The world of Game of Thrones is dark and full of fantastic characters! Fans are highly polarized over who is the best with many remaining loyal to House Stark. The fan base is also highly divided on who is the best of the Stark family, falling heavily into the camps Sansa and Jon. Arya has a small but loyal fanbase of her own. Arya has a number of traits which warrant this adoration, but she has a number of others which hinder that.
As a young woman in the series, she has a number of challenges in her own right, particularly in the fact that she has no rights or privileges, especially since her father was executed before her own eyes. Arya's whole existence is garnered around the trauma that she suffered; it defines her every breath. This trauma has served as both a boon and a curse. Her character has been written into a literary corner thanks to this.
With her fan base large enough and more than loyal to her, it is necessary to analyze where she stands compared to the rest of her family, even the adopted Targaryen. No matter what you may think, the actress behind Arya is great at what she does.
Arya Stark is not the worst offender when it comes to having an isolated storyline, that would be Gendry, who some say is still rowing after all these years. Being the most isolated of the Stark bloodline, however, has really stifled the character development for Arya. Her adventures in Essos were amusing for viewers, but her isolated storyline has just weakened her in the long run. Arya Stark has been functionally relegated to being a bit character, having little bearing on the events that are taking place within the main theater of action. The Stark girl has not been able to impact her family in the West by any real means for many seasons, in fact, the distance between her and the majority of the cast has reduced her impact on the greater world.
One of the things that make Arya the most endearing of House Stark is her tenacity! The little girl has seen so much and continues on her path that it is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Arya's greatest asset is that she will not rest until her object is accomplished and this means that she will do the necessary functions for survival just to get what is hers. The formerly tiny runt of the pack has survived the hordes of the Lannisters, the arduous journey to Essos, the trials of an assassin, and did away with the Freys. Her adamant nature places her in high regard. There are times where this gets in the way, but things could be worse. The general situation for Arya is one of do or die, and because of that, it is no wonder she needs to have a clear head on her shoulders.
Before anyone cries "agism," we need to look at the facts. There is only so much a kid can do in the real world and the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is no different. Arya Stark is still only a child and so she lacks many of the avenues to accomplish her objectives. Her youth is a strike against her for another reason as she lacks the problem-solving abilities of adults. Since Arya is unable to think and act like an adult, it will take longer for her to do anything. Whenever she tries to show herself as being older and more mature than she is, she can only imitate the actions of grown-ups. Arya is not a bad character, it is just that her age prevents her from having the wherewithal to do what is needed.
We all love it when a character is both unwilling and unable to put up with what someone throws at them. With that in mind, Arya Stark fits this section perfectly. As we saw with how she handled her time with the Faceless Men and in the confines of the Freys, she won't allow herself to be victimized in the same way twice. The tiny Lady Stark's inability to remain still in the face of adversity directly feeds into her levels of determination. This is one of her greatest assets as it compliments all of her other attributes. Without this near tactless personality trait, Arya would probably be deader than Robb, Ned, and Rickard combined.
As already seen in the age section, Arya is just not able to physically or mentally do enough to make much of a difference. Once again we have to say Arya is not a bad character by any stretch of the imagination as she has been through so much and still keeps coming. The real drawback to her existence is that she was stuck in Essos for so long and that she has not been able to have too great of an impact on the story. This could change in the oncoming season, but up until this point, she is fairly weak in most ways. She is not particularly strong or reasonable, often relying on emotive reasoning than logic. Don't get me wrong, I love Arya, but she is still a kid at heart although a highly traumatized kid. Of course, a lot more goes into determining the strength and weaknesses of a character but those stumbling blocks are major obstacles.
A good revenge story is hard to come by and there are few which measure up to a vindictive child coming after those responsible for the deaths of her entire family. Sure, Sansa and Jon (Rhaegar, Jr.?) have pretty extreme levels of resentment towards those who killed their relatives, but they do not compare to Arya. Something that Arya highlights quite well is that her age allows her to show a greater level of hatred and cruelty when dealing with her emotions. The vengeful nature that many children possess helps her drive. It is clear she feels that she cannot rest until everyone who has wronged her House is dead.
A girl may have no name, but a girl definitely has more than what it takes to get that sweet revenge. The saying may go that it is a dish best served cold, but Arya wholly disagrees with that sentiment.
As much as we want to love Arya, there is not really enough to justify it. Sure, she has had character development but it pales in comparison to Jon, Sansa, Bran, or even the Lannisters. The whole storyline for Arya seems to be that she is destined to become an assassin. She has been kicked around for years, but she has only had surface changes. Over the course of the entire show, she has not seen as much development since the third season. Once again, she is by no means a bad character, she just is not the greatest one in the series or even her own family. Arya Stark's biggest flaw is that she is incredibly one dimensional. The highlights of the present character are pretty much her kills.
Let's face it, some people in George R. R. Martin's world just need to be killed and Arya is more than happy to oblige. The willingness of Arya to kill those who have slighted her is amazing. It doesn't matter how big or small that slight may have been, she just wants them dead. So far Arya has targeted people who she believes deserves it and more often than not, we agree with what she's doing.
Throughout the course of the season, she has killed pretty much everyone she has set out to kill. Since she began leaving a trail of bodies, ten humanoid vermin have been killed. If Arya keeps this up, she will be one of the characters with the highest body counts in the series, but that may also be seen as a negative thing.
Sure, Jon Snow has killed more people than Arya, but he doesn't count for several reasons. Arya's kills are quite unlike any of the others in her family (including Jon Targaryen) in that they are almost entirely by choice. This makes her the most violent member of the Stark family in terms of personality. For Jon Snow and the like, it is not a matter of want but of duty and survival. In fact, Arya seems to take some sort of pleasure in it which her blood and adopted relations are not quite privy to. The depravity of her violence is another cause for alarm.
Arya's most memorable acts of violence are when she kills Walder Frey's children and feeds them to him before he is executed. This is not a normal behavior, even for stone cold killers like the "Hound" Sandor Clegane. Arya did this because of the betrayal of her brother Robb by Walder in response to Robb's own betrayal. The sick delight in killing and forcibly cannibalizing them is unnerving, to say the least.
It's kind of weird to think about this, but of the Stark family, Arya has seen more of the world than all the others combined. This has given Arya a unique perspective which would make her at least the most culturally aware. Having lived in and around many of the cultures of Essos, our favorite tiny Stark has been able to cultivate some skills which ensure that she will be able to survive in a world as harsh as that of the Song of Ice and Fire. This worldly experience has furthered her murderous desire for vengeance as she now knows how to mimic anyone who is her height.
Knowledge of the world will serve this girl well. Why? It will give her the ability to predict where she can hide and roam until it is safe for her to complete her personal vendetta.
Funny how so many of these revolve around her revengeful obsession isn't it? Well, that's because that is the one aspect of her personality that we have seen since the third season. Arya is so consumed with anger and hate that she is both unwilling and unable to possess any form of moral code. Once again, the meat pie incident really shows this one dimension of hers. She kills people then feeds them to their relatives; that is some Hills Have Eyes stuff right there. It just isn't quite the thing most people with ideals would do, now is it? Taking revenge on your enemies can be great in a medieval universe like this, but doing so in the most tactless of ways will not win you any friends or allies. People do respect principles and her lack thereof might come back to bite her in the rear.
If her age is a detriment, Arya's size is an asset. She is small, but for the kind of "work" she does, that is probably a good thing. The small stature of our precocious Stark allowed her to assassinate some off-guard foes. Size is normally thought of as a detriment to characters in all stories, but whenever the tiniest of heroes does something, it feels like David slaying Goliath. Arya's stature can allow her too often hide in plain sight. The Stark girl turned assassin has repeatedly used this to her advantage knowing that men will think she is both weak for being a woman and for being so small. Then they lost their heads.
Although she has cheated death several times throughout the series, Arya Stark has been able to do so largely thanks to her small and unassuming body type.
Unlike some of the characters in Game of Thrones, there does not seem to be any possibility for Arya to have a happy ending. With the vengeful assassin archetype going on for her, there is a considerable amount of precedence for her to die. Her ultimate goals are near fruition and from what we've seen throughout the series is that once someone finishes their purpose, they die. Robb and Rickard Stark are perfect examples of this as they both fulfilled their purposes in the story and so they were killed. The way that the narrative has been structured, we should probably brace ourselves for the worst.
The series is coming to a close with the eighth season being the final, and personally, I don't see a way for Arya to make it that long. Since the most powerful woman in all of Westeros is on her list, we can assume Arya won't make it.
One of the most captivating things about Arya Stark is that she has gone to great lengths to remember the names of everyone who has caused her pain and anguish. This vindictiveness has brought about the majority of her character development. Like many fictional characters who've been traumatized and victimized beyond belief, she has been checking the names off of her list. So far there are only a few people on it who have not been killed. Sure, she left Sandor Clegane to die, but his "death" is metaphorical as he radically changed after his encounter with the young Stark.
Arya is so far the most accomplished of the Stark family because she has done most of what she needs to do. The fact that she has only a small amount of work left makes her the best of the lot. We hope that she doesn't get killed, but that is really the only course her story seems to end with.
Yes, I'm cheating with this, but something can be both an asset and a detriment, right? Right. Although Arya has been able to use her small stature to her advantage, she has really drawn the short stick with it as well. She just is not imposing and she commands no respect. This makes it so that those who would seek to do her harm have few qualms over how they'll act. The comfort of throwing their caution to the wind regarding the young lady is shown in them mocking Arya. Sure, Arya has a pretty good track record in killing these guys, but she doesn't usually have the upper hand until they get careless or she's disguised. Arya Stark would not do well in a fight situation without some sort of help. There are always trade-offs with physical characteristics and while her small size allows her to hide and be like a rogue from DnD, but it also weakens her fighting capabilities.