Writer Sarah Watson (@SarahWatson42) on Twitter: “I kept Amber’s baby book. It was so beautiful I couldn’t let them throw it away. [The letters] were written into the script. Sarah’s page doesn’t get shown because Lauren actually wrote a sweet, funny, and real note to Mae.”
Just thought I’d add a few things, considering I thought that post on Cersei was the worst written thing I’ve ever churned out.
I’ll basically just add this lovely video from Alt Shift X. I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions, but he hits the right marks I also feel. I certainly identify with Arya, possibly the most of anyone in the book series. I often have liked some of the changes in the show, I do like that she’s cupbearer to Tywin Lannister and enjoy the writing in those scenes. I do not see Tywin not looking further into her identity, since he figures her out as a highborn girl. But whatever, it’s like Brienne not finding her when all she had to do was follow the sound of The Hound screaming, “KILL ME!!!” repeatedly. (Honestly, Brienne and Pod, I realize she has to get to Braavos, but how do you miss that? Same with Tywin, he can’t take her hostage, they were still sort of on book then.)
And who can resist show!Arya and Sandor on their adventures? Actually, those are some of the mainstays of the show. The best quotes, some of the best scenes (I certainly, as Alt Shift X goes over here, also identify with Sandor Clegane, and part of that is because they are similar when you get down to it).
My only real complaint? Arya has to, on the show, become “cool”. Not the traumatized, often frantic or depressed child she is. She doesn’t just cooly walk up to Polliver and calmly repeat dialogue from another episode while calmly stabbing him in the throat with Needle (The Tickler in the books, but same basic situation). She goes frantic. She’s hysterical (see also Daenerys book vs. show). There is a hole in her where her heart used to be. It doesn’t get better, it doesn’t go away. This theme of the hole where her family lived in her soul, her heart, the emptiness and loss of self, it’s tragic. Completely. Epic tragedy. Traumatized and not Sansa, she is quiet. She’s more Stark than Tully. Except she has lost her identity as a Stark, she’s lost her other Starks–her pack. She is the lone wolf, surviving when the pack has been killed. She can’t make it to The Wall to find Jon, and if she’d made it there instead of the weird dojo she can’t get along with the rules of, she’d have just seen him stabbed and who knows what would have happened to her. Maybe she’ll get there and see him alive again in the books, I certainly hope so. Maybe the hole can be filled again. But don’t leave the hole, refuse to really show it and make her motivation as empty as Lady Stoneheart’s is in the books, which IS pure, undead, loss of self revenge killing.
So, show!Arya has no ability as a warg. She doesn’t have a connection to Nymeria, and she’s not traumatized, not particularly, aside from brief views into her psyche (scene with Lady Crane, describing her own emotions while about Ned being killed while pretending to talk of Cersei’s emotions–”…..I have to go, my father is waiting for me”, cue going to get Needle again). She’s truly a lone wolf, but kind of a weird sociopathic one on some kind of Tarantino-esque revenge training mission. She is stripped of her humanity. Does she get it back by telling The Kindly Man/Not-Jaqen/whoever the hell he is that she is ARYA STARK OF WINTERFELL after carving off the Waif’s face? She remembers who she is…..only to finally get back to Westeros (with some borrowed face, maybe THOBAW are totally cool with this??) for some Hot Pie level baking (of more people she managed to kill off screen…..don’t steal Frey Pies from us, please…..ok, you did…) and an orgasmic looking revenge kill of Argus Filch. I mean Walder Frey. It’s so off book it may as well cross universes.
I miss the girl with holes all through her. The traumatized girl who can perhaps be made whole again. I don’t think she’ll die, as in the video, but you never know. I just miss our book Arya, for all that her adventures with Sandor Clegane were more fun in the show. But can the showrunners not learn that complex and tortured characters are worth bringing to the screen? That ratings don’t have to come from them all being heartless and cold? It has worked with tortured Jon Snow, after all. And they can’t have failed to have noticed, oh, I don’t know, Breaking Bad? I didn’t notice their ratings plummeting when the story involved tortured but well written characters eating breakfast for several minutes of an episode, so don’t give me that “it doesn’t move the STORY along” crap.
Give me an Arya as tortured as she’s supposed to be internally. Let us watch her struggle. Not just physically. Let her be a warg. Let her have wolf dreams. Let her be a warg while she’s blind. It’s not like that’s not an interesting facet to her character. Let her revenge kills pre-Braavos be frenzied, mad episodes of rage that they are in the books. Let her be confused and not always understand what the adults are saying. Let her be filled with holes where her heart should be, and let her learn how to fill them without becoming a weird Kill Bill 3: The Lone Wolf Kills Like Hannibal Lecter. I realize she’s sort of there by Braavos, but not because she’s Hannibal Lecter, she’s still traumatized! Which, I guess, just ain’t cool for HBO lately. But make no mistake, this is Arya Stark for Dummies, the Benioff and Weiss version. Dumbed down shock value schlock.
I really ask so little. (And don’t get me started on how adaptations always should be accepted without criticism, because for some reason that only seems to apply to Game of Thrones and mostly show fans. OK, also people who accept Peter Jackson’s occasional abominations and some Jane Austen works. Otherwise, people are free to critique away without condemnation.)