Today, we celebrate the anniversary of Westeros’ hard-earned victory over the Night King, and that’s all thanks to Arya Stark.
A year ago today, the most highly anticipated battle in a TV series in 2019 reached its epic conclusion. The Battle of Winterfell got fans all hooked to their screen the moment the nostalgic opening song played, up until the end credits. Well, fans of Game of Thrones waited for it for eight years, with over half a decade of their lives of them being reminded that Winter is Coming.
And so winter came, and along with it marched the army of the dead led by the Night King and his disciples. The Long Night flashed before our eyes– probably too dark for us to watch, but that’s another issue. The bloodthirsty White Walkers with their wights (GOT term for zombies) swarmed over to Winterfell, threatening to drive the living to extinction. Being the longest episode of the series, it brought us 82 minutes of our favorite characters joining forces to fight off the dead, literally all of them barely making it out alive– except, of course, for the ever-stubborn Cersei and her army who chose to stay in King’s Landing to plan how they were gonna add misery to the lives of the ones from the north.
While the episode had some of the most memorable scenes of the series (Melisandre’s fire bending, Theon Greyjoy’s heroic death, and Jon and Daenerys’ ride with the dragons), one of the most talked-about moments in the episode was the one where Arya Stark– played by Maisie Williams– suddenly appeared out of nowhere, stabbed the Night King with the Valyrian steel dagger, and managed to send the poor villain into oblivion, single-handedly saving the humanity.
That badass moment got HBO declaring April 29 ‘Arya Day’.
Good Morning, Happy Arya Day. #NotToday
— HBO (@HBO) April 29, 2019
Queen of badassery
— kindex Gists💧 (@KindexGists) April 29, 2019
Even as early as Season 1, we got a glimpse of the buildup that would put the youngest Stark sister up there among the ranks of Brienne of Tarth and The Hound as the best fighters on the series. She defied the conventional tradition of wearing gowns and chose swords instead; she got her first combat training from Syrio Forel. She pulled a sword on Joffrey. She spent the next years training– sometimes accidentally– until she became a lethal, face-shifting assassin. She used her skills to avenge her family, brutally killing Walder Frey and his family. She slit Littlefinger’s throat–another satisfying act of revenge.
And then, yeah, she handled the Night King.
Let’s just get to the bottom of this: Arya Stark is the best fighter in the series. Best character? You could also give her that. After all, it’s Arya Day today.