‘Game Of Thrones': Is Arya Stark Too Far Bent On Revenge?

Sun, April 6, 2014 10:10pm EDT by 30 Comments
Arya Stark Kills Polliver
Courtesy of HBO

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Dorrie Bly

Posted at 9:07 PM on May 13, 2014  

There’s no such thing as too far bent on revenge.

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Aaron

Posted at 10:53 PM on April 29, 2014  

No, she’s not going too far. What you have to remember is that this is happening during the middle-ages, where children had to grow up fast. i.e. age of consent was when you were old enough to have/bear children, and boys as young as 10 were squires and followed their knights into war and in most cases, killed people. (Podrick “Pod” Payne, Tyrion’s squire, is only 10 in the books). What you’re doing is judging GoT by modern standards when they don’t have the same morals/ideals as we do. Not to mention, this is post-war, Arya is also only 10 at this point in the books, She’s seen a lot of death. She wants the people that have wronged her family, so that she can get vengence for her father, Mycah, Lady, etc. I know that GoT is an easy target for news stories because people that read them don’t necessarily watch the show so they get misconceptions. But I think it’s great that we’re seeing what war can do to children and how they grow up to become hateful and full vengeance.

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cameronpsych

Posted at 12:35 AM on April 21, 2014  

Check out my psychological analysis of Arya over at couchpotatopsychology.com

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Douglas L. Hom

Posted at 4:36 AM on April 15, 2014  

No. She’s been molded and is being molded by her experiences. Observation of cold blooded killing of loved ones (including pets) hardens one’s soul and fills it with a cold hate, unless she had someone of trust and love to steer away from that path, it’s only natural that you’re molding a killer. She will have a moral standard but not the emotional attachment to “right and wrong.” I certainly could have trod that line if I were exposed to the same losses by the same means … and observed. She has also learned that at times, killing without emotion is exactly what you have to do to survive in that world.

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Stacey

Posted at 3:17 PM on April 11, 2014  

I don’t mean to belittle Sansa when I say this (I adore her), but she has not been through nearly as much as Arya has. Between the two sisters, Arya is the only one who:

* had to survive on the streets alone, eating raw pigeon to survive
* had to live among a group of criminals who would rape and betray her if they found out she was a girl
* had to participate in a battle where she could have been killed at any moment and when she had to kill others (in the book) to survive
* was beaten repeatedly by grown men (in the books)
* was forced into slave labor (her time as Tywin’s servant was nothing compared to what she went through in the book, but even in the show she was forced to serve and wait on her enemy while he plotted to kill her family)
* witnessed all manner of atrocities — the murder of children, repeated gang rape, torture, etc
* had to survive constant hunger and the elements while she slept on the ground and ate insects so she didn’t starve

So to say that Sansa “has not been turned by fate into a murderer” is not a good comparison. As awful as Sansa’s experiences have been, they are not even on the same level as the horrors Arya has endured on a constant basis since escaping the Red Keep. If Arya had been in Sansa’s place, she probably wouldn’t be killing people either. She certainly would have been abused by Joffrey and forced to behave herself, just as Sansa is. But she wouldn’t have developed in the same way.

As for Arya killing at 14 in the TV series, well Robb leads his first battle at the age of 14 in the books. Jon kills by this time as well and keeps doing it. This is a series full of characters who kill. I have to wonder why there doesn’t seem to be any concern over their choices to commit far more murders than Arya has. Ideally, the Stark children would all be at home in Winterfell, safe and without the need to kill anyone at all. But that isn’t the way the story is going.

Just my opinion, but I believe Arya’s not necessarily bent on revenge so much as bent on serving justice. She has been exposed to injustice after injustice in this story. She’s out to make it right. The characters she’s killed are scum. Polliver murdered children, tortured people, committed rape, and wanted to rape Arya in the season premiere. His death will only benefit Westeros.

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Will

Posted at 11:37 PM on April 9, 2014  

1. Arya was not a princess in season 1, but a Lady of Winterfell. The first time she could have been viewed as a princess was when the Northmen swore fealty to Robb.

2. The guy she stabbed was not her first kill. The fat kid at the Kings Landing stables was.

3. This is a medieval fantasy. Throughout most of history, children of 12 – 14 were often considered men and women. Not for no reason either, they were forced to grow up quick. Their 12-14 age group is comparable to our 18-20’s.

4. Is she too young? I don’t think that matters, in fact I think it allows her to adjust to the lifestyle better. Children who are raised in violent surroundings cope better with violence and become better AT violence than those people who are confronted with it at a late age. Violence, death, and war, all start to eventually seem natural, even monotonous at that level. Soldiers often say that killing is hard the first time but continuously gets easier after that.

5. If your entire family was slaughtered like hers and you WEREN’T as hell bent on revenge as her, there’s something wrong with you.

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Mo

Posted at 4:40 PM on April 9, 2014  

” She may need to reel it in if she wants to be of sane and healthy mind should she ever meet up with her family again.” Wtf, Her only remaining family are in hostile situation, if anything having the skills of an assassin would be helpful for their survival. Something tells me that you have not understood the situation that has unfolded in the books please read again and re-type this article.

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Olive

Posted at 4:18 AM on April 9, 2014  

This was the best part in Season 4.1 – Why is is such an issue, because she is a girl? Love GOT and if you are faint hearted don’t watch the show. If I had been through what she had been through would have done the same thing. Go Ayra

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Artisa

Posted at 12:24 AM on April 9, 2014  

Any person who (for even a split second) questions whether or not Arya has “gone too far” is clearly insane. Polliver got what he deserved, and the rest soon will follow. Seriously, how can such a question even be asked? These people got what was coming to them! THE ENTIRE STARK LINE was damn near wiped out. Keep in mind that the Starks were probably the only noble individuals out there in the beginning. They really got the shittiest end of all sticks in my opinion. That alone, coupled with the fact that they were already a fan favorite makes it almost necessary for at least one of them to carry out revenge for the family name. It just wouldn’t be right if they went down without a fight.

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paulwt3

Posted at 7:59 PM on April 8, 2014  

Also, the show really underplayed/softened Arya’s time with Gregor’s men and at Harrenhal. In the books it’s a nonstop nightmare full of random, casual rape, murder, torture and abuse. In the books there’s no question about whether it’s ok for her to be how she is – we’ve seen what she’s up against and the kind of people she’s dealing with. But the show cut out just about everything involving Gregor and Raff and those guys, and Vargo Hoat. So they left in the effects but took out the causes – can make for a distorted viewing.

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Mirtika

Posted at 12:21 PM on April 8, 2014  

I was cheering. What Polliver did to that poor boy was sadistic, psychopathic, evil, mean, nasty, horrible, unforgivable. I see Arya as a dispenser of Vengetice (vengeance that’s justice). Good riddance to Lannister trash.

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Keli

Posted at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2014  

The author fails to understand that Arya is going to have a trained mind of a killer in order to survive. She doesn’t have to be a sociopath but definitely need to become as barbaric and cold as the world she lives in.

Sansa is sitting somewhat protected (though miserable). Arya is exposed to every vile creature and circumstance in this place and without the help of hound. I could only imagine her outcome. But it’s important for the viewer to see arya’s transformation. It’s clear she’s developing skills she will need later. So fallback and cut her some slack

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Matt

Posted at 6:31 AM on April 8, 2014  

Ok, while the show does technically differ from the book, Arya’s killing of the Tickler is basically the same as her killing of Polliver in the show, so it’s not like the show is making her worse. If anything the show is tamer as Arya had killed a bunch of people when Lannister men came and attacked Yoren, and killed a guard to escape Harrenhal

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paulwt3

Posted at 7:55 PM on April 8, 2014  

Actually this scene in the show is a combination of her killing the Tickler (from book 3) and her killing Raff the Sweetling (from a recently released book 6 chapter). It was the dialogue in this scene that forced Martin to release the preview chapter when he did, so he wouldn’t later be accused of stealing from the show.

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paulwt3

Posted at 1:46 AM on April 8, 2014  

Arya’s not on a quest for revenge. This guy didn’t do anything to her. He killed someone else unjustly. She got revenge on her dead friend’s behalf, and did it by ritualistically forcing the murderer to re-enact his crime. She’s the personification of justice here.

In the books (where she has far more kills), she never kills for revenge. There is a revenge killer in her family, whose name I will not say. Arya is cold and all about justice.

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Mirtika

Posted at 12:21 PM on April 8, 2014  

Nice. There ya go.

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Wyman

Posted at 11:36 PM on April 7, 2014  

This scene with The Hound and Arya is one of the best scenes this series has done to date.

Go team canine!

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sara

Posted at 10:10 PM on April 7, 2014  

wow, really? this article would never have been written if arya was a 12 year old boy. Bran had to watch his father behead a man at the age of 8. Come on! The series takes place in a world where violence is very prevelent and the only way to ‘play the game’ or rather survive, in Arya’s case, is to kill whoever else is trying to kill you. I think it’s awesome that a female character finally is able to make her own decisions.

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JJ

Posted at 5:48 PM on April 7, 2014  

Psychopath Arya is finally upon us. And totally believably done. This article is stupid..

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Caroline

Posted at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2014  

Arya Stark is power girl.

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Patrick

Posted at 3:50 PM on April 7, 2014  

If it’s too edgy for you, watch some Kardashians. If someone murdered and tortured your friends you might do the same. It’s a realistic portrayal of a vengeful person.

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gg

Posted at 1:49 PM on April 7, 2014  

Gone too far? Oh please shut up Hollywood life, do you even know Game of Thrones?

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Artisa

Posted at 12:26 AM on April 9, 2014  

THANK YOUUU!!!!! lol You said what we were all thinking ;) She sounds like such a pansie.

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You Must Be Gullible

Posted at 11:51 AM on April 7, 2014  

You’re just begging for a book spoiler here. Seriously, you think she’s gone “too far” now? Just you wait to see how far she goes to get her vengeance. The men she’ll kill this season are nothing but a warm up. And frankly, I don’t think you would’ve even written this “article” if the character was a boy.

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christine

Posted at 12:26 PM on April 7, 2014  

“And frankly, I don’t think you would’ve even written this “article” if the character was a boy.”

THIS. Yes, thank you!!!

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paulwt3

Posted at 1:51 AM on April 8, 2014  

I’ve read the books and what are you even talking about? This scene was a combination of Arya’s two worst kills in the entire series (including her latest). Neither was really a revenge killing, since neither man did anything TO HER. In the books, one is the torturer, and the other is the man who killed Lommy. But Arya wasn’t tortured, and Arya isn’t Lommy. Arya didn’t even like Lommy. There’s no vengeance here – more like divine retribution.

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giss

Posted at 2:45 AM on April 9, 2014  

What’s your point? And I like how your logic works. If I killed your parents and gave you a chocolate milkshake, killing me wouldn’t be a revenge kill? Cos I didn’t do anything to you.

 
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paulwt3

Posted at 2:59 AM on April 9, 2014  

Uh, killing someone’s parents =/= killing a kid someone doesn’t know that well or get along with. Arya doesn’t even like Lommy – in the show she doesn’t, and she certainly doesn’t in the books, where he’s awful to her and then later is a complete pain in the ass to the whole group. But – he’s an innocent. And he’s murdered. THAT is what her killing is about. It is not a revenge killing, it is a justice killing. A revenge killing is killing someone for killing someone – innocence or guilt has nothing to do with it. Arya kills criminals, she kills people who think they’ve gotten away with it, she kills people who kill or rape innocents. And that’s it.

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Shishir Kr

Posted at 11:30 AM on April 7, 2014  

What does Arya have left if not her revenge? I know she is completely broken but her every action is justified in the world where Iron price is the only way one can pay his debt.

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ken

Posted at 7:32 AM on April 7, 2014  

Actually Arya did have an emotion over killing Polliver. She rode away with a grin on her face. That was such an awesome scene, especially the way she gave him a “Sam Jackson type” speech before taking him out.

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