Ed Sheeran's character in the episode in Game of Thrones was a Lannister soldier. The rest of the soldiers were Lannister soldiers also. Arya Stark hates Lannisters the most for what they have caused to her family. Why does she not feel the need to kill these soldiers when she has the upper hand? (following my lead?)

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    They weren't on her list. She's an assassin, not a murderer. The Frey's were a different story though, that was epic betrayal whereas these poor Lannister soldiers have nothing to do with her family problems.
    – user25738
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 14:19
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    What is to say she didn't?
    – Yates
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 14:24
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    Seconding @SiXandSeven8ths here. Not everyone wearing Lannister colors, or Frey colors, did wrong to the house Stark. As an assassin, she is not out to blunt the tools, she is going after the hands that wielded those tools. The Frey men who actively participated in the Red Wedding, those were guilty and deserved what they got. These Lannister guys were guilty of little but wearing Lannister colors, and what choice do they have?
    – DevSolar
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 14:52
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    Sitting here at work, radio on by majority vote, forced to listen to Ed Sheeran multiple times a day, she would have mercy killed those soldiers if she did.
    – Thomas
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 15:18
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    I think the answers covered it well, but my impression was that she fully intended to, but as they were talking about how much, for instance, one guy missed his dad and just wanted to go home so he could fish with them, she looked at them as regular folks, the kind who suffer when the high and mighty play their games. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 16:37

5 Answers 5


Arya's action (or lack of) was to humanize her character. It's to show she still has a soft side. She hasn't reached Cersei's level of crazy yet.

At this point in time, Arya had just wiped out the entire Frey Family, leaving only the women behind. Now, killing these harmless soldiers would have no point. They offered Arya food, and also told her their situation: they had no choice but to serve the Lannisters.

Not everyone who serves the Lannisters is evil, that's what Arya got from her conversation with the soldiers. That's the point of that scene, both humanizing the soldiers and showing that the soft side of Arya is not lost, yet.

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    Do we ever find out for sure whether or not Arya killed them? Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 12:40
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    @JackAidley Unless we see those guys show up in a later episode, it's impossible to say for certain, but there's really nothing to suggest that she did, and quite a lot to suggest that she didn't. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 13:33
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    @NuclearWang: Indeed, but I wanted to confirm that is supposition rather than confirmed "fact". Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 13:40
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    Plus she had just made the decision to turn away from her no-holds-barred Death March through Westeros in favor of trying to reunite with her family, so maybe her mindset was a bit different, as well. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 22:46
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    @PoloHoleSet That happened in a later episode. In fact, she outright told them she was planning to "kill the queen".
    – Llewellyn
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:23

The scene does do a wonderful job of showing us that Lannisters (or those serving them) are not all bad people. However, I think the true reason Arya does not kill them is because they extended her Guest Right.

Arya had just killed all the Frey's, not just for killing her family, but explicitly killing her family after they had been offered Guest Right. Part of the way Arya kills Walder Frey is foreshadowed in Season 3 Episode 10 when Bran tells the story of the Rat Cook. Killing those who are under the protection of Guest Right is unforgivable by the gods.

When Arya comes along the soldiers they twice offer her food and twice she denies it (formal guest right is offering your guest bread and salt, but it can be any shared food or drink). Reluctantly she accepts after she realizes that the soldiers are not a true threat (she sees none of them are armed). She even tempts the solider to attack her by saying "I am going to kill the Queen" Once she accepts the food she has accepted their Guest Right, and as the one solider says "Be kind to strangers, and they will be kind to you".

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    Much is made of how sacrosanct hospitality is in the series, and even more so in the books, so this seems to me the most correct answer. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 13:44
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    There is lots of historical precedent for the inviolability of hospitality. It's the first subject of the Gestaþáttr in the Hávamál (and much of how house Stark is pictured reminds of Norse culture). Hospitality has similar standing in other religions and cultures, to the point where it can be considered almost ubiquitous in ancient and medieval eras.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 15:06
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    “does a wonderful job” … err what?! Rarely have I seen such heavy-handed writing as was on display in this scene. Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 11:10

The scene did many things that include why she didn't need to kill them... So this just is marginally related to better understand the whole nature of the scene and why it would be written the way it is.


  1. It juxtaposed or full-circled Arya's journey from her early scenes when she first left Kingslanding where she met "Jaqen", Hotpie, and Gendry, AND where those other Lannister soldiers were ruthless, these are seemingly kinder. Also Mercy is big theme in the series. There tend to be consequences when certain characters don't accept it. Arya didn't need to kill them. Like others have said, it shows character development. (However, I think her humanity is still questionable, despite having better self control.)

  2. It shows us how much Arya's social skills have improved. This is then also a lead in, because in later scenes in the season (ie: Arya fights with Brienne), we see, in some ways, she not really the same Arya. She has truly advanced with many skills. There was some kind of [metaphysical] transformation that occurred after she [allegedly] killed the Waif. She no longer fears and is better able to manipulate socially.

  3. The scene gave us Arya's intent and initial sense of direction. (Kill the queen). Ultimately it was a red herring, since she eventually learns something that makes her go in another direction.

  4. And because of the eating of the "rabbit" also called back to other rabbit scenes: A full-circle scene with the Hound/Thoros in this episode (rabbit stew was what Arya and Sandor were fed when they stopped to that place before), Brienne and Podric's travels (Pod didn't know you have to skin a rabbit), and Osha and Meera discuss over preparing rabbits.

  5. The new song (in TV show, not books) is a reference to and may be **foreshadowing Jaime and Cersei's story. It also may be metaphorical in the sense that an old cycle (song) might be broken and new cycle (song) is finally about to begin in terms of metaphysical cycle cosmology, a new generation, and/or a new era...

"Hands of Gold is the song sung by Lannister soldiers that Arya Stark comes across while traveling through the Riverlands. According to the soldiers, it is a new song as Arya has not heard it before."

O'er the wynds and the steps and the cobbles,

He rode to a woman's sigh.

For she was his secret treasure,

She was his shame and his bliss.

And a chain and a keep are nothing,

Compared to a woman's kiss.

For hands of gold are always cold,

But a woman's hands are warm!

For hands of gold are always cold,

But a woman's hands are warm!



Great answers here, but something left out: Arya did challenge them.

I am going to kill Cersei.

Had they attempted to seize Arya, then they would have been killed and added to the body count. Instead they laughed and lived to laugh another day.

  • please add some more references to make your answer perfect.
    – ashveli
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 13:19
  • I disagree. Arya didn't challenge them. She was playing with death there. She said something so absurd that they just didn't believe it and laughed it off. To her luck ;-)
    – Tomas
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 15:23

Eight soldiers? Are you crazy? :-) Aye, Arya is a badass, but lets be realistic. She wouldn't stand a chance to fight eight armored Lannister soldiers*. You can see on her she's a bit wary to accept the invitation to their fire and hare - and for a good reason.

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Better question would be, why those soldiers never asked her who she is? They almost seemed to be unrealistically nice and gullible for Lannister soldiers, telling her about their bussiness without knowing who she is.

Also, why those soldiers haven't been looking for the Frey's assassin? Especially when they must have known from the survivor Freys' wife it was Arya Stark and her description. I'd expect them to be suspecting strangers like Arya and subject them to an intense questioning. So, this is the part which seems a bit troublesome for me in this scene.

Anyways, this scene shows very nicely that the ordinary soldiers were just nice people, even if their army has been responsible for really nasty things.

*) Brienne had difficulties to fight four Bolton men when she saved Sansa, and she had help of Pod and Theon. Even Hound was struggling to fight five men. Yeah these boys were probably not so experienced, but doesn't matter, eight is simply too much :)

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