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Ice Turtle

Jon & Arya - hints and overall significance of their relationship (including part 3)

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This won’t be the best articulated post I ever had on the topic, but I wanted it all in one place. Even so I have to choose only the more significant quotes and even then the post turned out monstrously long. And yet this post covers only the first book (others will hopefully follow soon).


Feel free to add whatever you consider important.



PART 1: AGOT



“Arya is already in love, and Sansa is charmed and gracious, but Rickon is not quite sure.”



This is the first time Arya is mentioned by name. The quote is of course about direwolves, but I find it interesting nonetheless that the very first thing we are told about Arya Stark is that she is in love.



Arya had named her after the warrior queen of the Rhoyne, who had led her people across the narrow sea.



Arya's wolf is named after one of the most important women in Westerosi history. Nymeria was a ruler in her own right but I would say that her marriage to Mors Martell was crucial to successful settlement in Dorne.



Nymeria stalked closer on wary feet. Ghost, already larger than his litter mates, smelled her, gave her ear a careful nip, and settled back down.



He messed up her hair again and walked away from her, Ghost moving silently beside him. Nymeria started to follow too, then stopped and came back when she saw that Arya was not coming.



Personally, I don’t have a strong opinion about Ghost/Nymeria either way, but it is clear that Nymeria would allow Ghost to be the pack leader and that IMO have some significance to Jon&Arya relationship too.



Jon grinned, reached over, and messed up her hair. Arya flushed. They had always been close.



Obligatory 'they are/were really close and they miss each other like hell' stuff which will be mentioned in almost every other of their chapters for the rest of the books. It is not hinted, it is beaten to our heads with force of a warhammer - repeatedly. GRRM probably dedicates more time to Jon and Arya remembering, missing or being reminded by random stuff about each other than to the description of nipples, which should really tell you something. It is meant to be very significant relationship and build up for something big.



Jon shrugged. “Girls get the arms but not the swords. Bastards get the swords but not the arms. I did not make the rules, little sister.”



Yet, few chapters later Jon will give Arya the sword and I believe that one day Arya will 'give him the arms', i.e. will make him Stark through marriage.



Jon watched them leave, and Arya watched Jon. His face had grown as still as the pool at the heart of the godswood.



This is my favorite Jon&Arya quote from all five books. For a moment we are not dealing with angry little girl we know from the most of the books. Arya seems uncharacteristically serene here, she is not focused on the conflict below, she is not even silently watching the world like Jon, she is watching him.



Arya’s eyes went wide. Dark eyes, like his. “A sword,” she said in a small, hushed breath.


The scabbard was soft grey leather, supple as sin. Jon drew out the blade slowly, so she could see the deep blue sheen of the steel.



The whole scene of their farewell and Arya getting Needle is very significant. For Jon, Arya, and I believe that for the plot too. It is farewell which ends the chapter and ends Jon's life in Winterfell. Again it is pointed to us how important is Arya to Jon.


Jon gives Arya Needle, and Arya tells him that she wishes he would go with them. She may be the only person to do so. I believe that two important phrases are used here 'stick them with the pointy end' and 'Don't tell Sansa'. The first one already reappeared in the books (see a comment bellow) and I think that the second will play its role too.


Interesting is also their short exchange about women shaving. Aside that it shows how open are Jon and Arya with each other including bad jokes and deeply personal and awkward topics, I believe it have other layers to it. It could be nod to Arya shaving her head later (first as the Blind Beth IIRC) but it could be also read as a slight sexual undertone. Shaving (aside of shaving head) is connected to sexual maturity. Judging by Cersei's second ADwD chapter Westerosi women almost surely do not shave any part of their bodies but in RW in culture GRRM comes from most women do, so do Novrosi women and it would not surprise me if it was a case in Braavos especially among courtesans.


There is also possible foreshadowing in “Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.” It could be foreshadowing for reunion, but it could also hint to more.


It is also interesting to compare this scene to Jaime giving Brienne the Oathkeeper. I did not find many similarities between the two aside of the motive of man bound by duty giving a woman the sword, but I think it would be worth the effort to compare how Arya thinks of Needle and Bienne of Oathkeeper.



“Mycah and I are going to ride upstream and look for rubies at the ford.”


“Rubies,” Sansa said, lost. “What rubies?”


Arya gave her a look like she was so stupid. “Rhaegar’s rubies. This is where King Robert killed him and won the crown.”



A little connection to Jon's biological father or maybe even more if you believe in Rhaegar's rubies theory.



“Lady,” he said, tasting the name. He had never paid much attention to the names the children had picked, but looking at her now, he knew that Sansa had chosen well. She was the smallest of the litter, the prettiest, the most gentle and trusting.



An description of Sansa's wolf. There were only two female direwolves in the litter. It is very close to certain that Nymeria was the more dominant female. Lady was smaller than Nymeria which would rule her out almost surely. She would have to be very fierce and cunning to make up for the size, but both of those traits are also contradicted by the text.


As for sisters themselves, Arya never follows Sansa's lead, she does not have big faith in Sansa's intellect and judgment of other people, though from time to time she acknowledges Sansa's knowledge when it comes to songs, sigils and “who's who” of Westerosi nobility.



She went back to the window, Needle in hand, and looked down into the courtyard below. If only she could climb like Bran, she thought; she would go out the window and down the tower, run away from this horrible place, away from Sansa and Septa Mordane and Prince Joffrey, from all of them. Steal some food from the kitchens, take Needle and her good boots and a warm cloak. She could find Nymeria in the wild woods below the Trident, and together they’d return to Winterfell, or run to Jon on the Wall. She found herself wishing that Jon was here with her now. Then maybe she wouldn’t feel so alone.



The first time Arya mentions her wish to reach Jon, but not the last time.



“My nine-year-old daughter is being armed from my own forge, and I know nothing of it. The Hand of the King is expected to rule the Seven Kingdoms, yet it seems I cannot even rule my own household. How is it that you come to own a sword, Arya? Where did you get this?”


Arya chewed her lip and said nothing. She would not betray Jon, not even to their father.



There is absolutely no one in this world Arya is more loyal to than Jon, not even her own father whom she loves dearly.



“You,” Ned said, kissing her lightly on the brow, “will marry a king and rule his castle, and your sons will be knights and princes and lords and, yes, perhaps even a High Septon.”



The quote seems a little strange considering that the king is married and has children and the crown prince is betrothed to Arya's own sister. Which signals foreshadowing to me.



“That’s the real king of this castle right there,” one of the gold cloaks had told her. “Older than sin and twice as mean. One time, the king was feasting the queen’s father, and that black bastard hopped up on the table and snatched a roast quail right out of Lord Tywin’s fingers. Robert laughed so hard he like to burst. You stay away from that one, child.”



Ever so fast, she kissed him right between the eyes, and jerked her head back an instant before his claws would have found her face.



Arya catches and kisses a cat which is called the real king of the castle and black bastard. Jon is called black bastard too and in a way he is the real king of the castle.



“Go ahead, call me all the names you want,” Sansa said airily. “You won’t dare when I’m married to Joffrey. You’ll have to bow to me and call me Your Grace.” She shrieked as Arya flung the orange across the table. It caught her in the middle of the forehead with a wet squish and plopped down into her lap.


“You have juice on your face, Your Grace,” Arya said.



Arya and Sansa having a queen talk. Could turn out being one of those ironies. Reading it now I was also reminded of the scene where Janos Slynt orders Jon to call him my lord (or m'lord to be precise) and Jon's answer is few times mocking too, especially: “I don’t know what your skull is stuffed with. My lord.” and the scene where they send Jon to kill Mance and he calls Janos 'my lord' after every sentence. To lesser degree there is similar ongoing theme with Roose ordering Arya to call him 'my lord' (her first answer is 'your lord') and Jon's nickname 'Lord Snow' as well as Arya's refusal to being addressed as 'my lady'.



Everything Syrio Forel had ever taught her vanished in a heartbeat. In that instant of sudden terror, the only lesson Arya could remember was the one Jon Snow had given her, the very first.


She stuck him with the pointy end, driving the blade upward with a wild, hysterical strength.



“Stick them with the pointy end.” The phrase first appears as a joke when Jon gives Arya Needle and will be repeated seven times in the next books (sometimes paraphrased). It pops up during such significant moments as Arya's first kill or Jon’s assassination.



And Arya…he missed her even more than Robb, skinny little thing that she was, all scraped knees and tangled hair and torn clothes, so fierce and willful. Arya never seemed to fit, no more than he had…yet she could always make Jon smile. He would give anything to be with her now, to muss up her hair once more and watch her make a face, to hear her finish a sentence with him.



She would have given anything if Jon had been here to call her “little sister” and muss her hair.



Two quotes showing Jon and Arya mirroring each other’s feelings.



Things which I didn’t mention but probably deserve closer look: Arya's connection to Lyanna and her two encounters with dragon skulls. So this is it for the first book and four other are left.



All colored quotes are from AGOT: Catelyn, Ned, Sansa, Jon, Arya



PART 2: ACoK & ASoS



PART 3: AFfC & ADwD


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Well in the original plan for the GoT trilogy one of the main themes was Jon and Arya fall in love but then Tyrion falls for her as well. Maybe GRRM has in store something with Arya and Jon getting married still at the end of the series, or maybe something with Tyrion and them two, idk just spit balling



or maybe it's just lay over stuff, like he wanted to make them fall in love so it seems more so in the beginning before the characters started to drift and form their own separate identities


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Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it.



It had been so long since he had last seen Arya. What would she look like now? Would he even know her?


...


Bring her home, Mance. I saved your son from Melisandre, and now I am about to save four thousand of your free folk. You owe me this one little girl.

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Good summary.


I believe that the direwolf pack dynamics is especially important in regards to analysing the hints for a potential Jon / Arya relationship.



Personally, what got me thinking about the potential is the following:


(I started reading the series already spoiled about Jon's parentage, and I suppose this played a role in allowing to see connections that otherwise I wouldn't perhaps see in that context.)


In Cat's second chapter:



He would father no sons who might someday contest with Catelyn’s own grandchildren for Winterfell.



When I read this line, I immediately thought of the ironic potential of this sentence: Jon's children are so going to be Cat's grandchildren... It was the first time that the possibility stuck into my head, before Jon and Arya's relationship even started to flesh out.




(No, it does not make sense to make the match with the other daughter, only to comfort some readers' feelings; it would be out of the blue and in the end, totally ommitable. The significant relationship is between Jon and Arya and I agree that the built up has been done for a reason; even if the author has droped the idea of a romantic pairing, there must be something else to justify the constant reminding of their connection.)

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It's just creepy. There's already plenty of incest, no reason to add more. Plus, unless GRRM makes the books take a long in-universe time to finish (which he's shown he's incapable of doing) or does a timeskip(which he's also shown he's incapable of doing) then its also pedophilia.


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It's just creepy. There's already plenty of incest, no reason to add more. Plus, unless GRRM makes the books take a long in-universe time to finish (which he's shown he's incapable of doing) or does a timeskip(which he's also shown he's incapable of doing) then its also pedophilia.

I suppose that the purpose of the thread is not to discuss the morality or the aesthetics of the pairing, but to discuss possible hints in the text.

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Well in the original plan for the GoT trilogy one of the main themes was Jon and Arya fall in love but then Tyrion falls for her as well. Maybe GRRM has in store something with Arya and Jon getting married still at the end of the series, or maybe something with Tyrion and them two, idk just spit balling

or maybe it's just lay over stuff, like he wanted to make them fall in love so it seems more so in the beginning before the characters started to drift and form their own separate identities

They are all still alive, so it is still possible. Though can't say I would bet on it. I am a long time Jon/Arya shipper, Tyrion/Arya surprised me much more than Jon/Arya in the first draft . Though I remember thinking that it is strange that there seems to be no foreshadowing for Tyrion and Sansa marriage in neither of their arcs, Almost as if it was not the plan in the first two books. Someday someone should look at it more deeply, but for now the only suspicious thing is that Tyrion and Arya are GRRM's favorite male and female character and they did not interact so far though Tyrion met all the other Stark kinds. Even Rickon.

As for being it at the beginning there is some other stuff in other books I will add later, but the OP is long as it is.

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This is going to be fun. I told you I was making this the focus of my re-read to see how it was carried on/dropped in the aftermath of the outline. My thoughts on this first post:



The first quote about Arya does stick out as one of the favourite theories of fans is that Arya is asexual, unromantic or just downright too damaged to love! I will point out later interactions with Ned Dayne. Arya cannot contemplate Ned loving anyone but her mother. She is a realist with a dash of romanticism.



I don't understand why Arya naming Nymeria was controversial? Nymeria was long, long dead and she was named after a bit of a fantasy story interpretation of her. I don't see the insult.



The one about the Red Keep is interesting. Maegor said that only the blood of the dragon would know all the secrets of the Red Keep. Arya found her way around that place a lot. Varys says only spiders and ghosts know the secret of the red keep. He's referring to the dead workers and himself. If Varys is a Blackfyre and so blood of the Dragon, what would this make Arya who later became 'The Ghost of Harrenhal'?



The arms quote not only suggests that Arya gives him the Stark arms but they are discussing how a Queen is equal to a King.



I think its also important to use evidence around the primary text. We know Targs like their sisters but we know explicitly Jon's (supposed) great grandfather fell in love with his sister and ran away with her. We know that Arya and Jon's Stark grandparents were First Cousins and there was no evidence those Starks lived anywhere but Winterfell with the main branch. This means they were raised together. The Pact of Ice and Fire was a marriage between a Targ and Stark, if Jon is a bastard Targ that could mean this still must happen?



Are there other examples of Arya and Jon having the same thoughts like they finish each others sentences? I can think of the Braavos one, she is already there and he thinks FArya should be sent there.



Another interesting one is the parallel between the Nights Watch vow and the Faceless Men spiel. NW: No Titles, No Lands, No Wives, No Children FM No ones Mother, No Ones Wife, No Ones Daughter. He broke his vows for 'her', I thinks she may ditch hers for him.



Another parallel I saw the other day, Jon felt overshadowed by Robb. Arya feels overshadowed by Sansa. Both will be greater than their seeming superior I think.


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I suppose that the purpose of the thread is not to discuss the morality or the aesthetics of the pairing, but to discuss possible hints in the text.

Fine then. Every single quote about Jon/Arya thinking about each other has absolutely zero sexual connotations. No subtext. Never crosses either of their thoughts in any way, shape, or form. It's a close brother/sister relationship. Jon even still thinks of Arya as a little girl as of Dance. Any foreshadowing of Arya marrying a king is much more likely to be ANY character other than Jon.

Plus, pedophilia. Doesn't matter what hints there are in the text, there's absolutely no way in hell GRRM is going to make one of his main heroic POV characters become a pedophile. Not gonna happen, absolutely zero chance.

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Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it.

It had been so long since he had last seen Arya. What would she look like now? Would he even know her?

...

Bring her home, Mance. I saved your son from Melisandre, and now I am about to save four thousand of your free folk. You owe me this one little girl.

Yes, it is even in the last book. As for the last quote, the beginning is just as interesting. Bring her home. Arya is at Winterfell, but according to Jon it is not her home, her home is with him.

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Well in the original plan for the GoT trilogy one of the main themes was Jon and Arya fall in love but then Tyrion falls for her as well. Maybe GRRM has in store something with Arya and Jon getting married still at the end of the series, or maybe something with Tyrion and them two, idk just spit balling

or maybe it's just lay over stuff, like he wanted to make them fall in love so it seems more so in the beginning before the characters started to drift and form their own separate identities

:agree:

I believe when the first book was written, GRRM was still going with his original script/plan of a trilogy, which would make perfect sense on why there is so many love connections/hints in the first book between Arya and Jon. He was definitely laying the path for a love connection between the two from the get-go.

Whether those plans have changed, who knows. But it's still entirely possible that GRRM could pull Arya back to Jon and form a bond (but without Tyrion this time, as his plans obviously have been altered). Nymeria is roaming free right now, and with Jon rumored to be warging into Ghost during his coma, i could see Arya/Jon meeting up again as wolves, pulling Arya back to him.

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Fine then. Every single quote about Jon/Arya thinking about each other has absolutely zero sexual connotations. No subtext. Never crosses either of their thoughts in any way, shape, or form. It's a close brother/sister relationship. Jon even still thinks of Arya as a little girl as of Dance. Any foreshadowing of Arya marrying a king is much more likely to be ANY character other than Jon.

Plus, pedophilia. Doesn't matter what hints there are in the text, there's absolutely no way in hell GRRM is going to make one of his main heroic POV characters become a pedophile. Not gonna happen, absolutely zero chance.

I don't think that is what GRRM is getting at. I don't think we are meant to see a sexual love at all at this moment. We are meant to see a deep unbreakable bond that could become romantic when they meet again years later. Remember he planned the 5 year gap? Jon does think of Arya as a little girl, she is suspended in Amber in his head to be eternally the same as when he last saw her. Of course she is not. She is becoming a wild, deadly, warrior princess. Something that has been set up to really get him going in his descriptions of Val

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I'm doing a reread the last few days and it is jumping out of me on what I missed with the Jon/Arya hints now. I guess I'm on the J/A. train now. Like it or not it seems what George has in mind for the 2


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Given all the developments with Arya x Gendry, and the very strong romantic and sexual undertones to that relationship("you can be my forest love, and me your forest lass" and "Like Wenda the White Fawn") I think it can be comfortably assumed that Jon x Arya is no longer still in the story. For one thing, in the original draft they were supposed to meet at the Wall, but now it's looking like they won't meet until the climax of the story, where Jon might very well die considering how he and Bran have parallels to Bran the Blessed's war with the undead.


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Given all the developments with Arya x Gendry, and the very strong romantic and sexual undertones to that relationship("you can be my forest love, and me your forest lass" and "Like Wenda the White Fawn") I think it can be comfortably assumed that Jon x Arya is no longer still in the story. For one thing, in the original draft they were supposed to meet at the Wall, but now it's looking like they won't meet until the climax of the story, where Jon might very well die considering how he and Bran have parallels to Bran the Blessed's war with the undead.

I much prefer Arya and Gendry but remember, Jon had Ygritte. I'm sure Ice Turtle has those comparisons lined up for the next installments.

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Fine then. Every single quote about Jon/Arya thinking about each other has absolutely zero sexual connotations. No subtext. Never crosses either of their thoughts in any way, shape, or form. It's a close brother/sister relationship. Jon even still thinks of Arya as a little girl as of Dance. Any foreshadowing of Arya marrying a king is much more likely to be ANY character other than Jon.

Plus, pedophilia. Doesn't matter what hints there are in the text, there's absolutely no way in hell GRRM is going to make one of his main heroic POV characters become a pedophile. Not gonna happen, absolutely zero chance.

Arya is 11 almost 12 at the moment, it is almost impossible that she and Jon will reunite before she turns 12, unlikely that they will reunite before she will be 13 and still likely she will be 14. Most of readers imagine the Stark children older while reading anyway.

Thirteen and especially fourteen is not so young, not even in the today world. I remember from my school days that most of the girls were physically very developed at that age and a lot of them were starting to have relationships even sexual one with boys usually aged 15 -19, because boys their own age were still half a children.

But lets return to the books. There seems to be even less issue about it. Ygritte was fourteen when she had sex for the first time, Tyrion thirteen, Oberyn at most fourteen. Tyrion, Littlefnger and Sandor are all attracted to Sansa before she turns thirteen. Qentyn thinks in romantic way about Gwyneth Yronwood who is thirteen at most. Lyanna Stark was fourteen at most when she met Rhaegar during Harrenhall tourney.

In the original draft Arya was first to develop feelings for Jon, before he returned them, it is even less issue then. Most of young characters in the books is shown to have some crush/romantic feelings/even attraction. Jeyne Poole (Beric), Sansa (Joffrey, Loras, Sandor), Littlefinger in his youth (Cat), Sweetrobin (Sansa), Bran (Meera) and so on.

To quote Cersei:

Tommen is too young for kisses, so she gives him kittens.

It is the same position GRRM is in. Arya is too young for Jon to have this type of feelings for her yet, but he have to drop hints there and there or otherwise it will feel too sudden and forced in the end. And IMO the hints are there.

As for Jon still thinking Arya a little girl, he is half wrong by the time he thinks it and I believe (if he still thinks so) will be absolutely wrong by the time they reunite.

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He would father no sons who might someday contest with Catelyn’s own grandchildren for Winterfell.

Great catch!

I don't understand why Arya naming Nymeria was controversial? Nymeria was long, long dead and she was named after a bit of a fantasy story interpretation of her. I don't see the insult.

The one about the Red Keep is interesting. Maegor said that only the blood of the dragon would know all the secrets of the Red Keep. Arya found her way around that place a lot. Varys says only spiders and ghosts know the secret of the red keep. He's referring to the dead workers and himself. If Varys is a Blackfyre and so blood of the Dragon, what would this make Arya who later became 'The Ghost of Harrenhal'?

I think its also important to use evidence around the primary text. We know Targs like their sisters but we know explicitly Jon's (supposed) great grandfather fell in love with his sister and ran away with her. We know that Arya and Jon's Stark grandparents were First Cousins and there was no evidence those Starks lived anywhere but Winterfell with the main branch. This means they were raised together. The Pact of Ice and Fire was a marriage between a Targ and Stark, if Jon is a bastard Targ that could mean this still must happen?

Are there other examples of Arya and Jon having the same thoughts like they finish each others sentences? I can think of the Braavos one, she is already there and he thinks FArya should be sent there.

About Nymeria, well seems almost opposite of what good young lady in Westeros is supposed to be. She spoke against men in Rhoyne, she led her people and choose her own husbands plus she was likely very sexually liberated.

Arya have connection to dead and ghosts, but so does Jon in the name of direwolf and dead Starks disturbing his dreams.

Some Targs also likes wild, willful and stubborn women. Egg and Rhaegar being two examples. As for pact of Ice and Fire there was probably already a marriage between Rhaegar and Lyanna, though she was only the second wife, so who knows if it really counts.

Jon and Arya seems to share some disdain for passivity (stupid princes who doesn't kill her prince's killers, Jon admiring Val for not being a willowy creature sitting in her tower and brushing her hair), thematically Yoren is companion for a part of their journey (notably this also applies for Tyrion), banker of Braavos appears in Arya's arc while some of wildlings from Hardhome find themselves in Braavos. And Sam and Daeron too, of course. Both Jon and Arya find abandoned villages in ASoS. A lot of small pieces related to Jon's parentage appear in Arya's story: Harrenhall, Daynes, Gregor Clegne and Amory Lorch who killed Jon's biological siblings. Jon and Arya both witness someone changing their face thanks to magic, though Arya's reaction is much more enthusiastic.

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I much prefer Arya and Gendry but remember, Jon had Ygritte. I'm sure Ice Turtle has those comparisons lined up for the next installments.

I don't understand about what you're saying about Jon and Ygritte?

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