31 Things We Learned from the Game of Thrones Women

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Arya is ready for the show. Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

5. You don’t need to conform to others’ ideas of what you should be.

Arya Stark

In Season 1, Ned tells his youngest daughter that she’ll marry a fine young man and have strong sons. Arya wastes no time in her reply: “That’s not me.” Indeed, at the time, that’s not her at all. She doesn’t want to marry a nobleman and raise knights—she wants to be a knight herself. She wants adventure in the big wide somewhere.

And that’s precisely what she gets, and what shapes her. Arya has learned that fighting doesn’t always equal winning, and that battle is more ruthless and unchoreographed than she had previously imagined. But she’s doing what she wants, and what’s necessary. Despite the fact that the Northmen credit Jon as he who avenged the Red Wedding, it was, in truth, Arya who did so. She baked the Frey sons into pies and slit their father’s throat, punishing the family’s crimes and avenging her own.

Arya has become a soldier and an assassin in her own rite. She was never the lady she was expected to be, nor did she become the sort of killer Jaqen H’ghar trained her to be. She sticks to her own moral code and, in the process, does right by herself and the Starks.