For fans of Game Of Thrones, no character’s storyline has been more of a disappointment over the past few episodes than Arya Stark’s.
Both characters are unquestionably traumatized by what they’ve been through. He knows damn well Sansa will be anxious that Brienne will choose her Arya over her.
But Sansa still isn’t convinced that Arya can be trusted, so she investigates Arya’s room, where she discovers the bag-o-faces that Arya acquired during her Tour De Murder of Westeros. It’s just one of Game of Thrones’ many problems that are perfectly embodied in the Arya-Sansa feud.
Also, it’s worth noting that Arya sort of “played down” the trauma which Sansa endured after seeing their father decapitated at the end of the first season. Now Sansa believes more in Littlefinger than her own sister, Arya.
After Arya finds an incriminating letter that Sansa wrote to their brother and mother under the pressure from Cersei (Lena Headey), she confronts her older sister about her apparent treachery. Give it up. In the face-off – so to speak – between the two Stark sisters, sparked by the nefarious manipulations of Littlefinger, I am Team Sansa all the way.
When you consider how we got to this point, things look even worse.
Should we be anxious for Sansa?
Even the argument between Sansa and Arya, the only scenes this episode infused with the much-vaunted and now much-mourned “realism” that Season 7 has been lacking, came in for its share of shade.
The pros: Arya is right to be suspicious of Sansa, whether or not they’re sisters. It’s not just a lazy storytelling decision, but one that fundamentally misunderstands why she’s remained compelling for so long: because there’s a core of humanity underneath all that murderous list-making, not in spite of it. Noticing that the Night King was ready to attack another dragon, Jon yelled at Daenerys to leave before getting dragged into the water. Sansa’s certainly not on a quest to become No One. Now, Sansa recognises the power of her sister, after seeing her skills with the sword and abilities as a highly skilled assassin. Along the way she learned how to survive in risky situations by reading people and picking up on various clues. She fears this letter falling into the wrong hands because she knows just how fickle the lords can be, pointing to their wavering support of Jon to back up this observation. “Arya still sees Sansa as a snooty prissy child that she was before she left for King’s Landing”. Eventually she did pass.
Is Arya also telling Sansa to protect herself from Arya… and a future Faceless encounter? Time suggests it’d be hypocritical of Arya to judge and shame Sansa for her inaction when she did the same when she was a cupbearer to Tywin Lannister in Harrenhaal in season 2.
So why would Arya want to kill Littlefinger? She brandishes the notorious Catspaw dagger menacingly and approaches Sansa. But men have no hesitation at all about writing and directing scenes between women, and they assume it’ll work out. But a little insight to the female mind might have led to a more nuanced depiction of the relationship between the sisters.
This episode sees a whole bunch of undead die (again), but some of them perish in a slightly more illuminating way than others.
Their task was probably one of their most hard yet: find a soldier from the Army of the Dead, capture it, and bring it to King’s Landing.
“The revelation for me ― and I’ve said this before ― is that when we were doing Season 1, and no one really knew what we were dealing with, and no one knew where it was going, George R.R. (Martin) came to visit us on set in Malta, and he let slip that really, the story was about Dany and Jon Snow”.
If Game of Thrones hasn’t done the best job setting that up, well, that’s the show’s fault.