arya + northerners
Back at Winterfell, they had eaten in the Great Hall almost half the time. Her father used to say that a lord needed to eat with his men, if he hoped to keep them. “Know the men who follow you,” she heard him tell Robb once, “and let them know you. Don’t ask your men to die for a stranger.” At Winterfell, he always had an extra seat set at his own table, and every day a different man would be asked to join him. One night it would be Vayon Poole, and the talk would be coppers and bread stores and servants. The next time it would be Mikken, and her father would listen to him go on about armor and swords and how hot a forge should be and the best way to temper steel. Another day it might be Hullen with his endless horse talk, or Septon Chayle from the library, or Jory, or Ser Rodrik, or even Old Nan with her stories.
Arya had loved nothing better than to sit at her father’s table and listen to them talk. She had loved listening to the men on the benches too; to freeriders tough as leather, courtly knights and bold young squires, grizzled old men-at-arms. She used to throw snowballs at them and help them steal pies from the kitchen. Their wives gave her scones and she invented names for their babies and played monsters-and-maidens and hide-the-treasure and come-into-my-castle with their children. Fat Tom used to call her “Arya Underfoot,” because he said that was where she always was. She’d liked that a lot better than “Arya Horseface.” (AGOT)
arya underfoot is one of the most important names for arya. she goes through numerous personas and identities but this is one of the first. and unlike most of the others it doesn’t chip away at arya’s sense of self. arya underfoot embraces arya’s true identity. it was given to arya by the smallfolk of winterfell, specifically her father’s men, but even jon and theon think of her as such. they gave her this nickname because she was always so close to them, literally underfoot. she would play, befriend, and socialize with all of her people. regardless of birth or rank or job. arya valued their existence which is more than most highborns who see them as disposable things.
and while arya hasn’t been in the north for years her connection to it’s people has never diminished. arya often remembers the ones she loved from winterfell and even crosses paths with some northern characters both new and old