Jaqen and Arya have a special bond since the day Arya saved him. She gets invited in to the Faceless Men and receives training. Then she couldn't complete her mission and decides to leave the Faceless Men to go home. When the Waif reports back to Jaqen that Arya has failed, we see that he is disappointed and he only says "Shame, the girl had many gifts". He goes back to his 'work', only to be interrupted by the Waif who wants to go assassinate her, he only gives a nod and adds not to let her suffer. So he wasn't the one to give a hit order on Arya.

In episode 8:

Arya kills the Waif, then goes after Jaqen, she tells him "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I am going home". To which Jaqen smiles, almost as if that was what he intended when he trained Arya.

Supposing there is a hidden assassin group, I doubt they will recruit someone, train that someone, and would allow that someone to leave when they want to leave with all the investment the group has put into training that someone. Not to mention the secrets that someone would be taking with them. Unless that was their intention in the first place.

Jaqen could easily kill Arya, even if she had a sword pointed at his heart.

Why would he let her go?

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    I ran into a massive Spoiler, it's the new Episode (8), not 7 :(
    – Peter
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 6:47
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    Can this be truly answered without knowing the content of the new book? Remember the show and books have started to deviate so this one be one of the stories that have different storylines between the show and book.
    – Scanner
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 7:09
  • @Scanner the question has the show tag. I'd agree it can't be answered at the moment, but we may find out the answer in the next episode. We don't necessarily need to wait for the 6th book
    – kuhl
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 15:58
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    I'm not sure why the assumption is that "Jaqen could easily kill Arya, even if she had a sword pointed at his heart." He's not immortal or infallible. He was taken captive, and would have died in the caged wagon, so I'm not sure it's a given that with the point of Needle nanometers from his heart, that he would win that confrontation. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 16:49
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    This question has a canon answer from the show writers... - Voting to reopen
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 20:16

7 Answers 7


My assumption, and this is only an educated guess, is that:

Jaqen knows full well that Arya cannot become "no-one" whilst she is still set on revenge for the murder of her family. He knows that it's against the rules to allow her to borrow a face to go and assassinate the people on her list.

Whilst Arya is still someone (i.e. she kept her sword, etc...) she will not kill someone just because she has been commanded to. It's almost like Jaqen wants her not to forget who she is, and where she came from - for example, by making her go and see the play which members of her family are involved in.

I think that Jaqen has not fully let go of Arya. He sees something within her, and when she came to be with the Faceless Men, he truly believed that she was ready, but it turned out she wasn't. I imagine that he thinks that by letting her go, she will get revenge for her family, and then she can truly become no-one.

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    It's like if Yoda accepted that Luke would need to save his friends before he would be ready to complete his training. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 16:01
  • Arya is still an instrument of the Many Faced God, but now one who has passed through testing without dissolution. Keep in mind that in any group there are Followers who follow all the rules and there are Leaders who make the rules. My guess here is that Jaqen sees Arya's strong will as being fit to be a Leader and (pure conjecture) she will found a new hub of Faceless Men in her old home... Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 20:22
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    @user3294068: Or Timon realizing that when Simba (and Pumbaa) left, they took his Hakuna Matata with him. Without helping Simba, Timon can't have the Hakuna Matata (anymore, rather than attaining it for the first time).
    – Flater
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 8:14

DB Weiss addressed the scene in an Inside the Episode video

Ayra is in danger. She has an open wound in her stomach, and the one person who has been protecting her to this point unfortunately gets murdered. The fact that the Many-Faced God gets the people promised to him really makes you think that is just almost an inevitability about what happens to people who run afoul of the Faceless Men.

Getting to the final part of this sequence, Ayra is telling Jaqen by putting the face on the wall that this account has been settled and we’re good here, and I am going to walk away, and I think she knows what the answer is going to be.

The implication is that obviously Jaqen on some level was rooting for the outcome that he got. He may be No-One, but there is still enough of a person left in him to respect and admire who this girl is and what she has become. Ayra finally tells us something that we’ve kind of known all along, that she is not No-One, she’s Ayra Stark of Winterfell.

So, Ayra was let go because Jaqen wanted to let her go!

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    Can you link to the actual ItE?
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 22:15
  • @Mooz, I'm not sure if it exists online outside of (paywalled) HBO Go, but I can confirm that quote is accurate.
    – Ethan
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 23:12
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    @Mooz I got it off Facebook, but am having a hard time relocating it. If I do I will link it up.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 17:43
  • Maybe Jaqen let her go because he intends to hunt her down later, or send another assassin after her. She might spend the next season both getting revenge for her family and fighting assassins sent after her. Sounds very much like Jason Bourne. Maybe we will see her fight the "assassin of the episode" for the next season.
    – RichS
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 6:28
  • “Ayra was let go because Jaqen wanted to let her go!” — Also surely because he has no reason to make her stay. Jaqen serves the Many-Faced God, and the Many-Faced God has received a life (the Waif’s), as promised. Everything’s square. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 17:13

By killing the waif, Arya has proven herself and passed the test. However, she went one step further, she has a choice and her right to be "some one" and chooses to be Arya Stark again. Jaqen who Arya saved, knows and has witnessed what Arya went through and understandably so, respects her will to seek revenge.


The only time when she was asked who are you and she answered without being hit, there was a smile instead.

She has completed her training by convincing her tutor that she IS somebody Arya Stark, "the Faceless Man".

She has a long list of people to kill.

The Many Faced God expects her to deliver.

She has graduated as a "Faceless man"


Well Jaqen knew from the beginning that Arya wanted revenge. “A girl has many names on her lips... a girl can offer them all to the Red God. One by one.” (or some such line).

When she didn’t kill Lady Crane he sent the waif after her, at which point Arya killed the Waif. From Jaqen's perspective the Many-Faced God's offering of a life was complete. From my understanding it’s pretty simple, when an offering is made only two outcomes can be made. Either the offering must be killed or the assassin must be. Either way a life must be given to the Many-Faced God. When an offering was made for Lady Crane and Arya didn’t kill her, meaning her life was forfeit and a new offering was made for her with the Waif being the assassin. When the Waif killed Lady Crane it cleared the balance with the Many-Faced God for that offering and when Arya killed the Waif it cleared the balance of that offering.

Being accepted by the Many-Faced God is the true meaning of becoming a no one. Carrying out contracts to kill those who are promised to the Many-Faced God comes later. Jaqen realized this and that is why he smiled that the Many-Faced God chose Arya to be no one rather than the Waif.

When she returned to the House of Black and White and spoke with Jaqen he told her "A girl is finally no one”, to which she responded with “no, a girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I am going home”. Note that she didn’t say “I am Arya Stark...". That is exactly the answer Jaqen was looking for.

It meant that she had accepted that she was a no one and as a no one she could be whoever she wanted. And the first character she chose to be was 'Arya Stark of Winterfell' to carry out her contract in which are those people who she had promised to the Many-Faced God. And that is why Jaquen Hagar let her leave.

  • You had me right up until the last paragraph. What contract?
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 12:35

I think that the premise of this question is mistaken. Jaqen didn't invite Arya to the Faceless Men to make her a member of the organization that kills solely for the organization and its clients. Jaqen invited Arya to the Faceless Men so that Arya could be trained to kill her enemies on her list. Jaqen made this clear in his invitation to her at the end of Season 2. (at 1:11)

Jaqen never expected or wanted Arya to really become "No One." The key is the ability to fool someone into believing you are "No One" or "Anyone" and using that ability to get revenge on those her harmed her family.


I think it was a test to send her their to the play to see has she really let go or not He did not give the order to kill her however to be no one you first need to be someone once your someone you need to be no one. I think he just let her go because she killed her persuer not because she finished her training

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    Do you have any evidence at all you could edit in to back up your theory?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 16:00

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