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Winter came for House Frey — and now, it’s coming home.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is the only one of her surviving siblings who hasn’t yet returned to Winterfell following Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) victory at the Battle of the Bastards. That fact looks set to change on Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, called “The Spoils of War,” based on the trailer for the episode. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but for an instant, you can see Arya on horseback, staring off at her ancestral home for the first time since she left in the second hour of the HBO series.
That means we’re looking at the first meeting between Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Arya since they parted ways in “The Kingsroad.” Both siblings have changed dramatically in their time away from one another — so much so in Bran’s case that he can hardly relate to people anymore. But perhaps his reunion with Arya will be an easier one than last week’s uncomfortable conversation with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), considering both Bran and Arya have survived some truly mystical experiences. If anyone is going to understand what it means to be the Three-Eyed Raven, it’s the face-changing girl formerly known as No One.
Equally anticipated: Arya’s first scene together with Sansa since King’s Landing went south, leading to the events that ended in their father’s death. Back then, Sansa and Arya were happy to have nothing to do with each other. But that was before they started losing members of their own family at an alarming rate. Have the years changed Arya and Sansa so much that their childhood grievances are water under the bridge? Certainly, Sansa’s reunion with Jon was a joyful one, and they barely had a relationship when they were younger. The history between Arya and Sansa, and the years of regret they have likely harbored since, should make their meeting even more powerful.
On a broader level, there’s the question of how Arya will readjust to life within Winterfell’s walls. She has been on the road ever since King’s Landing fell to the Lannisters. She has killed untold numbers of people. She studied at the knee of the world’s best assassins, and walked away with an array of new faces to show for it. After so much time as No One, even with vengeance for those who acted against her family in her heart, can Arya truly return to House Stark? The show all but explicitly asked this question in the scene between Arya and Nymeria earlier this season, in which the direwolf refused to rejoin her old companion. Could we see Arya return home to Winterfell, only to abandon it within a matter of a few episodes?
The good news on that front: Even if Arya doesn’t last long in Winterfell, she’s all but guaranteed to last long enough to see the final season of Thrones. In last week’s episode, “The Queen’s Justice,” Melisandre (Carice van Houten) revealed that she was leaving Westeros for Voltanis, but would return one day to fulfill her destiny of dying in the Seven Kingdoms. Several seasons ago, Melisandre offered another prophecy when she promised Arya Stark that their paths would cross again some day. If the Red Priestess is headed out of Seven Kingdoms midway through the season, odds are we won’t see her again until the final season. And if she has to cross paths with Arya before dying, then it buys the young wolf passage into the final year of Thrones, no Braavosi coins required.
For now, it’s enough to know that Arya Stark is just moments away from coming home — though in that regard, it’s worth heeding the warning Hempstead Wright issued ahead of the season.
“If a Stark reunion ever were to happen, I think it would be bittersweet,” he told The Hollywood Reporter days before the season premiere. “All of them have been in so many different places and done so many different things. Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven, Arya is an assassin, Sansa has been bandied about by Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) — not the best taste in gentlemen. I don’t know that it would be exactly what everyone wants.”
Watch the video below for the Game of Thrones cast’s preview of season seven’s battles.
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