Among the children of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn, Arya Stark is the third. The tomboyish girl rejects the notion of being a mainstream lady who’d marry a high lord for power and influence; rather being fascinated by warfare and training, she believes she can forge her own destiny. She escapes the persecution of House Stark by House Lannister and starts traveling on her own. Surviving on her presence of mind and ready wit Arya ends up in the free city of Braavos where she is trained as a Faceless Man. Later she uses her acquired skills to avenge her family.
Like all the Stark children Arya was born and raised in Winterfell. She is younger to Robb, Jon and Sansa and elder to Bran and Rickon. Arya takes up after her aunt Lyanna Stark. Having a rebellious mind and tomboyish personality like her aunt makes Arya somewhat of an outcast to the society. Her enthusiasm lies with the art of warfare and training in the use of arms. She is bored by the lady-like pursuits. She has a quarrelsome relationship with Sansa and is close to her half brother Jon Snow. Arya and Sansa has a very contrasting personalities thus the reason of being quarrelsome. On the other hand being somewhat of an outcast she is fond of Jon Snow who is also something of an outsider. Her relation with her other siblings is speculated to be normal. Throughout the seasons Arya’s interactions with her siblings have been very limited. She only had direct and definable interactions with Jon, a little bit with Bran but mostly with Sansa.
Arya Stark is fiercely Independent persona with an intelligent mind and integrity. She is not to be bound by imposed social constraints such as gender roles, class distinctions, courtley virtues and so on. Even after the series of events that crushed her support system and dismantled her innocence, Arya didn’t flinch to fall in line but fought her way out of it.
Before the concerned series of events Arya is a person full of life, a small mischievous misfit of the family who brings smile to everyone’s faces with her presence. But once she begins her journey to King’s Landing she endures a constrant stream of loss and trauma. One by one she watches her pet, friends, dancing master, friends and family members taken away from her she indeed starts to forge her destiny by giving in to the darkness inside of her.
It starts with stabbing the stableboy in King’s Landing while her father was betrayed. She accidentally stabs the boy and is initially horrified doing it. As another of her defining traits Arya doesn’t panic or linger on the moment and let guilt or horror consume her rather accepts the reality and moves on. She was even prepared to kill again after a few moments rather than being bullied.
It aggravates in the time when she finds The Hound as her travel-mate. His fatalistic worldview and a similar sense of sadism helps build a mutual reliance and a grudging respect for each other. When Arya witnesses the horror of red Wedding and learns of the betrayal, she becomes colder and her sense of vengeance intensifies. By the time she and Hound fled the carnage at the twins, she is able to kill without remorse. This is the time when Arya takes up the words of Syrio Forrel as her belief – “There is only one god. And his name is death.” There are several transforming moments for Arya as such. For example she takes Yoren’s advice to heart and each night lists off the names of each person she wants to kill.
Arya within herself can hold two very contrasting traits. She can be a cold-blooded even slightly sadistic killer when it comes to the confrontation and killing the people on her list. Then again she chooses not to kill an innocent person just because some other jealous person paid for it. She did not attempt to hide her mirth over killing Walder Frey but refuses to kill the actress Lady Crane. Her time may taught her to be ruthless to those who have wronged her but she surely possesses compassion and kindness. Even when dealing with the binary oppositions as murder and love, hatred and compassion Arya warps the general idea and walks a grey line where she can’t be called only a loving compassionate human being nor a ruthless serial killer but is a mixture of both. Neither of the side dominates the other. She lets the darkness drive her but never gives in to it. She has never let her bloodlust control her rather she seems to be in control of it.
The reason behind this is, Arya has a clear and the truest sense of purpose. She is motivated by the truest form of emotions and is loyal to the only cause that made sense to her. Arya is loyal to her family and only by being motivated by her sense of duty to her family she shapes herself for her purpose, vengeance for her family and protection of the remainders. That is why Arya is not blinded by hate or bound by her bloodlust. When he learns that Jon and Sansa has retaken Winterfell she instantly chooses to reunite with them over vengeance against her enemies for the time being.
Even before leaving Winterfell, Arya showed promising skills in archery, being able to hit a target from a long distance. Gradually, she receives training from Syrio Forel and later from the Faceless Men and increases her skills tremendously. She is able to master the water dancing style to such an extent that she is able not only to dodge a punch from a much larger man but also to kill the much older and powerful Waif and fight equally with Brienne of Tarth, one of the best warriors in Westeros.
Arya also possesses a keen analytical mind. She is adroit in infiltration, skilled of sneaking undetected to The Twins Castle and claimed to be able to do the same through Winterfell Castle. This is presumed to be a skill learned through the Faceless Men training, though it was never shown in the show.
In addition to her psychological abilities Arya is relatively resistant to pain despite her small stature, capable to outrun and later defeat a skilled assassin in spite of severe stab wounds.
She also has good acting skills, being able to perfectly imitate those whose face she is wearing while putting another of the Faceless Men training into practice.