Why We Like Arya Best
I spent the weekend bowing down like we must all do to Season Three, Game of Thrones. A lot of great characters–and what’s more rare–a lot of great female characters.
There is much to discuss with season three. The controversial finale, for one. Mostly I just relished how good all the casting was. The actors take great roles and fill them out even more. Emmys for everyone! sez I.
I talked with someone for quite a long time about how much I like Jamie Lannister and Brienne on the show–a lot more than in the books. Of course Circe played by Lena Headley is so easy to watch. Circe has to eat a lot of sh**, and the looks she gives–Yes, you love to hate her, but you sympathize with her too as a put upon woman, undervalued and unfulfilled. Sansa is perfectly cast as well.
Meanwhile, I like Arya best, don’t you? What a moppet she is. Character is king and let’s just admit right now that George R.R. Martin is pretty genius at making characters that engage us emotionally. You’ll willingly travel 5000 pages with Arya and the rest. How does Martin do it? Well I will tell you.
FIRST RULE: MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS SUFFER. A classic rule–but to Martin it is sacred gospel. He will torture them. Literally. He will give them everything and then slowly and inexorably strip away from them everything they have. He’ll kill them–if you haven’t started the series, I warn you, he will kill a LOT of them off, right before your eyes, while you’re gripping your head and saying noooooooooo.
But there are other ways in which he makes his characters suffer.
SECOND RULE: PUT THEM IN THE WRONG BODY. Tyrion the dwarf has a beautiful soul, but most think his body grotesque and judge him grotesque because of it. Circe should have been born in a man’s body. Brienne should have been born in a man’s body. Arya should have been born in a boy’s body. Bran’s lower body doesn’t work so well. Samwell Tarley has a delicate scholar’s soul, but was born in a body like a beachball. Each of these characters suffer for the mismatch of their spirit and his/her gender or body limitations in a world with a stunted point of view about people’s abilities.
THIRD RULE: GIVE THE SLOW LEARNERS MANY CRUEL LESSONS TO TEACH THEM. If they don’t learn, give them yet another cruel lesson and then another. (Poor Sansa).
FOURTH RULE: GIVE LEAST INTERESTING CHARACTERS THE MOST INTERESTING ANIMALS & ADVENTURES. You’ll notice that Bran and Daenerys are both beautiful actors, and that they have the most freaky/interesting adventures.
Little D gets the dragons, while Bran gets the three eyed crow. I’m not very drawn to either though they have admirable qualities of course. But I will watch the dragons, and I will watch the crow and the dire wolves til the cows come home.
Finally, I have to ask myself, yes that’s all well and good, but why do I like Arya best? Why, if I had to pick any character to trade places with, would I pick her?
Because she has spirit. She fights against injustice, she is undaunted and unafraid. Finally, she never despairs. Well, almost never. She never pities herself is what it really is. For someone so young, she has to suffer so many hardships all alone. Give me a little kid, being brave and all alone, and I’ll give you tears–lots of tears.
And because this is Game of Thrones the one thing we know for sure is that Arya’s gonna suffer her fair share and perhaps more before all is said and done. I can’t stand it–but I also can’t wait for Season Four.