A wild fan theory has suggested that Arya Stark was actually dead in the last two seasons of Game of Thrones. The character, played by Maisie Williams for all eight seasons of the series, played a vital role in the show's final season. Not only did she kill the Night King, but she was also present for the battle at King's Landing and served as a street-level perspective for viewers. Here's why Arya's death theory has no legs to stand on.
Game of Thrones fans have had a lot of fun coming up with theories over the years, and some were more plausible than others. As a matter of fact, many of the theories turned out to be better than some of the show's storylines. The recent thoughts regarding Arya's death came from a Reddit user, and it's actually a very interesting idea. The theory suggests that Arya was killed by the Waif in Game of Thrones season 6, meaning that the Waif took her identity for the final two seasons. We know that the Waif severely injured Arya after Jaqen sent the girl on an assassination mission, but this theory suggests that the Waif actually succeeded in killing her, and that's why Arya seemingly abandoned her Kill List in season 7 and 8.
There is truth to the fact that Arya pushed aside her Kill List despite the fact that she still had names left on it, including Cersei, The Hound, Beric, and Melisandre. The fan who developed the theory believed that Arya would never abandon the mission to target those on the Kill List - but that's not true. After Arya killed the Waif, she put the girl's face in the Hall of Faces within the House of Black and White. Jaqen H'ghar proclaimed that she was no "No One," but she disagreed, stating that she was "Arya Stark of Winterfell." At the time, she intended to travel to King's Landing to kill Cersei, but after hearing that Jon retook Winterfell, Arya left her mission and went home to be with her family. This never would have affected the character if it was the Waif under Arya's skin.
The argument that Arya wouldn't have taken names off of her list was also untrue. In season 8, as the Starks and their armies were preparing for the Battle of Winterfell, Arya encountered Beric. His name was on her list after her past run-in with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Arya explained that she has intended to kill him, but had since taken his name off the Kill List, proving that the list wasn't permanent. The same could be said about the Hound, since he and Arya ultimately became allies.
When Arya traveled to King's Landing and fully intended to find Cersei, she was stopped by the Hound at the Red Keep. He successfully turned her away, which was surprising for many considering her long-time mission in killing the sadistic queen. However, Arya's decision can simply be accredited to character development. The Game of Thrones showrunners received criticism for their treatment of certain characters in season 8, but Arya had one of the more plausible arcs.
Arya grew up a lot during the final few seasons. It makes sense that she realized risking her own life to kill Cersei, who was about to die anyway, wasn't worth it in the end. That realization had nothing to do with the Waif, nor does it prove that Arya was dead during the final chapters of Game of Thrones, and there were no other clues hinting that Arya could have been someone else. Still, this is definitely one of the more interesting theories that fans have come up with.