Up until "Dragonstone" (Game of Thrones, S07E01) we have only seen faceless men change faces, but when Arya takes on the 'Face' of Walder Frey she assumes more than just his face. She takes on his voice, mannerisms, stature, and posture. Certainly, some of that can be mimicry (changing one's voice, etc), but when Arya (as Walder) stands to make a toast she is like him in more than just 'face', we get an especially good view of the hands and his height.

So, how* does the 'magic' of the House of Black & White/The Many Faced Gods work in respect to this? Does putting on the face of another grant one more than just a face?

Note: other questions bring into question how or whether Arya still has access to that magic. For the purpose of this question let us assume that she does.

*Edit: By "how" what I mean is 'to what extent' or 'how far does it go'. (not by what 'magically principal' (ie is it a transmutation or a glamour). The reference that points out that memories even come with it. The names "The Faceless Men" and "The Many-faced God" focus our attention on the 'facial' aspect but the 'magic' really appears to cover allow the 'wearer' access to the identity, in both mind and body.

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    IIRC, Jaqen becomes a black old man.
    – LeonX
    Aug 10, 2017 at 12:58
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    In the books, the faces also come with memories. The more you know. Aug 10, 2017 at 13:00
  • Now, I want to see Arya-as-Frey making the introductory monolog entirely with Arya's voice ! Aug 10, 2017 at 13:45
  • Assume it's just magic, I don't think we'll get a detailed explanation of how exactly it works. You're reading into it too much, it's a fantasy show after all.
    – Luciano
    Aug 10, 2017 at 15:16
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    I think it's pretty clear that the faces are not just Mission-Impossible masks that are worn, but are a supernatural tool (no rot/stink, it somehow fits seamlessly, etc). Don't think any explanation of how that magic works is given, though. Aug 10, 2017 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Face changing does not physically change the appearence of the wearer, it is an illusion. In actuality they have not changed their appearance they just appear that way to others. This is known due to the comparison of face changing to glamours with face changing being a form you cannot see through. Elaboration below but in short Arya is just a girl wearing a mask of a person.

What we know of faces is the following

In the books, which we can assume the mechanics are the same in the show, we see that faces have memories of the previous owners.

We can also relate this to warging as when a warg wargs an animal a piece of their selves is left inside and if another person wargs the same animal they can hear the voice of the original warg whispering to them.

Also to note there are 2 types of deception.

  1. Glamours that can fool anyone that wants to be fooled but can be seen by those with enough knowledge or relation to the glamoured object. This is used by Melisandra in the show to hide her appearance

  2. Are the faces which completely disguise the person as if they were the person whose face they are wearing. It is not known how this work it is just magic

So in summary

  1. Faces contain memories that might actually be whispers from the original owner thus allowing replication of the mannerisms and behavior of the faces original owner
  2. Face magic though unknown completely disguises the user as the owner of the face, height and all else included

Will update with sources shortly

Source for memories thanks to Ghoti and Chips http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/0/game-thrones-faceless-men-does-aryas-face-changing-really-work/

Also wanted to add this personal theory So warging works both ways when a warg wargs an animal the animal can influence the warg or if the warg is inexperienced enough the animal might even take over.

So if we consider that the face has some of the original owner in it and that face changing acts like warging then we may assume that the wearer allows the faces consciousness fragment into them allowing the Face to act as if it were the one alive and living but only being a part of consciousness allows the wearer to continue to maintain their own personality and exert their own prerogative. Still no idea how it changes them physically

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    OP is looking for how the magic allows Arya to assume Walder Frey's height and hands. While your answer gives us a bit of a peek into some of the workings of the magic, it doesn't exactly pertain to the question, yet. Aug 10, 2017 at 13:07
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    Walder Frey is around 30cm taller than Arya, so that's quite the jump in height. I've seen Floyd Mayweather achieve a similar feat, it's not difficult to imagine Arya preparing in a similar way, considering she was going through the trouble of using his wardrobe, too. Aug 10, 2017 at 13:13
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    @GhotiandChips That's great, but it was more than the height hands and everything else that unless Arya has access to an SFX artist she'd be out of luck without unexplainable magic. Not to mention the voice
    – SCFi
    Aug 10, 2017 at 13:16
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    No, I wasn't claiming lack of magic. I brought up memories up at the top, anyway, which alludes to magic. Aug 10, 2017 at 13:22
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    @GhotiandChips - So you're saying "Money" Mayweather serves the Many-Faced God? Aug 10, 2017 at 15:55

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