Fewer families in television history have suffered more than the Starks on Game of Thrones. Broken and scattered across continents, survivors, Jon Snow, Sansa, Bran (and to a lesser extent, Rickon,) have all endured a steady supply of suckiness shaping their characters in dark ways. However, young Arya Stark may have taken the darkest turn. The actress playing Arya, Maisie Williams, recently explained a typical fan interaction that seems to reflect the disturbing place Arya’s popularity resides. According to Williams:
People love asking me to say the [list of characters Arya wants to kill] with their name in it. It’s quite creepy. It’ll be like ‘Joffrey, Cersei, Alan…’ Just, like, a strange suburban dad’s name in the middle. Then they’re recording it and they’re just like, ‘Thank you.’
Sometimes for celebrities, fan interactions often reveal the widely-perceived subconscious impressions that people have formed. If you’re an action star or a professional fighter, chances are, fans are going ask you for a picture obligatorily raising your fist to the air. If you’re William Shatner, chances are someone’s going to ask you to say “KHAAAN!” However, according to William's EW interview, it seems that if you happen to be the Game of Thrones actress, fans will ask you to recite a customized death list mixed with names of people that they know. You know… because she plays a scrappy orphaned assassin who sticks people with “the pointy end” of her blade, Needle for kicks and it's amusing to have her add the names of your friends and family to that rogues gallery, right?
Of course, the death list request is directly inspired from the show with Arya Stark’s vengeance-seeking pre-bedtime reminder of those she needs to kill. It’s also kind of an appeal to someone, perhaps the Many-Faced God, as she vows to seek violent justice against those who have wronged her and her family. As it currently stands, the show’s version of the list (which differs from the series') contains the names of Cersei Lannister for just about everything, Walder Frey for his reaping of The Red Wedding that saw her mother and brother massacred, Meryn Trant for the (presumed) killing of her water dancing teacher, Syrio Forel, “The Mountain” Gregor Clegane for murder and torture she witnessed during her brief stay at Harrenhal and Ilyn Payne for carrying out the execution of her father, Ned.
Fans know that this list has changed over the years, due to the incidental croaking of key members like King Joffrey and Tywin Lannister, not to mention the two killings she actually managed to carry out in Polliver and Rorge. Plus, the names lacking on the list reflect just how many key things to which she has not been apprised, since names like Roose Bolton (who actually killed her brother), Walder Rivers (who actually killed her mother) and the now-late Janos Slynt (who betrayed Ned) should be prime list candidates. However, it has become an indelible part of Arya’s character, illustrating in the most direct way possible, her primary motivations.
Yet, if Arya’s path on the show continues in its book-paralleling manner, with her training in the House of Black and White, then Maisie Williams’ interactions with fans will probably continue reflecting this evolution. If Williams finds it creepy now, her future is only going to get weirder.