Will Arya Stark Be the Secret Villain of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: HBO)

Just as a warning, this article contains major spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the premiere episode of Game of Thrones season seven, you’ll probably want to go away, watch it, and then come back for some sweet, sweet analysis and commentary.

Here’s a picture to break things up if you’ve clicked on this article by accident. Spoilers start below.

Arya Stark
Source: HBO

Okay, so everyone else that’s here, welcome. Hope you enjoyed the first episode of Game of Thrones in over a year.

It might have been a long wait, but wow! What a way to kick things off.

In retrospect, this opening scene feels a little suspicious to start with. Clearly the Frey’s mistake was assuming that there is such a thing as a free meal.

Silly masks aside, it’s a powerful scene for a number of reasons, not least because it shows Arya Stark getting down to business – the business in question being vengeance and murder.

Speaking about the scene, Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, is eager to delve into what’s going through her character’s head:

“Even Arya is surprised she has so much power. In that last moment she’s staring out at all those men dying, she’s turned into a bit more of a monster than she’s ever realized. I don’t think she’s sad about that but she’s got it on her mind.”

This is far from the first time we’ve seen Arya do something ruthless, but it is a key turning point, and the fact that season seven kicks off with this particular plot point suggests that it’s a hint of things to come.

Plenty of characters in season seven are going to find their morals challenged as they embrace darker paths. From what we’ve seen in trailers, it had appeared as if Sansa Stark is in danger of becoming more and more vicious and cruel under the guidance of the universally despised Littlefinger, but she may only be one of many characters to toy with villainy.

We know from costume photos that Arya Stark will at some point have contact with Littlefinger, and perhaps this is key – Sansa may be placed as part of a bait-and-switch, with audiences worrying that Littlefinger is gaining too much control over her, before instead, he sinks his claws into Arya and pushes her to further his cause instead.

Or, perhaps, Arya is going to use the kind of devious planning on Littlefinger that enabled her to take out the Freys. If that’s the case, though, one has to wonder how far Arya will end up going, and whether she’ll then set her sights higher.

Game of Thrones being the kind of show that’s always hard to predict, this is simply one fan theory in a sea of many. With a season coming that’s about alliances, both forged and broken, it’s easy to see how Arya Stark could quickly become a big challenge to Jon Snow – especially if she chooses to embrace her ruthless side and turn away from previous allies.

One thing’s certain: whatever’s coming, it’s probably going to be bloody.