When Arya removes faces she found her face at last! What does it mean?

Is Waif killed arya and wearing her face? After all, the Waif has been training too, so perhaps by killing Arya, she passed her test and now she can infiltrate the world of Westeros as Arya Stark.

(The Waif has also been trying to prove that she can be "no one” while training at the temple. And maybe the fact that she not just killed Arya, but took her place so convincingly is the ultimate proof that she's accomplished her goal.)

I might be recalling incorrectly but I believe in the books the faces contain memories, but will need to look it up.

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    I wish it would actually make sense, but the script for the episode, genius.com/Game-of-thrones-no-one-script-annotated, implies Arya won due to the same training the Waif should have had.
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 12:19
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    Also, we saw Arya adding the waif's cutout face to the wall of faces, proving that it was the waif who was killed.
    – starkgurl
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 3:14
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    @SCFi Although the Waif likely went through the same thing, she didn't do so as recently as Arya did, so presumably Arya's fresher experience meant she was more comfortable in the dark. Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 14:42
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    @JohnClifford let's just say it could have been done better...
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 14:59
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    @starkgurl Not at all. We do not know that that is the Waif's original face - she could have been wearing it for all their interactions. In that case the waif would remove her "waif" mask, put on the "arya" mask then go put the old mask back in the hall. For the record I don't think that is what happened - but it does mean the presence of the waif mask doesn't kill the theory.
    – Tim B
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 13:49

7 Answers 7


No, and here's why:

In Game of Throne's "Stormborn" (S07E02), Arya Stark runs into an old friend in the Riverlands:

Three important things about this meeting that debunk this hypothesis that Arya is actually the Waif disguised as Arya:

  • She recognised Nymeria, using her name, despite Arya being the only one who knew about Nymeria's fate during "Kingsroad" (S01E02), where she forces the direwolf to flee by throwing rocks at her.
  • Nymeria recognised her. For the Waif to fool a direwolf's sense of scent with the use of a mask would be unbelievable, if we can plausibly base it on a real wolf's sense of smell. A dog doesn't recognise its owner by their face alone, they usually go by smell. The Starks have a history of warging into their direwolves - Arya in particular has this connection with Nymeria, and is partly why Nymeria doesn't attack her, because she recognises her former companion - that's a connection that would be unbelivable for the Waif to replicate.
  • She uses this line, "That's not you", which has been officially confirmed to be a direct reference to her line, "That's not me" in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" (S01E04)

Neither of these intimate, deeply personal displays of character could possibly be replicated. Not to mention that it seems strange to show us scenes where we (the audience) are alone with Arya, why would she keep that mask on? Why does she react so emotionally to Winterfell when she arrives? Why would she risk losing her cover to Sansa by saying, "Doesn't look like him" about the statue of Ned Stark in the crypts of Winterfell? Why murder all the Freys in such a poetic manner, and upon removing the face of Walder Frey look like Arya again? What's the Waif's goal in Westeros and why is she acting pretty much exactly as we, the audience, would expect Arya to act upon her return home if only the Waif (and perhaps Jaqen) would know this secret identity?

There is almost no basis for this fan-theory, meanwhile, there are stacks of evidence that point to Arya Stark being Arya Stark, rather than the Waif in disguise.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 12:54


Arya killed the Waif and put her face in the Hall of Faces in the Temple of the Many-Faced God.

Jaqen sent the Waif to kill Arya as a final test to become "No-one". Arya passes the test and goes further to reclaim her identity.

Jaqen knows it's Arya...and even smiles as she claims back her name.

enter image description here

You watch the scene here

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    No...the waif is DEAD. It's HER face in the Hall..not someone elses.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 12:12
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    @RuchaBhatt - Ummm, putting on someone else's face doesn't mean you remove your own, first. The only way her face gets put on that wall is for someone to cut it off of her head. Can't be faked, IMO. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 14:33
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    @PoloHoleSet my personal theory until I read the script was that she just went full metal and cut it off herself thus removing who she is and becoming no one,but in the end she was just The Waif™
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 14:44
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    @SCFi - Yeah, but then you can't be all "Mission Impossible" and remove your "mask" in a dramatic reveal. :D Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 15:57
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    @TimB ...now you're just getting desparate .. :) LOL
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 14:37

You're understandably trying to make sense of a writing failure.

Indeed, the writers messed up the Arya Stark storyline:

  • The house of Black and White exposes Arya to the mysteries of the many-faced gods even though she is the opposite of being ready.
  • The kindly man has the most inappropriate person for the job terminate Arya.
  • Arya goes entirely unsanctioned for killing Merryn Trant.
  • Arya, despite her long(ish) training, and supposedly being on the run from the HoBnW, walks around in the streets of Braavos like she hasn't gotten a care in the world - out of character you could say.
  • Arya is completely careless about the old woman; again, where's the training?
  • Arya survives sepsis from exposing her open wounds to sewege.
  • Arya heals at a super-human rate, and performs a terminator-like action sequence after having been stabbed just a few days before.
  • Waif performs her own T-1000 sequence, going against probably every other rule in the manual for faceless people.
  • As for the Arya-Waif fight... eh, ok, I guess I can sort of buy it, maybe.
  • The kindly man tells Arya she is now no one. SRSLY? No, just no.

So they broke the plot. I can see why would want to try and fix it with a contrivance such as it being the Waif rather than Arya, but - sorry, that's just not it.

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    I think that the "A lady is no one" line meant that Arya is now wearing her own face and has faced her own trials and is now free from doubt. It's just really odd
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 22:46
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    @SCFi: Nice rationalization, but it doesn't help, even if it were true. Also, no, she hasn't "faced her trials", she's succumbed to murderous psychosis basically. She's free from doubt the way serial killers are. (And they aren't, really.) By the way - how exactly did Ms Free from Doubt impersonate Walder Fray for 2 weeks?
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 22:48
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    Like Cleganebowel, it fits. She has been warrior based and in the books dreams of Nymeria who is a hunter so murderous psychopath is just kind of her thing and she can accomplish her goals now. As to how she impersonated Walder Fray! that's a secret I can't tell you here
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 22:52
  • Also addendum, I am not defending nor insulting the writing just trying to convey perceived intent
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 22:57
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    we can just agree to disagree. Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 0:19

einpoklum is likely right, but Arya's behavior towards Sansa in episode S07E06 was so unbelievable and out of character, I've been googling everywhere to see if anyone else thinks the Waif might have replaced Arya.

Arya walks exactly like the Waif now and she says things that sounds like her too.

Or it could be another faceless man, or Jaqen, and Arya headed south at the Inn at the crossroads and the faceless man headed north. There's only one Needle, can't imagine putting on a face generates a new sword.

I really need something to explain the looniness of this Arya-Sansa plot twist.

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    yes i'm agree with you, arya's behavior towards sansa is weird but may be it's because she is become no one.. :/ Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 3:59
  • There really is only 1 reason they are providing this "drama" between arya and sansa. Because they have no other drama really to play with at the moment. Cersei and jaime are too busy with war. Dany is too busy with war. Jon snow is too busy trying to warn the world of the walkers. So there is a lot of action plots going on right now, but not much in terms of drama. They are using some previous plot events to create drama for the sake of giving the show some edginess it lost.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 23:01
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    Explanation: Benioff & Weiss can't write, nor can they direct a team of writers, plus - they're tired of the show and what to go work on their "Confederate" idea. I wonder if they won't ruin that either... :-(
    – einpoklum
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 17:05
  • @einpoklum I disagree because even though the books give more info, the reality is there is still no full disclosure on how the Faceless Men exactly operate and/or if they have any political feality (ie: iron bank) to anyone else and/or to what end they practice their beliefs. Martin also said he is not fully explaining his metaphysics, so I suspect some things are going to be left mysteries. But in theory the Faceless Men could be one of the most powerful behind the scenes forces in the series... Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 19:33
  • "Not fully explained yet" and "inconsistent, incoherent, breaking the suspension of disbelief" are two very different things...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 20:19

I think it is "possible", but I think it is a moot question...

Now some people feel that the source material is not relevant, because they feel the TV show-only viewers should not have to rely on it. --Which is true, but that is not the same as either there being more there for the person whom has also read the books and/or the possibility that despite the condensing of the source material, the TV series is still playing with the same things to meet a very similar end, at least, philosophically. It should also be noted that neither the books or the tv series are finished to gain full absolution of truths and also that Martin has stated he will not fully explain his metaphysics, meaning that (in both media) there will be mysteries left to ponder about.

For instance, The Dragon Pit scene featured in the final episode of season 7, will have more meaning to a book reader, than a TV-only viewer. A few episodes before, the TV series discusses and name drops Aegon the Conquer. The reason this is done, is because there is a correlation between Dany and her three dragons juxtaposing Aegon and his three dragons when he conquered Westoros and built the Dragon Pitt for his dragons, but book readers will get an additional thrill when seeing Dany arrive on Drogan, because the books suggest that Dany's three dragons are the literal reincarnates of Aegon's dragons. So Drogon being in the dragon pit is really like Balor the Dread arriving home. This is thematic and plays into the cycle cosmology story we have, including kinds of metaphysical transformations the series highlights, including "living-dead" characters, such as Jon Snow being resurrected with viewers also learning (in this episode) that he was officially named Aegon...

The reason I went into all that, is because it ties into my arguement, as TFM also play into Metaphysical transformations--including using something "dead" and making it "alive" and how this plays to "muddied" identity or the exploration of identity (in Philosophy this called Mereology)

In the show we can assume that A Faceless Man is either somewhat telekinetic or can receive sensory information from another person. 'Jaqen H'gar' says, "The Girl has many names on her lips..." and then names them accurately back to Arya. How can he know this, unless he has mind-reading capabilities?

Now the books will refer this other Faceless Man we meet in Braavos as "The Kindly Man", but the TV show does give him another name to establish that he is different from Jaqen, despite that he assumes Jaqen's face. The TV series does try to establish this though by introducing the character with a different unknown face. He seems to know and/or value Arya's previous experiences, because assuming Jaqen's face is a clear indication of this. So transference of some sort again ensues. (I believe the books go further though and make it more apparent that they can also retrieve memories from the faces themselves).

Then Early on when Arya fails, she sees herself dead and then "transfers" herself into a near identical body, but she is now blind. So again we do not know if "Arya" in some way actually "died" during this magical process, but she still was consciously the same Arya, but it could another instance of transference...

But when we get to the fight with the Waif (and remember, the Waif is a Faceless Man too, whom is assuming an identity that would/is meant to "antagonize" and "provoke" Arya to force her forward--that the waif's face is already that of someone who died), the viewers do not see it, to know it's outcome.

Arya then returns seemingly with the Waifs face (remember, when Arya becomes blind there are "two" Arya's in that scene), and puts it [back] in the hall. The Kindly Man essentially gives her approval and tells her she is No One" (A Faceless Man), but Arya says, she is Arya and she is going home [to Westoros]. The Kindly Man gives a faint smile, which is unclear if he is amused for it's own sake, or because he knows something else...

In Season seven we get a lot of strong indications that this is still IN PART Arya, because she continues on her killing spree (Arya's previous motive) and because when she learns about her family from Pot Pie she changes her course to more literally go home. Then she runs across Nymeria whom eventually recognizes her...

However, when one looks closer at the situation there are a lot of signs that tell us that, in some way, is not the same Arya that existed prior to fighting the Waif. She is fearless, is better at social improve, and has skill sets she was never able to master before that battle. She also seems to begin to read Sansa's mind when she questions Sansa's choice of their parents' bedroom and her need for creature comforts...

So I think it is safe to say that Arya did go through a metaphysical transformation, but that it is unclear if the process actually killed her previous self, if the waif stole her face (and has her memories) or not...

I think it probably has to be moot question at this point, because whether or not this girl was or wasn't Arya (if Arya died when she became blind or the waif is wearing her face), it's clear that the realization of Arya's of family being alive and beginning to reunite, caused a change of planned course of action in season 7---and it shows an attachment more for meaningful relationships, then either revenge or debt.

So I think even if Arya died and this person wasn't Arya prior to leaving Braavos, she may be becoming Arya anyways. If we looks at the series from it's bigger picture, then we know "fate" also plays a role, as we have characters that are either implied to be reincarnates and/or are metaphysically transforming in order to be here. Jon Snow is one prime example of a character, whom may be in part The Prince Who Was Promised, and was not suppose to be "Dead" during this era. It might be interesting to entertain the idea if The Waid did steal Arya's face, if it was possible that Arya's soul "reprinted" back onto her/it, because maybe no matter what "Arya" [transformed] is suppose to be here. But it's possible that TFM are not done with Arya and there could be further conflict between her and them that has yet to be resolved.

Examples of Metaphysical Transformations:

TV Series: B

  • Bran Warging - Experiencing what it is like to become an animal (a direwolf)
  • Bran - A Greenseer - Time Traveling as an Observer to present and past events
  • Bran - The Tree-Eyed Raven - Advanced Greenseer whom has collective conscious or collective memory --looses himself to memory, history, time traveling.
  • The Knight King - Human Turned White Walker
  • Hodors Paradox - Two Points in time "change" character.
  • Army of Living Dead (bodies used to serve White Walkers)
  • Wights - People serving a bigger force (Beric Donderion and Jon Snow are said to be Wights of Light, as Beric mentions one looses parts of themselves each Resurrection)

Books Only:

  • Lady Stoneheart
  • Reincarnation- Dragons, Legendary Figures (Age of Heroes)

Other Identity Related Ideas:

  • Theon emasculation (Theon Deon Argument?)
  • Sansa - Bad Experience Made Her Stronger
  • Jyne Pole - Impersonates Sansa
  • Young Griff - Claiming to be Aegon Targeryen

Speculation: Dany is kinetic with her Dragons and is not in control of her own behavior. Not the same as warging, but similar, albeit not as clean cut.

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    While it is philosophically interesting to have one character assume the role of another for extended periods of time - this has no support in the show. The events of Season 7 are inconsistent with the Waif pretending to be Arya; the Waif has no established motivation to do that, certainly not for weeks and months. So Season 7 decides the argument rather than making it moot.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 20:12
  • @einpklum Disagree--memory transference happens when one uses a face and it also seems TFM get sensory information about other people (The girl has many names on her lips.... Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 20:24
  • so it's possible that The Waif could "become" Arya (by feeling what Arya would of felt), as Arya perhaps is suppose to exist, despite the true nature of anything else believed to be true. It took a minute for Nymeria to recognize her and that's because there is a "change" in Arya, but again it's debatable if it's metaphysical change and/or if the metaphysical change relates to the waif--But Arya is now fearless and has skill sets she had not before A transformation has happened. Just like Jon and Dany could be reincarnates of Azor and Bran is not longer only Bran...it's very thematic. Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 20:26
  • If you read my "answer" then you will know that I think it is a moot argument, but one that does conceptionally fit into the themes of both the TV show and even more so the books in terms of quantum entanglement, reincarnation, transformation, and "fate" in cycle cosmology metaphysics. Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 20:29
  • You are applying BOOK KNOWLEDGE that has not featured in the show. Also, it is crystal clear much of the show in S6 and S7 is barely related to GRRM's work and is mostly the invention of D&D and their writers' room who appear to be incapable of coming up with sensible story-lines that aren't just worn-out tropes. Just read interviews with D&D.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 23:26

This theory is a better explanation of the events than what the writers are seemingly going with... Arya living after her bowels being perforated by a preternatural(supernatural even?) assassin then swimming through an open sewer, sleeping it off for a little while, tearing through braavos like its some kinda obstacle course then killing said assassin is horrendous. As is the odd dialogue where the kindly man/jaqen congratulates Arya on finally divorcing herself from her past... "a girl is no one" ? Horrific writing all around.

The main problems with this theory are:

  • "Arya" still holds a grudge, and goes back to kill the Freys.

    • This one isn't a secret, the red wedding is common knowledge, the waif wouldn't need any supernatural insight to know Arya wanted them dead.
  • "Arya" takes off Walder's face and reveals that "Arya" is a faceless man, or an assassin using the same MO, it would compromise the fact that "Arya" is a sneaky assassin.

    • Its possible the waif would have use for an Arya that's known to be a dangerous assassin
  • Nymeria lets "Arya" go seemingly recognizing her

    • The book clearly establishes FM's ability to influence animals (Jaqen Hghar turns a dog on his master as one of Arya's owed deaths in harrenhal) Just getting one not to attack is far less impressive then getting one to kill its master.
  • "Arya" remembers things like when she references a talk shes had with her father, things that wouldn't be reasonable to expect she told anyone in the HoBaW

    • The book clearly establishes faces granting memories of their owners

Its a judgment call, believing Arya is still alive would necessitate believing that the writing has been completely horrendous, but believing that its really the waif wearing Arya's face would require believing that the showrunners would rely that heavily on established book facts and be willing to spring that big a twist on viewers that simply wouldn't get it.

Its bad writing, the show would be far better if they would have embraced the waif -> arya thing and dropped hints, instead of having scenes like nymeria. As it stands its still a better explanation for the Arya character, and would be far more interesting, but I really doubt they would follow through with a twist that massive and that subtly foreshadowed.


Maybe is a deal becouse price for Faceless Men special services(like killing) is your own face(or life). Thats why their services are so expensive. Sorry for my english.

  • i can't get it what you're trying to say!! Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 9:26

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