Dawn of Fyre

Arya Stark - An Unprovoked attack?

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With this weeks episode, there have been heavy criticism of Arya's characterisation and harsh interaction with Sansa. I would argue, however, that the 'falling' out between the two was a long-time coming. We have to remember that Arya saw Littlefinger with Tywin at Harrenhal. And that is the reason why she is so distrustful of Sansa at the moment, especially how Sansa seems to rely on him to keep the North in power. I mean, I would be distrustful of Littelfinger, too. And anyone who seems to associate with him in the same manner Sansa does. Perhaps people have forgotten about this fact?

There are other reasons why she is so hostile to Sansa too. The main being her memories of the younger Sansa, and how she defended Joffrey when Myca? was attacked and later murdered. That was a betrayal. She then was force to marry into the Lannister House; she managed to escape, but then chose to marry into the Bolton House, an enemy of the Stark's who played a part in the Red Wedding, the same wedding Arya almost witnessed firsthand. Sure, Sansa did suffer from that decision, but she still made the conscious choice - trusting Littlefinger backfired. But she trusted him anyway.

Sure, we can argue back and forth and write that Arya went to far, was to harsh, etc. But Arya suffered too since their separation, was forced to kill, run and hide, and became an assassin. She was losing her sense of identity, and what saved her was "Jon Snow's Smile" - book reference to when she held Needle, and could not get rid of the blade. She is trying to protect Jon Snow, House Stark, and the North from a potential threat. From what she has experienced, seen, and heard about, is it any wonder that she is so suspicious of Sansa? I'm sure Bran will intervene in next episode before something unfortunate happens, set things right, and create peace among the sisters. However, I doubt they'll ever be the traditional loving siblings. Not like her relationship with Jon, which is one of the strongest in the novels.

Am I wrong in my assessment?

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Didn't you post this somewhere else or am I going crazy?

 

My thoughts boil down to this: Arya has her reasons for acting the way she does towards Sansa BUT those reasons do not make what she did right in any respect. A basic case of "Your emotions are your emotions, they are neither right nor wrong and you are entitled to them, you can't control them, but you can control what those emotions make you do." Which ironically, is the core of DBT therapy.

If anything, the way she handled her feelings about the topics only made the situation worse due to the aggressive, accusatory nature of how she brought them up. If they had talked calmly about all these things, it would have made a difference.

But Arya as a character is someone who IMHO is less of a talk-calmly-about-things person.

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Just a theory but I think she's hostile because she recognized the dagger belonged to Sansa and it was Sansa who tried to have Bran killed, That might be why Arya handed it to her, so she would realize Arya knows it was her. If this is so then Sansa's next move might be to try to kill Arya which would explain why she sent Brienne away

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It's just pointless conflict that only makes sense if you imagine the characters are idiots who never talk to each other or explain themselves. Writers often seem to like using this sort of thing as a crutch. It feels like watching Arrow. The most frustrating part was that Sansa didn't slap Arya in the face and tell her to stop being such a fool. She could have written that letter in return for a foot rub and it would still have been worth it - of course Robb wasn't so stupid as to believe anything in it. Nothing in that letter means anything. Bringing it out again is like recording a hostage negotiation then playing it back later to imply the negotiator sympathises with terrorists.

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5 minutes ago, Kizzle said:

Just a theory but I think she's hostile because she recognized the dagger belonged to Sansa and it was Sansa who tried to have Bran killed, That might be why Arya handed it to her, so she would realize Arya knows it was her. If this is so then Sansa's next move might be to try to kill Arya which would explain why she sent Brienne away

The dagger belonged....to Sansa?

When did Sansa ever own a dagger? A Valerian steel one at that? She had a Valerian steel dagger hidden away somewhere at 13? Why would she try to have Bran killed?

I'm all for considering other options but this really, really confuses me.

 

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2 minutes ago, Pandean said:

Didn't you post this somewhere else or am I going crazy?

 

My thoughts boil down to this: Arya has her reasons for acting the way she does towards Sansa BUT those reasons do not make what she did right in any respect. A basic case of "Your emotions are your emotions, they are neither right nor wrong and you are entitled to them, you can't control them, but you can control what those emotions make you do." Which ironically, is the core of DBT therapy.

If anything, the way she handled her feelings about the topics only made the situation worse due to the aggressive, accusatory nature of how she brought them up. If they had talked calmly about all these things, it would have made a difference.

But Arya as a character is someone who IMHO is less of a talk-calmly-about-things person.

I actually posted a similar post as a comment, but decided to give it its own post, because so many people were just unloading on Arya's character in this weeks episode.

I think Arya acted on the information she had, emotions not in full control (ironically), and the situation spiraled out of control. I think she had the scenario planned out in her head, what she would say, and when she began, Sansa's responses and actions caused Arya in return to become more and more aggressive. Whether she was right or wrong, I would not take one position over the other. With the background information I've already provided, Arya did not feel like she was in a position to actually judge whether or not Sansa was loyal or only in the game for herself.

You do make a good point about them resolving their issues if they just talked calmly and explained the situation - but these sisters were never calm around each other from the beginning. They've grown into strangers, and that is what is causing this conflict. This is why I have a hard time blaming one over the other - Sansa has made some shitty decisions in the past, and it is coming back to bite her in the ass. Marrying into the Bolton House? Fuck - Imagine how Arya must have felt hearing that news. Especially since the North was aware that Roose Bolton played his part in the Red Wedding.

I don't think there would have been a scenario where Arya and Sansa could have a calm conversation about Winterfell and loyalty. We, as the audience, know both narratives - they, however, don't. And thus... sisterly warfare.

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7 minutes ago, Ser Petyr Parker said:

It's just pointless conflict that only makes sense if you imagine the characters are idiots who never talk to each other or explain themselves. Writers often seem to like using this sort of thing as a crutch. It feels like watching Arrow. The most frustrating part was that Sansa didn't slap Arya in the face and tell her to stop being such a fool. She could have written that letter in return for a foot rub and it would still have been worth it - of course Robb wasn't so stupid as to believe anything in it. Nothing in that letter means anything. Bringing it out again is like recording a hostage negotiation then playing it back later to imply the negotiator sympathises with terrorists.

The conflict is not pointless, though. Not when you know what Arya experienced in her journey, what she saw, what she heard. She saw Littlefinger at Harrenhal supping with Tywin, she witnessed the Red Wedding take place, and heard that Sansa actively choose to marry Ramsay Bolton after the fact. Then she reached Winterfell and saw Littlefinger beside Sansa.

Would this not look suspect to Arya? Remember, she does not know what audience knows, so we can't judge her for not knowing all the facts. But some of the facts are damning.

Them reuniting and being all chummy would have been unrealistic. Would you not agree with this take on the issue?

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Just now, Dawn of Fyre said:

I actually posted a similar post as a comment, but decided to give it its own post, because so many people were just unloading on Arya's character in this weeks episode.

I think Arya acted on the information she had, emotions not in full control (ironically), and the situation spiraled out of control. I think she had the scenario planned out in her head, what she would say, and when she began, Sansa's responses and actions caused Arya in return to become more and more aggressive. Whether she was right or wrong, I would not take one position over the other. With the background information I've already provided, Arya did not feel like she was in a position to actually judge whether or not Sansa was loyal or only in the game for herself.

You do make a good point about them resolving their issues if they just talked calmly and explained the situation - but these sisters were never calm around each other from the beginning. They've grown into strangers, and that is what is causing this conflict. This is why I have a hard time blaming one over the other - Sansa has made some shitty decisions in the past, and it is coming back to bite her in the ass. Marrying into the Bolton House? Fuck - Imagine how Arya must have felt hearing that news. Especially since the North was aware that Roose Bolton played his part in the Red Wedding.

I don't think there would have been a scenario where Arya and Sansa could have a calm conversation about Winterfell and loyalty. We, as the audience, know both narratives - they, however, don't. And thus... sisterly warfare.

Oh. Makes sense.

 

Both girls have their tensions very high. Sansa tends to keep a calmer front, though you can see she is frustrated and scared, Arya....well, her emotions are always pretty strong.

In the actual context of the argument, I found Sansa's responses logical considering what Arya said to her, but Arya was not necessarily in a place to hear her. In regards to handling the situation, I do feel like Sansa is doing a better job than Arya, but at the same time I don't blame Arya for what she's feeling and going through right now. It is true that Sansa made mistakes (which she paid for dearly, on another side, I don't believe the choice to marry into the Boltons was much of a choice. I don't really believe LF would've let her back out. But that's my own opinion) and that she and Arya did not get along (I find it interesting how in the show both of them antagonized each other as kids versus it being mainly Sansa in the books) and that they think, view, see, and experienced very differently and different things.

I don't think Arya would've immediately become best pals with Sansa and they definitely do have a lot of baggage to sort through.

At the same time, I do have a strict belief of "Emotions cannot be controlled, what they make you do, can." Ironically because I have a disorder where a big part of it is having emotions that can only hit extreme sides of the spectrum versus the normal, varied responses other people have. And due to that I see a lot of Arya in me because I can sooo relate to her. Minus the whole assassin and whatnot thing, she really reminds me of me when I was less in control. 

So I'll be the first to say I may be judging her harshly due to my own experiences with emotions.

Actually once I made a compelling post about Arya having the same disorder I did but IDK what happened to it

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6 minutes ago, Dawn of Fyre said:

The conflict is not pointless, though. Not when you know what Arya experienced in her journey, what she saw, what she heard. She saw Littlefinger at Harrenhal supping with Tywin, she witnessed the Red Wedding take place, and heard that Sansa actively choose to marry Ramsay Bolton after the fact. Then she reached Winterfell and saw Littlefinger beside Sansa.

Would this not look suspect to Arya? Remember, she does not know what audience knows, so we can't judge her for not knowing all the facts. But some of the facts are damning.

Them reuniting and being all chummy would have been unrealistic. Would you not agree with this take on the issue?

She didn't even know that Jon is KitN but she knew that Sansa married Ramsay on her own accord? That doesn't sound very logical.

Of course, it is natural that Arya is suspicious. Towards Littlefinger. With Sansa, she should come clean and ask her for some clarifications. Which she is not doing. Arya, the one we knew, would start asking questions. She would be inquisitive, she would grill Sansa until she finds everything she needs to know. Not just start accusing her without good reason. THAT is what is the biggest issue here. Arya making conclusions based,not on some knowledge, but on God knows what.

I understand that reunion between the two of them would be a bit complicated. But, the frustrating thing is that they are not communicating. They are not talking to each other. And that is why it is so bad. Both sisters know better. We know they do. That is why acting like idiots doesn't make a believable story.

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8 minutes ago, Pandean said:

Oh. Makes sense.

 

Both girls have their tensions very high. Sansa tends to keep a calmer front, though you can see she is frustrated and scared, Arya....well, her emotions are always pretty strong.

In the actual context of the argument, I found Sansa's responses logical considering what Arya said to her, but Arya was not necessarily in a place to hear her. In regards to handling the situation, I do feel like Sansa is doing a better job than Arya, but at the same time I don't blame Arya for what she's feeling and going through right now. It is true that Sansa made mistakes (which she paid for dearly, on another side, I don't believe the choice to marry into the Boltons was much of a choice. I don't really believe LF would've let her back out. But that's my own opinion) and that she and Arya did not get along (I find it interesting how in the show both of them antagonized each other as kids versus it being mainly Sansa in the books) and that they think, view, see, and experienced very differently and different things.

I don't think Arya would've immediately become best pals with Sansa and they definitely do have a lot of baggage to sort through.

At the same time, I do have a strict belief of "Emotions cannot be controlled, what they make you do, can." Ironically because I have a disorder where a big part of it is having emotions that can only hit extreme sides of the spectrum versus the normal, varied responses other people have. And due to that I see a lot of Arya in me because I can sooo relate to her. Minus the whole assassin and whatnot thing, she really reminds me of me when I was less in control. 

So I'll be the first to say I may be judging her harshly due to my own experiences with emotions.

Actually once I made a compelling post about Arya having the same disorder I did but IDK what happened to it

I know this is off-topic, but the ironic thing is that in the books, Arya  currently - or nearly - lacks all genuine emotion. Let me give you some context for this: In the Winds of Winter chapter Martin released two years ago - Arya's Pov entitled Mercy - we got a look at Arya in Bravos crossing another name off her list. For me, reading this chapter was really, really uncomfortable since she used her 'pre-teen' sexuality to actually seduce her victim before assassinating him. Arya is my favorite character in the books alongside Jon Snow, so this scene shocked me to the core - I hated that she cares so little about her own body :[ - Shit, I'm digressing, anyway, once she kill Raff the Sweetling, she literally showed no emotion except mild frustration that she killed him in her apartment that was four-stories-high. She thought to herself that it would have been better to kill him near the water to save her the trouble.

It's funny how different Arya's character this season is to the Arya we will get in book six.

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Arya's own explanation is that she's worried that Sansa is weak and acts out of fear, and people who act out of fear can be made to betray anyone. That's what the Mycah story means to her, and the "beloved Joffrey" letter to Robb, and so on. And all of Sansa's excuses just reinforce Arya's worry. And if you take this at face value, Arya's actions make sense. She's pushing Sansa so that she'll break now, before she can hurt Arya, instead of later, when she can.

And of course Arya is also trying to plot against LF at the same time (not very well), but this isn't all that directly related to her Sansa problem. She doesn't think Sansa is an evil monster in cahoots with LF, she's worried that Sansa is scared enough that LF can manipulate her. The Arya way to fix that is to find out everything LF knows and then kill him. But pushing Sansa to see if she breaks is going on independently of that.

I think the endgame is that, although this isn't at all Arya's intention, she's going to force Sansa to deal with both of her problems in her own way, by being a lady like her mother: bring everything out in public, hold a formal trial for LF, and demand Arya reveal everything she knows about him to convict him. (Realistically, that shouldn't reconcile the sisters immediately, but they've only got one episode left this season to get the characters where they need to end up, so I think it will happen anyway: Arya will see it as Sansa having passed her test even though it wasn't actually a test, and Sansa will see Arya putting the nail in LF's coffin as making up for everything that came before it even though it really doesn't. And it'll also somehow make Royce and friends happy so they now follow Sansa wholeheartedly, so the Vale plotline can get out of the way before S8.)

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6 minutes ago, Risto said:

She didn't even know that Jon is KitN but she knew that Sansa married Ramsay on her own accord? That doesn't sound very logical.

Of course, it is natural that Arya is suspicious. Towards Littlefinger. With Sansa, she should come clean and ask her for some clarifications. Which she is not doing. Arya, the one we knew, would start asking questions. She would be inquisitive, she would grill Sansa until she finds everything she needs to know. Not just start accusing her without good reason. THAT is what is the biggest issue here. Arya making conclusions based,not on some knowledge, but on God knows what.

I understand that reunion between the two of them would be a bit complicated. But, the frustrating thing is that they are not communicating. They are not talking to each other. And that is why it is so bad. Both sisters know better. We know they do. That is why acting like idiots doesn't make a believable story.

Well, she would have learned about the marriage when she returned to Winterfell, so that doesn't matter in terms of logic. Arya is in a complicated position, her emotions are acting on what she knows to be true - not what are necessarily true - and the Sansa she knew before leaving Winterfell. She knows that Sansa 'adored' Joffrey - and that she betrayed her and got her friend killed. She knows that Littlefinger sided with the Lannisters since she saw him supping with Tywin at Harrenhal. She knows that the Bolton's played a part in the Red Wedding, and that Sansa married Ramsay (it does not matter when she learned this fact). She knows that Sansa actively choose to marry the traitor, and in Arya's mind, that is a betrayal, even though Sansa suffered as a result - her suffering does not really justify her marriage, not in Arya's eyes - how could it?

There are many reasons why Arya is frustrated with Sansa, and it showed in this season. And yes, it is frustrating that they are not communicating properly. But that makes sense for their characters, and the history they share. So that is not a point that can be used to say that the writing is bad in terms of the plot in Winterfell.

You have to know this. For me, it is believable because I know all the events that happened to them beforehand. I know they've never had a strong relationship, and I know that both Arya and Sansa do want to protect Winterfell - it's just that Arya does not trust Sansa yet, not when she knows all these facts about her sister that are damning.

Come on, you can't tell me that learning your sister married into a family that murdered your family would be alright. Sure, Arya hasn't given Sansa a chance to fully defend herself, but that has to do with how hotheaded Arya is. I'm sure they will resolve their differences next episode, although I doubt they'll ever be 'tight'.

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6 minutes ago, Dawn of Fyre said:

It's funny how different Arya's character this season is to the Arya we will get in book six.

But Arya this season is later in her story. After meeting the nice Lannister soldiers, and Hot Pie, and Nymeria, she's given up being No One, and also given up her list, to try to rebuild her pack.

Which means she now has to try to deal with her emotions instead of trying to turn them off. Something that she's totally unprepared for.

I think her conflicts will be more detailed in TWoW, and the transition a lot less abrupt, and of course she's a much younger girl… but I wouldn't be too surprised if it ends up pretty much the same way.

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4 minutes ago, falcotron said:

Arya's own explanation is that she's worried that Sansa is weak and acts out of fear, and people who act out of fear can be made to betray anyone. That's what the Mycah story means to her, and the "beloved Joffrey" letter to Robb, and so on. And all of Sansa's excuses just reinforce Arya's worry. And if you take this at face value, Arya's actions make sense. She's pushing Sansa so that she'll break now, before she can hurt Arya, instead of later, when she can.

And of course Arya is also trying to plot against LF at the same time (not very well), but this isn't all that directly related to her Sansa problem. She doesn't think Sansa is an evil monster in cahoots with LF, she's worried that Sansa is scared enough that LF can manipulate her. The Arya way to fix that is to find out everything LF knows and then kill him. But pushing Sansa to see if she breaks is going on independently of that.

I think the endgame is that, although this isn't at all Arya's intention, she's going to force Sansa to deal with both of her problems in her own way, by being a lady like her mother: bring everything out in public, hold a formal trial for LF, and demand Arya reveal everything she knows about him to convict him. (Realistically, that shouldn't reconcile the sisters immediately, but they've only got one episode left this season to get the characters where they need to end up, so I think it will happen anyway: Arya will see it as Sansa having passed her test even though it wasn't actually a test, and Sansa will see Arya putting the nail in LF's coffin as making up for everything that came before it even though it really doesn't. And it'll also somehow make Royce and friends happy so they now follow Sansa wholeheartedly, so the Vale plotline can get out of the way before S8.)

The reconciliation will most likely happen over the course of the next season. But I doubt they'll ever share the same bond she shared with Jon Snow in the past.

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Dawn of Fyre said:

I know this is off-topic, but the ironic thing is that in the books, Arya  currently - or nearly - lacks all genuine emotion. 

And this is different from the show, how?

Arya lacks emotion in the show also this season and Maisie's delivery has been VERY different (writing choice I'm sure) to that of Arya seasons 1-6. I won't go over the reasons why here as I already did that in the "Arya Stark" thread I created here a day or two ago.

Even Arya's supposedly angry words at Sansa last episode did not delivered that way. It was almost like it was all for show. Something is definitely happening with Arya this season that hasn't been revealed yet.

I do not believe the Arya we've seen in Winterfell last 3 episodes has expressed any genuine emotion at all.

Edited by Gaz0680

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1 minute ago, falcotron said:

But Arya this season is later in her story. After meeting the nice Lannister soldiers, and Hot Pie, and Nymeria, she's given up being No One, and also given up her list, to try to rebuild her pack.

Which means she now has to try to deal with her emotions instead of trying to turn them off. Something that she's totally unprepared for.

I think her conflicts will be more detailed in TWoW, and the transition a lot less abrupt, and of course she's a much younger girl… but I wouldn't be too surprised if it ends up pretty much the same way.

I don't think we'll get this level of conflict in the books, though. Although... with Sansa about to marry Harry the Heir, and try to win Winterfell in that way, this could lead to a similar conflict... Interesting. I hope they kill LF this season, though. He needs to go, unless he has a bigger part to play next season.

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1 minute ago, Gaz0680 said:

And this is different from the show, how?

Arya lacks emotion in the show also this season and Maisie's delivery has been VERY different (writing choice I'm sure) to that of Arya seasons 1-6. I won't go over the reasons why here as I already did that in the "Arya Stark" thread I created here a day or two ago.

Even Arya's supposedly angry words at Sansa last episode did not come off that way. It was almost like it was all for show. 

I do not believe the Arya we've seen in Winterfell last 3 episodes has expressed any genuine emotion at all.

Nah, she did show true emotion - I could tell from the way Maisie acted when Sansa rebuked her argument about how she would have fought the Lannisters when they were in King's Landing. And her aggressiveness in her confrontation with Sansa would suggest genuine emotion. I doubt the show would delve that deep into the books in terms of Arya's character in Winds of Winter. On a side note, I have a theory that Jon Snow's death - if word spreads before he is resurrected - is what will bring Arya back to Westeros. Anyway, the reasons I listed above would suggest that Arya is genuinely concerned about Sansa. Or else, she would not need to corner her sister in such an aggressive way - she could have been all smiles while she slowly extracted the information she needed from her regarding the points I raised in my original comment. Like, "why marry Ramsay, why side with LF" etc.

So, I would argue that although Arya's emotions were buried at one point, they are resurfacing now in an aggressive way towards Sansa.

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Killing Bran would bring her a step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a queen. 

She didn't tell Jon about the knights of the Vale and she waited for it to become clear Jon's army was going to lose to swoop in and save the day. Clearly the nobles are under the perception that she was the one who won the battle which is exactly how she herself described it. That's suggest her ambition for power is still strong. She wants the lords to support her over Jon. She stopped trying to talk Jon out of leaving the moment he told her she be left in charge.

Bran certainly didn't seem too happy to see Sansa when the two were reunited and when Arya was hugging him he just glared at Sansa.

I cannot believe Arya is simply falling for one of Little Finger's little plots. She has spent too much time learning to sniff out deception. I'm betting Sansa is on Arya's list and she's provoking Sansa to get her to attack her at which point she can kill Sansa in self-defense which would be the only situation where she could kill Sansa without Brienne seeking revenge.

It has also been said that Sansa likes nice things. If she did own a dagger that's about as nice as they come.

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Posted (edited)

20 minutes ago, falcotron said:

But Arya this season is later in her story. After meeting the nice Lannister soldiers, and Hot Pie, and Nymeria, she's given up being No One, and also given up her list, to try to rebuild her pack.

I'm not fully convinced of that. I think it's very possible Arya genuinely did become No One after killing waif at end of last season and is now only acting in her old identity of Arya Stark, so the real emotions of Arya Stark are no longer there.

There's definitely more to be revealed here. Also, a lot would make more sense if Arya was truly No One now.

1. Jaqen's line "finally a girl is no one", which makes no sense if Arya killed the waif and just resumed being Arya, turning her back on the Faceless Men and leaving a death cult with no consequences. It would make much more sense if Arya's survival and defeat of the Waif was passing her final test to become a Faceless Man and her first assignment as No One was to pose as "Arya Stark" for purposes yet unrevealed.

2. Jaqens knowing smile as Arya leaves House of Black and White

3. Maisie's markedly different delivery of the character this season. 

4. The cold and stoic reunions with Hot Pie, Nymeria and even Sansa.

5. The bag of faces, the game of faces. These don't seem the actions of one who has turned their back on the Faceless Men and leaving that world behind.

Edited by Gaz0680

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