Unlike the season premiere, events rapidly picked up the pace in Game of Throne season 7’s second episode, “Stormborn.” The groundwork was laid for Jon and Dany to finally meet, Tyrion introduced an impressive ploy to unseat Cersei and the first major battle of the next war for the Iron Throne was fought and won.
In all that excitement, however, the biggest moment of the episode was one that was much quieter. Arya was reunited with her wolf Nymeria after being separated in season 1. While the scene was short (and the conclusion might have been anticlimactic for some) it could have a huge impact on Arya moving forward.
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This Is NOT US
The most immediate effect of the Nymeria meeting is that it probably ensures that Arya won’t go to Winterfell. The reunion with Nymeria was a long time coming for many fans but Arya meeting back up with her family has been just as anticipated, if not more so, than her finally coming face-to-face with her wolf. Arya’s final line to Nymeria, and her final line in “Stormborn,” appears to put the end to that event happening.
Arya telling Nymeria, “That’s not you,” wasn’t a confirmation that the wolf wasn’t Nymeria. It was a callback to season 1 where Arya told Ned that she wasn’t the type of girl who would get married to a handsome lord, have children and live safely in a castle. The wistful smile on Arya’s face as she delivers that line suggests that she not only has remembered that conversation but recognized that it still holds true. Just as Nymeria turned her back on Arya in “Stormborn,” Arya is likely going to turn her back on Winterfell and continue her mission of vengeance.
The only real debate to be had is if it’s a good idea for Arya to give up happiness (or at least stability) at Winterfell. When it comes to Arya as a person, it has to be a mistake. Arya’s mission of vengeance is not only a very dark turn but it is also incredibly dangerous. There are very few, if any, scenarios where Arya makes it out of her current murderous path alive and intact. She might be a Faceless (Wo)man but it is going to be far harder to kill Cersei than the little-loved and little-protected Walder Frey.
Viewing Arya as a TV character, though, it is the right move. Arya reuniting with Sansa or Jon and ruling Winterfell with them would be amazing but Arya has been on her assassination path since season 2. Whether Arya succeeds or fails, it would be anticlimactic for Game of Thrones to not at least have her attempt to kill Cersei Lannister. Just like her wolf, Arya has her own mission and she has been on it for a very long time.
On the other hand, Nymeria’s existence has been confirmed. The reunion between Arya and Nymeria was an important scene but it can’t be the only role that Nymeria is going to play for the rest of the series. Nymeria is one of only two direwolves left on Game of Thrones. Sansa’s wolf Lady died in season 1, Robb’s Grey Wind died with him at The Red Wedding and Rickon and Bran’s wolves both met their ends in season 6. Nymeria and Jon’s Ghost are the only two wolves left and there must be a reason for that.
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As much as Game of Thrones tries to be a non-traditional and wholly surprising fantasy epic, there are a few conventions that the show can’t possibly shake. One of the big ones is that Game of Thrones loves to have its deus ex machinas, big unforeseen events that completely change the outcome of something huge and dramatic. These developments on Game of Thrones don’t quite come out of nowhere, having a little bit of build-up, but there are more than a few surprise rescues in in the series when everything else seemed lost. Drogon saved Dany when she was about to be assassinated in Meereen, Tywin Lannister and House Tyrell rode in at the last second to save King’s Landing from Stannis and of course Jon was resurrected by Melisandre.
Arya and Nymeria originally parted because Arya was afraid that her wolf would be killed by Cersei. After Nymeria attacked Joffrey, the wolf was sentenced to death by the Queen. Since Nymeria couldn’t be found, Sansa’s Lady was killed in her place. It would only be fitting then if Nymeria swoops in, somehow, and saves Arya’s life to return the favor. If Arya does go on her mission to kill Cersei, it could be the wolf and not the human who saves the other from the Lannisters’ wrath.
But what do you think? What does Nymeria’s return mean for the series? What do you hope happens with Nymeria? Will Arya abandon returning to Winterfell? Should Arya have abandoned her homecoming? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
Game of Thrones season 7 airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Want more news? Like our Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of HBO)