Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6, “Beyond the Wall.”
Fans of the Stark sisters were not happy after Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones. After a long-awaited reunion in the previous episode, everything seemed okay between them—until Arya found the letter Sansa wrote to Robb from King’s Landing back in Season 1. The sisters clashed repeatedly over their loyalties, and in a final confrontation, Arya seemed to be threatening Sansa with a knife.
As heartbreaking as it was to see the show’s favorite sisters argue, according to one fan theory, this scene may have revealed small details about a potential secret plan from Arya.
For a quick recap, Sansa finds a bag filled with Arya’s faces in her bedroom. Arya tells her she got them during her training with the Faceless Men and tells Sansa about the “game of faces,” which helps her determine whether someone is lying. Arya holds the knife Littlefinger gave Bran back in Episode 4 and walks toward Sansa with it—for a second, you think she’s going to stab her. But at the last minute, she switches the blade to face herself, with the hilt toward Sansa.
Reddit user ricatta suggests Arya has been playing the game of faces with Sansa ever since her return to Winterfell. According to this theory, Arya’s new attitude towards Sansa is mostly an act. She’s not turning on her sister—she’s trying to see where Sansa’s loyalty lies and what’s most important to her. It’s all part of a bigger plan to bring down Littlefinger:
When Sansa finds and questions Arya about the faces, Arya suggests they play the “game of faces” in which someone tries to make the lie sound like the truth, if she catches a lie then she wins. Obviously, Arya is good at this game and Sansa isn’t. Thus, Arya would be able to tell if Sansa was trying to make the lie sound like [the] truth. So, I think that when Arya was picking fights with Sansa, she was playing the game of faces, trying to see where Sansa’s heart really is. Then, Arya goes on to say that she can even live in anyone’s skin, all she needs is a face. To break the tension, she hands Sansa Littlefinger’s blade, with the blade pointing towards herself. I think this is Arya showing her trust to Sansa, but maybe at the same time telling her who the real danger is.
Though Sansa wants no part in Arya’s game, the Reddit user argues she may have been playing without even realizing. Arya’s cryptic words could be a message to Sansa that she’s been observing her since she arrived back at Winterfell. If that’s true, her choice to hand the knife to Sansa instead of stabbing her could indicate Arya finally believes her—that Sansa passed the game. As ricatta points out, Arya might be passing the knife to Sansa as a show of solidarity against a greater threat—Littlefinger.
During that scene, Arya tells Sansa, “The world doesn’t just let girls choose what they’re going to be. But I can, now. With the faces, I can choose. I can become someone else, speak in their voice, live in their skin. I could even become you.” As threatening as this sounds, watching the scene with the knowledge that Arya could be cooking up a plan makes it seem less like a threat and more like Arya warning Sansa to keep her eyes open.
So why would Arya want to kill Littlefinger? Though he’s not on her official list, fans think she’ll off him soon. Here’s what the rest of ricatta’s theory says:
Sansa clearly knows that Littlefinger is deceptive and dangerous, but couldn’t do anything about it because he has the knights of the vale. If Arya kills Littlefinger and uses his face to impersonate him, Sansa can still have the support of the vale and she won’t have to worry about Littlefinger trying to divide the Starks. After all “the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
Since Season 1,—AKA Littlefinger—has created a reputation for himself as a self-serving sneak with a love for the Stark women, including matriarch Catelyn Stark and, more recently, Sansa. (And oh yeah, he conspired to kill Ned Stark.) Sansa knows Littlefinger isn’t trustworthy, but she keeps him around because he is in charge of the knights of the Vale, who are currently protecting Winterfell.
This scene between the sisters might be Arya’s wordless way of telling Sansa that she has a plan for Littlefinger (he was the one who gave the dagger to Bran in the first place, to try to win his favor). If ricatta’s theory comes true, and Arya uses her skills to kill Littlefinger and impersonate him, she would be able to maintain the support of the knights of the Vale and destroy any plans he has for dividing House Stark. Not only would this mean Sansa would be free from the creepy middle-aged man chasing after her for the last six seasons, but House Stark would avoid any nasty conflicts or sneaky backstabbing plans which could potentially bring it to ruin.