‘Game of Thrones’: Why Arya Is Shaping Up to Be the Hero of Season 8


Game of Thrones‘ final season has begun and while fans continue to wonder who will live, who will die, and who will sit on the Iron Throne in the end, there’s one that question that remains unexplored: Who will be the ultimate hero?

Some believe Jon Snow (Kit Harington) will fill the role, but we’re willing to bet that Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is going to take the glory. The youngest Stark daughter has literally been training for the Battle of Winterfell since the show’s first season.

As viewers will recall, when Ned (Sean Bean) spoke of his daughter’s future as a Lady, she rejected that role and told him she wanted to focus her attention on improving her combat skills. Ned’s response? He set up “dancing lessons” for Arya with master swordsman Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) who gave her the basic skillset to build upon when it came to sword-fighting.

If you take a look at Arya’s first lesson with Syrio in comparison to her more recent practice session with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) in Season 7, it’s clear how far she’s come. Arya is proof that the student can become the master, and with potential to beat someone as skilled as Brienne, the sky’s the limit.

(Credit: HBO)

So what does this exactly have to do with her being a hero? Well, in the premiere episode of Season 8, Arya reunites with many characters she hasn’t seen in years, one of which happens to be Gendry (Joe Dempsie), aka Robert Baratheon’s (Mark Addy) bastard son.

When she approaches him at the blacksmith, she offers up a blueprint of sorts, calling it her “wish.” The sketch is clearly a weapon that Arya hopes can be made with Dragonglass, an ingredient key in defeating the White Walkers. But the device is shrouded in enough mystery to spark an adequate amount of speculation. Is it a knife, spear or slingshot?

(Credit: HBO)

The Night King is the biggest threat to all of the living but the transformed Viserion (one of Daenerys’s dragons) poses a danger that could be avoided. His blue “flames” could wipe out hundreds with one fiery breath, so what’s a girl to do but perhaps create a weapon great enough to take down the dragon?

(Credit: HBO)

She may not be putting her physical combat skills to the test against the dragon, but Arya’s using strategy she learned through her time with Syrio, and we know she’s a good shot — she out-shot her brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) in the show’s first episode. With her strategy and combat skills, she can easily defend herself on the battlefield, but she’s thinking beyond what’s in front of her.

If this ends up being the case, Arya’s chances of becoming Season 8’s true hero will be realized. The evidence is there, now the sequence of events just need to follow suit. Taking a look back at the trailer, it appears that Arya does get ahold of the weapon in question at the 20-second mark, and it’s paired with her saying in voiceover, “I know death, he’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.”

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The statement further supports her potential hero status if we look back at Syrio Forel’s lesson to his young studen Arya. “There is only one god and his name is death,” he tells her. “And there is only one thing we say to death: ‘Not today.'”

And if death doesn’t come today for Arya, her skills will bring her the kind of glory worthy of a hero.

Game of Thrones, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO