Arya Stark became the saviour of the living after slaying the Night King in Game Of Thrones.
Some fans were surprised to see Arya get the kill. Many believed that the moment would belong to Jon Snow, or possibly Daenerys Targaryen. Both of them did make valiant attempts to kill the Night King, but both ultimately failed.
When you look back through the show, however, there have been plenty of hints that this would be Arya’s time to shine.
Arya and Syrio
The Battle of Winterfell featured a few throwback moments referencing Arya’s time with her first Sword Teacher, Syrio Forel.
The most notable was her exchange with Melisandre, repeating a saying Arya first heard from Syrio in season one: ‘What do we say to death? Not Today.’
The other moment is a little more subtle, and possibly open to interpretation. At one point, one of the White Walker Generals turns at what seems to be a gust of wind, later revealed to be Arya slipping by.
Some believe this is a reference to Arya’s studying cats in the early episodes. A swordsman, like a cat, needs to be quiet as a shadow, and light as a feather. Arya was both in her efforts to reach the Night King.
Protected By The Lord Of Light
Arya has come under the temporary guardianship of many characters throughout the show. Beric Dondarrion and The Hound are notable examples.
Most of these characters have come to Arya through following ‘The Lord Of Light’. The Hound survives his Trial by Combat against Dondarrion due to the fact that, according to Dondarrion, the Lord Of Light still has plans for him. At least part of these plans involve The Hound protecting Arya.
Beric, too, was resurrected in order to one day protect Arya, in order to, as Melisandre subtly reveals, keep her alive for her confrontation with the Night King.
Meetings in the Godswood
The last two seasons have featured multiple moments foreshadowing Arya’s heroic moment.
When they reunite in season seven, Bran Stark gives Arya the Valyrian Steel dagger once used in an assassination attempt against him. He states that she will get more use out of it than he would.
During her reunion with Jon Snow in season eight, Jon expresses surprise at Arya sneaking up on him.
Both of these exchanges occur in the Godswood, where the final confrontation takes place. And both the dagger, and her skill at being sneaky, are vital to Arya killing the Night King.
Even Arya’s name offers a possible clue to her importance.
After her defeat of the Night King, many fans believe Arya to be Azor Ahai- A legendary hero set to save the world. Notably, Arya is the only major character in the series to have a name beginning with a letter A. Her name is also four letters long, just like both halves of Azor Ahai’s name.
Fans have also begun speculating that Arya may be the ‘song’ in ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire’, the title of the book series on which Game Of Thrones is based. While spelled differently, Arya’s name is pronounced the same as ‘aria’- A type of song.
Has Arya Stark been the true protagonist of Game Of Thrones all along? We’ll need to watch the final three episodes to find out.