Arya Stark is known for her impulsivity, her violence, and her killer road trip buddies. But she also has one quality most Game of Thrones fans overlook, and that’s the fact that her story is damn mysterious. As it turns out, her long lost connection to her Direwolf may answer several questions.
While every other main character’s story involves using, abusing, or struggling with power and politics, Arya has had a comparably isolated plot over the past six seasons. She’s been stranded in an assassin death cult far away from the main action.
Sure, the reason she ended up in Braavos directly correlated to Westeros politics. After Ned Stark lost his head, she went on the run and found herself indirectly screwed over time and again by betrayals like the Red Wedding. There was even a brief but delightful time in Season 2 when she brushed elbows with the biggest political mastermind, Tywin Lannister.
But for the most part, her story has essentially been an extended bottle episode about assassin school. And as the show winds into its final stretch with just two abbreviated seasons, it’s time to consider A Girl’s endgame.
Naturally, because this is Game of Thrones, there are theories about her ultimate role in the story. And the craziest but most plausible, which Game of Thrones YouTuber Alt Shift X has outlined, involves Arya becoming one with wolves.
Like the theory that all Bran Starks are the same guy or the theory that Jon Snow is a legendary world-saving hero reborn, it’s been around for a while. But Seasons 7 and 8 are where it will become relevant.
See, in the books, Arya and all the Starks are far more connected to their direwolves than they are on the show. Bran is far from the only warg, and in Arya’s chapters, she often thinks of herself in wolf terms. This theory posits that Arya’s connection to her long lost direwolf Nymeria — who she sent away in Season 1 but is likely still alive — will become literal, in the end.
She’ll die, and her spirit will live on in Nymeria. The show has established a precedent for this, just as it established a precedent for Jon’s resurrection with Beric Dondarrion in Season 3. In Season 3, the Wilding Orell — who Jon was traveling with — was able to live on in his eagle after he died. If Arya dies and wargs into Nymeria, this viscous, aggressive, lonely girl will therefore become a vicious, aggressive wolf who isn’t lonely anymore, thanks to her pack.
George R. R. Martin has said the story’s end will be bittersweet — and dying without avenging all of the Starks but living on as their symbol would be the most perfectly bittersweet path for Arya.
It doesn’t mean it’s happening, of course. But it makes a poetic kind of sense as the endgame for A Girl’s story.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.