Kinda made us want to take up sword fighting, tbh
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
If you haven’t yet seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones season 7 then you had better leave faster than an angry Dothraki on horseback because this article is full of spoilers. Sorry. RUN.
However, if you have witnessed the absolute epicness that is episode 4, The Spoils of War, then you’re probably still reeling. Is Jaime Lannister’s fate sealed in that watery grave? Will Jon Snow bend the knee for the sake of his people? Is anyone going to pull up Littlefinger over his ever changing accent?
But with the south in a big ashy mess thanks to Drogon, how are things shaping up in the north? Arya returned home to Winterfell (hurrah!) and despite Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams’ claims that they were too embarrassed to act in front of each other again, Sansa and Arya’s reunion was actually very touching.
And Bran and Arya’s first meeting went well, so it seems he’s saving up his bank of weird comments just for Sansa. Despite being slightly more concerned with staring at his favourite tree than catching up with his little sister, he did give Arya the Valeryian steel dagger that dodgy Petyr Baelish gave to him earlier in the episode (and that ‘chaos is a ladder’ comment means a lot more than you think).
But while the internet is theorising about what Arya is going to do with said dagger, everyone seems to have missed the huge significance of her sword fight with Brienne of Tarth.
The two female fighters have been involved in countless battles over the seven seasons, but when the tiny Stark took on the towering Tarth those Game of Thrones geniuses were actually weaving every moment that has made Arya who she is into her twists, turns, blocks and falls.
While the surviving Stark children have had to navigate their way in the world without their family, Arya has had the most adoptive parental figures – and every one of them has left their mark on her.
First up we had Tywin Lannister, who Arya served in season 2 while she was on the run. Upon seeing Brienne training Pod, she comments: ‘Don’t fight someone like her in the first place.’ Sounds like something the former head of the Lannister family would say, right?
She also uses the nimble skills she learned from her first teacher, Syrio Forel, and manages to hold Brienne despite having a much smaller and thinner blade.
Next, we see Arya strike Brienne where she is unprotected and vulnerable. This takes us back to when she was in the care of the Hound, and she attempted to drive her sword through his armoured chest only to have him knock her to the floor. Fair to say she has learnt her lesson.
And when Brienne frustratedly boots Arya to the ground mid-fight, she manages to pull herself up in the same way she did while she was training to be a Faceless Man.
Finally, her new sleeked back hairdo and brown dress look very much like a tribute to her late father, Ned Stark.
So while it might have seemed like a playful joust of the exceptional female fighters, every move was a reminder of the moments that have shaped Arya.
Better watch out, Littlefinger. Especially now she has that dagger…