In the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, "The Broken Man," Arya Stark looked ready to move on from her time amongst the Faceless Men. After regaining her sword Needle, Arya was going to boldly take herself home, booking passage on a ship before walking up onto a bridge to give Braavos one last wistful goodbye look. Then an old woman came out of nowhere and stabbed Arya a whole bunch of times before revealing herself to be the Waif (why is it Starks keep getting stabbed?). Bloody and wounded, Arya fell from the bridge into a canal. When she emerged later she was alive but in dire straits. It was understandably shocking, and a lot of fans were left looking for explanations. These six Arya theories on Game of Thrones that might just provide some.
These theories can range from the temptingly plausible to the totally ridiculous, but who can blame fans for seeking comfort when the fate of one of the show's most beloved characters is in question? Much like Jon Snow before her, Arya seems like too important a character to die, even for a show like Game of Thrones, but that doesn't mean she's not in for a boatload of more suffering. If some of these theories are more fun to imagine than Arya's bleak reality, so be it.
That Wasn't Really Arya
The Faceless Men are referred to as such for a reason, and they've proven more than once that they aren't always who they seem. Several people noted that Arya's behavior pre-stabbing wasn't in line with how she usually acted: the way she stood, the way she walked, her smirkiness. It was more reminiscent of the Waif. Arya also didn't have her newly rediscovered sword, Needle. So perhaps the Waif was wearing Arya's face, which means the person who stabbed Waifarya just looked like the Waif but was really someone else – someone like Jaqen. Faceless Men inception!
The motives behind this one are admittedly a little hazy, and though viewers have seen a Faceless Man wearing Arya's face before, it wasn't clear if she was just hallucinating or if they were able to wear her face despite her still being alive.
Arya's Escape Was A Test
Arya's final test wasn't actually to kill Lady Crane; Jaqen knew Arya would fail that, and her true final test would be escaping the House of Black and White, fighting the Waif, and triumphing. Arya has been struggling to defeat the Waif since she arrived and finally doing so would prove she had completed her training. Then the Waif's face could be added to the wall. If this is true, then Arya might still defeat the Waif down the line.
It Was A Test, But Not Arya's
Being allowed to kill Arya was actually a test for the Waif. The Waif has always had a little too much personality for a Faceless Man and she seems to bear a particular grudge against Arya. She's been letting her emotions get the better of her around Arya from the start, and she didn't obey Jaqen's order to not make Arya suffer because she was too eager to take Arya out. In this theory, the person the Waif stabbed was not actually Arya, but Jaqen, who still owes Arya a debt because of the three lives she saved back when they first met. So, the Waif fails by cruelly stabbed Jaqarya and will presumably be taken out by another of the Faceless Men. Confused yet? I know I am.
Arya Is Laying A Trap
Arya was setting up the Waif, knowing the Waif would underestimate her. Why else walk through the Market bleeding? https://t.co/bPHW9UfDJN— GreatJon Umber (@_Greatjon_Umber) June 6, 2016
Arya drawing attention to herself while trying to leave Braavos was really suspicious. She had to know someone would come after her because Arya isn't stupid, yet she did everything she could to stand out. She was dressed in Westerosi clothing and throwing heaps of money around, as well as arrogantly swaggering through the streets and then planting herself in plain sight in the middle of that bridge. This theory suggests that Arya was actually laying a trap for the Waif. Perhaps it was to fake her own death so they would leave her alone, or perhaps it's so she can convince the Waif that she's weak before striking. It definitely seemed uncharacteristic for Arya to be so blatant as she tried to leave, so it wouldn't be surprising if she had a trick up her sleeve.
That trick might have been provided by Arya's new actress friend, Lady Crane. Some fans wondered if Lady Crane gave Arya a few tips about faking injuries convincingly, like putting blood packs under her clothes to simulate wounds. That seems a little hard to believe, but you never know.
Arya Will Be Saved By Lady Crane
i redact my jaqen-uses-magic-to-become-arya theory in light of @juicycapoochie's observations that lady crane helped arya fake her death— (no) maj (@kattymaj) June 6, 2016
In addition to potentially offering acting lessons, some are wondering if Lady Crane will be the one to find Arya and nurse her back to health. Then Arya can join the actors and return to Westeros amongst their company. She does have a knack for switching up identities, after all. It's one of the less dramatic theories, but fairly realistic. The groundwork was laid with Lady Crane asking if Arya ever considering becoming an actor.
Arya Will Become Lady Stoneheart
I think Arya will die, but the Brotherhood Without Banners will revive her. Thus making Arya Lady Stoneheart. #GameOfThrones— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas97) June 6, 2016
The ASOIAF books feature a reanimated zombie Catelyn Stark who goes by the name of Lady Stoneheart and is seeking revenge for the wrongs done to her and her family. Fans have long been clamoring for Lady Stoneheart to make an appearance on the show, but so far it hasn't come to pass. A new theory is that Arya will take Catelyn's place as the vengeance obsessed Lady Stoneheart after either surviving her injuries or being resurrected. The manner in which Arya was stabbed was very similar to Catelyn, and she landed in the river afterwards, just like Catelyn was thrown into a river after her death.
There's no denying some of these theories are a stretch, but all isn't what it seems on Game of Thrones, especially when it comes to the Faceless Men. There is definitely more going on with Arya's story than there seems to be at first glance.