Thursday, May 16, 2013

Arya Stark: Season 1, Episodes 4-10

     When we next see Arya, she is deeply committed to her dancing master's training. This includes balancing exercises that (because it's Arya) are adorable.

     Arya has clearly never been happier, rattling off bits of Syrio's sword wisdom and her plans to chase cats, taking every hurt as a lesson. She asks her father if she could be a great leader someday, to which he replies that she will marry well and have sons to do that for her.

     Arya is understandably unhappy with this answer, and replies, "No. That's not me," before going right back to dancing practice. Ned's doesn't quite know what to do with Arya. He wants her to be happy (hence providing her with a teacher), but can't see a future where her training could be put to use.

     Arya wears a shirt and pants to practice "dancing." They are the sort of rough clothes a boy would wear to practice swordplay. Other than the shirt (which is one she wears under her northern dresses), Arya's practice clothes don't fit her particularly well, and that belt was clearly made for someone much larger than she is. Arya probably wouldn't have any trousers of her own; our best guess is that these belonged to Ned or one of his men and he had them altered to (sort of) fit her. Note the scarf she wears wrapped around her neck: her mother wears one just like it.


     Arya's new clothes make her stand out, and apart from the ladies of the court to the viewer. But in the palace itself, her dirty, ill-fitting clothes might make her conspicuous for her lack of finery, but simultaneously almost invisible because of it. Also: cats. Sansa has a delicate winged creatures motif, Arya has a cat motif. And all swordsmen should study cats.

     Arya is starting to have the ability to blend in anywhere she goes. Even Varys the Spider doesn't notice her hiding in the shadows of the dragon's bones.

     Arya also sports a practical ponytail now, rather than braids, reinforcing her current look of common born obscurity.

     And she has no trouble blending in with the smallfolk and fishermen in the city, either. (Foreshadowing!) She really does fit in anywhere...

     Except the palace. The Knights Who Say Ni over there mistake her for a street urchin and try to send her on her way. But for the first time Arya unleashes her inner Sansa and tells them that she is the daughter of the Hand of the King, and if they touch her, her lord father will have their heads on spikes.

     Daddy Stark chastises her for running off and sends her back to her room. As per usual, they are both cast in shadow. Even though Arya mostly wears androgynous clothes now, she doesn't really resemble a high-born child, male or female. She looks like a common-born boy, wearing his father's hand-me-downs.

     Arya's having one last dancing lesson before leaving King's landing. Again; giant trousers and a belt that was clearly intended for an adult man. These clothes tie her to Syrio in this scene: they have almost the exact same silhouette.

     Syrio lunges left when he tells Arya to go right, and when she is indignant about his lying gives Arya a little speech, and final lesson.

"My tongue lied; my eyes shouted the truth. You were not seeing. Watching is not seeing, Dead Girl. The seeing, the true seeing: that is the heart of swordplay."

     And then Janos Slynt and some Lannister guards come to take Arya... somewhere. Or kill her, possibly. BAD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.  Syrio (in a nice continuation of his demonstration) sees through their lies, and Arya picks up her wooden sword, seeing too.

     No amount of Braavosi bravado will stop them from attacking, but Syrio isn't First Sword of Braavos for nothing.

     As Syrio holds them off, Arya begs him to come with her. Arya doesn't want to run but Syrio reminds her what she must say to the God of Death. 

Not today, motherfucker. Not today.

So Arya runs.
And runs.
And stabs a kid.

     And runs some more, disappearing for the first (but by no means last) time.

     It's safe to assume that Arya has been wandering the streets for days or possibly weeks without money or a place to lay her head. She is wearing the clothes she had on when she escaped the palace, her hair still in its ragged ponytail, her blouse untucked and hanging down as it would when beneath a dress.  Ever resourceful, Arya wrings a pigeon's neck and attempts to trade it for a lemon tart. Who says she and Sansa have nothing in common?

     But it would seem that Arya has places to be.

     Arya watches as her father is dragged to the Sept of Baelor, in front of a jeering crowd, to be publicly humiliated and executed. But Arya still has Needle and damn it if she isn't going to try to do something.

     She runs through the crowd, and probably would have tried to take down the Lannisters single-handed if Yoren hadn't seen and stopped her.

     But the heartbreaking truth is that neither Arya nor anyone else can do anything to save Ned. So she does the only thing she can: she buries her face in Yoren's chest and closes her eyes.

     Some trauma and a haircut later, it's goodbye Arya Stark and hello Arry the Orphan Boy, first of Arya's many alter egos.

     Yoren gives her a rundown of what will happen to her if she doesn't remember to keep a low profile. They're heading to the Wall where she could be safe with big bro Jon Snow, but it's a long way to go, and in bad company.

     Arry is introduced to the life of common orphan through the traditional bullying of the weak. Hotpie's mistake is to think that Arry's the weak one in this situation. 

"You want [my sword], I'll give it to you. I've already killed one fat boy. I bet you never killed anyone. I bet you're a liar. But I'm not. I'm good at killing fat boys. I like killing fat boys."
     Hotpie backs away quickly (like anyone would, goddamn, Arya) and straight into Gendry, who gives his own version of Arya's threats, replacing 'sword' for hammer and anvil. Gendry's is good at what he does, and immediately recognizes Needle as castle-forged steel.

Best roadtrip buddies, hooray!

     And so Arya leaves King's Landing in a far different manner than she entered it. From a lord's daughter to an orphan boy, from the finest silks she refused to wear to ragged hand-me-downs, from reluctant lady to true fighter, from her father's protection to the dangers of the road. She's Arya Stark, though, whatever guise she's in. The list of dangers on the road should have her at the top.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.