Maisie Williams and “Stormborn” writer Bryan Cogman discuss Arya’s long-awaited reunion


One of the more painful moments from the second episode of Game of Thrones* is when Arya Stark, still fresh-faced and bushy-tailed, chased off her beloved direwolf Nymeria to save her from execution for biting Joffrey Baratheon. Joffrey completely deserved it, of course, but try telling Cersei that.

In “Stormborn,” last night’s new episode of the show, Arya reunited with Nymeria after five seasons away, but the two of them found that they’d grown apart in the interim. “Ever since the show got rid of Nymeria, it’s one of the questions I’ve been tweeted the most,” Maisie Williams (Arya) told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s even nicer that they don’t live happily ever after. Nymeria has created her own world and created her own pack and isn’t ready to be Arya’s pet. To be someone’s pet would reverse everything she’s learned. So they almost just regard each other and go their separate ways.”

She just had to say that Nymeria “isn’t ready” to be Arya’s pet. Does that mean she could be ready at some point? Are we going to get to see Arya ride Nymeria into battle against the Night King or not?

Smart money’s on no. As EW points out, the show doesn’t show the direwolves very often in part because they’re hard to convincingly render — we know what wolves look like, unlike dragons, so the team has to expend more resources to get them to look realistic. But to stick to the story, episode writer Bryan Cogman says that Arya and Nymeria may have reached a point of no return in their relationship. “So much of this season is swinging back to season 1,” he said. “Since we last had Arya in the Riverlands she’s had all these crazy adventures. In a television show that’s all about Nymeria the Wolf, she’s had adventures too. She’s gathered this pack of wolves and is now doing the Old Gods’ work herself.”

"Arya and Nymeria do and don’t have the connection they’ve always had. In the end, they’re both lone wolves. They can’t go back to the way things were. And that might be foreshadowing for Arya too."

People grow up and grow apart — the same is true of direwolves. It’s bittersweet, but it’s also one of the things that made the scene so poignant. And as Cogman suggests, it could have implications for Arya down the line. She, Sansa, Bran, and Jon Snow have all had vastly different life experiences since they were all kids together at Winterfell. Even assuming they end up in the same place, can they come back together as a family in the way they were before?

Questions for next week.

Next: Book-Reader’s Recap—Game of Thrones, Episode 702—'Stormborn'

*I was going to say “from the first season,” but that has some serious competition

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