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TheLastWolf

Arya Stark: Mindless Psycho Killer or Righteous Avenger?

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What on earth is all this? Are you hating on me now? Arya at least is a fictional character who cannot be hurt; I'm not. If that won't move you, try this: it's a principle of the forum that we criticize the books, not each other.

I'll come back later and finish off. I haven't the heart to now. This has gone sour.

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On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2020 at 2:17 AM, MissM said:

You make a fine point but according to her haters, this is a special affliction we can only associate with Arya. Everyone else is just fine. @zandru pointed out a 6 year old Bran is judged ready and old enough to start watching his dad chop men's heads off. Absolutely normal for little Bran! Any lasting mental damage? Of course not. He's not Arya.

You do realize that there is a difference between watching someone getting killed and doing it yourself?  The total number of people Bran has killed (or had killed) is precisely ZERO.

On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2020 at 1:59 AM, Wintersshewolf said:

Given the culture Arya is raised in, killing bad people is normal and accepted, as is killing people in war. Each of the people she has killed committed a crime, threatened her survival, or did harm to others. If Arya starts killing innocent people at random, then I will be worried about her humanity. As it stands, she does worry about what killing people means about her, seeing herself as an adult because of it and worrying that her family won't want her anymore outside of Jon. If anything, that self reflection shows that she isn't even close to too far gone. Compare that to the characters who don't have a second thought about the murders they've committed, meaning that they were certain they were right, regardless of how little they knew about the person whose life they took.

This is a reason I'm not too worried about her.  She has a Stark/Tully upbringing that gave her a moral compass that is still there if a bit weaker and unsteady than I would like. 

However, for example, some of the people on her so-called "kill list" (more of a prayer list, actually) don't belong there or are questionable, so I have concerns about her decision-making in this area.  It's not the random innocents I'm worried about.  It's the guys who have done stuff that she doesn't like, but that don't necessarily merit death.  And, given her ease with killing, that is a concern.  It's not her past I'm worried about; it's her future.  I'm worried that as the ease with which she kills increases, the guilt level of her targets could decrease.  And I'm afraid that her decision-making capabilities at her age aren't going to be capable of that kind of differentiation.   I also don't think associating with the Faceless Men is helping at this point.

So, to make clear, I think Arya is a basically decent person with some serious flaws, mainly her increasing willingness to commit, however justified she (and we) may regard them, at least for now.  I don't think she will go over the edge, so to say, but will get uncomfortably close.  By the way, my problems are with her age, not her sex,, and I'm not too interested in what adults might be doing, because she is not an adult, and does not think like one.  another thing that I would like to point out is that I have no problem with any of her actions in Westeros, that I can recall.  It's the stuff in Braavos that concerns me.

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36 minutes ago, Nevets said:

It's not the random innocents I'm worried about.  It's the guys who have done stuff that she doesn't like, but that don't necessarily merit death.

Have we seen Arya will target those people though? So far, everyone she's killed (or planned to kill) have either been criminals, nasty pieces of work, or ordered dead by the Faceless Men. She's never killed anyone for simply being disagreeable.

I'm not saying it's good that a kid is taking it upon themselves to exact "justice", but Arya's morality is in line with the rest of society for this setting, and she's far from the only young person to have shed blood.

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3 hours ago, Nevets said:

However, for example, some of the people on her so-called "kill list" (more of a prayer list, actually) don't belong there or are questionable, so I have concerns about her decision-making in this area. 

Okay, I have to ask, who are you talking about?
"Dunsen, Chiswyck, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Gregor, Ser Amory, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei." That's her prayer at it's longest, who do you think doesn't deserve to be on there?

Dunsen: One of the Mountain's men (and all that implies), the one who stole Gendry's helm, and maybe I should remind you of the scene?
"The guards were talking loudly, but she was too far away to make out the words, especially with the crows gabbling and flapping closer to hand. One of the spearmen snatched the helm off Gendry's head and asked him a question, but he must not have liked the answer, because he smashed him across the face with the butt of his spear and knocked him down. The one who'd captured him gave him a kick, while the second spearman was trying on the bull's-head helm. Finally they pulled him to his feet and marched him off toward the storehouse. When they opened the heavy wooden doors, a small boy darted out, but one of the guards grabbed his arm and flung him back inside. Arya heard sobbing from inside the building, and then a shriek so loud and full of pain that it made her bite her lip."
Chiswyck: One of the Mountain's men, hit Arya in the face with his mailed fist, helped the Tickler (the torturer), he was the one who laughed while  telling the story of the gang rape of a 13 year old girl.
Polliver: One of the Mountain's men, stole Needle, was part of the retaking of Harrenhal (they killed everyone except for a cook and some girls "to warm their beds")
Raff the Sweetling: One of the Mountain's men, killed Lommy, killed the mother who screamed after they killed her toddler, was part of the gang rape of the 13 year old, killed the brother of said girl when he tried to help her
The Tickler: One of the Mountain's men, torturer, he would change "the tickling" every day (maybe so the prisoner's couldn't prepare themselves?), called Sansa a "pretty girl" and "honey sweet" while smacking his lips and smiling, he also hurt his own squire
The Hound: killed Mycah the butcher's boy
The Mountain: He and his men killed, raped and burnt their way through the Riverlands, he was the one who chose which prisoner to question, one woman told him everything she knew in return for her daughters safety, but he picked the daughter for questioning the next day, killed the girl who fought back after she was raped by 4-5 men every night, was part of the gang rape of the 13 year old, payed said girl's father and asked for change since she "wasn't worth a silver"
Ser Amory Lorch: Killed Yoren, gave the order to storm the holdfast and kill the rest of the Night's Watch recruits
Ser Ilyn Payne: Executed her father with Ice, her father's sword
Ser Meryn Trant: Killed Syrio Forel
King Joffrey: Killed her father, tried to kill/harm Mycah, tried to kill Arya, lied about what happened, and Arya also blamed him for the deaths of Fat Tom, Desmond and the rest(of her father's househould) and Lady.
Queen Cersei: Arya blamed her for the deaths of her father, Fat Tom, Desmond and the rest, and Lady.

This is not even all of their crimes, just what Arya witnessed (or heard told by said people themselves), and I'm sure there's still some I missed.

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1 hour ago, AryaRegina said:

Queen Cersei: Arya blamed her for the deaths of her father, Fat Tom, Desmond and the rest, and Lady.

Have you got the quotes for Cersei? I'm not doubting you, but I can't think of them.

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6 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Have you got the quotes for Cersei? I'm not doubting you, but I can't think of them.

Sure:)

She hated Polliver for Needle, and she hated old Chiswyck who thought he was funny. And Raff the Sweetling, who'd driven his spear through Lommy's throat, she hated even more. She hated Ser Amory Lorch for Yoren, and she hated Ser Meryn Trant for Syrio, the Hound for killing the butcher's boy Mycah, and Ser Ilyn and Prince Joffrey and the queen for the sake of her father and Fat Tom and Desmond and the rest, and even for Lady, Sansa's wolf. The Tickler was almost too scary to hate. At times she could almost forget he was still with them; when he was not asking questions, he was just another soldier, quieter than most, with a face like a thousand other men.
-Arya VI, ACOK

 

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4 hours ago, AryaRegina said:

Okay, I have to ask, who are you talking about?
"Dunsen, Chiswyck, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Gregor, Ser Amory, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei." That's her prayer at it's longest, who do you think doesn't deserve to be on there?

I'm having a bad day anyway, so I might as well defend some uglies - for the sake of argument.

  • Ilyn - was innocent.
  • Meryn - acted lawfully and no worse than custom. Syrio preferred to fight than give up Arya.
  • The Tickler - did hurt the squire, but it was clearly a safety measure. The squire was trying to get the Hound angry, which is a very, very bad idea. Anyway, this is Arya's finest hour, and no-one will disagree. It's still not an argument for child assassins. Also note that if she'd succeeded in murdering the Hound earlier, then the Tickler and Polliver would still be alive.
  • The Hound - was found innocent of Mycah's murder by the Lord of Light, which may mean a lot or a little. It does support the theory that what Mycah got was the gift of mercy, every other possibility being worse.
  • Cersei is guilty as hell of course, but sort of interesting. She tried to keep Ned alive, not kill him. And Arya has only seen King Joffrey front and centre of the coup - she is right to suspect Cersei, but it's an assumption. It could all have been Lannister men in support of Joffrey. (Tywin never even makes Arya's list - and he's pretty much at the back of all the evil represented by the list. Arya's kills in Westeros maybe did not make the world much of a better place, because Tywin will hire more monsters.)

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This

On 7/28/2020 at 4:08 PM, Springwatch said:

Seriously, you are not serious here, @zandru

Bran went to the execution and Arya did not, because it was not her role.

And she's a child.

was in response to this

On 7/28/2020 at 3:45 PM, zandru said:

as a presumptive Lady Stark, Arya would have been raised with the idea that she was a leader, someone with the authority and capability to enforce the King's Justice.

Ned wanted Arya to be educated as a lady. He told her straight, you can't be a king's councillor, or a High Septon, you're going to get married.

Bran was taken to see the 'King's Justice' being done, as soon as he was old enough, with his father, and his brothers, and other men. It's not me that has problems with internalised misogyny, it's Westeros.

Bran was there because he was a Stark male who was expected in the future to do the 'King's Justice' himself. If Ned thought Arya needed the same sort of education, she would have been there with the boys. Therefore, he did not want her. This is 100% consistent with his attitude to Sansa attending court at KL, and hearing the King's Justice he planned for the Mountain. Sansa was fine with it; Ned was angry because he did not want her there.

Arya knows she doesn't have the authority to judge and execute people. One time - I think when the Brotherhood were taking her home - she was very sad and anxious at the thought of her family finding out what she done.

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3 hours ago, Springwatch said:

The Tickler - did hurt the squire, but it was clearly a safety measure. The squire was trying to get the Hound angry, which is a very, very bad idea. Anyway, this is Arya's finest hour, and no-one will disagree. It's still not an argument for child assassins. Also note that if she'd succeeded in murdering the Hound earlier, then the Tickler and Polliver would still be alive

But the Tickler is one of the nastiest characters in the story. Not sure if it was her finest act, but the list of atrocities he’s committed is long indeed. And he is deservedly on Arya’s list for said atrocities. 

ACoK, Arya

“Fear cuts deeper than swords, Arya would tell herself, but that did not make the fear go away. It was as much a part of her days as stale bread and the blisters on her toes after a long day of walking the hard, rutted road.

She had thought she had known what it meant to be afraid, but she learned better in that storehouse beside the Gods Eye. Eight days she had lingered there before the Mountain gave the command to march, and every day she had seen someone die.

The Mountain would come into the storehouse after he had broken his fast and pick one of the prisoners for questioning. The village folk would never look at him. Maybe they thought that if they did not notice him, he would not notice them . . . but he saw them anyway and picked whom he liked. There was no place to hide, no tricks to play, no way to be safe.”

“One girl shared a soldier’s bed three nights running; the Mountain picked her on the fourth day, and the soldier said nothing.

A smiley old man mended their clothing and babbled about his son, off serving in the gold cloaks at King’s Landing. “A king’s man, he is,” he would say, “a good king’s man like me, all for Joffrey.” He said it so often the other captives began to call him All-for-Joffrey whenever the guards weren’t listening. All-for-Joffrey was picked on the fifth day.

A young mother with a pox-scarred face offered to freely tell them all she knew if they’d promise not to hurt her daughter. The Mountain heard her out; the next morning he picked her daughter, to be certain she’d held nothing back.”

“The ones chosen were questioned in full view of the other captives, so they could see the fate of rebels and traitors. A man the others called the Tickler asked the questions. His face was so ordinary and his garb so plain that Arya might have thought him one of the villagers before she had seen him at his work. “Tickler makes them howl so hard they piss themselves,” old stoop-shoulder Chiswyck told them. He was the man she’d tried to bite, who’d called her a fierce little thing and smashed her head with a mailed fist. Sometimes he helped the Tickler. Sometimes others did that. Ser Gregor Clegane himself would stand motionless, watching and listening, until the victim died”

The questions were always the same. Was there gold hidden in the village? Silver, gems? Was there more food? Where was Lord Beric Dondarrion? Which of the village folk had aided him? When he rode off, where did he go? How many men were with them? How many knights, how many bowmen, how many men-at-arms? How were they armed? How many were horsed? How many were wounded? What other enemy had they seen? How many? When? What banners did they fly? Where did they go? Was there gold hidden in the village? Silver, gems? Where was Lord Beric Dondarrion? How many men were with him? By the third day, Arya could have asked the questions herself.

They found a little gold, a little silver, a great sack of copper pennies, and a dented goblet set with garnets that two soldiers almost came to blows over. They learned that Lord Beric had ten starvelings with him, or else a hundred mounted knights; that he had ridden west, or north, or south; that he had crossed the lake in a boat; that he was strong as an aurochs or weak from the bloody flux. No one ever survived the “Tickler’s questioning; no man, no woman, no child. The strongest lasted past evenfall. Their bodies were hung beyond the fires for the wolves.”

 

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5 hours ago, Springwatch said:
  • Ilyn - was innocent.
  • Meryn - acted lawfully and no worse than custom. Syrio preferred to fight than give up Arya.
  • The Tickler - did hurt the squire,

I have to disagree with some of your assessments.

Ser Ilyn Payne did, in fact, take Ned Stark's head off with the man's own sword.Just because "it was his job" doesn't make it forgiveable.

Ser Meryn Trant did, in fact, kill Syrio Forel, an old man armed only with a wooden sword. And Trant needed half a dozen men at arms with him to do it. "I was just following orders" didn't cut it at Nuremberg, either. See "Ser Ilyn Payne."

The Tickler "did hurt the squire"? Surely you're kidding. The Tickler was on Arya's list long before she and Sandor ran into him, Poliver, and that pimply squire at the Inn at the Crossroads. Why would Arya care about the (in her own words) "stupid squire"? kissed by fire has it right. Arya has seen the Tickler in action. He was professionally evil.

5 hours ago, Springwatch said:

Cersei is guilty as hell of course, but sort of interesting. She tried to keep Ned alive, not kill him. And Arya has only seen King Joffrey front and centre of the coup ...

Cersei's prominent position on Arya's List goes way back. Arya doesn't know any of the details of the coup and even less about what happened to her father prior to his execution. Cersei's crime was at the Trident, at Arya's "trial", where the Queen ordered that the direwolves be put to death. She was also the one who ordered the Hound to find and kill the butcher's boy. Even Lord Eddard, in comforting Arya, noted that the blame fell on Cersei -- and the Hound.

5 hours ago, Springwatch said:

The Hound - was found innocent of Mycah's murder by the Lord of Light, which may mean a lot or a little. It does support the theory that what Mycah got was the gift of mercy, every other possibility being worse.

These are some very interesting points! I'd long thought that, had Sandor returned Mycah to Cersei, he'd have been tortured basically to death, much like the Tickler would have done. And preferably in the presence of his family. We have seen Cersei do this to total innocents in the later books, and it's no doubt that Sandor was aware of her habits.

Ned was shocked by how the boy had been cut almost in half by a downward blow from a sword and must have died instantly -- as if it was, as you say, the gift of mercy. And some have suggested that the Hound's glittering eyes, seen through his helm, which he was wearing in the dark, indicated he wasn't proud of his work.

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Wow the apologism going on here.

The Hound LAUGHED while dumping Mycah's body.

He could have just pretended Mycah ran away if he didn't want him to die.

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Whoa, the way evil acts are excused because those acts are "legal" is astounding and probably the point GRRM is trying to get to here. These people are getting away with their crimes because they are part of the group within the story that has used murder, torture, and rape to get into a position of power. By that reasoning, Joffrey was right in every single thing he did since he was the king and he dictates the law. That's the problem. That's what's leading Arya to become a vigilante. Terrible people are getting away with committing evil acts. The Trident incident is what opens her eyes to this reality since she is shocked that the people she trusted to protect her and enforce justice are doing nothing in the face of the maiming and murder of an innocent boy. 

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1 hour ago, zandru said:

I have to disagree with some of your assessments.

Ser Ilyn Payne did, in fact, take Ned Stark's head off with the man's own sword.Just because "it was his job" doesn't make it forgiveable.

Ser Meryn Trant did, in fact, kill Syrio Forel, an old man armed only with a wooden sword. And Trant needed half a dozen men at arms with him to do it. "I was just following orders" didn't cut it at Nuremberg, either. See "Ser Ilyn Payne."

Ilyn Payne is the executioner.  He had just heard Ned Stark confess publicly to treason.  And then the King ordered him to execute him.  What the hell is he supposed to do?  His job is to execute people who have committed capital crimes, and he'd just heard a confession to one.

Meryn Trant was sent to take a close family member of an accused traitor into custody.  Even as a Stark fan, I am forced to admit he is within his right to do so, and to use force if necessary.  And it turned out to be necessary.  Yes, Trant is a spineless toad, but that doesn't make him a criminal.

By the way, "obeying orders" is a perfectly valid offense.  The reason it didn't work at Nuremberg is because the orders were clearly illegal, and the recipients were in a position to not obey them.   In neither of these cases is the order they are given obviously illegal or, I think, illegal at all.

Dunsen is on the list because he took Gendry's helmet.  While he may not be a nice guy, having been in Gregor's unit, that is not why he is on the list.  Of course we haven't seen him since ACOK, and probably won't anytime soon.

If I had to guess who she might run into, it would be Ilyn.  He is the least guilty, and is in the Riverlands, a likely landing spot for Arya.  Also, he has gotten recent character buildup.

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12 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Ilyn Payne is the executioner

Oh, I know. I was talking about how Arya viewed it. Ditto for Meryn Trant, who as it turns out, was a much nastier piece of work, in addition to killing her dancing master.

29 minutes ago, Wintersshewolf said:

Whoa, the way evil acts are excused because those acts are "legal" is astounding and probably the point GRRM is trying to get to here.

Bingo! And let's not forget the sexist bias against Arya doing "a man's work."

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On 7/25/2020 at 12:30 AM, Curled Finger said:

She's got a name on her kill list because someone stole her friend's bull helm

Like John Wick. No need to explain that I hope.... Where the hell is that helm anyway? Asked that recently somewhere else.... To no reply. 

On 7/25/2020 at 12:30 AM, Curled Finger said:

See the Kindly Man.

Like James Bond and what was her name.... M, yeah, it was M. 

On 7/25/2020 at 4:58 AM, zandru said:

Re: Jack Reacher - Interesting. I'm currently into Cormoran Strike, another former soldier who's now a private detective. Next book due to come out in September!!

All already said.

On 7/25/2020 at 12:30 AM, Curled Finger said:

Arya has been through hell Ramsay couldn't imagine or survive without the benefit of training, big guns and contacts Jack gets in every book.  

Like amnesiac Jason Bourne. 

Totally, somewhat like Jack Reacher. 

All the resemblances start with J. 

JON SNOW next. Will she do something similar to his actions?

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26 minutes ago, TheLastWolf said:

Where the hell is that helm anyway? Asked that recently somewhere else.... To no reply. 

Good question! Who, if anyone, is wearing the Bull Helm? Another question - where is Renly's sword? Remember, Brienne took it when she and Lady Catelyn escaped, after Shadow Stannis killed his brother. Brienne would have had it when they were captured by the "Brave Companions." They would have taken it, and her armor, at or before they reached Harrenhal. It was a good sword; maybe even a Baratheon heirloom -- who's wielding it now?

Actually, this whole note is off-topic, so ... never mind.

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14 minutes ago, zandru said:

Actually, this whole note is off-topic, so ... never mind.

:PMost threads become OFF TOPIC sooner or later... Only to get back on track.... Or not. 

15 minutes ago, zandru said:

Another question - where is Renly's sword? Remember, Brienne took it when she and Lady Catelyn escaped, after Shadow Stannis killed his brother. Brienne would have had it when they were captured by the "Brave Companions." They would have taken it, and her armor, at or before they reached Harrenhal.

Was it so important? 

15 minutes ago, zandru said:

It was a good sword; maybe even a Baratheon heirloom -- who's wielding it now?

I don't think it's a heirloom or would have been mentioned . Probably Donal Noye made. Besides it isn't mentioned as Valyrian steel, so not so great after all. 

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I can understand a reader getting entertainment out of somebody like Arya and still not like her.  Some of her chapters are good reads but I still do not like her.  Jason and other movie villains have been pointed out and they add something of value to the plot.  I see the same thing for Arya.  I do not like her but I understand the value she adds to the plot.  

Arya is a Stark inside and much more.  Some fans see that as a good thing.  I do not.  Being Stark in character does not make Arya better nor more likely to turn out good.  

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