Warning: This article is dark and full of Game of Thrones season eight spoilers
For the record, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Arya, so I can understand why diehard Game of Thrones fans were surprised during the latest episode, “The Long Night,” when Arya was the only one able to get close enough to the Night King to kill him. But you know what? Game recognizes game and I have to hand it to Arya because I legit cannot think of anyone better suited to off GoT‘s biggest (undead) villain. However, it seems that lots of fans don’t want to give Arya the credit she deserves and instead have crafted theories about why her big moment wasn’t earned, including a new Reddit theory that claims Jon Snow helped Arya kill the Night King.
According to Reddit user u/Applesoapp, Jon Snow was a key player in helping Arya get to the godswood so she could kill the Night King and save Bran from meeting an untimely end. Jon apparently did this by squaring off with Viserion, now an ice dragon, distracting him from seeing Arya run by and get to the Night King.
“Jon screamed at the undead dragon to distract it so Arya can run past and kill the Night King,” Applesoapp writes. “The undead dragon was protecting the entrance to the Godswood. Watch it again, you can actually hear him scream ‘GOOOOO – GO – GO.’ 10 seconds later the scene you can see the hair of a White Walker flying up when Arya sprints past the group of White Walkers. Jon once again was ready to sacrifice himself to kill the Night King.”
So, a couple of things. Applesoapp isn’t wrong that you can kinda hear Jon Snow saying something to the effect of “Go” (you can listen at the 1:30 mark in the video above) and he’s shouting it in Viserion’s general direction. That said, there is literally nothing to indicate that Arya is even in the vicinity as Jon yells this — he doesn’t even turn to look at her — and we also have no idea where Jon is on the Winterfell grounds so who knows if he was even close enough to the godswood that would mean Arya had to pass him on the way to get there.
It’s a truly wild theory that, in my humble opinion, only seeks to take away one of Arya’s biggest accomplishments to date and it completely ignores the fact that Arya has literally been training for this moment for seven seasons. She is one of the most ruthless killers in the Seven Kingdoms. She wears people’s faces, for godswood’s sake, so why in the everliving heck would she need her cousin to shout “Go” as a kind of signal? We literally watched her outwit a bunch of White Walkers in a totally silent library during that same episode, moving soundlessly around them and proving she knows how to sneak up on supernatural beings. Jon Snow is more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to Arya coming for the Night King’s neck.
This Reddit theory is just the latest in a week’s worth of reactionary vitriol from fans who were pissed that Arya got to kill one of GoT‘s big bads instead of a precious sweet boy who just wants to do what’s right, Jon Snow. Some fans called Arya a “Mary Sue,” a term used to highlight a character is without flaws or weaknesses and always manages to come out on top. It’s more a dig than a compliment and is often (if not always) aimed at female characters, reminding us that sexism is pervasive and I hate it.
But here’s the thing: Arya is definitely not a Mary Sue. She was the right woman for the job but also, did you not see her running through the halls of Winterfell at one point, clearly scared shitless and almost unable to fight? It’s Melisandre who reminds Arya of her destiny, which helps get her back into trained killer mode. Arya has flaws and weaknesses, it’s just she’s been trained to deal with them differently than other people. Also, one more time: she has been training for seven seasons. Jon has fought battles, sure, but ya boy was mostly running around and trying not to fall off a dragon during the Battle of Winterfell which is not exactly helpful to the cause.
Do better, fans, and don’t take away Arya’s hard-earned kill.