Game of Thrones spoilers ahead!
In a move that should’ve surprised absolutely zero Game of Thrones fans, the series finale manages to tie up a few loose threads while simultaneously introducing a number of new plot holes and questions to pointlessly obsess over. One such question is the future of Ms. Arya Stark, who decides to ditch her family when all is said and done for an adventure out west. But where, exactly, is she going?
We’ve always known that Arya would never be the type to shack up with some lord and live happily ever after as a housewife. That type of life was never in the cards for our young assassin. After Bran becomes king, Jon is sentenced to a life at the Wall, and Sansa goes home to rule the North, Arya sets her plan for a brand-new adventure in motion. Just before Jon begins his journey back to Tormund and Ghost, Arya tells her siblings that she’s not going North. Instead, she’s going to explore whatever lands and people are west of Westeros – “That’s where all the maps stop. That’s where I’m going.” The last we see of her, she’s on board a ship on her way to do just that.
This is a surprising end to Arya’s story. Nothing in the character’s past has really ever hinted at her being stricken with wanderlust – it’s always been about seeking vengeance against those who wronged her family. Why, then, now that things have been settled, would Arya choose to abandon the only family she has left to sail into the sunset? Now that the constant political backstabbing, poisonings, and battles against ice zombies have come to an end, is she just taking a little “me time”?
Well, this isn’t actually the first time Arya has mentioned her curiosity about what’s out west. She brings it up in season six during a chat with Lady Crane, when she asks the actress in Izembaro’s Braavosi theater troupe what is beyond Westeros. Crane obviously can’t be sure, but mentions that it might be the end of the world, and Arya expresses interest in seeing it for herself.
But what actually is out there?
The short answer is: we don’t know for sure. George R.R. Martin has said before that the world in the Game of Thrones novels was modeled after Earth, albeit slightly smaller. In the books, the reason why no one has conquered land out west seems to be because the Sunset Sea “is considered vast and uncrossable,” though some sailors from the Iron Islands have claimed that land exists out west (nothing has ever been proved, however).
What might be a point in Arya’s favor is that she has a family history of being called to exploring the sea – King Brandon Stark famously set out to explore the Sunset Sea, sailing west with the Northern fleet in search of new lands. And then he was never seen again. (OK, so . . . maybe that’s not a point in her favor.)
Arya’s fate remains up in the air, but if we had to count on anyone surviving a perilous voyage to lands unknown, it’s our favorite face-shifting assassin.