There are so many exceptional characters on HBO’s Game of Thrones. There are those we root for, those we love, and plenty of those we love to hate.
We all root for Tyrion, though his hands are far from clean, his cunning, whip-smart comebacks and the fact that he is one step ahead of everyone leads to one complex and hilarious character. Sansa has developed into a fascinating exploration of finding the right moment to shine. Brienne is noble, Jon is romantic and daring, and the Lannisters are the perfect villains.
While it’s never a good thing to get attached to any of the characters on this show, I believe Arya Stark (played insightfully and complexly by Maisie Williams) is the strongest and my favorite.
She Has a Strong Sense of Self
There is nothing like a good origin story. We have been able to watch Arya develop from the start, along with the other Stark children. Arya stood out as the tomboyish troublemaker, who longed to be treated more like her brothers than her sister. She knew herself, even as a child, and was more interested in swordplay than dresses.
We got to watch her as she tirelessly trained in sword fighting and ultimately developed into a strong swordsman (swordswoman? swordsperson?) for her age. Though she has assumed countless identities since leaving King’s Landing, she has stayed true to her core self.
She Is a Survivor
Arya has been through it all and still stands tall. Despite being orphaned and separated from her siblings since season 1, she has managed to survive and even thrive, while also making friends whom she has also saved time and again.
She knows what it means to feel totally alone, yet still, she presses on. This is the reality of Westeros, yet Arya most often can only rely on herself, her wits, and inner strength. She also knows the realities of being a survivor, the games she has to play, and the sacrifices she has to make in looking out for herself only.
She is Flawed
Though she has developed into a total badass, Arya is far from perfect. With each loss and passing day, she grows colder and darker, being poisoned from the inside out by her desire for justice. We must bear in mind that even in the murderous and treacherous world of Westeros, an eye for an eye will only get her so far.
It is a dark world she lives in and is doing what she believes she must to survive, but her propensity for violence is taking her down a very dark path. And if you read the books, you know just how dark it will be.
Arya and The Hound
As ill-fated as the relationship between the Hound and Arya was from the start, you can’t help but delight in their initial rapport, dynamic and overall hilarity of their demented road trip. I would pay good money to see a buddy cop movie with the two of them.
That being said, the dark and twisted turn their relationship took during the Game of Thrones season 4 finale shows how much Arya has learned from him on how to survive no matter the cost. He created a bit of a monster in those lessons that backfired on him.
She is Relatable
She wants vengeance for those she has lost in her young life. So few actually see justice in Game of Thrones that it most often feels that evil prevails. Many of our favorite characters have died at the hands of those on Arya’s “kill list”. There is that part in all of us that would love to see her succeed because of how wronged she has been and how much she has lost.
I also challenge anyone who had to watch that child “White Fang” Nymeria and to not want to rampage on King’s Landing.
She Is a Scrappy Underdog
People constantly underestimate her because of her size or the fact that she is a girl. Yet, Arya uses that to her advantage and proves them wrong time and again. Her defiance for authority and seeming disadvantage in every situation makes us root for her all the more.
She yields this power, and the all-powerful coin, in getting on the ship in the season finale to seek a new path. Wherever she lands, she will give them hell.
What do you think? Is Arya Stark the strongest character on GoT? If not, tell us your strongest.
Game of Thrones returns for season 5 next spring on HBO.
(Images courtesy of HBO)