- "Joffrey... Cersei... Ilyn Payne... The Hound... Polliver... The Mountain..."
- ―Arya Stark's "prayer"
Arya Stark is a major character in the first, second and third seasons. She is played by starring cast member, Maisie Williams, and debuts in the series premiere. Arya is the younger daughter of Lord Eddard Stark. She is fiercely independent and is often mistaken for a boy. She wields a sword named Needle, a gift from her half-brother, Jon Snow, and she has been trained in the Braavos style of swordfighting. She adopted the direwolf, Nymeria, but they have since been separated.
When her father was betrayed and arrested, Arya managed to flee the castle and was found by Night's Watch recruiter Yoren, who got her out of the city disguised as a recruit and tried to take her home. However they were attacked along the way and Yoren was killed, leaving Arya caught behind the battle lines in the war-ravaged Riverlands, still trying to make her way back home.
Arya Stark is the youngest daughter and third child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark. Eddard is the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North. The North is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Stark rule the region from their seat of Winterfell and Eddard also holds the title Lord of Winterfell. He is also the Warden of the North to King Robert Baratheon.
Arya was born and raised at Winterfell. Arya has an older sister Sansa Stark with whom she quarrels. She has an older brother Robb and two younger brothers Bran and Rickon. She has a bastard half-brother Jon Snow.
Arya rejects the notion that she must become a lady and marry for influence and power, feeling she can forge her own destiny. She is fascinated by warfare and training in the use of arms, and is bored by embroidery and other "lady-like" pursuits. She takes after her father and has a quarrelsome relationship with her sister Sansa. She is close to her half brother Jon who is also something of an outcast.
Arya is being taught how to sew by Septa Mordane, but tires of the lesson when she hears Bran, Jon, and Robb practising archery in the courtyard. She grabs a bow and annoys Bran by out-shooting him.
On King Robert's visit to Winterfell, Arya rushes out to see the arrival of his entourage. She is scolded when she finally joins the receiving line in the courtyard, and then is overheard by Queen Cersei Lannister to ask where's the "Imp", a reference to Tyrion Lannister. Later that evening at the feast, she tests her mother's patience by misbehaving and throwing food at her sister, Sansa. Robert names Arya's father Eddard Stark as his Hand of the King, Joffrey is betrothed to Sansa, and Eddard decides to take his daughters with him to King's Landing to experience the court. Before leaving Arya receives a pet direwolf, one of several cubs found by her brothers outside the castle, and names her Nymeria, after a great warrior-queen of Essos. She also receives a sword as a gift from Jon. He names it Needle, as a play on words that she may now enjoy doing "Needlework."
While journeying south on the Kingsroad, she practices her swordwork with Mycah, the son of the butcher in the King's retinue whom she befriends. When Sansa and her betrothed, Prince Joffrey Baratheon, spot them fighting Joffrey intervenes. He accuses Mycah of pretending to be a knight and threatens him for striking Arya. Ignoring their protests, he cuts Mycah and threatens Arya when she attacks him to defend Mycah. As Joffrey menaces her with a sword, Nymeria savages Joffrey, injuring his arm, allowing Mycah to flee and Arya to throw Joffrey's sword in the river. Arya runs away and drives Nymeria off with rocks so that she won't be punished. Arya is eventually found and questioned. Arya is truthful but Sansa lies about the incident, saying she didn't see what happened, but generally supporting Joffrey. Queen Cersei, as they don't have Arya's wolf Nymeria the one who actually bit Joffrey, has King Robert Baratheon order Sansa's direwolf Lady executed. Mycah is murdered by Joffrey's bodyguard The Hound.
After reaching King's Landing, Arya argues incessantly with Sansa over the incident, to her father's despair. Eddard tries to make Arya understand that Sansa could not contradict her future husband. Arya is disgusted that Eddard thinks such an excuse is acceptable. Eddard discovers Needle when he comes to Arya's room to talk to her while she is practicing. When he realizes she is serious about learning and will do it by herself if she has to, he decides to hire Syrio Forel, a master sword-fighter from Braavos, to train Arya in the art of combat. Eddard is bemused to find that Syrio's training regime includes having Arya balance on her tiptoes for hours at a time and chasing cats around their new residence in the Red Keep to learn agility. When talking about Bran, Arya and her father discuss how he can't be a knight since he was paralyzed, but he can be lord of a holdfast, or sit on the king's council, etc. Arya asks if she can as well, Eddard laughs and says to Arya that no, someday she is to marry a powerful lord and have children that can be lords or even king and rule the land. To which she matter-of-factly replies that isn't her destiny at all.
Arya watches the Hand's tournament along with Septa Mordane and Sansa. She asks Littlefinger how he got his nickname, to his amusement. Arya later resumes her cat-chasing training exercise and finds her way into the dungeons under the Red Keep, where she sees the dragon skulls that used to decorate the Great Hall of the Iron Throne. She overhears Varys and Illyrio Mopatis plotting about the likelihood of future war between the Starks and Lannisters and possible timing of Khal Drogo bringing his army across the Narrow Sea with the Targaryen exiles. Following them Arya finds a passage out of the castle and then must confront and threaten the castle guards in order to get back in. Her father is angry as he has had people looking for her. She tries to tell him about the conspirators she over heard, but cannot identify them and has forgotten most of the details by the time she gets back to her father, other than that it was about plotting for "the wolf and the lion" (the Starks and Lannisters) to fight each other. Eddard introduces her as his daughter to Yoren, a recruiter for the Night's Watch. Disheveled and unclean, Arya is at first mistaken by him as a boy, to her annoyance.
Arya is distracted from her training exercises by news of Jory's death and her father's injury while fighting Jaime Lannister. Syrio teaches her how to ignore her troubles to focus on fighting. Later, Eddard Stark brings his daughters together to tell them he is sending them back to Winterfell. Sansa and Arya are both upset. Arya doesn't want to leave Syrio's training. Sansa is incensed, feeling that losing a dancing instructor is nothing compared to breaking her betrothal to Joffrey. Lord Eddard says not to worry he will chose another man for her to marry, one strong and gentle and brave. Sansa says she doesn't want someone like that she wants Joffrey. She wants to have his blonde babies, like Joffrey her "golden-haired lion". After the interjection "Seven hells", Arya asserts that he will be a stag like his father. Sansa replies that Joffrey is nothing like Robert. This prompts Eddard's sudden realization that Joffrey is not Robert's son and thus not the heir to the throne.
When confronted about this, Cersei admits that her children are the result of her incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime Lannister. Eddard warns Cersei that she must take the children and leave King's Landing, possibly Westeros, as Robert's rage would likely mean their deaths when he exposes her infidelity. However, Robert is wounded by a boar while hunting and dies shortly afterwards. Cersei and Joffrey have Eddard arrested and send guards to take Arya into custody. Syrio realizes they are not from her father and tells her not to go with them. Telling Arya to flee, he fights them. Forel is only armed with a wooden sword, but he disarms several Lannister guards and holds off one of the Kingsguard, Ser Meryn Trant. Arya goes first to the stable, where the men who were to take her and Sansa out of King's Landing were waiting with the baggage. The men have been killed, but she finds her sword "Needle" were she hid it in the bottom of her luggage. She is discovered by a stableboy who tries to stop her. As he comes at her, she raises her sword, and he is impaled and dies. Arya horrified runs away to find her way out of the castle. As a result of subsequent events, war breaks out between the forces of House Lannister and the forces loyal to House Stark, now under the leadership of Robb.
Arya lives on the streets of King's Landing, catching wild birds to feed herself. While trying to bargain for something to eat at a baker's stand, Arya notices crowds of people running to the city's center. She discovers that they are assembling to witness the trial of the Hand of the King. Dropping the pigeon she holds, Arya runs to the crowded square, and, to get a better view and see her father, she climbs on the pedestal of a statue of former Targaryen king Baelor (for whom the Sept is named). Eddard is brought out and pulled through the crowd. He spots Arya, and then, as he is taken past Yoren, he manages to signal in Arya direction saying "Baelor". Hoping Yoren can recognize and take care of her. When Ned is made to confess his treason and Joffrey orders Ned's execution, Arya dashes forward drawing her sword in an attempt to save her father. Yoren manages to grab her. Holding Arya against his chest, he tells her not to look. Before he is executed, Ned Stark looks to the statue of Baelor and sees the Arya is gone. Arya looks up at the sky. Upon seeing the frightened birds taking flight from the cheer of the crowd, Arya knows that her father is dead.
Yoren cuts her hair to make her look more like a boy and vows to get her home. She will pose as a fresh recruit for the Night's Watch. He tells her not to trust the others, as they could turn her in for a reward or possibly rape her. When Arya joins the group of other recruits for the Wall, she is bullied by two boys, Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands, but she defends herself and scares them off with Needle. Gendry, another recruit, also steps up to defend her. The entire group departs King's Landing, facing a journey of hundreds of miles through a warzone in order to get back to Winterfell.
- Main: Arya Stark Season 2
Arya travels north on the Kingsroad with Yoren, posing as one of his Night's Watch recruits. She is drawn to one of the prisoners in the wagon, Jaqen H'ghar. He is a murderer from the black cells of the dungeons, where the worst criminals are kept in King's Landing, so will stay locked up in the cage until they reach the wall. He asks for water, but the other two murderers, Rorge and Biter threaten her, so she doesn't get it for him. She forms a bond with former blacksmith's apprentice Gendry who sees through her disguise. When Goldcloaks arrive from King's Landing with a warrant for one of the recruits, Arya fears that they are looking for her, but it is actually Gendry (who is unaware of his status as a royal bastard of Robert Baratheon). Yoren intimidates them into leaving empty handed. Arya confesses her identity to Gendry after he reveals being questioned by her father before leaving the capital.
Arya asks for Yoren's advice on living with the tragedies she has suffered, and he tells her the story of how thoughts of revenge resulted in his committing murder and having to join the Night's Watch. He became obsessed with Willam and recited his name over and over at night before he slept. Then when Willam returned Yoren killed him. Yoren had to flee his village, losing his life and future, he had to take the black. Arya heard this story, but didn't understand it. Yoren was trying to tell her not to be obsessed by thoughts of revenge as it will consume her, but Arya heard that she should chant the names of her enemies each night before she slept, almost like a prayer, until the day she can get revenge. The Goldcloaks return having enlisted the support of Ser Amory Lorch and Lannister men. Yoren dies heroically defending Gendry but the recruits are overcome. Polliver steals Needle from Arya. Arya convinces Ser Amory that he has killed Gendry because another recruit died while he was carrying Gendry's bull's head helm.
Ser Amory takes his captives to Harrenhal. Each day one of the prisoners is chosen by Ser Gregor Clegane to be systematically and brutally tortured by the Tickler. Arya begins a nightly recitation of the names of her enemies, adding both men to her list. Lord Tywin Lannister returns to the castle and halts the ordeal, shortly before Gendry is going to be killed. He criticizes Gregor for wasting manpower. He immediately spots that Arya is posing as a boy. She claims that it made it safer to travel and Tywin senses her intelligence and makes her his cupbearer.
Tywin hosts a war council and Arya serves food and drink. She moves to pour wine but Tywin stops her, demanding water. He questions her origin, realizing that she is a northerner. He rejects Arya's first lie that she is from the Riverlands but her second withstands his scrutiny. Upon being questioned about the northerners' opinions of her brother, Robb Stark, she repeats rumours that he has a supernatural link to his direwolf and that he is invulnerable. Tywin asks if she believes this and she replies "No, My Lord, anyone can be killed". She leaves to fetch water and encounters Jaqen, now a Lannister man-at-arms. Jaqen says that because she saved his life, and those of his two fellow prisoners, he owes her three deaths and offers to kill three people of her choosing. She targets the Tickler. He is soon found dead in the courtyard. Arya notices Jaqen on the walkway above and he smiles and holds a single finger to his face to signify his responsibility.
Arya is afraid of being recognized when Petyr Baelish visits Lord Tywin but he says nothing. Tywin catches her reading a letter detailing his troop movements and questions where she learned to read. She distracts him by asking about his own childhood and steals the letter. She is caught carrying it by Ser Amory. She manages to escape him and names him as her next victim to Jaqen. Jaqen kills him before he is able to expose the theft. Tywin believes that he was the intended victim and begins a brutal investigation, ordering the deaths of dozens of his own men. He tasks Ser Gregor with rooting out the Brotherhood Without Banners believing that they are responsible for the assassination. Tywin talks to Arya about the importance of legacy and the destruction of Harrenhal in the Wars of Conquest. His suspicions are heightened by her own knowledge of history.
Tywin decides to leave Harrenhal to drive Robb's armies from the Westerlands. He makes Gregor Castellan and leaves Arya to serve him. Arya seeks out Jaqen, intending to name Tywin to protect Robb, but is unable to find him in time. When he returns from patrol she asks him to help her escape and he refuses, saying that it was not part of their arrangement. She gives Jaqen his own name in response, refusing to take it back unless he helps her. Jaqen kills several guards that night, allowing Arya to walk out of the castle with Gendry and Hot Pie.
As the trio begin their trek into the Riverlands, they are surprised by Jaqen, who seems to appear from nowhere. Arya approaches him alone and asks how he killed those men, expressing her desire to learn his assassination skills. He offers to take Arya to Braavos (home city of her "dancing" instructor Syrio Forel) to train with the Faceless Men. She declines, telling him that she needs to find her family first, including Sansa. Jaqen gives Arya a single coin, explaining that should she change her mind, she only needs to give the coin to any man from Braavos and recite the High Valyrian words "Valar Morghulis." Jaqen changes his face to that of another man and bids a stunned Arya farewell.
Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry continue travelling north. They are eventually captured by The Brotherhood Without Banners, who mistake them for war refugees. They are taken to a local inn where they are fed. Just as they are about to leave Sandor Clegane is brought in as a captive. He then reveals Arya's true identity. Hot Pie stays behind at the inn while Gendry and Arya are taken to the Commander of the Brotherhood.
|Season One appearances|
|Winter is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
(click icon at upper right corner to expand)
- "A little Lady shouldn't play with swords."
"I wasn't playing. And I don't want to be a Lady."
- ―Eddard Stark and Arya Stark
- "Anyone can be killed."
- ―Arya Stark
Behind the scenes
In the novels, Arya is left-handed. Maisie Williams is right-handed, but plays Arya as left-handed to be true to the books, including learning how to fight with a sword in her left hand. Maisie's mother discovered that Arya is left handed while reading the books, and urged her to play Arya left-handed, for fear that if she didn't hardcore fans of the books would be outraged and instantly reject her performance.
In the books
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Arya is nine years old when King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell. She is a tomboy who wants to learn how to fight with a sword and ride in tourneys, to the horror of her more demure older sister, Sansa, but she is encouraged by her half-brother Jon. She has her father's long face and is called Arya Horseface and Arya Underfoot as she is always curious and always where she isn't supposed to be. In the TV series, she is a good shot with a bow. In the novels, she does not know how to use a bow, but wishes she could.
Yoren does not tell Arya the story about Willem and how he came to be part of the Night's Watch. Reciting the names of her enemies is something that she starts doing on her own. Yoren does tell her that her father was not supposed to die that day. The reason Yoren was in the Sept of Baelor and not already on the road is because he was told by Varys, the same man that came bringing Gendry, that Lord Eddard was to be given mercy, allowed to take the black, and would be traveling back with him to the Wall. When he says something must have gone wrong, Arya replies, "Joffrey. Someone should kill him."
During Season 2 of the TV series, she serves as Tywin Lannister's cupbearer. In the novels, she serves Roose Bolton, who captured Harrenhal from Amory Lorch after Tywin Lannister leaves with his army to defend the Westerlands. Thus, none of the scenes between Tywin and Arya happened in the books. She still flees from Harrenhal with Gendry and Hot Pie, but she does so without using Jaqen H'gar's help; though in the novels she does use Jaqen's help to open Harrenhal to Roose Bolton and the Northmen.
Arya's storyline at Harrenhal in Season 2 was heavily condensed from the books. After being captured by Ser Gregor Clegane's men, she is forced to work at Harrenhal, running errands for an under-steward name Weese who is abusive and beats her. When Jaqen H'ghar gives her the opportunity to kill three men, the first one she picks is man-at-arms for Gregor Clegane named Chiswyck, because he she overheard him telling a story laughing about how Clegane's men had gang-raped an innkeeper's daughter. The second name she chooses is Weese. The TV series changed this so that instead, Arya chooses the Tickler and Amory Lorch, who are not killed by Jaqen in the book.
Arya's third and final choice was similar, but somewhat condensed from what happened in the books. In the TV series, she asks Jaqen to help her escape, so he kills the Lannister guards. In the books, Arya asks Jaqen to help her free a large number of Northern prisoners-of-war who are being held at the castle. Jaqen refuses at first, then Arya chooses him as the third man to die. Jaqen asks her to change her choice, and she agrees on condition that he helps her free the prisoners. He enlists the help of Rorge and Biter. They get large pots of boiling soup as the prisoners' dinner, but when they get to the dungeons, they throw the boiling-hot soup on the guards and slay them, free and arm the prisoners, and take Harrenhal from the Lannister forces. This is remembered as the "weasel soup" incident, because at the time, Arya was using the alias "Weasel" (she had stopped using the "Arry" alias). Soon afterwards Jaqen leaves, after giving Arya a coin. He explains that if she ever needs to find him again, she should give the coin to any man from Braavos, and say "Valar morghulis".
Roose Bolton becomes the master of Harrenhal as a result, and Arya becomes his cupbearer. Arya does not leave because she feels safe with the Northern soldiers, but at the same time she still keeps her true identity secret (partially out of fear of being betrayed to the Lannisters again). While Arya waits at Harrenhal in the hope that her brother Robb will eventually arrive (at which point she would reveal herself), she ultimately decides that she is not safe there and leaves with Gendry and Hot Pie, to try to reach her family at Riverrun.
Arya technically gained the title of "princess" when her brother Robb was declared the new King in the North. While her brothers Bran and Rickon use the title of "prince" among the Northerners at Winterfell, Arya's storyline takes her on the run through the Riverlands as it is torn apart in the war between the Starks and Lannisters, so that she is usually keeping her true name a secret, let alone her title. Thus she normally isn't referred to as "princess", or at least not in her surroundings; Robb, Catelyn, and the Freys refer to her as a "princess" when brokering their marriage-alliance.
Ironically she meets her Frey husband-to-be (Elmar Frey) while serving under Roose Bolton, and he spends time talking at length to Arya about his promised princess, unknowningly speaking to her personally.
According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Arya" is pronounced "ARE - yuh".
- Arya Stark at A Wiki of Ice and Fire (MAJOR spoilers from the books)
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark entry
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Arya Stark entry
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Winter is Coming"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "The Kingsroad"
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
- ↑ "The Wolf and the Lion"
- ↑ "A Golden Crown"
- ↑ "You Win or You Die"
- ↑ "The Pointy End"
- ↑ "Baelor"
- ↑ "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ "The North Remembers"
- ↑ "The Night Lands"
- ↑ "What is Dead May Never Die"
- ↑ "Garden of Bones"
- ↑ "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "A Man Without Honor"
- ↑ "The Prince of Winterfell"
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
|Lord:||Prince Bran Stark||Heir:||Rickon Stark|
|Title(s):||King in the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell|
|Ancestors:||Brandon the Builder · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Torrhen Stark|
|Current members:||Sansa Stark · Arya Stark · Benjen Stark · Jon Snow|
|Deceased members:||Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark|
|Household:||Ser Rodrik Cassel · Maester Luwin · Jory Cassel · Vayon Poole · Septa Mordane · Theon Greyjoy · Jeyne Poole · Osha · Hodor · Farlen · Old Nan · Mikken · Varly · Heward · Wyl · Tomard · Tommy · Jacks|