Arya Stark and Jon Snow are perhaps two of the most cherished and prominent characters of the television show Game Of Thrones, each having a complex and rich character. But while their storylines develop in situations far different, they possess several similarities that unites them on a deeper level.
Arya is depicted as a tomboy, a contrast to the women around her. While other princesses and ladies prefer dressing and courting, Arya shows her proclivity for combat since the very first episode, being the ultimate exception to the noble lady stereotype.
"You will marry a high lord and rule his castle, and your sons shall be knights and princes and lords" - Ned Stark
"No. That's not me" - Arya Stark
Arya constantly defies the female roles she is expected to show. On another side, Jon Snow, Arya’s illegitimate half-brother, is also shown as an outsider in the novelty of Winterfell. Jon struggles to find a place within the society, constantly being mocked for being a ‘bastard son’. He departs for Night’s Watch to live as another identity, free from the criticism.
Both characters share a special moment when Jon gifts his sister a sword for her protection, which later becomes a turning point in Arya’s character. Snow thus acts as a major factor in the delineation of Arya’s character as a tomboy and fighter.
Arya and Jon turn out to strong, independent characters who seek out to make a name for themselves rather than be known for their parents and house. The setting chosen for their characters aptly matches that: Both characters live in areas where others either did not recognise their face or did not care about their royalty (Arya in Harrenhal and Braavos, and Jon amongst the Night’s Watch and Wildlings). The two are also short-tempered when it comes to insults, acting out quickly against the cruel, such as Jon attacking Lord Commander Alliser Thorne when he calls him a traitor’s bastard, and Arya attacking Joffrey when he insults her and Mycah (the butcher’s son).
Both characters also find solace with swordplay, being one of their foremost skills. Snow is shown as jabbing a dummy alone in the night in the first season, whereas Arya is shown practicing the water dance with Forel, a time when she is truly happy. While the rest of the Stark family is occupied in the central plot around the war for the Iron Throne, Jon is part of a deeper subplot taking place far away from the whereabouts of his family. Arya too leads her own subplot, living life independently, physically distant from her family at such a young age. Yet none show any pangs of homesickness. Each of them develops a friendship with a group of commoners who also tend to be outsiders, Jon with Samwell, Grenn Ygritte etc. and Arya with Gendry, Hot Pie, Mycah etc. The two befriend ‘birds of the same feather’, developing their roles as people who break stereotypes.
Arya Stark and Jon Snow’s storylines are rich on their own, developed independent of the other main cast. Their strong, leading nature allows them to dominate their own subplots, and their experiences around unfamiliar lands and people helps them grow in an unaided, self-reliant way, making them two of the most loved characters in the show, intertwined not just by blood but also by behaviour.
Thinking differently since 2000
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--