Fiery Game of Thrones favourite Arya Stark just isn't herself without a weapon in hand — notably, her custom-made sword, Needle. But a new blade strapped to her hip in promotional material for the show's seventh season has fans buzzing, and for good reason: it's the very same Valyrian steel dagger that paves the way for the War of the Five Kings way back in season one.
If you're thinking, "Whoa, back up a bit," don't worry: we've got background on the dagger and why it's so important that Arya appears to be carrying it in season seven. Fans first noticed the blade on Arya's hip in Maisie Williams's new Entertainment Weekly cover and costume reveal.
While naysayers were quick to shoot down the inclusion of the dagger as some sort of prop fluke, another GOT season seven promo featuring the dagger — a Facebook post from HBO Nordic — seems to confirm that it was intentional.
Why It's Significant
You might recall the dagger from season one, when an assassin is sent to Winterfell to kill a comatose Bran Stark in his own bed. Of course, because Catelyn Stark doesn't stray far from Bran's side during this time, she intercepts the assassination attempt with her bare hands, fighting off the attacker until Bran's direwolf, Summer, mauls him.
This leads Catelyn to King's Landing in search of the dagger's owner, where Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish reveals that the dagger belongs to Tyrion Lannister. Armed with this knowledge, the lady of Winterfell proceeds to take Tyrion hostage when they cross paths on the King's Road, sparking events that lead to Ned Stark's death, and thus the War of the Five Kings.
Of course, it turns out that said dagger had actually been lost in a bet; Tyrion Lannister has nothing to do with the assassination attempt on Bran Stark. Littlefinger merely uses the knife's origins to sow chaos and mistrust between Winterfell and King's Landing, knowing that war will suit his own purposes. (In the books, Joffrey Baratheon is the one who sends the assassin to kill Bran).
What the Dagger Could Mean For Season 7
So, why is it significant that Arya has the dagger in season seven? Well, we've previously predicted that Arya will kill Littlefinger this season, upon returning to Winterfell and finding him attempting to manipulate her remaining family members.
Arya is no stranger to sweet revenge, and stabbing Littlefinger with such a significant blade would be just up her alley.
An important facet of this prediction is that Arya will run into The Hound while traversing The Riverlands, and that he will reveal the extent of Littlefinger's betrayal of the Stark family. The knowledge that Baelish betrayed Ned Stark to the Lannisters in season one, then essentially sold Sansa Stark to a monstrously abusive husband in season six, would easily be enough to prompt Arya to murder him.
But if The Hound also reveals the true story behind the assassination attempt, Arya will have even more reason to slay Littlefinger. After all, by intentionally misinforming Catelyn about the dagger, he sparks events that directly leads to the deaths of Ned, Catelyn, and Robb Stark — and, as far as Arya knows, the rest of her siblings, too.
And wouldn't the justice of killing the wormy, manipulative Littlefinger be all the more sweet if done with the very dagger that started it all? Arya is no stranger to sweet revenge, and stabbing Baelish with such a contextually significant blade would be just up her alley.
As for how Arya comes to possess the dagger, so far we've only got vague guesses. Guess we'll have to wait until season seven begins to see what's in store, eh?