Arya Stark

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Arya Stark
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Arya Stark-Maisie Williams.jpg
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
First appearance Novel:
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Maisie Williams
Game of Thrones
Aliases Arya Horseface
Arya Underfoot
Cat of the Canals
Blind Beth
Gender Female
Family House Stark
Relatives Eddard Stark (father)
Catelyn Stark (mother)
Robb Stark (brother)
Sansa Stark (sister)
Bran Stark (brother)
Rickon Stark (brother)
Jon Snow (paternal half-brother)
Kingdom The North

Arya Stark is a fictional character created by American author George R. R. Martin. She is a prominent point of view character in Martin's award-winning A Song of Ice and Fire series, and also a main character in HBO's adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones. She is the only character to have POV chapters in every published book of the series.

Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Arya is the younger daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and his wife Lady Catelyn Tully. She is headstrong, fiercely independent, disdains traditional women's pursuits, and thus is often mistaken for a boy. She wields a sword named Needle, a gift from her half-brother, Jon Snow, and is trained in the Braavosi style of swordfighting while living in King's Landing.

Arya is portrayed by Maisie Williams on the HBO series Game of Thrones.[1][2] Her performance has garnered positive acclaim, particularly in the second season for her work opposite veteran actor Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) when she served as his cupbearer.[3] She is widely regarded as one of the greatest characters in both mediums.[4][5]



Arya is the third child and younger daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark. She has five siblings: brothers Robb, Bran, Rickon, half-brother Jon Snow, and older sister Sansa.

Despite being only nine years of age at the start of the first novel, Arya has quickly shown herself to be an independent and wild-spirited girl. Unlike her sister Sansa, she rejects the notion that she must become a lady and marry for influence and power, showing no interest in the womanly arts of dancing, singing, and sewing; instead she revels in fighting and exploring, to the bemusement of her tutor Septa Mordane and parents.

Appearance and personality[edit]

Arya wants to learn how to fight with a sword and ride in tourneys, which annoys Sansa, who enjoys the more traditional pursuits of a noblewoman. Arya is particularly close to her half brother Jon Snow, who encourages her martial pursuits. Jon Snow gives Arya her first sword as a gift, which she names "Needle". Throughout her travels, Arya displays great resourcefulness, cunning, and an unflinching ability to accept hard necessity. As the series progresses, she becomes increasingly ruthless, committing multiple acts of murder with little hesitation or remorse.

She is said to take after her fiery aunt Lyanna in temperament.[6] She is skinny and athletic. At the start of the story, she is generally regarded as plain-looking, and often mistaken for a boy. However, there are multiple instances in the books of her being called pretty, compared to the beautiful Lyanna,[6] and catching the eye of men later in the books. She is a warg, entering her direwolf Nymeria in her dreams.[7]


A Game of Thrones[edit]

Arya's smallsword "Needle" as shown in the TV series Game of Thrones.

Arya travels with her father, Eddard, to King's Landing when he is made Hand of the King. Before she leaves, her half-brother Jon Snow has a sword made for her as a parting gift, which she named "Needle" after her least favorite ladylike activity.

While taking a walk together, Prince Joffrey and her sister Sansa happen upon Arya and her friend, the low born Mycah, sparring in the woods. Arya defends Mycah from Joffrey's torments and her direwolf Nymeria helps Arya fight off Joffrey, wounding his arm in the process. Knowing that Nymeria will likely be killed in retribution, Arya chases her wolf away.[8] Sansa's direwolf is killed in Nymeria's stead and Mycah is killed by Sandor Clegane, estranging the Stark girls.[9]

While in King's Landing, her father discovers Needle, and arranges for fencing lessons, where Arya learns the ways of Braavosi swordplay. After her father's fall from grace and arrest, Arya narrowly escapes capture by Lannister guards with her fencing teacher killed protecting her. Now living in the slums of the capitol, Arya witnesses the execution of her father before falling under the protection of the Night's Watch recruiter Yoren. Yoren agrees to return her to Winterfell and they depart the city.

A Clash of Kings[edit]

Arya escapes King's Landing with Yoren and his party of Night's Watch recruits bound for the Wall, and on the road, she befriends other Night's Watch child recruits.[10] On the way, the party is attacked by Amory Lorch when Yoren refuses to yield Gendry to the Lannisters. Arya and her friends escape; the rest of the party is massacred. Before escaping, she saves the lives of the chained Night's Watch prisoner Jaqen H'ghar.[11]

Arya heads out with her friends until they are captured by Gregor Clegane and taken to Harrenhal.[12] After witnessing the death of her family and friends, Arya begins a nightly ritual of reciting the names of the people she wishes to exact revenge. At Harrenhal she is reunited with Jaqen, now under the employ of the Lannisters. He thanks her for saving his life and offers to kill any three people she names.[13] She names two people who hurt her at Harrenhal.

As her final name, she names Jaqen himself. To make her unsay his name, Jaqen helps her free the Northmen in the dungeon and stage an uprising. Afterwards, Jaqen changes his face and manner in front of her, telling her of the Faceless men. He gives Arya an iron coin so she can find them in the future. The next morning, Roose Bolton arrives to take charge of the castle. Arya is made one of Roose's cup-bearers.[14]

After growing fearful of Bolton, Arya then decides to flee Harrenhal. At the gate, she slits the throat of the guard; her second kill. Arya and her friends escape into the night.

A Storm of Swords[edit]

The costumes worn by Arya and her companion in A Storm of Swords, Sandor Clegane, in the TV series Game of Thrones.

While Arya and her companions are making their way north, she begins dreaming of her lost direwolf, Nymeria.[7] Later on, she and her companions are discovered by the Brotherhood Without Banners and is recognized as Arya Stark.[15] At the Brotherhood's secret base, Arya encounters the recently captured Sandor Clegane, where she accuses him of Mycah's murder. The Hound survives the trial by combat and is released.[16]

Arya eventually escapes alone before being captured by The Hound.[17] Sandor plans to return her to her family and win a reward.[18] They reach the Twins just as the slaughter of the Red Wedding begins. The Hound prevents Arya from running into the castle (and certain death) by knocking her out.[19]

After an ill-fated trek to the Eyrie, Sandor decides to take her to Riverrun and ransom her to her uncle. On their way they meet two men on Arya's death list. In the ensuing fight, Arya reclaims Needle, but Sandor is severely injured. Arya denies The Hound the mercy of a quick death and leaves him to die. She gains passage on a boat to Braavos with the iron coin that Jaqen gave her along with the Valyrian phrase "Valar Morghulis."[20]

A Feast for Crows[edit]

Arriving in Braavos, Arya makes her way to the headquarters of the Faceless Men, the House of Black and White where she is initiated into the guild. She is required to discard her old personality, including her belongings, to begin the training. She follows these orders, but hides Needle. She continues to have wolf-dreams, unknowingly "warging" into Nymeria from afar. This connection with her wolf prevents Arya from totally leaving her identity behind as is required of a Faceless Man. Her master repeatedly chastises her for this. During her training, she murders a Night's Watch deserter and briefly meets Samwell Tarly, though they do not introduce themselves to each other. After admitting her unauthorized murder to her mentor, she is given milk to drink. She wakes up the next morning blind.

A Dance with Dragons[edit]

Arya remains blind and in the service of the House of Black and White in Braavos. She continues to dream through the eyes of her direwolf, Nymeria, but speaks of it to no one. She still struggles with leaving her identity as Arya Stark behind. While she is blind, Arya wanders the streets of Braavos, becomes better at lying and detecting the lies of others.

Arya receives her sight again after she is able to identify the Kindly Man while blind. After regaining her sight, Arya is given her first assassination assignment. She is asked to give "the gift" to an old man who sells insurance. The Kindly Man takes her to the secret lower chambers and she is given the face of an ugly, broken girl. Arya eventually succeeds at killing her target. The Kindly Man then gives Arya an acolyte's robe and assigns her to begin her first apprenticeship.

Family tree of House Stark[edit]

Robb I


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