Game of Thrones is teasing some major meetings and reunions, and “Stormborn” saw one we’d long since given up on: Arya and her direwolf Nymeria.
A pack of wolves closes in on Arya in the forest, led by a massive, ferocious leader who Arya immediately recognizes as her former pet. She entreats Nymeria to come with her on her journey home to Winterfell, but the wolf declines by retreating into the trees and sparing Arya’s life.
After a moment of dejection, Arya cracks a smile at her former pet. Domestic life isn’t for Nymeria.
“That’s not you,” Arya says.
Astute viewers may have made the connection, but “That’s not you” is thematically similar to a line from Season 1 — when Ned and Arya acknowledge that the youngest Stark daughter has no interest in dressing up or marrying a lord.
“That’s not me,” Arya says to her father way back then.
Arya let Nymeria run free in Season 1 after the direwolf bit Joffrey
on behalf of everyone. Besides Ghost, she’s the only living direwolf from the pack of cubs the Starks found in those early episodes.
In the post-show “Inside the Episode,” available on HBO Now and HBO Go, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained the intention of that scene — to show that Arya was no more likely to be tamed than her direwolf was. They’ll always be connected, especially by their free spirits — but this time, Arya is going home.
Update: An earlier version of this post misstated Arya’s line to her father. It has been corrected.