Fans will undoubtedly spend the week trying to unpack the latest episode of Game of Thrones, particularly the miraculous white horse that appeared to carry Arya away at the end.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 8, Episode 5 lie ahead!
It was a jam-packed week in Westeros, where political intrigue sparked a literal firestorm in King's Landing that could not be put out. As the city burned, Arya hurried to get to Queen Cersei, hoping for her revenge. However, she was stopped and turned back by the words of Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, and instead ran off saving people while trying to escape the city.
Arya's turn from vengeful assassin to medieval super hero was actually one of the best-developed turns of the season, many fans agreed. Since returning to Winterfell she has regained much of her humanity, and her focus on the "pack" rather than the "lone wolf" speaks to her newfound compassion and priorities.
That said, the white horse that picked Arya up remains a head-scratcher. The animal was clearly very symbolic, appearing as if from nowhere on a ruined street, its white fur catching the sunlight. Fans had a lot of ideas about what the horse was meant to represent, ranging from jokes to deep biblical analogies.
"Bran called Arya an Uber," one fan joked simply.
"Gandalf said 'save Arya,'" wrote another, with a photo of Gandalf and Shadowfax from Lord of the Rings.
Many users quoted a bible verse from Revelations 6:8, reading: "I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death." They reasoned that this was Arya's final transformation into a servant of the Many-Faced God, and she would bring death to Daenerys.
Still other users noted a parallel to the novels that form the source material of the show. In the books, a plague called "the pale mare" ravaged the city of Mereen while Daenerys was ruling it, taking out many civilians and soldiers in her armies, weakening her forces against outside attacks.
Daenerys is warned of the pale mare in the books by the sorceress, Quaithe.
“The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal," she says.
It could be that this is a subtle nod to the books, indicating that Arya will be the new "pale mare" for Daenerys — an unstoppable force that her dragon fire can't burn away.
The one thing they did well in this season is the Arya & Sandor Arc.
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There are many other interpretations of the strange horse, but it is unlikely we will see a straightforward explanation in the final episode. Game of Thrones has crammed a lot of story into a shortened season, and some fans are disappointed in the pacing overall.