You know the drill by now, people: this article contains spoilers for the seventh season of Game of Thrones, so don’t even think about reading on if you’re not up to date with the HBO show.
Ever since the Stark family was torn apart back in the very first season of Game of Thrones, we’ve longed for the surviving siblings to be reunited. And, in the penultimate series, our wish was granted: Arya, Bran, and Sansa are back in Winterfell.
But things have… well, things have certainly changed between them. For starters, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has been almost entirely stripped of his humanity during his time beyond The Wall – and he apparently is far closer to the Night King than any of us ever realised. Sansa (Sophie Turner) seems to have picked up far too many tricks from Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell, Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish, and Ramsey Snow. And Arya? Well, Arya (Maisie Williams) is a deadly trained assassin now, hell-bent on killing anyone and everyone who has wronged the Stark family.
One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is Sansa and Arya’s notoriously fraught relationship.
When they were little girls, they were throwing food at one another and poking fun at the other’s hopes and dreams. Now they’re grown-ups, their intentions seem more… well, more murderous.
Alan Taylor, who directed Beyond the Wall, as well as other episodes in the first two seasons, told the HuffPost: “I love the fact that these two come back, they’re both lethal, and I just wanted to give the impression, as much as possible, that one of them is going to die.
“Something is coming very soon between them, and it will be violent but surprising.”
Except fans have picked up on more than a few little clues in recent episodes – and it seems as if Sansa and Arya aren’t actually at each other’s throats at all. In fact, they’re working together like badass sisters to bring down their one true enemy, Littlefinger.
At a first glance, it seemed as if Littlefinger’s plot to drive a wedge between Arya and Sansa was working.
We saw the former accuse her sister of trying to seize power in a fiery confrontation, before being led to the damning letter which Cersei forced Sansa to send to their late brother, Robb. And we saw Sansa team up with Littlefinger to perform a thoroughly sneaky search of Arya’s bedroom, stumbling upon her little sister’s creepy bag of faces.
But, as pointed out by Reddit user ScienceMuddafucka, things are definitely not all they seem.
For starters, Arya “is far too stealthy to let Littlefinger know that he is being followed, unless she did this deliberately.” After all, Brienne has literally just advised her to never go where her enemy leads her – and we know that the youngest of Ned Stark’s daughters holds Brienne in incredibly high esteem. We imagine she will have taken this advice to heart.
ScienceMuddafucka continues: “When Arya confronts Sansa about the Northern lords talking badly about Jon in season seven episode five, the door is wide open. Similarly, when Arya confronts Sansa about the letter from season one, Arya projects her voice just as she is reading the letter.
“It’s almost as if they want someone to hear their fights.”
Making another brilliant point, the Redditor asks us to think back to the scene in which Arya played her ‘Game of Faces’ with Sansa.
“In what seems to be the most psychotic Arya scene, Arya basically threatens to cut off Sansa’s face and pretend to be her. The entire scene is Arya playing the Game of Faces, presenting lies as truths. She even says that they are playing!
“She plays this game when she tells Sansa that she remembers Sansa standing on Ned’s execution stage – Sansa fought and screamed, and Arya knows this. Arya played the game when she told Sansa she would never serve the Lannisters – Arya served as Tywin’s cupbearer. Arya tells Sansa she wonders what it would be like to wear her face and her pretty dresses, to be Lady of Winterfell – we are beaten over the head since season one that Arya HAS NEVER WANTED ANY OF THESE THINGS.”
They add: “When Arya realises Sansa hasn’t caught on to her lies, she hands her Littlefinger’s dagger by the handle. It’s a way of symbolically saying, ‘I trust you and want you to protect yourself from Littlefinger’s lies.’”
The most compelling argument of all, though? Well, it all lies in a sneaky hidden detail we probably all failed to notice – but, now it’s been pointed out to us, it’s literally all we can hear.
“Do we really think there hasn't been a single off-script scene where Bran tells them, ‘Hey, uh, Littlefinger kinda started the war of the Five Kings by lying about this dagger, betrayed our father, and is essentially the reason our whole family is dead’?”
The redditor adds: “We hear ravens [Bran can famously warg into the birds] when Littlefinger comes out of the crypts with Jon, when Arya enters Littlefinger’s bedchambers, and again when Littlefinger and Sansa are talking in season seven episode six.
“These noises are very deliberate.”
We don’t doubt it: after all, nothing happens by chance in Game of Thrones. Nothing. And Sansa said herself that “no one” could protect her in life. Considering that Arya has long referred to herself as “no one”, we have a feeling that her big sister is bang on the money.
If we were Littlefinger (and we’re very glad we’re not), we’d be watching our back come the season finale. We already know there’s a “surprising” death on the cards at Winterfell – and what would be more surprising than the show’s most manipulative schemer being duped and bumped off by the very same young women he believes to be the puppets on his strings, eh?
Then again, maybe this is wishful thinking on behalf of the sisterhood. There’s only one way to find out: roll on The Dragon and the Wolf, already.