"Game of Thrones" spoilers ahead! This is your official warning -- mega "Game of Thrones" season 3, episode 9 spoilers ahead -- detour immediately if you haven't seen the episode yet. Because this is the point of no return. If you've seen it, you know what I mean. Quick photo break, and then we'll get to the interesting stuff: what Arya Stark is going to do about all this.
The Red Wedding, and the biggest "Game of Thrones" spoilers for the entire series, is over. Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, Talisa Maegyr Stark, and the unborn Eddard Stark are all dead. There is no getting around that, and the tragedy will stay with us for a long time. But Arya Stark, who was so close to reuniting with her family, did not get there on time -- and so she did not die. But she saw the edges of what happened. The death of Grey Wind. The slaughter of the Stark forces.
Soon enough Arya Stark will learn about all the horrible details of the Red Wedding. And, honestly, she is one of the best placed Starks to get revenge. Sansa Lannister, née Stark, remains a de facto hostage in King's Landing. Bran is heading beyond the Wall; Rickon is very, very young; Jon Snow has problems of his own. But Arya already has vengeance on the mind. Her list of enemies just got longer. But will she ever do something about it?
WARNING: "Game of Thrones" season 4 and "A Dance with Dragons" Arya Stark spoilers ahead
So, does Arya Stark ever get her revenge, the Red Wedding Stark vengeance the family so richly deserves? We're going to have to skip ahead, not just to "Game of Thrones" season 4, but to "A Dance with Dragons" for that one. "A Dance with Dragons" spoilers ahoy, starting now: Arya hasn't gotten her revenge ... yet. But unlike many other characters, she is actually and actively working toward her goal of smiting down those cads.
That's because Arya Stark is not long for Westeros. No, no, no; don't worry: Arya Stark isn't dying anytime soon. Instead, after some fussing around here and there as The Hound tries to find someone to ransom her off to, Arya runs into some old acquaintances from Harrenhal (who the show equivalents will be is neither clear nor important). Some people on her list. People who have wronged her. With the Hound's help, she kills them (and gets her sword Needle back).
Arya the 12-year-old killer. Pleasure to meet you.
Arya Stark, vengeance minded as ever, soon abandons the wounded Hound and takes ship to Braavos, the greatest of the Free Cities. Where does a tramp on the run like Arya get the gold for a ship to Braavos? With just one coin and two words: valar morghulis. The captain of the ship, a Braavosi, reacts with evident discomfort, but grants her passage.
In Braavos, Arya Stark's journey towards vengeance for the events of the Red Wedding and everything else she has suffered truly begins. She already says that Death is her one true god. Now she has the chance to prove it by working in his temple. And there she learns the secret of the Faceless Men, like her old friend Jaqen H'ghar. The assassins who can change their face at will, and kill out of religious devotion, for a price.
Thus, although just a young girl, Arya Stark learns the secret of killing. By the end of "A Dance with Dragons," she has passed through the darkness and her past and is well on her way to becoming a stonehearted, ruthless killer, so she can finally avenge her family.
King Joffrey, Ser Amory, The Ticklr, Polliver, Ser Gregor, Wees, Chiswyck, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei, Dunsen, Raff the Sweetling, the Hound, House Frey. This is Arya Stark's destiny. Vengeance.