Why Arya Stark Was Destined to Deliver the Night King's Shocking Fate
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 8, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones, "The Long Night."]
If you haven't seen Game of Thrones' most recent episode, "The Long Night," yet, then you may want to turn back now, because the following statements will be dark and full of spoilers.
The Battle of Winterfell has finally come to pass, and it was certainly exhausting for all involved as viewers witnessed the product of 50+ night shoots come together in one epic fight. Ultimately, the most pivotal moment fell into the hands of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) when she delivered the fate-sealing blow to the Night King's chest with her Valyrian steel dagger (the same one used to kill Littlefinger, no less).
The youngest Stark daughter appears to have a plan up her sleeve.
So who could have predicted that most badass Stark would kill the Night King? We could. There were plenty of clues and callbacks to hint at Arya's destiny of ending the Night King's reign of terror, but seeing it come together was another thing entirely.
If we take a look back at Arya's earliest moments in the series, the evidence was laid out for us to observe, such as her spot-on aim with a bow and arrow in the series premiere. In the scene, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) attempts to shoot a target as his brothers Jon (Kit Harington), Robb (Richard Madden), and Rickon (Art Parkinson) watch, when suddenly one arrow hits the bullseye.
The culprit is none other than little Arya, who swooped in from behind the bunch to hit the target, and in many ways the scene mirrors Arya's killing of the Night King. Like the series premiere scenario, Arya took someone by surprise, and while Bran may have been peeved in the premiere, he certainly wasn't in the latest episode as his sister overtook one of the show's biggest baddies. Also, Arya hits her target in both situations with perfect accuracy, but against the Night King she's the most skilled she's ever been.
And it's the conversation that she has with Melisandre (Carice van Houten) in "The Long Night" which catapults her to that position to strike. Sure, she may have been holding a grudge against the witch that took Gendry (Joe Dempsie) back in Season 3, but a quick exchange in the midst of battle changes it all.
'Joffrey, Cersei, Walder Frey, Meryn Trant, Tywin Lannister...'
Looking back on their last meeting in Season 3, Arya accuses Melisandre of wanting to hurt Gendry (she wasn't entirely wrong), and "The Red Woman" promises that they will meet again. And in the latest episode it was that final moment of re-connection that reminded Arya of what Melisandre said back then and now.
In the darkened hall as Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) lay dead and The Hound (Rory McCann) stands by, Arya tells Melisandre she knows her. "You said we'd meet again," the young woman says.
"And here we are at the end of the world," Melisandre answers her.
"You said I'd shut many eyes forever. You were right about that, too," Arya tells her.
"Brown eyes, green eyes, and blue eyes," Melisandre confirms calling back to their Season 3 encounter. The emphasis on blue eyes clues Arya into what Melisandre means, though, and if keen enough, fans would have picked up on the statement as foreshadowing the Night King's death.
Lyanna proves that heart and courage matter most in the Battle of Winterfell.
But how was Arya to accept the words that Melisandre spoke? She clearly wasn't a fan of "The Red Woman" before, nor when she approached the castle at the beginning of "The Long Night." But it was words from Arya's old dancing — sword fighting in this case — instructor Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) that pushed her to take the ultimate step to take down the evil entity.
"What do we say to the god of death?" Melisandre asks Arya, echoing the girl's first combat teacher. "Not today," Arya responds with confidence.
Plus, we knew Arya would be pivotal in the battle considering that super-mysterious weapon she had Gendry make for her was introduced during the Season 8 premiere. She may not have used it to kill the Night King but it kept the wights at bay for a while until she could get close enough.
Ultimately, all of the signs were there we just had to be less oblivious than the Night King. Now, we wonder, will she close some green eyes belonging to Cersei (Lena Headey) before the final episode is through — we wouldn't be upset about it.
Game of Thrones, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO