Arya Stark has had one of the most interesting character arcs on Game of Thrones. She’s developed into one of the series’ most beloved characters, going from headstrong young girl to fully fledged killing machine. We’re sure that as the series progresses, there’s still plenty more to come from Arya but here are the youngest Stark daughter’s most badass moments to date.

When she beats Joffrey with a stick

When Joffrey picks on Arya’s friend, Mycah the butcher’s boy, as they’re playing at sword fighting with sticks by the river, Arya won’t let it pass. The spirited Stark girl whacks the incredibly annoying Joffrey on the back with her stick as he cuts Mycah’s cheek with his sword.

Meanwhile, Sansa – who used to be just as irritating as Joffrey in those days – stands by telling her sister to stop it because she’s “SPOILING EVERYTHING”.

In a way she was, since it aggravated relations between the Starks and Lannisters, an already shaky relationship that would soon lead to some very nasty business, but she didn’t seem to regret it. And neither did we.

When she goes undercover as a boy

What a neat trick. And brave. But she held her own. Of course. The most badass part of her charade though is when she’s actually outed as a girl by Tywin Lannister when he pitches up to Harrenhal, where she’s being held. He spots that she’s a girl straight away but rather than punishing her, he admires her con-trick and appoints her as his cup bearer.

He remains unaware of her true identity, however – and Arya is able to keep this a secret even in the hairiest moments.

Killing Ser Meryn Trant

She said she would. He was on her kill list. And she did. In the most badass way possible.

Betraying/contravening her vow to the House of Black and White, which state that she must only assassinate assigned targets, she seeks revenge on Trant. First, she stabs him in both eyes. Then, she stuffs a rag in his mouth and exacts her bloody revenge, plunging the knife into his chest six times before stopping and telling him he was the first person on her list. The reason? For killing Syrio Forel, her sword fighting instructor.

She makes sure he knows who she is before finishing him off by slitting his throat. It’s an act that will have grave ramifications for Arya. But, hey, she’s a badass and doesn’t give a monkey’s.

Leaving The Hound for dead

Many people read this as Arya showing the nicer of the Clegane brothers no mercy in her decision not to ‘put him down’ after his battle with Brienne, which leaves him seemingly mortally wounded. Even though The Hound’s on her kill list. Some have read this as her leaving him to die a slow and painful death. But these two have been through a lot, and through their time together they’ve formed a bond.

You could also read it as her giving him a chance. Perhaps she sees that he’s strong enough to survive but takes her chance to go her own way. Whatever, she knows what she’s doing and that’s pretty admirable. Let’s face it, morals are kinda screwy all round in Westeros so we can forgive lots of actions we might not with other TV shows.

Walder Frey’s death

Using her skills as “No One” she borrows a face and serves the rank Walder Frey his sons for dinner baked in a pie. And then she peels off her disguise and reveals her name before telling him: “The last thing you’re ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die”.

Then she slits his throat and holds his head as he bleeds out.

Despatching Polliver

This is Arya’s third kill, and it comes closely after her second. What’s great about this one is that she does it with confidence and toys with her victim, Polliver, a Lannister man-at-arms. He has previously taken her much-prized sword, Needle, from her, telling her he will pick his teeth with it. He then uses it to kill the boy Lommy by piercing his throat with it.

When Arya’s chance comes to take back her sword, she doesn’t hesitate. With Polliver injured on the ground she stands above him threateningly, tells him: “Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it” and promptly uses it to finish Polliver in the same way he used it to kill Lommy. Touche.

Finally taking on The Waif

The Waif turns up and kills Lady Crane and next in her sights is Arya. So she runs. Leaping over the railings of the first-floor balcony and landing like a cat on her feet before taking off. The Waif follows in hot pursuit and an epic chase scene unfolds.

She takes another spectacular leap over a wall and falls into baskets of fruit and down some steps. She’s hurt but continues to flee. It seems she wants The Waif to follow as she leaves bloody handprints as tracks. She leads her into a darkened room. Arya is used to fighting in the dark and as The Waif thinks she has the upper hand, Arya lifts Needle, and strikes the burning candle.

The next scene is Jaqen H’gar in the Hall of Faces. The camera focuses on a new face – The Waif’s. Her eyes have been removed. Arya confronts Jaqen and says: “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I am going home.” Classic stuff.

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Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.