Artwork by Anja Dalisa©
|Title||Princess of Winterfell|
|Born||In 289 AC, at Winterfell|
A Game of Thrones|
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
|Played by||Maisie Williams|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2|
Arya Stark is the third child and second daughter of Lord Eddard and Lady Catelyn Stark. She is nine at the start of A Game of Thrones. She has three brothers Robb, Bran, Rickon, a half-brother Jon Snow, and a older sister Sansa.
Arya is the only character to have at least one POV chapter in each of the five books.
Character and Appearance
Arya is a spirited girl with an interest in fighting and exploring, the foil of her proper sister, Sansa, whom she often describes as "stupid." She wants to learn how to fight with a sword and ride in tourneys, to the horror of Sansa, but she is encouraged by her half-brother Jon Snow, who is particularly close to her. Throughout her travels, Arya displays great resourcefulness, cunning, and an unflinching ability to accept hard necessity. She is said to take after her fiery aunt Lyanna in temperament.
Arya is skinny and athletic. She has strong Stark family features, with a long face, grey eyes and brown hair. At the start of the story, she is generally regarded as plain, as exemplified by her nickname "Arya Horseface," and often mistaken for a boy. However, there are instances of her being called pretty, compared to the beautiful Lyanna, and catching the eye of men later in the books.
She is left-handed, quick and dexterous. She is a warg, entering her direwolf Nymeria in her dreams and cats in Braavos. She has learned basic swordplay in the Braavosi Water Dancer tradition and knows how to use knives. She received a noble's education, and is said to be good with mathematics and an excellent horse rider. She has proved to know at least a bit of High Valyrian. She also speaks Braavosi with a strong accent and has put some effort into learning the language, under orders from the Kindly Man. She has a quick and curious mind and a pragmatic outlook.
A Game of Thrones
Arya travels with her father, Eddard, to King's Landing when he is made Hand. Before she leaves, her half-brother Jon Snow gives her a sword called Needle as a parting gift. On the way south, she befriends a peasant boy named Mycah, with whom she plays at with swords. One day, Prince Joffrey and her sister Sansa happen upon them playing in the woods. Arya defends Mycah from Joffrey's torments and her direwolf Nymeria helps Arya fight off Joffrey, wounding his arm in the process. Knowing that Nymeria will likely be killed in retribution, Arya and Jory Cassel chase her wolf away. Arya was brought before King Robert, but Queen Cersei orders Sansa's direwolf, Lady, to be killed in Nymeria's place. The peasant boy, Mycah, having fled, is tracked and killed by Joffrey's "dog," the Hound. From this moment, Arya harbors a lasting enmity for the Lannisters and Clegane, and hopes to avenge Mycah's death at their hands.
While in King's Landing, Arya trains under Syrio Forel, a celebrated Braavosi swordsman. Under his strict, but creative, tutelage, Arya learns to fight in the Braavosi style with Needle. She spends most of her time doing balancing and swordplay exercises as Forel instructed her, but during one of these she discovers a secret passage in the castle.
During the purge of Stark loyalists from the Red Keep, Syrio holds off Arya's attackers so she can escape. Arya got out of the castle using the passage she found earlier, but she could not get out of the city. She lives on the streets of Flea Bottom until the day she witnesses her father's public condemnation. She is found in the crowd by Yoren of the Night's Watch, who recognises her and then saves her from the sight of Eddard's execution and drags her from the scene.
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 back 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 made it as far as a deserted town near the God's Eye lake, where they are attacked by raiders led by Ser Amory Lorch. Arya was one of the few to escape alive, along with Gendry, Hot Pie, Lommy Greenhands, and Weasel. Before escaping, she saves the lives of the chained Night's Watch prisoners Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter.
Arya heads out with the few survivors until they are captured by Ser Gregor and his men in the next town, where they were held for eight days, while the Tickler questioned the villagers. Then they are taken to Harrenhal and made servants. On the journey, she created a Hit List of all those she hated and wanted to kill. At Harrenhal she is assigned to the steward Weese to work at the Wailing Tower. Several days later, she reunites with Jaqen and the two other prisoners she saved, who are now in the employ of Ser Amory Lorch.
Jaqen comes to her at night and offers her three murders for the three lives she saved. After several days Arya names Chiswyck, after she overheard him boast at how he participated in a gang rape, who dies three days later. Next she name Weese, for striking her. Last she names Jaqen himself. In an effort to make her unsay his name, Jaqen helps her free the Northmen in the dungeon and stage an uprising. Jaqen gives Arya an iron coin so she could find him again and leaves. The next morning, Lord Roose Bolton arrived to take charge of the castle. Arya, now calling herself Nymeria, or Nan for short, a servant girl, is made of one of Roose's cup-bearers, for her role in the freeing of the prisoners. After Harrenhal is left to Vargo Hoat, Arya escapes with Gendry and Hot Pie, killing a gate guard.
A Storm of Swords
While Arya and her companions are making their way north, Arya wargs into Nymeria during a dream, seeing Nymeria kill the members of the Brave Companions that were sent after them. Not long afterwards, she and her companions are discovered by a group of the Brotherhood Without Banners and taken to Inn of the Kneeling Man, where she meets one of her father's former guards, Harwin, who recognizes her as Arya Stark. Arya travels with group to their hideout, while her friend Hot Pie decides to settle down and work as a baker at the inn. At the Brotherhood's camp Arya encounters the recently captured Sandor Clegane standing for trial. She accuses him of murdering Mycah, earning him a trial by combat, which he survives and so is set free.
Disappointed with the Brotherhood, Arya attempts to flee and ends up being captured by Sandor Clegane, who was trailing the group. Sandor takes her to the Twins, where he plans to return her to her brother Robb and win a place in his service. They reach the Twins just as the slaughter of the Red Wedding had begun, and the Hound has to prevent Arya from running into the castle and certain death by knocking her out. Sandor decides that the only place left to take her is to the Vale of Arryn, which is ruled by Arya's aunt, Lysa. On the way east, Arya finds a saddled horse. She takes him as her mount and names him Craven. It is soon discovered they cannot reach the Eyrie and Lysa, however, and are forced to go back towards Riverrun to ransom her to Ser Brynden Tully instead.
On their way they stop at an inn where they meet the Tickler and Polliver, two of the men on Arya's death list, as well as a young squire. The Hound gets drunk and a fight ensues. Arya manages to stab the squire in the belly while The Hound kills Polliver, though he is badly wounded in the fight. As the Tickler closes in on Sandor, Arya is able to sneak behind him and stab him. She continues to stab him while savagely echoing the questions he asked of his victims on their journey to Harrenhal. After, Sandor directs her to finish off the squire, who is dying of his wound. Arya reclaims Needle from among Polliver's possessions and stabs the squire in the heart with it.
Arya and Sandor head towards the town of Saltpans but Sandor is too weak to continue and falls from his horse. Arya draws Needle, intending to kill him, but leaves him to die after he begs her to do it. 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 Valyrian phrase "Valar Morghulis."
A Feast for Crows
In Braavos, Arya Stark 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. 
Arya's training requires her to go out into the city under the identity of Cat of the Canals, a street urchin, and learn secrets. She also begins learning the Braavosi language and the art of lying from the Waif. One night, months after, she kills a deserter from the Night's Watch named Dareon, and accepts milk meant for "Arya." She wakes blind the next morning.
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 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 that 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. She 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, she feigns stealing a bag of coins from a captain on his way to meet with the old man. She splits the bag the coins 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.
"Fear cuts deeper then swords"
"Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Raff the sweetling, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei, valar morghulis"
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 desires murdering 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, with the leader stressing becoming indifferent to death and killing. She continues, however, to repeat the names of the people she wishes dead in her head. 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:
She is directly responsible for a number of kills herself:
She also was the initiator of, and, along with Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter, took part in the killing of eight Harrenhal jailors, an event that would be remembered as the "weasel soup," from the nickname she then used.
References and Notes
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 1, Arya I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 19, Arya V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 13, Arya II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 17, Arya III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- 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.
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