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DirewolfPup

Arya Stark: She's Making A List, Checking It Twice

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Fantastic thread title, DirewolfPup!  I'd like to think that as she learns more about life and its ambiguities, Arya is open to the possibility of eliminating a name or two with a stroke of her pen rather than sword (see, Hound, The; also, perhaps, Beric).  Can she come to this understanding by any route other than regret? 

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Indeed it is, love that title.  I don't think Arya will remove anyone from her list.  Even if she was able to glimpse the remnants of an abused boy behind the Hound's scarred face ,, I think it may actually serve to strengthen her resolve, rather than weaken it.  After all, this is the man who ran down Micah and killed him.  Just another frightened boy who played with the wrong toy and playmate. 

 

If anything The Hound's words might have served to make Arya more determined, because she now knows for certain he ought to have had some empathy.  

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Huh, so you think that Arya would kill The Hound now? He practically had to goad her into trying to poke him with Needle a while ago, and since then they have participated in a joint mercy-killing and she has tried to help out with his Walking Dead-style neck wound. I think she is coming to understand and identify with where The Hound is now and the forces that put him there. They have both been thru the fire in one way or another. I think Arya is finding that it is easier to hate what you don't know, and she is coming to know The Hound. She still may decide that he must pay a price for Micah, but I hope that she doesn't try to kill him again. If she truly wanted him dead, why treat his neck wound? Besides, The Hound got her a Murder Pony!

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I'm with White Stumbler on this one, but perhaps instead of removing the Hound entirely - because let's be honest, he has to pay for Micah - I could totally see Arya making him kill some folks off her list in order to pay penance for Micah's death.

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WhiteSumbler: Huh, so you think that Arya would kill The Hound now?

 

No, not really.  I'm just in an arm-wrestling kind of mood ;-) 

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Indeed it is, love that title.  I don't think Arya will remove anyone from her list.  Even if she was able to glimpse the remnants of an abused boy behind the Hound's scarred face ,, I think it may actually serve to strengthen her resolve, rather than weaken it.  After all, this is the man who ran down Micah and killed him.  Just another frightened boy who played with the wrong toy and playmate.

 

Love the similarities you draw between The Hound's childhood and Micah's death (slaying!).  I wonder if The Hound learns more about Micah, he can atone in some way for it, or express sufficient honest regret and remorse to Arya that she would forgive him and cross his name off the list.  

 

My other spec is that The Hound may already be dying (of the neck wound), or will one day get a mortal wound that is not an instant death blow, and Arya will kill him as a mercy killing, to end it quickly rather than slowly.  As The Hound did to the dying farmer.  "That's where the heart is."  This would fulfill Arya's list requirement but she would cross his name off as an act of kindness to him, rather than to hurt him.

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Abelard, I love that spec.  But I do think she will kill him or allow him to be killed by not coming to his aid.  I think she is too resolved to do otherwise.  I would love for her to lose her "Stark" perspective and learn to see shades of grey, but I don't think she will.  Not in time, at least.  The Hound's death may well be a turning point for her that leads her down a less dark path.

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I would love for her to lose her "Stark" perspective and learn to see shades of grey,

 

Great line, Snowblack.  I have been struggling to reconcile Arya's vengeance quest with her Starkness, but you have done it for me: the part of the Starks that only see Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, that's the part that is very alive in Arya right now.  She is bound and determined to do What Is Right, which is punishing all the people who have done What Is Wrong.  But ever since Syrio gave her that lesson about not believing what people say - "My words said right..." when he went left - I feel that Arya has been having to learn about the Grey.  Not only to stop believing liars (poor Starks so very often just take people at their word, because their words are always said with such force and realness) but to stop believing that bad people are only bad.

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So Arya and the Hound have been told of Joffrey's murder at the wedding. Are we to believe that Arya has found out about Sansa's wedding to Tyrion then? If Arya found out that Joffrey was killed at his wedding, she would have been worried about her sister, no? It is very strange that neither Arya nor Sansa really ever mention the other. They've both mentioned Robb enough.

 

I will excuse Sansa for now. She's assuming, I presume, that Arya is dead like everyone else. Arya must know her sister is alive and captive at King's Landing. Plus, Sansa's marriage to Tyrion would be the very pinnacle of tavern banter.

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Dire,

I dunno about that. Tyrion's wedding was quick and kinda ad hoc (fewer servants to gossip, no?) -- but most importantly, it would be about a marriage to the imp (they might mention a redhead.). As far as Arya knows, Joff is still engaged to sansa... The King's Wedding makes for gossip any time, but when the King Dies? Oh, that's going to run like Wildfire!

Edited by MrMicrophone

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There's always going to be the problem that the last time Arya and Sansa saw each other, one was on the stage near Joffrey, smiling beatifically at him.  

 

I'm sure that The Hound could have cleared up Sansa's status for Arya, but that would be a difficult image to shake.  Joffrey referenced Sansa right before having Ned killed. 

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Arya mentioned Sansa at the end of S2, replying to Jaquen (where does that darned apostrophe go?) that she couldn't accompany him back to Braavos b/c she had to find her mother, her brother, "...and...my sister."  She didn't look too pleased about having to stay for Sansa, too, but I think that meant that she didn't really blame Sansa for what happened to Ned, though Sansa was up there on that platform with all the guilty parties.

 

Sansa mentioned Arya at the beginning of S3, when LF basically told her that Arya was alive.  "Arya's alive?!" Sansa replied.  She seemed glad.  At the time, it seemed clear that LF was going to use his intel (if indeed he recognized Arya at Harrenhal, which I have to believe he did, as Arya's nerves made her perform very clumsily in front of him) to pique Sansa's curiosity and draw her in closer, but Sansa didn't fall into that trap (but she definitely fell into the next one he laid for her). 

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The idea that Arya needs to know their real name to add them to her list is somewhat of a new thing. She had no problem adding 'the Red woman' and 'the Mountain' earlier on.

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My point about Arya's reaction was a little different. I'm not the best with words. Here is what I meant.

 

We never had any confirmation that Arya or the Hound have talked about Sansa's betrothal to Joffrey or her marriage to Tyrion**. So let's just assume for a moment that Arya and the Hound only know what happened to Sansa up until the Hound fled King's Landing. Sansa was engaged to Joffrey. She was being horribly mistreated, and was still engaged to Joffrey. The engagement wasn't broken until a bit after the Battle of Blackwater Bay. So this is what Arya knows.  Now, some stranger says that King Joffrey (captain cuddle-kins) was poisoned at his own wedding. Arya should have been freaking out worrying about her sister. (Did Sansa get killed, too? Did SHE kill Joffrey? Is she okay? Is she in a dungeon somewhere?). But we got no reaction of the sort from Arya.  This is why I started speculating that maybe she found out about Sansa's marriage to Tyrion off-screen instead. 

 

I dunno about that. Tyrion's wedding was quick and kinda ad hoc (fewer servants to gossip, no?) -- but most importantly, it would be about a marriage to the imp (they might mention a redhead.)  --- MrMicrophone

 

You can bet that it would be gossip central if Ned Stark's daughter was forced to wed the Imp. I'd wager my mug o'grog on it.

 

 

**Note, The Hound did say that he had protected Sansa from rapers, etc when he was trying to convince Arya that he wasn't some evil guy that was going to kill her. I believe that's the only conversation about Sansa that they'd had together.

Edited by DirewolfPup

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DirewolfPup, I agree that Arya and the Hound likely heard about Sansa's wedding.  That's a huge juicy bit of gossip that low born folk would no doubt take great pleasure in repeating.  I don't know if they've spent any time in any inns or places where people congregate since the incident with Polliver and his buddies, but Arya's lack of reaction to the news of Joffrey's death does imply that she doesn't associate Sansa's safety with Joffrey's. 

 

The main question I have about Arya is whether or not she will continue down the road she appears to be on.  Will she go on to become a ruthless killer?  Or will her time with the Hound make her realize that these aren't just names on a list.  She's talking about sending people to "nothing" far too easily.  I don't see a reunion with Sansa as something that would alter her ultimate path (were it to happen).  I don't think meeting up with Brienne, who is so like Ned Stark, would make a difference either.  But learning to see those names on her list as real people by becoming close to one of them just might.  I think she will kill the Hound in blind adherence to her "code" as soon as she gets a real opportunity.  But I'm hoping that she will (eventually) regret killing him, and will value the time they spent together in awkward camaraderie.  Either way, I think she continues to become a cold-blooded killer.  What I don't know is whether she will keep some sliver of humanity and mercy.  And I think the Hound is key to that.

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Arya decided against mercy-killing The Hound. That is truly a low-blow. He may not have cared about you or your family, but he's the reason you're alive with Needle and your murder pony.

 

I've really disliked Arya's developmental path ever since meeting the Brotherhood without Banners. I'm not drawn to the idea of an adorable tomboy becoming a ruthless killer. I would if it meant she could keep humanity underneath the cold exterior (like J'agen, Brienne, or Mance Rayder). Not killing The Hound means she doesn't have goodness in her anymore. Imagine any of the Starks meeting her now. They would despise who she is, and I wouldn't blame them.

 

If she doesn't get some much needed humanity and disipline in Braavos, she's going to replace Rickon as my least favorite Stark.

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Maybe that's what Arya's character arc is going to be all about, long-term. I mean, I don't know much about the GoT books beyond that there's quite a lot of them, and what we've seen on-screen is nowhere near resolution in any of its storylines, really, which means there's a long, long old haul ahead of us still - and ahead of the characters still. Which means Arya still has a long road ahead of her. So maybe the long game for Arya is going to be about her slow descent into darkness (and she's not at rock bottom yet) before turning it around and beginning the equal and opposite redemption journey? I'd hate to see a child of Ned and Cat lost to darkness completely, so I hope so. Arya's story shows how easy it is in the harsh, violent world of GoT even for a stalwart Stark to succumb to emotional trauma and be badly, badly damaged by it, that darkness can be found in any character from any background. But I really hope she won't be entirely lost to it. Maybe she'll hit rock bottom and then be turned around, perhaps by reunion with a family member, perhaps by some other connection that reawakens a spark of humanity in her, allowing her to begin to heal at last.

 

I think it'll be a long time coming, though :(

Edited by Llywela
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I posted this elsewhere, but I'll say it again: I honestly do not care that Arya left The Hound to die.  He was Not a Good Person.  Yes he did some good things for her, and she did help him by giving a sympathetic ear to his story of his brother, and by sewing up his wound, and by not stabbing him through the eye while he slept.  And she didn't kill him, Brienne did.  I think that's fair, and certainly fine enough for the likes of him.  I mean, Arya's justice is a hard justice.  I'm sure she will make mistakes in her reckoning one day but so far, she hasn't made any that I can tell.  She kills people who have killed her friends and family.  And she doesn't mind killing people who are obvs trying to kill her.  The Hound was on her list for a reason.  The fact that she showed him some kindness along the way, and he showed her some kindess too, does not change the math she's done in her head, which the Hound oh so conveniently reminded her of at the end, there.

 

We wish The Hound had made some kind of conversion into a good person so that we could have had some sappy story of Arya and The Hound being best buddies or something.  This is not that kind of story.  The Hound was a conflicted person who fought often for bad people and did very bad things in his life.  Micah was, I am sure, not the first innocent he ever killed, and probably not the last, either.  Arya saw some goodness in him, so she didn't do the very worst things she could do to him, but neither did she do the very best things she could do for him. 

 

Arya is on a dark path but to me, it is only the dark side of Starkness, which is: she is enacting Justice.  Again, I think she may make a mistake one day, and judge the wrong person guilty.  But so far, I agree with her decisions and do not think she has no humanity or anything.  I think about Brandon Stark cutting LF from stomach to stern, and I think, Not every Stark was as forgiving, as merciful, as kind as Ned Stark.  No.  Sometimes the Stark thing manifests a different way, and it is manifesting differently in Arya. 

Edited by abelard
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Bravo abelard! *claps slowly and with appreciation*

 

One minor point, technically speaking, The Hound hasn't died...yet. And given how totally fucking OBVIOUS it was that The Mountain was good and dead at the end of his battle, yet he is suddenly barely alive but savable, I wouldn't count out The Hound just yet. You know how A Story is...

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Omg gingerella, don't scare me with your talk of never-dying Clegane brothers.  But you're very right: we didn't see The End of the Hound, and if The Mountain is anything to go by...well, there could be a Maester hiding beneath that rock!!

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