Game of Thrones Moment of the Week: “Stormborn”

The Moment: Nymeria finds Arya

Setting the Scene: After learning from Hot Pie that Jon has taken control of Winterfell, Arya decides to head home to the North instead of traveling to the South to kill Cersei. Along the way, she finds herself surrounded by wolves—until a familiar face arrives.

Why It’s Awesome: Stark reunions are awesome—whether they’re between two people or between people and direwolves. After so many seasons of watching this family get ripped apart and come close to reuniting only to be ripped apart again, even the briefest moments of togetherness have an immense power. And although this reunion was certainly brief, its emotional payoff was huge. The connection between the Starks and their direwolves represent a connection to the selves they once were, and that connection was honored in a powerful way in this scene.

In order to talk about the emotional power of this moment, we need to talk about the power of Arya deciding to turn her horse around and head North after learning that Jon took Winterfell. In that moment, Arya decided to put love above hate, family above vengeance—and I have wanted her to do that for so long. All that was missing was for her to return home with her beloved Nymeria by her side, but we all know nothing on this show can ever be that perfectly happy.

Instead, Arya came to the same conclusion a lot of characters seem to be coming to this season: After you leave home, you can’t be expected to come back and return to exactly the same life you had before. No matter how much Arya (and the audience, by extension) wanted Nymeria to go with her, we know the truth; she doesn’t belong in Winterfell. She’s been on her own for too long. She has her own pack now.

Arya gets it, and I’m sure there’s part of her that knows the same will ultimately be true for her. She wasn’t meant for a domesticated life in Winterfell. She knew that long before her life took her far from home. And that’s what made Maisie Williams’s reaction to Nymeria so beautiful. That small, sad smile after Nymeria walked away said it all; Arya knows that some creatures have to make their own way and can’t be expected to be anyone’s pet. The gentle, loving way she whispered, “That’s not you,” harkened back to her telling her father “That’s not me” when he talked about her being a proper lady. Arya and Nymeria have always been meant for more than a simple, safe life at home.

This scene’s bittersweet tone was clearly foreshadowing Arya’s inability to be content with a life in Winterfell—even if that means a life with people who love her. However, the emotion Maisie Williams packed into this moment opposite her direwolf makes me cry just thinking about an Arya/Sansa or Arya/Jon reunion. Even if the joy doesn’t last, these actors are good enough to give us the smallest moments of beauty in a seemingly endless sea of hard times and harsh punishments. And if nothing else, this scene was worth it just for the sheer goosebump factor of hearing Arya say the words “I’m going home” out loud.

Honorable Mentions: Missandei and Grey Worm get intimate, Jon threatens Littlefinger, Jon and Tyrion speak kindly of each other, Olenna tells Daenerys to be a dragon

2 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Moment of the Week: “Stormborn”

  1. Are we going to have the same picks for moment of the week all season?! (also how are there only 5 episodes left?!)

    I loved this moment with Arya and Nymeria. I wondered if this moment meant Arya was going to change her mind about going back to Winterfell, but I think you are right in that its going to take Arya a little longer to realize that she is not someone that can stay still for too long. I wouldnt be surprised if she ends up leaving to go on a kill Cersei mission for Sansa when it becomes clear that Jon has his mind firmly set on defeating the whitewalkers.

    Honorable mention goes to Sam. I just really love that Sam went from being this meek dissapointment to being a man that just says f-you to authority. Hes got a mission from Jon Snow and authority be dammed! If it wasnt already hinted at enough, I think this episode pretty much solidified the fact that Sam is the narrator of ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’. More poetic indeed.

    Really looking forward to Jon meeting Dany this week. I am really curious to see how the dragons react around him. I am getting really antsy for Jon to learn his true parentage, and I hope we get at least a hint towards it this week.

    • We’ll see this week if we’re 3 for 3 on matching moments! 😉

      I completely agree with your theory about Arya possibly going to kill Cersei for Sansa. I could see the two Stark girls teaming up that way since Jon has his sights set to the North. I also completely agree with your belief that Sam is the narrator. I love that so much, and I hope that’s how it all ends in the books, too, if only because that means a good person gets to live!

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