Given the overall reaction to the final season of Games of Thrones, it's no surprise that the finale was met with a mixed reception. Regardless, it was nice seeing most of our favorite characters make it out alive. Perhaps most surprising was Arya.
Arya Stark has been a fan favorite since the very first episode. Given her penchant for getting into deadly situations, her survival seemed doubtful. Now, as she sails off into the west, we can look back on one of the show's best characters. But like most characters on the show, a lot about Arya was left out from the books, so of which we’ll never get to see now that the show is over. Here are some of the most significant details about Arya that the show left out.
10 Age Difference
For pretty much all the main characters in Game of Thrones, their ages were changed from the source material. In George R.R. Martin's books, the characters, especially the children, tended to be younger. This made some the brutality and cruelty they faced that much more disturbing.
Understandably, the show decided to make the characters a bit older. To read about what happens to some of these younger characters can be hard enough, but for audiences to watch young actors in these situations would be too much. In Arya's case, the age difference didn't help make it any less shocking when she got into these violent situations.
Along with getting the personality of the character perfect, Maisie Williams also had the right look to play Arya, even though there are some notable differences. While Williams could pull off the boyish look that was so important for Arya, she was never as plain as Arya is described in the books.
Another significant detail about Arya's appearance in the books is that she resembles a Stark more than a Tully, which differs from her siblings. She is also said to closely resemble her aunt, Lyanna Stark. This has caused a lot of rumors, but that resemblance never comes up in the show.
Even before her training to become a Faceless Man, Arya had a talent for pretending to be other people. In the show, she travels with the Night's Watch while pretending to be a boy named Arry, then pretends to be a commoner while at Harrenhal. But in the books, Arya goes by many more aliases.
Aside from her nicknames she earned as Arya Stark, including Arya Underfoot and Arya Horseface, she gave herself several others. While a servant in Harrenhal, she goes by Weasel. While a blind beggar in Braavos, she goes by Beth. Other notable nicknames include Cat, Nymeria, Nan and Mercy.
7 Overthrowing Harrenhal
In both the shows and the books, Arya is taken prisoner at Harrenhal and comes up with a plan to free herself, with the help of Jaqen H'ghar. However, these plans are quite different. In the show, Arya has Jaqen kill the guards so she can walk out through the front gates. Her plan in the books in much more complex.
Using the same technique of blackmailing Jaqen, Arya helps kill the Lannister guards in Harrenhal and free the Northmen who are in the castle's dungeons. They quickly take over the castle and Arya gains a reputation as a dangerous young girl.
6 Servant Of Roose Bolton
Some of the best scenes in the show involving Arya are in Season 2, when she serves as Tywin Lannister's cup-bearer while posing as a commoner in Harrenhal. The two had a great dynamic and their conversations revealed a lot about both of these characters. However, these scenes don't exist in the book.
In the book, after Arya helps the Northmen take Harrenhal, she is named as Roose Bolton's cup-bearer. The moments they have together, while not as compelling as the show's scenes with Tywin, let us get to know Roose more. It is then we find he's not such a nice guy and we get hints at his upcoming betrayal of Robb Stark.
Wargs are those rare individuals who possess the power to enter the minds of animals or, in cases of the extremely skilled, people. We've seen a couple of wargs on the show, with Bran obviously being the most prominent. However, in the books, most of the Starks are shown to possess this power, with Arya being one of the most gifted.
She continues to have dreams she is her direwolf Nymeria, but it is hinted that these dreams are actually her controlling her former pet. She is able to kill enemies and people on her trail through these means. While blind, Arya is able to defend herself by seeing through the eyes of a cat.
4 Lady Stoneheart Connection
Lady Stoneheart might be the biggest omission that fans miss. Stoneheart is the resurrected corpse of Catelyn Stark who leads the Brotherhood Without Banners on a quest for vengeance. While they had held out hope for her appearance season after season, it never came. The closest we got was Arya seeming to take on that role, avenging the Red Wedding.
In the books, Arya does have a connection to Lady Stoneheart, as she helps get Catelyn resurrected in the first place. Not long after the Red Wedding, Arya dreams (as Nymeria) of finding a body in the river and pulling it ashore as the Brotherhood approaches. It is then they find Catelyn's body and bring her back.
3 Notable Kills
By the end of Game of Thrones, it's hard to argue that any other character on the show was a more skilled killer than Arya. Sure, Daenerys and Cersei may have bigger body counts, but Arya has killed the Night King, House Frey, Littlefinger and plenty more people who ended up on her list. While she hasn't yet reached these heights of assassination in the books, the show did leave out some of her most notable kills.
She kills two men she knew as bannermen of The Mountain. The first is The Tickler who she kills while he and his men fight The Hound. In that same fight, Arya killed a young squire. The second of The Mountain's men is Raff the Sweetling, who she kills after finding him in Braavos. She also kills a Night's Watch deserter in Braavos.
2 Her List
One of the defining aspects of Arya is the list of names of the people she seeks to kill. Each night before she goes to bed, she recites the list like a prayer, adding new ones all the time as more people do her wrong. The list remains a significant part of the character in the show, though some of the names are different.
Some characters who are included on the list in both versions include Cersei, Joffrey, The Mountain and The Hound. The book doesn't include characters like Beric Dondarrion, Melisandre or even Walder Frey. However, characters included on the list in the books but not on the show include Raff, Chiswyck and Amory Lorch, all of whom are dead.
1 Fake Arya
One of the most disturbing storylines in Game of Thrones was Sansa Stark's marriage to Ramsay Bolton. Given Ramsay's penchant for horrible abuse, we knew it would be a dark time for Sansa and it was hard to endure as viewers. However, in the books, Arya Stark is the unlucky wife of Ramsay -- though not the real Arya Stark.
With Arya missing and thought dead, Littlefinger arranges for Sansa's friend Jeyne to pose as Arya so she can marry Ramsay and help the Boltons unite the North. Ramsay is equally as cruel to the fake Arya and it's hard not to imagine the short work the real Arya would have made of Ramsay in that situation.