Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos, says that Arya Stark should not be viewed as a role model. One would be hard pushed to find a fan that doesn’t have a soft spot for the youngest Stark sister on the HBO TV show, even though the character is technically now a bloodthirsty killer.
Maisie Williams’ hardened survivor Arya has spent the past seven seasons on Game of Thrones slitting throats and righting wrongs in the realm of dragons and death, making Westeros’ smallest assassin one of the best characters that George R.R. Martin has ever created. With Williams taking to the role so brilliantly, it is easy to see how the no-nonsense Arya might become an inspirational figure to some.
However, from gouging out the eyes of Meryn Trant to slicing the face off the Waif, from baking Frey Pie to slitting Littlefinger like a pig, Arya isn’t exactly the kind of person one would invite to a Thrones wedding. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cunningham had some stern words to remind fans just how violent the youngest Stark woman is:
“Let me throw something out here people. There’s a lot of young ladies I speak to and I go, ‘What do you think of the ladies,’ and they go ‘Oh Arya, Maisie Williams character, she’s such a great role model,” he says. “And I go, okay let me stop you there. She’s a serial killer. And a lot of young ladies are using her as a role model…in five, ten years time, let’s not examine where that might go.”
With young people being apparently so easily influenced by TV, you can see what Cunningham means – but should you really be letting your kids watch Game of Thrones? As a powerful female figure, Arya fits in among the likes of Daenerys, Sansa, and Cersei as the important female powerhouses and gender equality of Martin’s world. Being honest, though, is anyone really going out under the assumption that it is okay to make a revenge list of your enemies and chop them down one by one? However, while Cunningham is clearly just chewing the fat, he does raise an interesting point.
Going from the dress-wearing Arya we first met in Winterfell in season 1, Williams has taken the character on one of the biggest story arcs in the show. From watching her father get beheaded in front of a baying crowd to her time at Harrenhall, Arya’s journey has been bigger than most on the series. Arya’s time at the House of Black and White did indeed set her on a whole new path to adulthood with her list in hand.
With Arya being one of Martin’s “big five” who he outlined in his original pitch for the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, it was always expected that the youngest Stark girl would be heading toward the saga’s endgame. However, as the final season draws even closer, all eyes are on where showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will take Arya next. Either way, with Arya’s sights firmly set on crossing every name off her list, Dany’s dragons and frozen White Walkers should probably be the least of Cersei Lannister’s worries!