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Per my understanding, once Arya Stark killed the Waif in Game of Thrones S06E08 ("No One") she came to Jaqen H'ghar and finally admits that,

A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I'm going home.

So she seems to renounce any ties with the Faceless Men and to have found her real self back again, after a time of confusion about herself and her legacy, to Jaqen's apparent satisfaction.

Then in S06E10 ("The Winds of Winter"), how is she able to still use the faces

when killing Walder Frey?

I thought this magic is only reserved to the Faceless Men who truly became No One. Arya, though, is someone and is done with the Many-Faced God, yet she still can use the faces at her apparent disposal (without even being near the "face storage" in Braavos). Why/how?

This might be based on a lack of understanding from my side about how this "face magic" actually works. Is it just an accquired skill that you can then use however you want (maybe only requiring some "willing" corpse to provide its face)? Or is it tied to other requirements that Arya already fulfills, albeit not belonging to the Many-Faced God anymore? Or does she maybe even still belong to the Faceless Men somehow? Or is she using the faces "illegaly" as she did before?

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    Your first quote is in answer to his plain statement that she is now No One. She disagreed, but if anyone knows (aside from the Many-Faced God) it would be him. Unless she pays a penalty after the use of the face, perhaps we can take this as affirming his assumption? – Yorik Jun 28 '16 at 15:44
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    @Yorik You can't be "No One" and have a name... that's not how it works... and if it is, perhaps you can answer this question and explain. – Catija Jun 28 '16 at 16:01
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    my interpretation so far has been that the entire "No One" thing was a test. That's not really how the Many-Faced God wants his people to act, but Arya was so confused over her identity that he put her through that ordeal until she finally made up her mind and took a stand.But AFAIK the show hasn't really explained it that way so I could be wrong. – KutuluMike Jun 28 '16 at 16:12
  • @KutuluMike Well, if you could at least argue for that reasonably, I wouldn't put it beyond a working answer, even if only a theory. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 28 '16 at 16:13
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In the show, Jaqen still uses his name, which hints at the fact that a name is "earned". The No One ordeal is, as @KutuluMike said, a test. By the end when Arya kills and scalps Waif, Jaqen tests her again by saying "So a girl truly has become no one?" Arya passes the test by saying "A girl is Arya Stark from Winterfell." It was at that moment Jaqen smiled quite knowingly and thus Arya had earned her name from the Many-Faced God and became a Faceless Man. The season finale episode only confirms her initiation into the Guild of Assassins by the fact she is still able to use the magic given only to Faceless Men by the Many-Faced God.

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    An answer has no evidence to support it. But a man agrees with it. :) – NVZ Jun 29 '16 at 4:45
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    I don't have the quote, but I remember Jaqen telling Arya (in an early season, before she left Westeros originally) that becoming a Faceless Man would allow her to kill her enemies. Then, when she tries to join the Faceless, she's told that she has no enemies, because she must be no one. This implies that being "no one" is a step in the process of becoming a Faceless Man, rather than the destination. – Liesmith Jun 29 '16 at 12:47
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    Jaqen doesn't really use that name, he just lets Arya call him Jaqen. Especially Jaqen and the Waif never talk to each other using names. I don't know how we feel about book canon on this page, but in the books Jaqen also drops his name having changed his face shortly before parting with Arya. – user1129682 Jul 1 '16 at 10:59
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    @Liesmith: here's a clip of Jaqen H'ghar scenes in Season 2. At 9.00 circa is the bit you were referring to: "A girl has many names on her lips ... names to offer up to the Red God. She could offer them all. One by one". – Pesetas74 Jul 3 '16 at 19:41
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    When do we learn that a man is called Jaqen H'ghar in the show ? Because if he called himself so, that would bring weigth to @Slade theory that Arya earned her name and then had truly become a faceless assassin. – KazerKrin Jun 20 '17 at 12:27
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In "Beyond the Wall" (Game of Thrones, S07E06), Sansa discovers that Arya has a bag full of faces.

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SANSA: What are these?

ARYA: My faces.

SANSA: Where did you get them?

ARYA: In Bravos, while I was training to be a faceless man.
—"Death Is the Enemy" (Game of Thrones, S07E06)

This tells us a few things:

  • The faces are portable
  • Arya took some with her from the Hall of Faces in Bravos
  • Arya carried them in her bag all this time

From this, we can infer that the girl's face she wore during that scene in "The Winds of Winter" (Game of Thrones, S06E10) was one she took from the Hall of Faces and carried with her in her bag. A smart move as innocent looking girls can be quite inconspicuous, and there is precedent for this happening (if you recall Arya using a girl's face to infiltrate the brothel, in order to kill Meryn Trant). The alternative is that she killed someone off-screen, but it seems uncharacteristic of Arya to kill someone innocent, so we'd have to assume she killed someone who Arya thought deserved to die, and that the show decided to cut that - the aforementioned "she took a face from the Hall of Faces and carried it with her in her bag to Westeros" seems more reasonable.

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    That's certainly interesting new information on this matter. Thanks for the insight. But together with S07E01 where she impersonated Walder Frey, it makes it clear that she can also apparently create new faces if she needs to. – Napoleon Wilson Aug 18 '17 at 14:07
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Even if magic is involved, magic on this show comes from the gods, not the magician. Arya didn't renounce the Many-Faced God; she only left her position (whatever it was) with the House of Black and White. Also, Syrio told Arya way back in season 1 that there is only one god: the god of death. It may be the same god (since Syrio was from Braavos) in which case Arya's affinity to him (or it) might predate her involvement with the Faceless Men.

If magic is not necessary to wear faces or prepare them for later use, then those are skills like any other skill she learned during her stay. There is no reason for her to forget those skills when she turned in her Black and White membership card.

Jaqen's line about the faces being poison unless you are No One might have been a lie, or might have meant she had to complete her skill-set by fulfilling the requirements to become No One, which apparently she did by adding a face to the hall. Jaqen's line "now you are No One" didn't sound like a question to me, but rather a statement of accomplishment, suggesting that she prepared that face correctly. So now she is fully qualified to wear faces without fear of blindness.

Of course, Arya doesn't have access to the actual hall anymore. So unless she turned back and asked Jaqen to loan her a few, any face we see her wear after that point is one she, uh, acquired and prepared herself.

Update: Season 7 provided evidence both for and against the above. In s7e1, Arya impersonates Walder Frey, demonstrating that whatever surgery, magic incantation, or religious ritual is involved, Arya can do it in the field; access to the House of Black and White is not necessary. Unless you want to believe she took a quick trip back to Braavos with a corpse or severed head. In s7e6 we see that the faces are transportable, which was kind of implied but not previously shown, but then Arya describes them to Sansa as her faces from Braavos. This suggests that Arya really did turn back and ask Jaqen for a few. I mentioned that possibility in my original answer, but I think it more likely Arya was dissembling, given the storyline.

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In plain and clear text the many-faced God guild is just a group of people that worship a specific God and have been trained to use dead people faces. If it involves magic (or God intervention) or not it's not really clear but Arya was trained during a long time and acquired the skills to use the faces. Not only the faces but also the ability to follow and spy, fight better and move silently. Even renouncing the guild will not make her lose the ability to use the faces or any other.

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If she can only use faces of dead men that she carries like a mask then I don't think she's truly no one. Jaquen never carried any masks and he could 'shed' his face to aquire another. I think she's partially a 'no one' so that the faces aren't poison to her and as long as she takes lives that are are rightfully 'owed' to the many faced god.

Jaquen is also shown immortal or at least he doesn't die when he drinks the poison because he is 'truly no one'. Although one thing that counters his not dying is the fear of death that Jaquen shows back in season 2 when arya saved his cart-prison from being burned down and saved his life...so he can die...?

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