Arya Stark’s killing of the Night King in Season 8, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones initially surprised fans. However, upon reflection, it becomes clear that this choice not only lacks logic but also abruptly ends a long-standing mystery without a satisfying conclusion. It is puzzling why the nightwalkers were built up as such a significant threat only to be easily dispatched by a single teenager. Additionally, Arya’s role as the savior does not align with the Azor Ahai prophecy. The existence and objectives of the white walkers also remain unclear. If the Night King was so easily killed, why did viewers spend years fearing him? As we reexamine this shocking but confusing narrative decision, it becomes evident that it stands out as nonsensical among all the scenes in Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones attempts to justify Arya killing the Night King to some extent. Her actions are foreshadowed in previous episodes, as she stabs the Night King using the same Valyrian dagger, called the Catspaw dagger, that almost killed Bran in Season 1. The hilt of the dagger is made from the same dragonglass used to create the Night King thousands of years ago. Arya’s ability to sneak up on Jon Snow, just as she sneaks up on the Night King, and her use of a hand-switching move in Season 7 further support her role as the Night King’s killer. Moreover, Arya’s character transformation from a feisty child to a stealthy assassin sets her up as the destroyer of the Night King.
However, despite these justifications, Arya killing the Night King lacks coherence within the broader context of Game of Thrones. The entire trajectory of the show suggests that Jon Snow would be the hero to confront the Night King, as he has been dealing with the white walkers since Season 1. Jon Snow frequently interacts with the Night King, implying a future showdown. The Azor Ahai prophecy also suggests that either Jon Snow, Daenerys, or a combination of the two would save humanity from the white walkers. After years of building anticipation for an epic battle, the Night King is swiftly and easily killed by Arya, leaving viewers puzzled. Furthermore, Jon and Daenerys play minimal roles in the Night King’s defeat, as Arya could have killed him even if they had not been present. Hence, it raises questions about why this couple is seen as the epitome of the “Song of Ice and Fire” rather than the story being centered around a faceless, stealth assassin teenager.
While Game of Thrones is known for surprising its audience, the surprises, like Ned Stark’s death and the Red Wedding, make sense within the show’s context. These events align with the characters’ choices and fit into the overall story. However, Arya killing the Night King appears as a surprise for its own sake, lacking a greater purpose or meaning. It is akin to a jump scare in a horror film rather than a genuinely frightening moment that aligns with the narrative.
Moreover, the inclusion of the white walkers in the story becomes perplexing when they are ultimately rendered irrelevant. Fans were led to believe that the power struggles among the show’s characters were inconsequential compared to the existential threat of the white walkers. However, this belief is contradicted when the white walkers are easily defeated, and the show resumes focusing on political conflicts. This raises questions about the purpose of including the white walkers in the first place and the unresolved mysteries surrounding their existence and objectives.
Ultimately, Arya killing the Night King in Game of Thrones stands out as a scene that lacks coherence and logic. It undermines the entire series, which centered around the anticipated final confrontation with the white walkers. Therefore, it is widely regarded as one of the most nonsensical moments in the show.