Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell Arya Stark Callbacks Reactions

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All hail Arya, the hero Winterfell needed

One 'Game of Thrones' favorite stood tallest.


Trixie Reyna

Internet Culture

Published Apr 29, 2019   Updated May 20, 2021, 1:47 pm CDT

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.

The Game of Thrones battle that we’ve been looking forward to (rather, dreading) since the White Walkers first showed their creepy selves years ago culminated in Sunday night’s episode, “The Long Night.” Arya Stark emerged as the battle’s—and the Seven Kingdoms’—biggest hero, killing the Night King in a trick move using that infamous Valyrian steel dagger. No one saw it coming.

Except for Melisandre, that is, and the Daily Dot’s resident Game of Thrones expert Michelle Jaworski wrote in detail about how the Red Woman’s prophecy led to the surprising end of the war with the dead here.

Twitter was filled with reactions of shock and exhilaration, celebrating Arya’s heroism. A lot of fans’ tweets were also filled with nostalgia, as they recalled how her journey from a little Stark girl to a skilled assassin led to the very end of the Night King and his dead army—who shall now all remain dead forever. On social media, users had receipts that show Arya was made for this moment—in the form of GIFs and clips.

Arya’s training

Twitter fans called back Arya’s best moments, trials, and training in the past—starting with Jon Snow giving her Needle, Ned Stark allowing her to learn how to use it with master swordfighter Syrio Forel, the Hound teaching her where to hit to kill (i.e. the heart), and Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif training her to become an assassin with the Faceless Men.

@She_DreadzMe aptly called them Arya’s “coaching staff.”

As far as these Twitter fans are concerned, Arya’s Faceless Men training is for this very purpose: “They said no one could kill the Night King, so Arya became No One.”

We became particularly emotional when fans honored Arya by remembering Ned Stark and “how proud he would have been of Arya. Turns out those ‘dancing lessons’ with Syrio would pay off,” opines @danyskylo.

Fans remember that one of Syrio’s biggest lessons—“there’s only one thing we say to death: not today”—is what Melisandre used to jog Arya’s memory and prompt her into action to go after the Night King.

And of course, fans called back this particular sparring session with Brienne of Tarth—where we had our first glimpse of her ability to drop her dagger from her dominant left hand to her right.

Callback to Melisandre’s prophecy

Syrio’s last words were not the only thing Melisandre reminded Arya of. The Red Woman also mentioned a portion of her own prophecy about Arya back in season 3’s “The Climb” episode which aired in 2013: She listed the eye colors of the people Arya is destined to kill, “Brown eyes… green eyes… and blue eyes.”

While nobody but Melisandre saw how Arya would bring the Night King down, fans were quick to celebrate how they knew it was Arya all along.

Somehow, fans also took this to mean that, after killing Walder Frey (who has brown eyes) and the Night King (with blue eyes), she’s set to kill Cersei (supposedly who has green eyes and is definitely on Arya’s kill list).

Fans also have receipts for how Beric Dondarrion’s purpose for always being resurrected from death has been served, as Melisandre pointed out: to save Arya.

Callback to the Stark siblings’ most meaningful exchanges

Eagle-eyed Game of Thrones fans also can’t get over how Bran gave Arya the Valyrian steel dagger that was used to try to kill him in season 1 at the very same spot she used it to kill the Night King.

@ravenbloodbaby even added that “Arya sneaked up on Jon at this place. Arya killed the Night King with the dagger, sneaked up on him at this place.”

For those wondering why in the world Bran was warging into ravens while the battle against the dead raged all around him, @Garrick_KI had an answer: “Bran was playing 4D chess against the Night King when he gave Arya the Catspaw dagger.”

Speaking of Needle and giving siblings daggers, a tender moment between sisters in the episode—when Arya gave Sansa a dagger to defend herself at the crypts—was also a major callback: Arya tells Sansa exactly what Jon said to her about how to use Needle after giving it to her in season 1, episode 2: “Stick them with the pointy end.”

Lyanna Mormont tributes

Arya is not the only teenage heroine of the Battle of Winterfell. Lyanna Mormont met her end in the most heroic way possible: fighting and killing a giant wight all on her own. Twitter was likewise filled with callbacks to the empowered young woman she always was.

@MandalorianMel even compares Lyanna to her mom, Lady Maege Mormont, once the head of House Mormont, who fought for Robb Stark, the King in the North, during the War of the Five Kings.

Lyanna has been showing all the grown men at Winterfell, including cousin Jorah Mormont, that she can hold her own in both the Winterfell council and in battle until the moment she died. “Finally Lyanna Mormont got to fight someone her size. The perfect end to a perfect lady,” tweets @justmejaaybee.

Fans think even Tormund Giantsbane has nothing on Lyanna.

Fans likewise honored House Mormont, as we lost another key Mormont in that battle: Ser Jorah, who died protecting Daenerys.

The battle brought us heroism, tragedy, epic fights, and more questions than answers. We have three more episodes to piece it all together.


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*First Published: Apr 29, 2019, 7:33 am CDT