Hey, did you guys hear? Game of Thrones is coming back for an eighth and final season! Yes? It's all you've been thinking about for months? Fine — what you probably haven't considered, though, is the fact that a character who many fans have given up hope on ever seeing long ago might make her debut during a particularly nail-biting sequence in season eight: Lady Stoneheart. (Emphasis on "might.")
The scene I'm referring to is actually depicted in the new season eight trailer, which begins with Arya (Maisie Williams) running for her life down a dimly lit corridor. She has blood running down one side of her face, and is huffing and puffing, clearly in distress. The thing is, since the clip is so damn dark — par for the course with this show, to be fair — it's not entirely clear who she's running away from. Or, who she's running towards. Fortunately there are already quite a few theories about what could be causing one of our favourite Starks to be so scared.
First, check out the initial few seconds we see of her running at the start of the trailer. (And also take a moment to appreciate the fact that I lightened the image for you, since the trailer is barely a step up from being pitch black.)
Image Source: HBO via Giphy
Thing aren't looking good for Arya, right? But, as Redditor FadedandJaded notes, the next scene of her running shows a shadowy figure running around a corner, seemingly in chase of her. Check it out below (after Varys turns his head, it cuts to Arya running, and the figure zooming around the corner behind her):
Image Source: HBO via Giphy
So, if she is indeed running away from someone, who could be scary enough to inspire terror in Arya "I Kill People in My Sleep" Stark? If you ask me (and basically everyone else on the internet), the most likely option is a wight or a White Walker. After all, we know the Night King's icy horde is on its way down from the Wall, and right now the Starks are gathering at Winterfell to prepare for a fight (and meet Jon's fiery new boo). So, it stands to reason that a few of the undead villains could slip into the fortress and chase after Arya. But hold up — what if who's chasing her isn't just any wight?
Some have theorized that, given the line Arya utters at the beginning of the trailer — "I know death. It has many faces. I look forward to seeing this one." — that whoever is chasing her could have a personal connection to either her or the Stark family in general. While seeing the icy, undead body of her father, Ned Stark, trying to kill her would definitely cause a fright, a (very, very slightly) more plausible theory could be the reappearance of her late mother, Catelyn Stark, who was murdered in the Red Wedding. You see, in the books, after Catelyn's throat is slit and her body is thrown into a nearby river, Arya's abandoned direwolf, Nymeria, pulls her ashore. The Brotherhood Without Banners, led by Beric Dondarrion, gives his life to her through a magical act known as the "last kiss," and she becomes known as Lady Stoneheart. She spends the rest of her existence barely able to speak and overcome with vengeance, as she stalks Westeros, killing anyone she finds who supports the Lannister, Bolton, or Frey families.
Since this storyline never came to fruition on the show, having an wight-version of Catelyn chasing after her daughter could be the only nod to Lady Stoneheart character that creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have left. And as cool (and f*cking terrifying) as her cameo would be, I can also admit that it's highly unlikely. How would the Night King have gotten his hands on Catelyn's body after the Red Wedding? Given the way Walder Frey orchestrates her murder, I doubt he'd be respectful enough to have it sent back to the Winterfell crypts to be entombed (and at this point, her body would just be bones and therefore unrecognisable to Arya anyway, right?). If you ask me, the figure behind Arya isn't a White Walker or a wight or even chasing her at all — they're frantically running in the same direction as Arya to escape whatever is hunting them down.
Reddit user Kingslayer117 brightened the image and circled the part of the frame where you can actually see TWO figures behind Arya. While that could definitely mean a horde of wights or White Walkers are on her tail, I also have to say that the figure on the right looks a bit like Jaime Lannister. (Yes, he's basically just a blur in this photo, but it looks like him, I don't care what you say!) And the person running next to Maybe-Jaime kind of looks like Samwell Tarly.
As you can see in the GIF I embedded above, Varys and other members of Winterfell who aren't fit to fight in battle seem to be hidden in the crypts as the castle shakes around them, implying a key battle is rageing outside. The trailer also sees Jaime on a ship, presumably on his way to Winterfell to defend the living, so all three of them would be convened in the same spot. Could Arya be on her way to warn someone of something? Or are her, Maybe-Jaime, and Maybe-Sam running from a threat hidden in the dark halls of Winterfell? Fortunately (or rather unfortunately) we have until April 15 to try to figure it out.