This article contains spoilers for episodes up to and including Beyond The Wall, Game of Thrones season 7 episode 6, so read at your own risk!
Arya Stark has been a fan favorite since the very first episode of Game of Thrones, where she was portrayed as a spunky tomboy who would rather learn how to fight like her brothers than filling the role of a highborn lady. However, a lot has happened to her since then and in the latest seasons, it seems like Arya has become a cold-blooded killer who has little of the emotion of the 11-year-old girl we met at the start of the series.
Arya And Sansa’s Face Off
At present, as of episode 6 of season 7, which was aired on Sunday, Arya is being manipulated into mistrusting her sister Sansa after Petyr Baelish set her up to find a letter Sansa wrote under duress that made it look like she had betrayed the Stark family. Sansa already appeared to have noticed that her long lost sister was a bit ‘different’ now and went through her belongings, finding faces that Arya is trained to use as a faceless assassin. Arya finds her sister rooting through her stuff, and they confront each other – Sansa clearly wondering just what her sister has become and Arya threatening to use her assassin skills on Sansa for being a traitor. Quite why their psychic bother Bran can’t just clear things up by explaining that it’s all a plot by Baelish remains to be seen, but until we see what happens in episode 7, there is clear hostility at Winterfell between the Stark girls.
Arya’s Troubling Mental State
A lot of essays have been written about the mental conditions of different characters in Game of Thrones, and in Arya’s case, she is usually talked about by people who study things like psychology or have a masters in social work online as being someone with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Her experience of seeing her father beheaded and then other things she has seen on her journey, including torture and being stabbed by the Waif, have turned her character from someone who would have been similar to Lyanna Stark – a bold, headstrong, and vivacious girl – into a cold person with only her ambition to avenge her enemies motivating her.
Who Could Counsel Arya?
In Westeros, it obviously isn’t possible for someone to do an online MSW program and learn how to help people with the kind of issues she has. In our world, therapy would be the best route for someone with PTSD. It is possible all Arya needs is a friend who has also come to terms with a lot of bad things and remorse, and this could come in the shape of the Hound. A reunion between these two characters would be great to see, and as his own arc has seen him become more honorable and less murderous, maybe he could be a good influence on Arya.
We’ll just have to wait and see if their reunion will happen on screen or not!