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Xray the Enforcer

[Book Spoilers] EP108 Discussion Part 2

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I'm confused. I know this thread says "book spoilers", but are we supposed to spoiler-tag stuff that happen in LATER books, or not?

I just want to point out that the same people who think its cool that Arya slew the guard because she had to seem to be many of the same people who hate Jaime because he slew Arys for similar reasons.

What? Not at all. Jaime was totally justified in killing Aerys.

The notion that killing the guard is somehow (implausibly) self-defense is an absurdity on its face. Unless she was under direct threat of eminent bodily harm, its basically her living in a world where she liked it better if the guard was dead.

Did you per chance forget that 1) she's a ten year old child, not an adult with all the facts and 2) the Bloody Mummers and Roose Bolton scare the living shit out of her and she wants to escape from there at all cost? In her mind, it's definitely self-defense. She doesn't care much about the guard, no, but she kills him because she thinks it's necessary. Whether or not she's factually correct is irrelevant if you want to judge the morality of her motives, especially considering she's just an ignorant child.

Finally we have Dareon’s murder. Basically, Cat does not like Daeron and wants his boots so she kills him. The book never explicitly states this but that's pretty much what happened.

Did you per chance miss the fact that he's a deserter of the Night's Watch and that his life was already forfeit? It's not self-defense, it's an execution.

Edited by Morrigan

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Do people even READ the Arya chapters at all? It's like they focus on the fact that she kills, and completely ignore all the rest, including her inner thoughts and her motivations. Which definitely are NOT remotely sociopathic. Sociopaths do not feel empathy, people. Sociopathy is defined as "a personality disorder characterized by the inability to form human attachment and an abnormal lack of empathy, masked by an ability to appear outwardly normal". This does NOT DESCRIBE ARYA IN ANY WAY. She does feel empathy, she does feel human attachment. In fact, most of the names on her "kill list" are people who hurt not only her, but others that she cares about (Gendry, Mycah), and sometimes even people she doesn't even care much but she still feels were treated unfairly (Lommy -> killed by Raff the Sweetling). Someone who feels no empathy wouldn't give two shits about Lommy being murdered by Raff, or that Gendry got beat up by Dunsen and had his helm stolen.

Actually I don't think Arya feels any empathy at all. It doesn't matter if her life was in danger or not. She hasn't felt real remorse for any of the people she's killed. On top of that, she's distinctly detached emotionally from all of her friends. Sure she seeks revenge for their death, but once her friends leave her she doesn't miss them at all.

and for the record, I have had my opinion swayed by people on this board. I used to believe that Syrio lived, but now I've admitted that it was the wrong stance to take and now I believe he's dead.

Edited by Cereal Forel

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Actually I don't think Arya feels any empathy at all....

Then how do you explain her actions when she is NOT killing people? For instance, why did she save the 3 prisoners? You know, the act that put the faceless man in her debt? Sure, we didn't see thoughts in her head that were along the lines of "those people are going to burn, and I think that would hurt, and I sure wouldn't want it to happen to me, so maybe I should risk my own skin to save them..." Barring empathy, how do you explain her actions? She certainly had no way of knowing that one of them would "pay her back" so extravagantly.

She is a child, and I think GRRM deliberately writes her in such a way that the thoughts attributed to her are far from sophisticated. He gives her thoughts that remind us that she is single-minded, determined, and angry. Nonetheless, I don't see how anyone could read the current set of books and NOT infer that she experiences empathy, at least on some occasions. This feeling of empathy is not explicitly announced by the text, but it seems an obvious inference, based on her actions.

In the same situation, what would Lord Baelish have done? Easy answer, whatever he thought would be most likely to promote his self-interest, regardless of the consequences to other characters.

-VM

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Actually I don't think Arya feels any empathy at all.

Then why would she save the three men from the fire? Why would ask Jaqen to kill Chyswick after she heard him tell the story of Gregor's rape? Why would she feel tears when she learns that her brothers are dead? She even gave a dying man water, the one in the crow cage that no one cared about. She feels bad about Lady Smallwood losing her young son and apologizes to her for ruining her acorn dress. There are countless other examples of her showing empathy or emotion at people's suffering.

but once her friends leave her she doesn't miss them at all.

Really? From ASoS, after she leaves Hot Pie:

She missed him more than she thought she would

Oops.

(She, of course, desperately misses Jon Snow, her favourite brother.)

Edited by Morrigan

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You can make whatever argument you want, it won't prove Arya isn't a sociopath.

Sure, and despite any argument you might make, it won't prove she is, either.

Personally, the only kill that really bothers me as a reader is her last one. That's crossing a very dangerous line, IMHO. I am very curious to (wait and wait and wait and) see what the next part of her journey looks like.

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I love Arya to death, but let's call a spade a spade. She's a sociopath, but an endearing sociopath. She's the daughter you want to have, except that she kills people without a second thought.

She shows remorse for many kills, even ones that were justified, which is not what a sociopath does. Later, she gets darker, but she didn't start out that way--I wouldn't consider her darkness a mental illness/pathology but the result of longterm abuse, captivity, and torture.

So, in the context of the Arya discussion, it seems the question is whether the wolf is a cold-blooded murderer, or if he is merely acting in self-defense. Having read some arguments on either side, my question is this: What the fuck are you talking about? This debate seems as surreal to me as the ridiculous deer/wolf dialogue above.

I don't see it as analogous to your description of the Wolf scene at all, honestly, so since I don't accept the premise, not much discussion can be had of the finer points. Throughout most of the series, Ayra is solely acting in self defense. Until she goes to Essos. Then, her story changes a bit. I still find it a stretch to call her simply a "cold-blooded killer" or to say most of her kills are done in cold blood.

The kill with the guard, in particular, I 100% completely understand and endorse as self defense. He was one of her captors.

I also think conflating Early Ayra with Current Ayra is an issue. The Ayra we're seeing in GoT (and I'd argue the Ayra we get through MOST of the first three books) is just trying to survive the atrocities and get home to her mother. What she becomes because of the atrocoties is a different story, of course, and up for more debate.

I just want to point out that the same people who think its cool that Arya slew the guard because she had to seem to be many of the same people who hate Jaime because he slew Arys for similar reasons.

Well, Jaime is not a pre-teen girl, and Ayra never took the highest oath of the land in swearing to PROTECT anyone she's killed. Though, knowing what we learn later, I'm cool with his killing Aerys. I get why it looked bad though. And I like Jaime (after the later books give me reason to) too.

The notion that killing the guard is somehow (implausibly) self-defense is an absurdity on its face. Unless she was under direct threat of eminent bodily harm, its basically her living in a world where she liked it better if the guard was dead.

She killed him to escape brutal captivity. Do you think if you were kidnapped, kept in a house with your fate a mystery (all the while seeing cruel torture and hearing whispers of crueler fates to come once the NEW people are put in charge) and kept there against your will, you'd be arrested for murder if you killed someone in order to escape to safety?

Actually I don't think Arya feels any empathy at all. It doesn't matter if her life was in danger or not. She hasn't felt real remorse for any of the people she's killed.

Then you missed a lot of her chapters, particularly in the early parts, because she very clearly feels remorse. Unless you think she knows someone is reading and is trying to trick us with her inner thoughts. . . She also does lots of things to HELP people throughout her chapters, as other posters have said.

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Then why would she save the three men from the fire? Why would ask Jaqen to kill Chyswick after she heard him tell the story of Gregor's rape? Why would she feel tears when she learns that her brothers are dead? She even gave a dying man water, the one in the crow cage that no one cared about. She feels bad about Lady Smallwood losing her young son and apologizes to her for ruining her acorn dress. There are countless other examples of her showing empathy or emotion at people's suffering.

Really? From ASoS, after she leaves Hot Pie:

Oops.

I should rephrase. She doesn't feel empathy for those she's killed, as in she feels no remorse. Let's not get too worked up here, we are discussing the intentions of a fictional character in a book here.

Here are the symptoms of being a sociopath

1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;

2 deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;

4. irritability and aggression, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;

5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;

6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;

7. lack of remorse, as indicated by indifference to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

Emphasis bolded by me. Some don't apply because we're in Westeros and not real life, but she fits the rest of those symptoms to a T

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*facepalm* Sociopaths don't feel empathy AT ALL. For anyone.

Her "impulsiveness and failure to plan ahead" is a sign that she's a CHILD, not a sociopath, for fuck's sake. And she does plan ahead, she plans her escape from Harrenhal pretty well for a ten year old child (in fact, almost too well for her age, really). Then she tries to figure out the map to go to Riverrun and looks at the moss on trees to find the north.

And... are you seriously suggesting that her hiding of her identity and her use of nicknames is a sign of sociopathy? Seriously? If so, I give up. This is just beyond retarded.

(I mean, I guess Sansa shows a sign of sociopathy when she's being Alayne Stone. Right? Right? :rolleyes:)

Edited by Morrigan

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I wouldn't consider her darkness a mental illness/pathology but the result of longterm abuse, captivity, and torture.
I don't see why this matters. Though to be fair it's not like she was a normal kid to start with; she was very much outside the norms of Westerosi girls, having no desire to conform with the other women's views well before any major trauma set in.

Anyway - there are plenty of topics for Arya's sociopathy or APD or whatever you'd like to call it. This isn't that germane to the show discussion; can we move it over there?

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Calm down, christ. There's no reason to get worked up, it takes all the fun out of it (and it tempts me to provoke further, which I don't want to do). If you aren't having any fun then maybe step back and take a breather. Arya is my 3rd favorite character in the series, I'm not insulting her :rolleyes:

All I did was provide the diagnosis. She lines up pretty well. You'll also notice that a lack of empathy is nowhere to be found. In real life you might have to be 18 to be diagnosed, but in Westeros people get "bedded" at 13, I think things are a tad different there.

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I don't see why this matters. Though to be fair it's not like she was a normal kid to start with; she was very much outside the norms of Westerosi girls, having no desire to conform with the other women's views well before any major trauma set in.

Anyway - there are plenty of topics for Arya's sociopathy or APD or whatever you'd like to call it. This isn't that germane to the show discussion; can we move it over there?

I thought my comments related to the show because people are putting Book 4 Arya attributes into Book 1 Arya as they watch the show, and I don't think that's how it works, really. Book 4 Arya is a product of her experiences, which Book 1 Ayra hasn't had. I disagree that being "different from other girls" or wanting to learn swordplay and not liking needlework is a sign of being a sociopath or being "cold blooded" and I also disagree that Book 1 Arya (the show Ayra!) has any of the traits being discussed.

Yes, she didn't want to be a Lady. That didn't mean she wanted to be an assassin then either. It was a lot of experiences culminating that set her on that path.

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Calm down, christ. There's no reason to get worked up, it takes all the fun out of it (and it tempts me to provoke further, which I don't want to do). If you aren't having any fun then maybe step back and take a breather. Arya is my 3rd favorite character in the series, I'm not insulting her :rolleyes:

I don't care that you're insulting her or not, I just find your arguments to be hopelessly retarded. Sorry.

All I did was provide the diagnosis. She lines up pretty well.

Yeah, she does, 3 out of 7, wow, compelling... and those 3 are only "lining up" if you put blinders on and ignore context. You actually highlighted her use of aliases, as if it was further evidence that she's a sociopath. I mean, really now. Do I really have to explain why this argument is utterly frivolous?

You'll also notice that a lack of empathy is nowhere to be found.

Yeah and I'm not sure where you got that list from. It's definitely here, here, here, hell just google sociopath empathy and you'll see it everywhere. Lack of empathy is one of the most significant symptom of sociopathy, and Arya does feel empathy.

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Calm down, christ. There's no reason to get worked up, it takes all the fun out of it (and it tempts me to provoke further, which I don't want to do).

That is... an awesome display of skewed logic right there. "I want you to calm down, because if you don't calm down, I'll have to do something that'll make you less likely to calm down even though I don't want to".

All I did was provide the diagnosis. She lines up pretty well. You'll also notice that a lack of empathy is nowhere to be found. In real life you might have to be 18 to be diagnosed, but in Westeros people get "bedded" at 13, I think things are a tad different there.

And the same: You diagnose someone using modern standards, and when part of it doesn't apply, you point out the uselessness of using modern standards.

Thread over. You fail, the other guys win.

Edited by denstorebog

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[mod] Keep it civil, please. [/mod]

Further, there are already threads available in the book forums to discuss The Question of Arya's Mental State. Please take them there.

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I don't care that you're insulting her or not, I just find your arguments to be hopelessly retarded. Sorry.

You're no fun at all. I haven't resorted to insulting your intelligence. If you don't see her actions as even a little bit sociopathic, then there's really no hope. She'll always remain my favorite little sociopath.

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That is... an awesome display of skewed logic right there. "I want you to calm down, because if you don't calm down, I'll have to do something that'll make you less likely to calm down even though I don't want to".

It's not skewed logic at all. People who get fired up over trivial stuff cause me to want to see how far they can be provoked. I don't want the thread to get locked or anybody to get banned, so I'm asking him to calm down.

This is the internet after all, it's serious business.

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People who get fired up over trivial stuff cause me to want to see how far they can be provoked. I don't want the thread to get locked or anybody to get banned, so I'm asking him to calm down.

So they have to calm down because... you're a force of nature with no control over what you're doing?

Seriously man, I just wanted to skim the thread and see what people thought of the ep. In you, I found a treasure trove.

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I don't see it as analogous to your description of the Wolf scene at all, honestly, so since I don't accept the premise, not much discussion can be had of the finer points. Throughout most of the series, Ayra is solely acting in self defense. Until she goes to Essos. Then, her story changes a bit. I still find it a stretch to call her simply a "cold-blooded killer" or to say most of her kills are done in cold blood.

The kill with the guard, in particular, I 100% completely understand and endorse as self defense. He was one of her captors.

Well, I was trying to make a point through the use of some, uh, poetic license. The Stark sigil is, after all, a giant prehistoric wolf. Nonetheless, it certainly isn't worth arguing about.

For the most part, I agree with the various points that you're making. The only real bone of contention between us is an apparent assumption that the only justification for killing someone is self-defence, and you seem to be continually expanding the definition of self-defence in order to apply it to every situation. I think, particularly in this imaginary world, that you can kill people for reasons other than self-defense, without necessarily being a sociopath/cold-blooded murderer. Still, we are more in agreement than in disagreement...

I also want to comment on the last killing. Personally, I have always thought that Arya was undecided about our minstrel sociopath (sorry, couldn't resist) at the beginning of the conversation. I think he sealed his fate when he mentioned Lord Snow, the brother that Arya was closest to...the brother who gave her Needle. Without GRRM having to include us in her thoughts, I felt I knew what they were. First of all, just hearing his name mentioned probably "cut deeper than swords". Even worse, though, hearing him being dissed by this self-important fop, this deserter...it seemed to me that she probably killed him without thinking much about it. The narrative jump-cut seemed, to me, to emphasize the fact that she reacted to this outrage without a whole lot of thought. The B-movie version would have been the screen fading to red...

One final point: As rare as we like to think that it is, the cold reality is that even in our "civilized" society, people kill other people every day, and the majority of them (the killers, I mean) are not sociopaths. Certainly, a great many are not nice people. What annoys me is the general sense that Arya is a fierce killer = Arya is a sociopath. And listing diagnostic criteria from any version of the DSM doesn't help. The diagnostic criteria in the DSM are, by definition, in comparison to the norms of our world. I am quite sure that the DSM at the Citadel includes a different set of criteria, based on the norms of Westeros society. More generally, the criteria are an attempt to create a checklist for identifying examples of a general type. The essense of this general type which we call a sociopath is the general lack of feeling for other humans, empathetic or otherwise. The prototypical sociopath sees other living creatures (human or animal) as no more significant than a colony of ants. And they are notorious for "experimenting" with living creatures because they are fascinated/amused by their pain. A true sociopath will kill a person for nothing more than the entertainment value of watching their suffering. Arya most certainly carries a lot of anger, resentment, and even hate everywhere she goes. But her behavior is not that of someone who sees other people as insignficant, meaningless "ants", to be killed, or not, at her whimsy.

I'll be the first to admit that Arya Stark would struggle in our public school system. But this notion of her as a sociopath is just surreal (neatly taking us back to where I started in this thread--please go back to my first post and just keep reading them in order as an endless circle).

-VM

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So they have to calm down because... you're a force of nature with no control over what you're doing?

Seriously man, I just wanted to skim the thread and see what people thought of the ep. In you, I found a treasure trove.

Well I'm glad at least someone else is enjoying themselves and it's not just me :thumbsup:

I hope you'd give me a little more credit than thinking what I've put out here is hard evidence. Anyone who's read the books would know most of what I've posted is at least somewhat in contradiction to the books. If there was hard evidence one way or another there'd be no debate. GRRM is a better author than that.

I do think she shows sociopathic tendencies, but I also think most of her kills are justified within Westerosi standards. I think I've even argued that in the past. She might not start out that way, but by the end she definitely is. She kills Dareon for his boots, we even have it from her own POV. She didn't kill him because he was a deserter, even though he was. She straight up murdered him because she felt like it.

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