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Arya Stark

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"- 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[src]

Arya Stark is a major character in the first and second seasons. She is played by starring cast member Maisie Williams and debuts in the series premiere. Arya is a daughter of House Stark who has been separated from her family. 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 has been trained in the Braavosi style of swordfighting. She adopted the direwolf Nymeria but they have since been separated.



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.[1]

Arya was born and raised at Winterfell. Arya has an older sister Sansa Stark. She has an older brother Robb and two younger brothers Bran and Rickon. She has a bastard half-brother Jon Snow.[2]

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 bored by the pursuits of ladies. 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.[2]

Season 1

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.[3]

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. She tests her mother's patience by misbehaving and teasing her sister, Sansa in the feast that evening. Robert names Arya's father Eddard Stark as his Hand of the King and Eddard decides to take his daughters with him to King's Landing to experience the court.[4] 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. She names it Needle.[5]

Ned and Arya

Arya and her father.

While journeying south on the Kingsroad, she practices her swordwork with Mycah, the son of the butcher in the King's retinue. When Sansa and her betrothed, Prince Joffrey Baratheon, spot them fighting Joffrey intervenes. He accuses Mycah of pretending to be a knight and threatens to kill him for striking Arya. Ignoring their protests, he cuts Mycah and threatens Arya. Nymeria bites 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, supporting Joffrey's falsified version of events. Queen Cersei has Sansa's direwolf Lady executed in place of Nymeria. Mycah is murdered by Joffrey's bodyguard The Hound.[6]

Arya, Ned and Syrio 1x03

Syrio Forel trains Arya.

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 amongst Arya's belongings and decides to hire Syrio Forel, a master sword-fighter from Braavos, to train Arya in the art of combat.[7] 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. When Eddard tells Arya that her duty is to marry a powerful lord and have children, she calmly replies that isn't her destiny at all.[8]

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. She overhears Varys and Illyrio Mopatis plotting, but cannot identify them and has forgotten most of the details by the time she gets back to her father. Eddard introduces her to Yoren, a recruiter for the Night's Watch. Whilst dishevelled and unclean, Arya is constantly mistaken for a boy, to her annoyance.[9] 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, Sansa and Arya have an argument triggered by Sansa calling Joffrey a lion, Arya asserts that he will be a stag like his father. Sansa replies that Joffrey is nothing like Robert. This prompts Eddard's realization that Joffrey is not Robert's son and thus not the heir to the throne.[10]


Arya defends herself.

Eddard warns Cersei that he is going to expose her infidelity. Robert is wounded by a boar while hunting and dies shortly afterwards.[11] Cersei and Joffrey have Eddard arrested and send guards to take Arya into custody. Syrio defends Arya, disarming several Lannister guards and holding off one of the Kingsguard, Ser Meryn Trant. Arya flees the castle, stabbing and killing a stableboy who tries to stop her. War breaks out between the forces of House Lannister and the forces loyal to House Stark, now under the leadership of Robb.[12]

Arya 1x09

Arya watching her father confess.

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. Arya runs to the crowded square and climbs on a statue to gain a better view. Eddard spots Arya and manages to surreptitiously warn Yoren. When Ned is made to confess his treason and Joffrey orders Ned's execution, Arya dashes forward in an attempt to save her father. Yoren manages to grab her. Holding Arya against his chest, he tells her not to look. Upon seeing the frightened birds taking flight, Arya knows that her father is dead.[13]

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. 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.[14]

Season 2

Main: Arya Stark Season 2
Arya and Gendry 2x02

Arya and Gendry hiding from the goldcloaks.

Arya travels north on the Kingsroad with Yoren, posing as one of his Night's Watch recruits.[15] She is drawn to the prisoner Jaqen H'ghar who is kept caged in a wagon. She forms a bond with former blacksmith's apprentice Gendry who sees through her disguise. They are pursued by Goldcloaks from King's Landing. Arya fears that they are looking for her but they actually have a warrant for Gendry (who is unaware of his status as a royal bastard). 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.[16] Arya asks for Yoren's advice on living with the tragedies she has suffered and he tells that he used thoughts of revenge to overcome his troubling memories. The Goldcloaks return having enlisted the support of Ser Amory Lorch. 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 was carrying his bull's head helm.[17]

Ser Amory takes his captives to Harrenhal. They are systematically and brutally tortured by the Tickler on the orders of Ser Gregor Clegane. 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, criticizing 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.[18]


Arya speaks with Tywin Lannister

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 notherners' 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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21]

Escaping Harrenhal

Escaping Harrenhal

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.[22]

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.[23]


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

Image gallery

Family tree

Lord Stark tree
Rickard Stark
Lady Stark
Brandon family tree
Brandon Stark
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Stark
née Tully Tully shield icon
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark Stark shield icon
Unknown tree
Lyanna tree
Lyanna Stark
Benjen Tree
Benjen Stark
Night's Watch Crow shield icon
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
100px-Tyrion tree
Tyrion Lannister Lannister shield icon
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark Bolton shield icon
Ramsay Bolton Bolton shield icon
Arya family tree
Arya Stark
Bran fam tree
Bran Stark
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark
Jon Snow family tree image
Jon Snow
Night's Watch Night's-Watch-sigil
Ygritte tree
Ygritte Wildling shield icon


"Anyone can be killed."
―Arya Stark[src]

In the books

In the Song of Ice and Fire novels 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.

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.

In the TV series, she is a good shot with a bow. In the novels, she does not know how to use a bow.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Arya" is pronounced "ARE-yuh".

During the second season, she serves Tywin Lannister as 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. She still flees from Harrenhal with Gendry and Hot Pie, but she does so without using Jaqen H'gar's help.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Prince Bran Stark Heir: Prince Rickon Stark
Seat: Winterfell (formerly) Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell
Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark
Current members:Sansa Stark · Arya Stark · Benjen Stark
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Jon Snow
Household:{Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Maester Luwin} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · {Septa Mordane} · Jeyne Poole · Osha · Hodor · Farlen · {Old Nan} · Mikken · Varly · Heward · Wyl · Tomard · Tommy · Jacks

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