Arya's Story In Braavos On 'Game Of Thrones' Should Have Included This One Book Detail
Since Arya found her way to the House of Black and White in Season 5, her training with The Faceless Men has gone slowly. The push and pull between Arya embracing her identity or becoming No One is the central theme of the story, but Arya's journey is missing an important book detail that would have added far more weight to her time in Braavos. In the books, Arya is a warg, like Bran (and Jon Snow), and her "wolf dreams" as she calls them are just one way Arya games the system during her training. Even as she becomes more and more entrenched in her assassin training, she resists becoming No One fully by indulging in the gift of warging that is so closely tied to her identity as a Stark.
Without the ability to warg into Nymeria and other creatures, Arya has often been portrayed as too outwardly stubborn to get anything of value from her time with The Faceless Men. Her frustration with the process is too often shown through her contentious encounters with the Waif, when in fact Arya could be far more cunning about being both Arya and No One. Through Nymeria's eyes, Arya runs free and wild, inhabiting the part of herself that is most closely tied to her family, which in turn allows her to be more present and alert during her time with The Faceless Men.
I understand the creation of the direwolves was an expensive undertaking for Game of Thrones. As a result, the only direwolves alive are Ghost and Nymeria, and Nymeria has not been seen since Season 1. It is a shame the series could not find a place for Nymeria within Arya's story, because without her ability to warg, Arya's story in Braavos has kept her completely isolated from Westeros.
Nymeria connected Arya to the events happening in Westeros in an intimate way. It is Nymeria who pulls the dead Catelyn from the river, and Nymeria who allows Arya to see the first snowfall in the Riverlands. Part of becoming a successful assassin is learning to lie, but within the world of the show Arya has failed time and time again to convince the Waif and Jaqen H'ghar she has left her old life behind because she has no outlet for her emotions. She cannot encounter Ghost in the wild, she cannot command a massive pack of wolves in the night, and she cannot use her abilities to trick the Faceless Men into believing she is truly one of them.
You see, it is not just Nymeria Arya wargs into in the books. During the time she is blind, she is anything but helpless because she quickly finds eyes elsewhere, namely in stray cats. Remember those scenes where Arya is getting her butt handed to her by the Waif? That would not have been so easy for the Waif to do if a blind Arya could have fooled the Waif into believing Arya could sense her approaching by using the animals on the street as her eyes and just as often her ears.
Ultimately, Arya appears to have learned little from her time in Braavos on the show. Even if she ultimately commits to being No One, two seasons have been spent on her inability to hide her restlessness long enough to learn how to play the game of the Faceless Men. By allowing Arya to warg like her book counterpart, the show could have let Arya become No One to the Faceless Men while revealing to the audience she was still Arya deep down. The end result would have been a story where Arya gained knowledge from her training, while also retaining her sense of self.
As it stands, Arya's two seasons in Braavos have yet to pay off in a meaningful way. Whether Arya stays in Braavos or heads back to Westeros, the story will lack the amount of richness it would have possessed with the inclusion of Arya's warging. Her time in Braavos has had its share of fantastic moments for Arya, but if the show had taken one extra pinch of inspiration of the books, Arya's journey in Braavos would be a far more meaningful and ultimately moving tale.
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