Arya Stark has been a major player in Game of Thrones' final season and her fate was revealed in the series finale, a week after she somehow escaped the carnage of King's Landing. Considering Arya spent most of the series' run on the move, her decision to set sail for new adventures was fitting.
During last week's "The Bells," Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) went to King's Landing with Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann) in the hopes of crossing off more people on her list of enemies to kill. She wanted to go straight to the castle with The Hound to face Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) herself, but he talked her out of it.
While The Hound fought his brother Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), Arya was left to scramble around the death and destruction unfolding in King's Landing after Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her forces attacked.
Arya wound up not getting to kill Cersei herself, as Cersei was killed with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in the collapsing Red Keep. Audiences saw Arya help out the wounded as best she could, but the only person she could really save was herself. In the last shot of "The Bells," a mysterious white horse showed up to take Arya away from King's Landing.
Sadly, considering how important Arya was to the first part of Season 8, the character's role was diminished in the series finale. She was not with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) when he killed Dany. Arya did also not take part in the major decisions made by the council set-up in the aftermath of Jon and Tyrion Lannister's (Peter Dinklage) betrayals.
Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) became the new king, and Tyrion was named his hand. Jon was sent back to The Wall to rejoin the Night's Watch. Sansa (Sophie Turner) also took a leadership role on the council and became the leader of Winterfell.
But Arya chose not to even go back to Winterfell. Instead, she told Jon as he left to go back to The Wall that she plans to explore the lands west of Westeros. In the closing montage, Arya was seen on a ship.
Arya's smaller role in the latter half of Season 8 had been a big disappointment to fans who saw her singlehandedly kill the Night King during the Battle of Winterfell in "The Long Night." She stabbed the Night King in the right spot, instantly killing him and shattering his Army of the Dead.
That scene was also controversial, even though Arya spent the previous seven seasons training for a dramatic moment just like that. It even came as a surprise to Maisie Williams, who thought Jon was the one who should kill the Night King until she read the important scene with Melisandre.
“When we did the whole bit with Melisandre, I realized the whole scene with [the Red Woman] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past 6 seasons — 4 if you think about it since [Arya] got to the House of Black and White,” Williams told Entertainment Weekly last month. “It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does. So then I was like, ‘F— you Jon, I get it.’”
Arya Stark was Williams' first professional acting role. The 22-year-old earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2016. She will be seen in the long-delayed The New Mutants, which is now scheduled for April 3, 2020.
Photo credit: HBO