There were a lot of great moments that occurred in the fourth season of ‘Game of Thrones‘ and clearly that means I’m going to be talking spoilers from the season finale so if you haven’t seen it yet, click away now!
One of the more talked about scenes in the finale was how Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams) dealt with Sandor Clegane, or should I say, The Hound. While the two had clearly grown quite close to each other, he has always been on her list of people to kill so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that she wanted him dead. What was a surprise to some is that she didn’t put him out of his misery and left him to die suffering. While the two had grown close, Maisie feels it was close in the way of “I quite like you so I’ll kill you last” which just didn’t wind up that way.
Harsh. However, if you think about it, and dig into it, the entire scene makes sense. While we’ve grown with the show over the past few years, so has Arya so it’s easy to forget that she is still a child. According to Williams:
“It’s that whole situation of being a child, because people forget that Arya is a child. I mean, I’m 17-years-old, but I’m playing about a 12-year-old, or around that age. We don’t actually have a specific age on Arya, but she’s still a child, and I think people are forgetting that. I think people expect Game of Thrones to…You know, we’re in Season 4, and people still think the good guys are good guys and the bad guys are bad guys. It’s not that. It’s not at all. Just because they’re your favorite character or they’ve done something that you enjoyed in previous seasons, it doesn’t mean that they’re a perfect person.”
I think that is one thing we can all readily agree upon. There is no true good people in Westeros among the main characters. At one point early in the series you could argue that, but the world is grey, not black and white. Arya has grown in that world and while she may want to know what is good or bad, she doesn’t. I really think the next quote, while a little lengthy, explains her mindset perfectly:
“Arya’s been through so much up to this point in that she doesn’t know what’s right or wrong. She’s still trying to figure that out. She’s struggling to hold onto that little girl inside her, but she doesn’t know how to. It’s like when your mom says, ‘Go apologize to your brother,’ or, ‘I think you should apologize to me for what you’ve done wrong’ – as soon as someone says that, you immediately don’t want to, because you feel like it’s being forced. You know, he’s talking down to her and telling her how useless she is and how she doesn’t know what she’s doing and that I’m a dumb girl; she’s got these stupid dreams that are never going to come true. And then he turns around and asks her to kill him says, ‘You know where the heart is. Go on, girl.’ She’s just like, ‘You know what? I put my trust in you, and you’ve helped me out a lot, but I’m not going to give you this final thing that you want. I’m going to show you a lesson. You can’t treat people like this and get away with it forever.’ I think that’s what she’s trying to do. Plus, she doesn’t want to kill this guy. She makes it out like she’s this hard, bada** girl that has no emotions, but he has done a lot for her. Maybe not killing him is the worse outcome or whatever you want to call it, but she doesn’t want to kill him, and she wants him to finally take her seriously, and he does.”
He looks at her and realizes that he’s created a bit of a monster. She’s really proud of that. Unfortunately, it’s a really dark way of getting that message across, but she does. People were really pissed about that, and you have every right to be — so was I — but I think they’re not looking at the bigger picture. People turn a blind eye to the kind of brutality that Arya’s been put through. They just enjoy her storyline because she has these sarcastic lines and her and the Hound are constantly bickering. That bit’s funny, and I think people really enjoy that, but it’s not real, unfortunately. Game of Thrones focuses on what’s real. So that’s why Arya leaves at the end.”
Now when I first watched the finale I didn’t exactly see him realizing he created a bit of a monster but I loaded up the episode again after reading this article and I can’t help but see the scene that way now. I think this is going to be a key defining moment for Arya in a way that learning vengeance, to fight, and even to kill haven’t been. This,I believe, helped to truly harden her in a way that nothing else she experienced to date has.
Arya and The Hound weren’t the only person in that scene, though, as Brienne truly tried to offer her protection. Only at this point in her life, the thought of protection and safety are a lie to her told to protect children who don’t know better. She might not be a grown woman yet but she is absolutely no longer a child.
“That’s another thing people have been tweeting me a lot about,” Williams said of the short-lived meeting. “I think she enjoys that small interaction she has with Brienne, and she’s very intrigued by this woman, but Arya’s intrigued by a lot of people. She was intrigued by the Hound back in Season 1 when he rode in with this big scar on his face. She was in awe of the guy, until she realized that actually no one is that person. No one is all they’re built up to be. No one is doing anything for the right reasons. I think in Arya’s eyes Brienne just ruins it for herself when she starts talking about how she sworn to protect her mother and all this stuff about loyalty. I feel like Arya’s just kind of done with that, really,” the actress reflected. “That’s all she’s heard her whole life. That’s all she ever knew, was her family was these perfect people and did the right things and never wanted to upset anyone intentionally. Then she realized, actually, it doesn’t matter if you’re that person or not. It doesn’t count. No one is playing by the rules. I think when Brienne comes out with this spiel about safety and the Hound puts her in her place, Arya really kind of believes that and is like, ‘I understand you may be out to look after me, but nowhere is safe in this world.’ So that, again, is why she doesn’t go with Brienne.”
Arya has become one of the stronger and more interesting characters on ‘Game of Thrones’ and does great when paired with other characters. I have a sneaky suspicion in the next season we’re going to see her paired up once again only this time with someone we’ve already seen as she is heading to Lorath. I suspect we’ll see a return of Jaqen H’ghar, the faceless assassin.