The journey of Arya Stark has been a wild one. The princess who is the third child and second daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and his wife, Lady Catelyn Stark, thankfully didn’t watch her father beheaded in cold blood. However, once the young princess leaves King’s Landing, she vows to get revenge on the Lannister’s, who ruins her life for good. We watched as the young child grew up throughout each season, becoming a one-woman revolution on her path of bloody revenge. Death nearly came knocking on Arya’s door several times including her time in Braavos, where she was an assassin for the Jaqen H’ghar’s aka the faceless man. After winning his respect and gaining the power to change faces (which quietly disappears in the final season) Arya gets retribution for the unforgettable Red Wedding by first exterminating Lord Walder Frey’s sons, Black Walder Rivers and Lothar Frey, cooking them into pie and serving them to the corrupt bastard himself. Stark crosses Walder Frey off her list by slicing the man’s throat, and at this point, Arya journey back to King’s Landing was imminent.
After taking the face of Walder Frey and poisoning the men of House Frey, she’s given a sweet reunion with Jon and Sansa back at Winterfell. However, destiny calls and Arya finally made it to King’s Landing to cross off the final name on her list, Cersei Lannister. Of course, the White Walkers briefly interfere with her plans, but being the ass-kicker that she is, Arya emerges the hero and saves the world. There’s nothing stopping Arya from murdering Cersei, and as she’s seconds away from doing so, The Hound stops her with ease. Meaning that for seven seasons, we’ve watched this young woman scratch and claw her way back throughout the seven Kingdoms to get strong enough to finally dish out sweet revenge. There is nothing stopping Arya from getting that revenge, but a sudden change of heart.
Here’s the thing, there’s nothing wrong with Arya ultimately coming to the conclusion that murdering Cersei would be a mistake that haunts her for eternity. However, just like Daenerys Targaryen ill-advised murderous heel turn, this moment was terribly executed. Arya has never shown an ounce of sympathy for the men and women she’s killed thus far. She not only murdered Walder Frey’s sons, but she cooked them! There was not an ounce of remorse shown. In fact, it could be argued that Arya is a low-key psychopath. However, we were invested in the young woman’s journey of getting her revenge for what happened to her family. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have gone on record and stated that running Game of Thrones was their film school. Unfortunately, one of the key lessons they clearly missed out on was character development. You can’t just pull random moments like this out of nowhere. For seven and a half seasons it was established that Arya Stark wanted to kill Cersei Lannister. She goes through a perilous journey to get to that moment in season eight. If this was the plan all along, then Benioff and Weiss should’ve made it clear that Arya felt some sort of guilty over the men and women she’s killed along the way. Did I mention that she not only killed Walder Frey’s son, but she cooked them! If that doesn’t mentally mess you up, then nothing will at this point.
Arya Stark should’ve killed Cersei Lannister. Or at the very least, attempt to murder the Queen and is stopped by someone. Maybe the Mountain? Or Jamie Lannister? Don’t even get me started on Jamie’s terrible ending. It’s odd that Arya was easily swayed by the Hound to drop her entire mission. After everything she’s done, this one murder is going to ruin her life? Especially from an evil Queen who had no problems getting some blood on her hands. Game of Thrones season eight was clearly a rush job. There was no word on how long it took the crew to finish the entire script for season eight, but it’s baffling that no one saw the clear issues before production began. We were robbed of seeing Arya complete her journey that we were extremely invested in because Benioff and Weiss didn’t know how to proper develop her character to get to the moment that they wanted to. Fine, Arya wants to sail around the continent to explore the outside world. It would’ve been great if that was given more emphasis throughout the years. Either way, the story of Arya Stark ended with a big whimper, much like the rest of Game of Thrones season eight.
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