Warning: This submit goes to fully spoil Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3. You may need to wait to learn it if you have not already watched the most recent episode of the present’s remaining season.
The third episode of Game of Thrones Season 8, The Long Night, upended plenty of expectations. The Night King‘s assault on Winterfell was met by the mixed forces of the residing, together with Daenerys and her dragons, the North, the Dothraki, and the Unsullied. Prophecies and plot traces have been drawn to their conclusions, and issues we have been anticipating to occur lastly did–but not at all times within the methods the present has hinted they could.
The large twist was that it wasn’t Jon Snow or Daenerys who wound up killing the Night King within the remaining battle. The pair have been the topic of every kind of hypothesis about which ones (amongst a number of different characters) could be the reborn Azor Ahai, the Prince That Was Promised, destined to defeat the Night King and the White Walkers. Melisandre resurrected Jon in Season 6 as a result of she believed he was Azor Ahai; in Season 7, Missandei corrected a gender-related mistranslation from the prophecy, suggesting it may very well be Daenerys. And then, on the finish of The Long Night, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) stepped up with no shred of prophecy behind her and offed the Night King in a single killer transfer.
Arya leaping by the air to convey down the scariest baddie in all of Westeros looks like a transparent selection in retrospect–after all, she’s been coaching within the artwork of being an underestimated small-fry killing machine for actually years at this point–but that did not cease some individuals on the web from taking subject. In the aftermath of The Long Night, a dialogue popped up wherein some complained about Arya’s victory (which might be the neatest factor about an in any other case messy episode, as GameSpot’s Mike Rougeau noted in his review). Some derided Arya as a “Mary Sue,” implying that her victory in opposition to the Night King was unearned.
If you are unfamiliar with “Mary Sue,” it is a time period coined means again within the 1970s from the world of Star Trek fanfiction. In 1973, Paula Smith used the identify in a parody story satirizing a few of the tales submitted to her Star Trek fanzine. Mary Sue got here to confer with a protagonist character who would present up within the story with no flaws and who was immediately nice at something they tried to do, and primarily served as an insert for the creator to stay out fantasies of becoming a member of the Star Trek crew and hanging out with (and/or romancing) the collection’ stars.
Lately, the broader utilization of Mary Sue has developed to be any character who’s at all times simply good at the whole lot and who seemingly has no flaws. The creator insert concept does not actually match the present utilization for the reason that time period is often utilized to TV exhibits and flicks; it is extra akin to deus ex machina, the place somebody or one thing seems to magically or simply clear up the issue of a plot, fairly than the characters within the story doing so by battle and progress. And for the reason that time period Mary Sue was tossed round in relationship to protagonist Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it has popped up in on-line discussions with a decidedly sexist tinge–men do not typically get referred to as Mary Sues, solely ladies (though plenty of male heroes must fall into that class).
So calling Arya a Mary Sue is saying that she’s extra of a plot device than a personality within the battle in opposition to the Night King, whereas implying that she’s the form of character who’s “good at everything” with out having “earned” these capabilities, partially (or wholly) as a result of she’s a girl. It’s an extremely silly argument if you consider Arya Stark’s journey by all of Game of Thrones for even a second.
Nobody has earned their abilities in Game of Thrones the best way Arya has. She has actually been coaching to be a fighter and murderer for the reason that very first season, as a baby. Arya was a proficient archer at a younger age, however she educated in swordplay with Syrio Forel, the previous First Sword of Braavos, means again in Season 1. She realized extra about preventing whereas touring with the Hound, one of many hardest warriors in Westeros, in Season 4. And then she studied overseas at Getting-Awesome-At-Killing-People School, the House of Black and White, in Braavos. We even see Arya observe the precise knife-drop maneuver she makes use of in opposition to the Night King when she and Gwendoline Christie‘s Brienne of Tarth spar again in Season 7.
Arya earned her killer abilities by commentary, hard-won victories, and brutal coaching. She practiced her “water dancing” fight model each single day whereas on the street with the Hound. She realized to battle the waif whereas blind. She escaped assassination after getting stabbed–repeatedly. It took seven full seasons for Arya to grow to be the warrior she is, and we have watched each step. That’s greater than might be mentioned for some other character in Game of Thrones, and in lots of different exhibits and flicks moreover.
Obviously, Arya is not a Mary Sue, and to throw the time period round in relation to this week’s episode is a whole misunderstanding of her character and the work that has gone into her story, the occasions that occurred in The Long Night, and the time period itself. There is not a personality who has come additional or earned her place and abilities greater than Arya Stark. That she was the one to kill the Night King is, in hindsight, a fantastic fruits of her arc, and possibly the neatest resolution made for this episode. If you watched the final seven seasons of Game of Thrones, it needs to be clear to you that there is no motive to label Arya Stark a Mary Sue. So in the event you’re actually nonetheless upset that the hardest girl in Westeros took down the present’s greatest unhealthy man, it is best to take a protracted, exhausting take a look at your personal biases and significantly rethink that place.
Need extra Game of Thrones? Check out our review of Season 8 Episode 3, a rundown of who has died this season, a list of the Easter eggs and references you might need missed in The Long Night and a few theories for the rest of Season 8. We may catch you up on what happened to Jon Snow’s dragon, Rhaegal, and his direwolf, Ghost. We know each of these made it out of Episode Three and should now play some function in securing the Iron Throne because the motion shifts towards King’s Landing in Episode Four and past.