Warning: This episode contains spoilers for Game of Thrones seventh season and speculation for the upcoming episode, Stormborn.
Game of Thronesspent years tearing its characters and ruling families apartbut now we’re finally starting to see some get pulled back together. The next episode, Stormborn, offers the possibility that we might seea reunion we’ve been waiting for since season 1.
The preview for Stormborn doesnt show Bran,but we getflashes of Jon, Sansa, and Arya. Two quick shots cut together seem to suggest that after many years apart, Arya will finally come face to face with a wolfsomething backed up byset reports.And no, thats not a clever way of saying itll be one of the Starks; she might actually see her own direwolf, named Nymeria after the legendary warriorQueen Nymeria.
— Night's King (@WightsKing) July 17, 2017
— Jon Snow (@JonNightsWatch) July 17, 2017
Fans have been hoping to see AryaNymeria reunion for years. The Stark children were given direwolf pups in the very first episode of Game of Thrones, and while the Stark-direwolf relationships have always been particularly special, they havent always been happy. Arya hasnt seen her direwolf since Game of Thrones second episode, The Kingsroad, where Nymeria attacked Joffrey Baratheon and Arya sent her free. Arya knew that if Nymeria stuck around she would be killed for harming Joffrey. (After Nymeria ran away, Sansas direwolf Lady was killed in her place.)
For the first six seasons, we had four other direwolves to follow and root for. But those numbers have drastically dwindled. Robbs direwolf Grey Wind died at the Red Wedding. Rickons direwolf Shaggydog died off-screen and his head was presented to Ramsay Bolton as proof of Rickons identity; the appearance was so sudden and off-putting that some fans theorized it was all a giant ruse. Brans direwolf Summer sacrificed himself to save Bran and Meera from the wight and White Walker attack in the episode The Door.
Against theodds, Nymeria and Jons direwolf Ghost are the only two of the pack left standing. Ghost has always been at Jons sideeven after Jon’stemporary death. But Nymeria? Her whereabouts have been a mystery in the show. The books give far more hints, not only to the readers but even to Arya herself.
A wolfish connection
In the books, Nymeria isnt seen again by Arya or any other characters once she runs away near the Trident in the Riverlands. That doesnt mean she isnt pulling off her own bit of conquering in the background.
Through a mix of reports, rumors, and wolf dreams, readers learn that a large, female direwolfheavily implied to be Nymeriais leading hundreds of wolves and terrorizing the Riverlands. She and her wolfpack have attacked men who tried to hunt them, killed scouts, eaten a shepherd and his animals. In one reportthat reached Jaime Lannister, avictimdescribed the leadwolf as a she-wolf of monstrous size. A direwolf, to hear him tell it.
All of the Starks are wargsof a sort in the books, not just Bran.Aryas connection with Nymeria is particularly strong, and Arya is able to enter Nymerias mind in her sleep despite being thousandsof miles away from her.Arya may even be responsible for some of the terror enacted by Nymerias wolfpack.
It was also Aryaas Nymeriawho pulled Catelyn Starks body out of the river after the Red Wedding. Soon after, Beric Dondarrion gave up his life to resurrect Catelyn, whos now consumed by vengeance and known as Lady Stoneheart.
All these wolves have a strange and deep connection with their Stark counterparts, showrunner David Benioff explained in a video for the season 6 episode Home.
He was referring to Ghosts connection with Jon at the time, but it probably just as much applies to Arya and Nymeria.
So is the wolf Nymeria?
The assumption that the wolf shown in the Stormborn teaser is Nymeria is a safe betto make. Its definitely not Ghost, whos all white and presumably up at Winterfell with Jon, and all of the other Stark direwolves are dead. But would Game of Thrones actually reveal Nymeria so soon?
The lighting isnt the best in the trailer, which has a blueish tint to it. From a glance, the markings on the wolf dont align quite with what we last saw with Nymeria, though its still possible it could be her. If not, it would be within Game of Thrones arsenal to set up a shot of a generic wolf encounter to preface Nymeria’s arrival.
More important isthe motivation behind the scene. Arya is hellbent on killing Cersei Lannister in Kings Landing. Despite her drive to avenge the Starks for the Red Wedding, Nymerias appearance might point her in a different direction: back home with the rest of her wolfpack.