11:15am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' Podcast: How Season 5 Sets Up Future Deaths
Cersei. Walder Frey. The Mountain. Meryn Trant.
These are the names on Arya Stark's kill list through 42 episodes of HBO's Game of Thrones. She recites her enemies' names early on in "The House of Black and White," shivering in the cold Braavosi night, sitting outside the titular temple. It's a striking list, not just because of the folks on the roster, but also due to how short it is, especially compared to the last time we heard it.
Before this moment, Arya's most recent recitation of the list comes in season four's "First of His Name," as she explains the concept to The Hound. These are the names she lists off in that scene:
• Walder Frey
• Meryn Trant
• Tywin Lannister
• The Red Womman
• Beric Dondarrion
• Thoros of Myr
• Ilyn Payne
• The Mountain
• The Hound
A few of these departures between "First of His Name" and "The House of Black and White" are easily explained. Joffrey and Tywin are both dead by the end of season four; in the latter category, you can imagine that Tywin's death would be so earth-shaking that even a newcomer to Braavos could hear the news. Meanwhile, Arya left the Hound for dead at the end of season four; it stands to reason she would think he passed on.
In the case of Ilyn Payne, actor Wilko Johnson withdrew from Game of Thrones following a 2013 cancer diagnosis; Johnson has since recovered, but his character was written out of the series, which would explain his absence from Arya's list.
The departure of Melisandre, Beric and Thoros is a bit more curious. Maybe Arya abandoned her grudge against the Red Woman and the Brotherhood for their role in taking Gendry. It certainly does not matter much in the case of Thoros, who is completely dead, and Beric, who is at least mostly dead through the seventh season of Thrones. On the other hand, Melisandre has both promised Arya that they would "meet again," while also stating her own destiny is to die in Westeros. Arya killing Melisandre is not off the table.
Which leaves us with the four names who remain on the list at this point in season five: Cersei, Walder Frey, the Mountain and Meryn Trant. The last name on this list will be crossed out in brutal fashion by the end of the season. Walder Frey will meet the business end of Arya's vengeance at the very end of season six. The only two people on the list left standing through seven seasons of Game of Thrones are Cersei and the Mountain — and the Hound, if Arya catches wind of him again.
Many fans believe the Mountain and the Hound are destined to battle one last time, in what's been hyped up as "the Clegane Bowl." Such an event could still come to pass, albeit with Arya in the mix. Could she team together with the Hound to take out his brother? Might she deliver the killing blow that Sandor is unable to make on his own, perhaps due to some injury? And in that event, would Arya finally give the Hound the gift of mercy, easing his suffering following the battle? Pure conjecture on our part, but it's the kind of sequence one can imagine for the final season of Game of Thrones, one that would put a bow on Arya and the Hound's relationship while also satisfying the ever-winnowing list.
But then there's the matter of Cersei Lannister, who has managed to escape death at countless turns. While it's hard to imagine her walking away from the series happily, one wonders if her death at the hands of Arya would be poetic enough for her storyline, given the relative lack of interaction between the young Stark and the Mad Queen of King's Landing. Indeed, most people agree that Jaime will somehow be his sister's undoing. If the moment comes that Arya decides to directly take on Cersei — someone whose life and death means much more to Arya than Arya's own existence means to Cersei — it's time to start worrying about Maisie Williams' fate in the series.
Again, all speculation, but speculation is what we do on "Winter Was Here," the Game of Thrones rewatch podcast collaboration between The Hollywood Reporter and Post Show Recaps. Listen to this week's discussion of "The House of Black and White," in the podcast player below.
Make sure you don't miss an episode of "Winter Was Here" by subscribing to the show on iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice. Send in your comments and questions using the podcast's email address, email@example.com, or our feedback form. Keep checking THR.com/GameofThrones for news, interviews, theories and more.
"Winter Was Here," and so is this handy guide collecting every episode of the podcast:
• Season 1, Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming"
• Season 1, Episode 2: "The Kingsroad"
• Season 1, Episode 3: "Lord Snow"
• Season 1, Episode 4: "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
• Season 1, Episode 5: "The Wolf and the Lion"
• Season 1, Episode 6: "A Golden Crown"
• Season 1, Episode 7: "You Win or You Die"
• Season 1, Episode 8: "The Pointy End"
• Season 1, Episode 9: "Baelor"
• Season 1, Episode 10: "Fire and Blood"
• Season 1 in Review: Feedback and Theories
• Season 2, Episode 1: "The North Remembers"
• Season 2, Episode 2: "The Night Lands"
• Season 2, Episode 3: "What Is Dead May Never Die"
• Season 2, Episode 4: "Garden of Bones"
• Season 2, Episode 5: "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
• Season 2, Episode 6: "The Old Gods and the New"
• Season 2, Episode 7: "A Man Without Honor"
• Season 2, Episode 8: "The Prince of Winterfell"
• Season 2, Episode 9: "Blackwater"
• Season 2, Episode 10: "Valar Morghulis"
• Season 3, Episode 1: "Valar Dohaeris"
• Season 3, Episode 2: "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
• Season 3, Episode 3: "Walk of Punishment"
• Season 3, Episode 4: "And Now His Watch Is Ended"
• Season 3, Episode 5: "Kissed by Fire"
• Season 3, Episode 6: "The Climb"
• Season 3, Episode 7: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
• Season 3, Episode 8: "Second Sons"
• Season 3, Episode 9: "The Rains of Castamere"
• Season 3, Episode 10: "Mhysa"
• Season 4, Episode 1: "Two Swords"
• Season 4, Episode 2: "The Lion and the Rose"
• Season 4, Episode 3: "Breaker of Chains"
• Season 4, Episode 4: "Oathkeeper"
• Season 4, Episode 5: "First of His Name"
• Season 4, Episode 6: "The Laws of Gods and Men"
• Season 4, Episode 7: "Mockingbird"
• Season 4, Episode 8: "The Mountain and the Viper"
• Season 4, Episode 9: "The Watchers on the Wall"
• Season 4, Episode 10: "The Children"
• Season 5, Episode 1: "The Wars to Come"
• Season 5, Episode 2: "The House of Black and White"