Game of Thrones theory: identifying Arya Stark in disguise

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Shared August 6, 2018

When I try and predict what's likely to happen in Game of Thrones, I look to both historical references as well as the various narrative devices that are employed by both George R.R Martin and the show writers. I look to these sources probably more than to the plot of the books, partly because I consider the books to be an entirely different universe and because there are plenty of other great youtube channels that draw evidence from them.

In fact I personally feel you can make more accurate predictions by looking at historical parallels than looking at the Song of Ice and Fire books, but I know not everyone will agree with that.

But today, rather than look to real world history, I’d like to look at a specific narrative device that may help us identify Arya when she inevitably starts wearing more “faceless men” disguises in Westeros.

In the well known series of scenes between Arya and Tywin Llanister in Harrenhall we see a number of conversations not seen in the books. Furthermore most of these scenes do not advance the plot in a meaningful way, but rather are used to explore the characters’ motivations and responses to events in Westeros.

In one such conversation see Tywin Llanster corrects Arya Stark (disguised as a serving girl) on her use of the term “my lord”. He outlines that if she wants to pass herself off as a commoner, she should address her “betters” as m’lord. However in season 6 episode 10 we see that she hasn’t adopted this particular piece of advice as we still see Arya disguised as a commoner address Walder Frey as, “my lord”. Arya has shown on occasion to be something of a slower learner, most likely due to her still be very young compared to her peers and adversaries in the show. It could also be down to the possibility that she simply doesn’t see Walder Frey as her “better”, to the point were she can’t or won’t break character for it.

However, I believe this is a deliberate choice employed as a narrative device by the show-writers so that we might identify Arya when she dons further disguises.

I know many people might believe she’ll adopt the faces of more well known Westerosi figures, such as Walder Frey, however in the majority of cases, faceless men adopt the faces of relatively unknown people such as commoners. As well as disguising them selves as people of a similar physical build and size. The obvious exception is at the end of season 5 where we see Jakken H’gaar kill himself and adopt the body of the Waif. To me this is a kind of magic beyond Arya’s abilities and seeks to outline the idea the the Jakkan H’Gar we see in season 2 is not necesserily the same Jakkan H’Gar we see in later seasons and that the mysteries behind the permanent residents of the House of Black and White hold more depths than we will ever know.

So the crux of my overall argument is that in future seasons, if we see a commoner use the term, “my lord” as opposed to, “m’lord” we can make the assumption that it’s Arya in disguise. I know some folks will level the accusation of lazy writing, but, to me, it seems logical that the show-writers would employ some narrative devices to deal with the potential misdirection of Arya’s future disguises.

I also feel that the fact that the conversations between Arya and Tywin are exclusively in the show adds weight to this as a possible narrative device, since narrative devices employed in the show would naturally be different from that in literature, because television is more orientated around audible dialog rather than written dialog and you don’t same point-of-view style storytelling.

That’s just a thought on my part, please let me know your thoughts down in the comment section below, until next time, thank you very much for watching.

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