Arya Stark might technically be “no one” at this point in Game of Thrones, but in Season 7 she’s about to be reunited with the biggest part of her former identity: her direwolf Nymeria.
A new set report from Game of Thrones Season 7 has spotted Maisie Williams filming with a wolf who looks an awful lot like Nymeria. Recall that Nymeria, who hasn’t been seen since Season 1, is the last living Stark Direwolf aside from Ghost. Sansa’s wolf, Lady, was executed in Season 1 as a punishment for attacking Joffrey, even though Nymeria did it. Arya forced Nymeria to run away to avoid this fate. She’s presumably been roaming the countryside ever since, waiting for her Stark to return home.
Robb Stark’s wolf, Grey Wind, was slain at the Red Wedding, Rickon’s wolf, Shaggydog, was killed in Season 6, and Bran’s wolf, Summer, died battling White Walkers in Season 6’s “The Door.” Game of Thrones has pretty much been a direwolf massacre, killing the animals as frequently as it kills Starks. This is no accident, as they are the House symbol. The return of a long-lost direwolf in Season 7 is therefore not only heartwarming for Arya, but it signifies a larger narrative turn. With Sansa and Jon reunited, Jon as the King of the North, and Arya and Bran potentially reuniting with their long-lost siblings, too, House Stark might finally shift away from its place as the Game of Thrones punching bag.
The show has never gone into the psychic link between the Starks and their direwolves the way the novels have, but Nymeria’s return is nonetheless a symbolic gesture that the original final book title, A Time For Wolves, is coming as surely as winter is.