Yet it’s the tiny, deadly Stark daughter who manages to succeed where have others failed. And maybe that’s not so surprising when you look back over the show. All throughout, there have been hints about the important deed Arya would commit and how she would do it. The Hero of Winterfell was waiting in the wings all along.
After Arya slew the Night King, some fans weren’t just surprised – they were downright angry. Arya, they thought, had no right to strike the killing blow. She was given the label of a “Mary Sue,” which means an unrealistic female character with powers the plot never actually bestows upon her. Yet many spoke out against the very idea that Arya hadn’t earned her moment.
“To argue that Arya didn’t earn her defeat of the Night King is to willfully ignore her character arc throughout the series,” wrote Jessica Toomer for SyFy. “She’s grown from a scared, helpless waif to an assassin with steely resolve, one willing to sacrifice her life to save her people. She’s reclaimed her identity after spending years trying to shed who she was and where she came from.”