I’m sorry you have to find out this way, but Arya Stark needs to die before Game of Thrones ends. It’s not that I don’t like her or have some particular desire to see her die young. GoT season eight has been an immense season of growth for Arya, what with losing her virginity to and rejecting Gendry in favor of staying true to her vision for her life, killing the Night King, growing closer to her siblings and being more than ready to go into battle for the good of Westeros. But we always knew that not everyone would get a happy ending on GoT and I feel like if anyone is primed to die first, especially in the upcoming Battle of King’s Landing, it’s Arya.
She will soon cross all the names off her list
Cersei is the last big bad on Arya’s list of names. That list has kept the revenge fires burning in Arya’s belly for years now and has allowed her to kill every person who has harmed her family. We know it’s likely Arya will try to get close to Cersei to kill her during the Battle of King’s Landing, but with so many people wanting Cersei dead, who’s to say if Arya will get the satisfaction of the kill.
Regardless, the list has also been Arya’s life work and purpose. Once all the names are crossed off, what is left? It’s quite possible she’ll die shortly after Cersei during the battle, once her list is complete.
She is driven by the need to protect her family from harm
Season eight has made it extremely clear that the last living Starks are primarily interested in protecting their own above all else. Sansa and Arya often repeat to their brothers that protecting one another and doing what is best for Winterfell and the North should always come first. The Starks have come too far to turn on one another now and it’s clear that their love for one another is still strong, even after spending so many years apart.
The Battle of King’s Landing is looming and Arya knows damn well that neither Sansa nor Bran are fighters; that’s why they stayed behind at Winterfell. If Cersei’s troops move North, Arya knows that her siblings will be killed. Jon, on the other hand, will be fighting but the odds of him surviving the battle, abdicating his claim to the Iron Throne and starting a new life elsewhere are pretty good. Even so, Arya is a much better fighter than him, so she’ll feel the need to protect him in battle, too.
If Arya doesn’t end up dying at the hands of Dany (more on that below), then she will probably die during the battle as she fights to protect her family.
She will try to kill Daenerys because she knows Dany is a threat
As episode four made very clear, Dany is in no mood for everyone to know Jon is Aegon Targaryen but Jon chose to tell his family anyway. Arya is no dummy and she has likely seen what Dany’s temper is like when things don’t go according to her plans. Dany will inevitably find out Jon told his siblings the truth, further pitting her against Jon and causing Arya to step up to try and protect him.
If I were a betting man (and occasionally I am), Arya will try to go after Dany during the Battle at King’s Landing or afterwards, once she and Jon have won the throne. But Dany (or possibly Grey Worm, at Dany’s behest and provided he survives the battle) could go after Arya and kill her once and for all. Arya may be a skilled killer on foot, but she’s no match for dragon fire.
It would be a poetic ending to her time on GoT
Arya’s death would fit with the overall goal of many, like Jon, Tyrion, and Sansa, to end the cycles of violence that have plagued Westeros for decades. Arya has grown up to be a woman focused on getting revenge, turning herself into an expert swordsman and trained assassin in order to serve that need. She has also shown no desire to want to give that up.
But if someone manages to break the metaphorical wheel of history and prevent violence from plaguing Westeros in the future, there will be no place for Arya; she’s a relic of the old world even if she is so young. Arya dying for the good of Westeros would be sad, yes, but it would also be a fitting, just and poetic end to her time on the show.
Find out if Arya lives or dies when Game of Thrones airs this Sunday on HBO at 9/8c.