Was Arya’s blindness a “punishment” or an “opportunity” or both?
What to make of the blindness of Aya Stark in the latest episode of the televised drama “Game of Thrones”. The culmination of a series of events in which Aya broke the protocols of the House of Black and White secret society of assassins to kill a target for personal reasons. What does the blinding of the young killer actually mean?
Depending on the source material used, Aya has been punished for a very serious breach in assassin etiquette (As practiced by the House of Black and White) or it is a more subtle rebuke, intended to sublimate her ego to the greater cause of killing for moral reasons and the almost religious mission of the House.
Stark is a child of privilege. She was born into one of the great houses in Westeros, and has exemplified a strong-willed action oriented personality since her birth. When the House of Stark fell into disfavor due to political intrigue, Aya was barely escaped with her life, and has been forced to life by her wits and the sword ever since.
She seems a more natural fit for this lifestyle and has shown herself to be a natural survivor, athlete and killer. It would have seemed that her transition from ruling class scion to Faceless Man and peerless killer would have been the culmination of a natural progression.
All is not as it would seem, however. Viewed strictly from the events of the television program, Aya’s blindness was a clear punishment for willfulness and a refusal to eliminated the “self” for the greater good of the society.
The subtler theme at play however, is that Aya must be blinded for a period to truly “see” the mission of the House of Black and White and temper the strong emotions that are constantly at war with her better judgement. In the final analysis, I believe Aya’s blindness to be a tool used by the assassin’s guild to temper her emotions are create a more perfect weapon.
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