more important name, such as Lord Tywin Lannister or Amory Lorch. Finally, she names Jaqen himself. To make her unsay his name, Jaqen agrees to help her free Robett Glover's and Ser Aenys Frey's men in the dungeon and stage an uprising.
Unbeknownst to Arya, Robett is already conspiring with Vargo Hoat against Amory. During the fall of Harrenhal, Arya obtains soup which Jaqen, Rorge, and Biter then use to scald the Lannister guards. To Arya's amazement, Jaqen changes his face and manner in front of her, saying it was time for that person to die. Before departing, he gives Arya an iron coin and tells her to repeat the phrase valar morghulis to any man of Braavos.
The next morning, Lord Roose Bolton arrives to take charge of the castle. Arya, now calling herself "Nymeria", or "Nan" for short, is named Roose's cupbearer for her role in the freeing of the prisoners. She inadvertently meets Elmar Frey, the squire she would have to marry under Robb's agreement with the Freys, though they remain unknown to each other. Lord Bolton has Arya help him with leechings and orders her to burn his wife Walda's letter.
Arya asks to accompany Roose when he leaves Harrenhal, but Lord Bolton is shocked by his servant's insolence and announces she will be left behind at the castle with Vargo's Brave Companions. Arya escapes with Gendry and Hot Pie, killing a Bolton guard at the gate.
A Storm of Swords
While Arya and her companions travel north from Harrenhal, Arya enters Nymeria during a dream as a skinchanger and sees Nymeria kill members of the Brave Companions sent in pursuit. Not long afterwards, she and her companions are discovered by a group of the brotherhood without banners and taken to the Inn of the Kneeling Man, where she is recognized by one of her father's former guards, Harwin. While Hot Pie remains at the inn, Arya and Gendry journey with the brotherhood and visit Lord Lymond Lychester, the Lady of the Leaves, the ghost of High Heart, and Lady Ravella Smallwood at Acorn Hall. Arya stays at the Peach in Stoney Sept, where the outlaws take custody of Sandor Clegane.
Arya travels with the brotherhood to their hideout in a hollow hill. She accuses Sandor of murdering Mycah, earning him a trial by combat with Lord Beric Dondarrion. Sandor survives, however, and so is set free by the outlaws. Arya witnesses the battle at the burning septry between the brotherhood and Brave Companions. Although Thoros has been able to revive Beric several times, Arya learns that it would not be possible to revive her beheaded father, Eddard Stark. Beric knights Gendry, who decides to remain with the outlaw brotherhood. The ghost of High Heart is disturbed by Arya when the outlaws return to her hill. Disappointed that the brotherhood intends to ransom her to her brother Robb, now the King in the North, and feeling alone, Arya attempts to flee but ends up captured by Sandor Clegane, who was trailing the group.
Sandor plans to return Arya to Robb and win a place in his service, but they are delayed by flooding along the Trident, including at Lord Harroway's Town. They reach the Twins, where Robb has gathered hosts for the wedding of Lord Edmure Tully to Roslin Frey. Arya does not recognize men outside the castles, however. When the slaughter of the Red Wedding begins, Sandor prevents Arya from running into the castle and certain danger by knocking her out with the flat of his axe. Robb and Catelyn are slain inside the Twins, betrayed by Houses Bolton and Frey.
Sandor decides that the only place left to take Arya is to the Vale of Arryn, which is ruled by Arya's aunt, the widowed Lysa Arryn. On the way east, Arya finds a saddled horse which she takes as her mount and names Craven. Sandor gives the gift of mercy to a Piper bowman, and Arya dreams of Nymeria dragging a body from a river. They briefly stay at a village in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon, but learn they cannot take the high road to Lysa at the Eyrie. Sandor decides to head back towards Riverrun to instead ransom Arya to her great uncle, Ser Brynden Tully.
On their way Arya and Sandor stop at the crossroads inn. They meet the Tickler and Polliver, two of the men in Arya's prayer, as well as a young squire. Arya is confused when Polliver mentions that Lord Bolton's bastard, Ramsay Snow, is to marry Sansa's sister. Sandor gets drunk and a fight ensues. Arya takes a dagger from the squire and stabs him in the belly while Sandor kills Polliver, though he is badly wounded in the fight. As the Tickler closes in on Sandor, Arya sneaks behind and repeatedly stabs the torturer with his own dagger while echoing the questions he asked of his victims on their journey to Harrenhal. Sandor directs her to finish off the squire, who is dying of his wound. Arya reclaims Needle from Polliver's corpse and stabs the squire in the heart.
Arya and Sandor head towards the town of Saltpans, but Sandor is too weak to continue due to his injuries. Arya realizes she left Sandor off her list that night, and wonders why. She adds him back, but thinks maybe he will die before morning. The next day, Arya draws Needle, intending to kill Sandor, after thinking maybe if she rides off, he will die on his own. Sandor sees her indecision and tries to goad her into killing him, but she decides to leave him to die instead of administering the mercy of a quick death. She sells Craven at Saltpans and gains passage on the Titan's Daughter, a ship headed to Braavos, by using the coin that Jaqen H'ghar had given her, along with the High Valyrian phrase valar morghulis.
A Feast for Crows
During the voyage to Braavos on the Titan's Daughter Arya uses the name "Salty". Captain Ternesio Terys and many of the sailors ask Arya to learn and remember their names, and many seem afraid of her. The captain has his older son Yorko row Arya to shore so as to get her off the ship prior to customs coming aboard.
In Braavos, Arya finds her way to the House of Black and White, where a kindly old man initiates her into the guild of the Faceless Men. She is required to discard her old personality, including her belongings, to begin the training. She does this, except for Needle, which she hides in a safe location.  She speaks the Braavosi tongue with a strong accent.
Arya's training requires her to go out into the city under the identity of "Cat of the Canals", a street urchin, to learn secrets and report them to the kindly man. She also begins learning the art of lying from the waif. During this time, she kills a deserter from the Night's Watch named Dareon, and she briefly meets Samwell Tarly, a friend of her half brother Jon Snow, though they do not introduce themselves to each other. After these incidents, she accepts milk meant for "Arya". When she wakes the next morning, she is blind.
Brienne of Tarth visits the Quiet Isle during her search for Sansa Stark. She learns from the Elder Brother that Sansa's sister Arya had been in the company of Sandor Clegane, but she may have been killed in the raid on Saltpans.
A Dance with Dragons
Arya remains blind and in the service of the House of Black and White in Braavos. The blindness is induced by the milk she drinks every night. She continues to dream through the eyes of her direwolf, Nymeria, but speaks of it to no one. She still struggles with leaving her identity as Arya Stark behind. While she is blind, Arya wears the guise of "Beth", a beggar girl. She wanders the streets of Braavos, begging for money and listening for bits and pieces of information. She becomes better at lying and detecting the lies of others.
Arya receives her sight again after she is able to identify the kindly man and hit him with a stick when he sneaks up on her. It is implied, however, that she does not simply sense his presence (as he assumes) but sees him through the eyes of a cat hiding in the rafters.
After regaining her sight, Arya is given her first assassination assignment. She is asked to give "the gift" to an old man who sells a type of insurance for ships. The kindly man takes her to the secret lower chambers of the House of Black and White, where thousands of faces are hung on the walls. Arya is given the face of an ugly, broken girl who had been beaten by her father and came to the House of Black and White to seek the gift. Arya watches her target carefully for days. She notices that the old man has guards with him wherever he goes, and always tests the coin he is given with his teeth. While watching him, she attempts to find ways to justify his fate, but the kindly man tells her it is not for her to judge the old man.
In the end, Arya feigns stealing a bag of coins from a captain on his way to meet with the old man. She splits the bag in the attempt, and switches one of the captain's coins with one of her own, coated in poison. After the switch, she escapes. Later, the old man's heart mysteriously gives out. The kindly man then gives Arya an acolyte's robe and assigns her to begin her first apprenticeship with Izembaro.
Following the siege of Moat Cailin, Theon Greyjoy learns that House Bolton are claiming Jeyne Poole to be Arya. Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, is shocked when Castle Black is informed that Ramsay Bolton is to marry his sister. Melisandre tells Jon she saw a vision in her flames of a girl, Arya, fleeing a wedding, but it is Alys Karstark who arrives at Castle Black seeking protection from Jon against Cregan Karstark. Ramsay marries Jeyne at Winterfell, and the northern mountain clans agree to support Stannis Baratheon so they can rescue the Ned's girl. As Stannis's host approaches Winterfell, Theon helps Jeyne escape the castle and they are brought to Stannis in a crofters' village.
The Winds of Winter
|| Warning |
This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.
When Ser Harys Swyft arrives in Braavos on a mission to negotiate with the Iron Bank of Braavos on behalf of King Tommen I Baratheon, the mummers of the Gate perform the play The Bloody Hand in which Arya plays a maid, presumably Shae, who is raped by Tyrion Lannister, played by a dwarf named Bobono.
However, as the play is about to begin, Arya notices that one of Harys's guards is Rafford, one of the Mountain's men. She seduces him and takes him to her room. She tires him out by running there, and thus she is able to stab him in his thigh, cutting his femoral artery and rendering him unable to walk. Raff the Sweetling pleads to have him carried to a healer, but Arya replies: "Think so?" and stabs him in the throat, just as he did to the disabled Lommy. Arya throws his corpse in a canal and heads back to the Gate before she is due to come on stage.
Arya and death
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:
|King Joffrey I Baratheon||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|
|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|
|Ser Gregor Clegane||The Mountain's men captured Arya and other smallfolk||Dead||Stabbed by Oberyn Martell with a poisoned spear during Tyrion Lannister's trial of combat at King's Landing (Arya currently is unaware of his death and Gregor is still on her list)|
|Sandor Clegane||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)|
|Dunsen||Stole Gendry's horned helmet||Alive||TBD|
|Queen Cersei Lannister||Involved in the death of Eddard Stark||Alive||TBD|
|Ser Amory Lorch||Killed Yoren||Dead||Killed by Vargo Hoat's bear in the bear pit after the fall of Harrenhal|
|Ser Ilyn Payne||Beheaded Eddard Stark on the orders of King Joffrey I Baratheon||Alive||TBD|
|Polliver||Stole Needle from Arya||Dead||Killed by Sandor Clegane at the crossroads inn|
|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|
|Ser Meryn Trant||Killed Syrio Forel||Alive||TBD|
|Weese||Violently abused Arya||Dead||Killed by his own dog under Jaqen H'ghar's influence on the orders of Arya|
Arya also kills a number of people who were not in her prayer:
- a Red Keep stableboy, during the purge of the Stark household
- at least one soldier of Amory Lorch, during the attack on Yoren's recruits at the Gods Eye town
- 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 from the Night's Watch
- a Braavosi insurance salesman, under orders of the kindly man
Arya initiates and, along with Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter, takes part in the killing of eight of Amory's men during the fall of Harrenhal, an event that would be remembered for its "weasel soup," from the nickname she used at the time.
Quotes by Arya
Swift as a deer. Quiet as a shadow. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Quick as a snake. Calm as still water. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Strong as a bear. Fierce as a wolverine. Fear cuts deeper than swords. The man who fears losing has already lost. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords.—thoughts of Arya
—Arya after the killing of Chiswyck
Yes, it's you who ought to run, you and Lord Tywin and the Mountain and Ser Addam and Ser Amory and stupid Ser Lyonel whoever he is, all of you better run or my brother will kill you, he’s a Stark, he’s more wolf than man, and so am I.—thoughts of Arya
A long time ago, she remembered her father saying that when the cold wind blows the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. He had it all backwards. Arya, the lone wolf, still lived, but the wolves of the pack had been taken and slain and skinned.—thoughts of Arya
—Arya to herself
—plague face and Arya
Quotes about Arya
Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. The 'wolf blood,' my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave. Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her.—Eddard Stark to Arya
A boy has more courage than sense.—Jaqen H'ghar to Arya
Arya had always been harder to tame.—thoughts of Catelyn Stark
And Arya, well... Ned's visitors would oft mistake her for a stableboy if they rode into the yard unannounced. Arya was a trial, it must be said. Half a boy, half a wolf pup. Forbid her anything and it became her heart's desire. She had Ned's long face, and brown hair that always looked as though a bird had been nesting in it. I despaired of ever making a lady of her. She collected scabs as other girls collected dolls, and would say anything that came into her head.—thoughts of Catelyn Stark
—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 1, Arya I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 5, Arya II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 9, Arya III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 13, Arya II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 64, The Ugly Little Girl.
- The Winds of Winter, Mercy
- See the Arya