Through eight truly traumatic seasons of Westerosi warfare, no-one has had to adapt quite as fast or as frequently as Arya Stark.
The tiny teenager seemed to spend mere moments as a child before becoming a water dancer, massacre escapist, Hound-in-training, Faceless Woman and maleficent assassin. With many identities in between - quite literally.
Season 8 finale spoilers below.
Who is Arya Stark?
Everyone's favourite Needle-wielding Stark sister - the third child of Lord Eddard and Lady Catelyn - has had a pretty rough ride. If seeing her father beheaded wasn't enough, Arya goes on to arrive at the Red Wedding right after her mother, brother and sister-in-law had been brutally murdered. Outside, she sees Robb's direwolf is killed and its head sewn onto her dead brother's body, paraded around by Lannister/Frey savages.
Fleeing her family's slaughter, Arya finds herself on the island of Braavos and begins to train as a Faceless Man at the House of Black and White.
In the following months she becomes blind, loses a significant number of stick fights, gets miraculously cured of blindness by some well water, fails to kill actress Lady Crane when her conscience kicks in, and enters a killer cat-and-mouse game with The Waif.
Around this time, there is something entirely traumatic and unnerving about Arya. She has a childlike dependence on Needle (a slight sword gifted by her 'bastard' brother Jon Snow), but uses it to trick and kill her adversary.
Using valuable - albeit deadly- skills from the assassin's guild, she then turns to Westeros to don disguises and avenge the deaths of her family. Most notably, perhaps, by serving Walder Frey a pie filled with his family's body parts before slitting his throat - all while face-swapped as a serving girl.
As a young girl becoming a woman, Arya is a breath of fresh air to Westerosi ideals - she is unconstrained by social expectations like gender roles and class distinctions, fiercely opposing the norm at every opportunity.
Though her cold-blooded kill list appeared to have no room for error, Arya also still doesn't seem completely detatched from her Stark-standard morality. When finding out her family gained control of Winterfell, she didn't hesitate to abandon her list and run to their side.
Who is Maisie Williams who plays her?
Margaret Constance "Maisie" Williams was born in Bristol on April 15, 1997 and her home village is Clutton, in nearby Somerset. She has always been known as "Maisie" after the character from the comic strip The Perishers.
Interestingly, Williams has not read the Game Of Thrones books and has no intention to. As the TV adaptation omits a large amount of material, she wanted to avoid basing her reactions or character on points which only exist in the books.
Nonetheless, Arya is left-handed in the books so Williams plays her thus, despite being right-handed herself.
On May 11th, 2017 it was announced that Williams will be playing Wolfsbane - a mutant with the power to turn into a werewolf - in the next installment in the X-Men movie franchise, New Mutants.
Williams joins her on-screen sister Sophie Turner (Sansa) in the X-Men universe, after Turner was cast as young Jean Grey (a telepath) in X-Men: Apocalypse.
What's happened to Arya so far in Game of Thrones?
Young Arya was more interested in learning swordplay than needlework, so her father Eddard arranged lessons with a Braavosi sword-master and her half-brother Jon Snow gave her a blade she named “Needle”. Fleeing Lannister assassins, Arya was on hand to witness the execution of her father by Joffrey Lannister. She headed north to seek refuge with Jon.
Incognito, Arya was captured by Lannister men. In the process she rescued a mysterious convict called Jaqen H’ghar, whose assassination skills ultimately enabled her to escape from the Lannister stronghold. He offered to take her to Braavos and teach her to kill like him.
Running from outlaws, Arya fell in with Lannister deserter Sandor “The Hound” Clegane. They attempted to reunite Arya with her mother Catelyn and brother Robb, but arrived just as the Starks were betrayed and murdered by houses Frey and Bolton on behalf of the Lannisters.
The Hound and Arya formed an uneasy travelling partnership. Distrustful, Arya hid from would-be rescuers. Refusing to kill a wounded Hound, she took his money and headed by boat to Braavos.
On the island of Braavos, Arya attempted to learn the assassination skills of the Faceless Men. Unable to let go of thoughts of vengeance, she killed a stray Lannister visitor and was punished for it.
After nabbing the face of Walder Frey, Arya hosts a feast for the men of House Frey and kills the lot with poisoned wine. Though she initially sets off to kill Cersei in King's Landing, news that her family regained control of Winterfell sends her towards her ancestral home. On the way, she runs into a wolf pack led by Nymeria, her long-lost direwolf, and Brienne - the Stark-serving warrior. Whilst sparring, the tiny Stark amanges to rival the fight of Brienne.
After Littlefinger tries to turn the reuinted Stark sisters against each other in Winterfell, Bran's greenseeing proves his manipulative guilt and sends him into a trial of treason and murder, ending in Arya cutting his throat.
Once reunited with Jon (and, perhaps more importantly, Gendry) in the godswood, Arya sets it upon herself to prepare for the arrival of the undead armies somewhat independently. She spends most of her time asking Gendry when her requested weapon will be ready, playing a little dragonglass knife-throwing foreplay in the time being, before realising she may not live through the night while chatting to the Hound. In response, she heads back to Gendry, questions his sexual history (always a good move) and loses her virginity with him.
At the Battle of Winterfell, the fierce warrior not only escaped an endless stream of undead killers but managed to assassinate the Night King with the Valyrian steel dagger Bran gave her last season (using the same hand-switch dagger trick she tested out on Brienne in training, nonetheless), killing the entire army – including an undead dragon –in the process. Spending next to no time to celebrate (bar a few kisses with Gendry and a rejection of his marriage proposal), she heads towards King's Landing to kill Cersei.
What happened to Arya Stark in the finale?
Though many of Game of Thrones' best theories concerned Arya's place at the end of the series, her storyline wrapped up far different than the majority expected.
As a Faceless Man, Arya had the ability to carry out in a number of important deaths in a number of ways; killing Jaime and taking his face to get into the Red Keep, killing Euron and taking his face to kill his love interest and 'baby' (which would be particularly merited for avenging Robb and Talisa), killing Greyworm to get within reach of Mad Queen Daenerys — the list goes on.
Unexpectedly, she kind of just... hung back. Hung back until Jon felt morally indebted to kill Daenerys and a council meeting was called so the Great Houses could elect Bran (sigh) to rule as King.
In support of his appointment, Arya was able to set sail – quite literally – for whatever's west of Westeros.
Did Arya kill anyone with green eyes?
Though we were all waiting for Melisandre's infamous brown eye (Walder Frey), blue eye (Night King), green eye (expectantly TBD) prophecy to come true with the murder of Daenerys or Cersei, Arya had technically already fulfilled it.
Petyr Baelish (aka Littlefinger) had green eyes and his kill was one of Arya's most significant.
What is West of Westeros?
"No-one knows" according to Arya, proving there's always a good opportunity to throw shade at one's all-knowing brother turned King.
In reality, the lands unmapped will give author George RR Martin a fantastic opportunity to write an assassin-packed spin-off with one of the best and most complex characters at the helm. That is, if he ever finishes The Winds of Winter.