There’s actually a direction in the script in between their interaction about how they named their swords and learning how to fight. It says: “Arya smiles. She likes this weirdo. Brienne smiles. She likes this weirdo.” I remember reading it and thinking, “That is it. It’s perfect.” It’s the most happy Arya has been in forever. She realizes you can be female and fight, and be strong and be a leader. – Maisie Williams
One day she came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of purple and green flowers for Father. Sansa kept hoping he would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only hugged her and thanked her for the flowers.
Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile.
She doesn’t keep her mouth shut. […] You thought Arya was kind of outgoing and blunt, but she is just a lot less aware of that, almost, and isn’t trying to be cheeky; she just purely doesn’t care. - Maisie WIlliams on Arya’s character