Briana Hansen
June 18, 2016 9:23 am
HBO

Warning: This post contains season 6 spoilers for Game of Thrones. If you’re not caught up, go! Be safe! Be free!

HBO/Giphy

When it comes to HBO’s Game of Thrones, there is certainly no shortage of fan theories, especially when something major happens. And when last week’s episode supposedly finished off a major storyline (Arya’s training with the Faceless Men) lots of people felt a strange sense of relief that the badass little Stark has finally reclaimed her identity and will be returning to Winterfell (hopefully just in time for her brother Jon to have reclaimed it).

But not everyone was completely satisfied with the seeming “conclusion” and understandably so. In fact, Charlie Jane Anders at Wired was so dissatisfied, she watched the several more times before she realized what was bothering her. In proper Game of Thrones fashion, she crafted a fan theory that helped her to make a lot more sense of what might actually be going on.

And the thing is, she’s got some seriously valid points.

His theory is basically this: Arya Stark is no longer Arya Stark, despite what she triumphantly says as she leaves the House of Black and White. Specifically, Arya Stark is the Waif.

This is totally different from the previous theories. She doesn’t mean that they both still exist and there’s some crazy psychological games being played by Jaqen H’ghar. She means that Waif has (Faceless Men-style) actually killed Arya Stark and taken over her identity.

And, the thing is, she could totally be right. Arya somehow does get pretty strong in back-to-back scenes. She went from being completely weak and on her last legs, hoping the darkness would give her the needed advantage over her adversary, to standing strongly in front of her former mentor and sure of who she was, conspicuously missing the bleeding out stomach wounds and limp from her intense chase.

Once you realize that, you start to remember just how scary powerful the Faceless Men are. They can (and regularly do) take on completely different identities. As a long time mentee of the order, the Waif would be able to do that pretty flawlessly at this point (she even shows that she does when she takes on the identity of an old woman to trick Arya in the first place).

Re-watching the scene, there is definitely a lot of subtext behind the few words exchanged between Jaqen and Arya. It could of course be interpreted as an emotional investment (since they’ve known each other a long while). Or, it could most definitely be interpreted as Waif quietly signaling to her former teacher that she’s completely delved into this new identity as he quietly acknowledges Arya has finally become “No One” (aka the Waif).

Braavos to you, Charlie, for picking up on this subtle yet mind-blowing moment.

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