One of the fun surprises on Game of Thrones this year has been getting to see Tom Wlaschiha back in action as Jaqen H’ghar, the face-changing assassin of few words who’s been developing Arya Stark’s gift for murder since Season 2. Like any good mentor, it’s important for him to encourage his pupil’s interests. Wlaschiha recently sat down with Yahoo News to talk about Jaqen’s relationship with Arya, his very particular set of skills, and what plans the Faceless Men have for the little murderess-in-training.
“He can change his face, but there’s not that much supernatural about him, in my opinion,” Wlaschiha said, when asked to discuss Jaqen’s ability to punish even small lies with thwaps of a switch. “He’s just a very clever guy and very observant. Even little signs are enough for him to detect a lie.”
Although he doesn’t confirm it, this would seem to be an admission that, as many have guessed, Jaqen didn’t buy it when Arya told him that she didn’t poison the insurance salesman’s oysters in “A Dance with Dragons” because he “wasn’t hungry.” Uh-huh. If Jaqen rewards little white lies by smacking Arya’s hands, how will he reward a refusal to carry out an assassination?
Furthermore, what if Arya ever decided she didn’t want to become “no one,” and instead used her assassin training to cross names off her own death list? Frankly, this is what a lot of fans probably want to see happen—revenge isn’t just going to get itself, after all—but it’s antithetical to the Faceless Man code, which is all about being anonymous and only bringing death when the Many-Faced God commands it. If Arya went rogue, would Jaqen be willing to kill her?
“I never really thought about that,” Wlaschiha said. “He probably would be willing to bend a rule or two but… would he kill her? Hopefully, he’ll never get into a situation where he needs to.”
As the Yahoo News article points out, that seems like exactly the kind of situation Game of Thrones would want him to get into, so stay tuned. For now, though, Wlaschiha thinks thinks Jaqen has plans for Arya Stark beyond killing her. In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, George R.R. Martin hasn’t revealed what, if anything, the Faceless Men intend to do with Arya after she’s been indoctrinated as an official member. To the untrained observer, it looks like this is a gig that Arya just sort of stumbled into. Wlaschiha, however, thinks there’s more to it.
“My theory is that it’s all part of a bigger plan — that he decided to be [thrown into the Black Cells at King’s Landing] in the first place to meet Arya. But in which way exactly their story is going to continue? No idea.”
The question of just what Jaqen H’ghar was doing in the Black Cells in the first place is one that’s never been answered, not on the show or in the books, so Wlaschiha’s theory is as good as anyone’s. It would certainly be interesting to learn that there’d been a plan in place for Arya all along, although so far she hasn’t had the stink of destiny on her in quite the same way that characters like Jon or Daenerys have. Personally, I kind of like the idea that Arya just happened upon her assassin internship—it makes her more of a wild card.
We’ll all see how Jaqen handles Arya’s insubordination come the finale. Until then, please enjoy this delightful tribute to Jaqen H’ghar put together by the fine people at Practical Folks. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fans should get a particular kick out of it.
One final note: in the Yahoo News interview, Wlaschiha reveals that strangers do indeed occasionally talk to him in the third person. Let’s take a minute to imagine how annoying that must be. “Would a man like fries with that?” Sorry, Mr. Wlaschiha.