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In the episode S06E08, No One, Arya defeats The Waif by taking advantage on her in fighting in the dark. But it seemed that The Waif were a more advanced acolyte than Arya was, so The Waif should have mastered the blind training too.

Arya disobedience induced here to follow the blind training sooner than planned, but blind training is part of the Faceless Men graduation anyway. So why isn't The Waif stronger than Arya in a blind fight?

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    Do we have proof, blind training is done by all? Maybe the Waif had not done it yet? – Skooba Dec 16 '16 at 19:48
  • Arya became blind because she disobeyed, and wasn't truly a no-one. Maybe Waif was a natural at being a no-one. – Gallifreyan Dec 16 '16 at 21:42
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    I think that, given what happened, we can actually make a fairly solid assessment that not everyone goes through this kind of blind training - instead of insisting that they do, in spite of the story. – Misha R Dec 17 '16 at 0:47
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Arya continued the blind training until she could hold her own against the (sighted) Waif while blind - they're now well matched when Arya is handicapped and the waif isn't. So:

  • Blind Arya can beat sighted Waif. With Waif using sight and Arya using only other senses, it's a close fight Arya can win.
  • Blind Arya has lots of experience fighting the Waif. She is finely attuned to the sounds and patterns of the Waif's movements
  • The Waif has (presumably) also been trained to fight while blind, but has always fought Arya while sighted. She knows all the visual cues for Arya's particular moves - but they're useless here.

So, Arya's extensive experience of the Waif's fighting style is 100% useful here, but the Waif's specific experience of Arya's moves is much less useful in this fight.

Arya's fighting a familiar fight she's fought countless times, while the Waif is blind-fighting against Arya for the first (and last) time.


Arya's also using a weapon (Needle) she's got heaps of experience with, but which the Waif has never faced from Arya. This is a big deal not just because it'll be a different experience, but also because Arya is left handed (fun fact: actress Maisie Williams is right-handed but taught herself left-handed swordplay for this role) and the Waif has mostly fought Arya while she was using a two handed weapon.

In real-life fencing, left-handers are tricky to defend against because attacks are coming from less familiar angles. This must be harder still if unable to see.


So, things that give Arya an advantage:

  • Her blind-fighting skills are fresh and sharp
  • She's mastered anticipating the Waif's moves without sight
  • She's using her favorite weapon (Needle)
  • She's very familiar with this particular enclosed room, and can use the walls and furniture to her advantage

Things that may give the Waif a disadvantage:

  • We don't know how recently she's used her blind fighting skills. Presumably she can do it well, but she's likely to have less recent experience and might be rusty
  • All her experience fighting Arya was while sighted
  • We don't know how recently she fought an opponent who was using Bravo-style swordplay. Presumably (living in Braavos) she's familiar with it, but she might be rusty
  • She's in an enclosed space she doesn't know and can't see, which is likely to make her even more vulnerable
  • All her experience fighting Arya was with a two-handed weapon. She's never seen the unique blend of Syrio-inspired water dancing, Hound-inspired brutal pragmatism and Waif-inspired minimalism that later on (beware small season 7 spoilers) we see that Arya had developed.

This reminds me of what Ned said to Jaime about why he never fights in tournaments (from this transcript):

...because when I fight a man for real, I don’t want him to know what I can do.

The waif is unarmoured, unprepared for this type of fight, on unfamiliar ground against an agile left-handed opponent she underestimated, who has a big sharp f*****g sword and remembers where the heart is.


Of course, as noted in a comment, Arya also has a massive fresh stomach wound that is probably infected from the stagnant, sewage-ridden city canal water she then swam in, plus the deadly fast-acting poison that the waif has unlimited access to and would surely have coated her dagger in as a matter of habit.

But, erm, that doesn't affect her fighting ability here because.... erm... Reasons

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    You forgot Arya disavantage : Being recently stabbed in the guts :-p – Bebs V Dec 17 '16 at 18:02
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    @Bebs hahaha but unfortunately I think so did the producers! – user56reinstatemonica8 Dec 17 '16 at 22:29
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    this is a good explanation but I would further clarify two points: 1) The Waif has only a short dagger (vs Needle), and 2) Given that Arya deliberately left bloodstains leading the waif to her location, I think it's quite likely her wound was not caused by her fall, but rather self-inflicted, and calculated to produce not much more blood than was needed for the markings – Black Sep 13 '17 at 11:49
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I think the Waif is Arya and she is fighting herself within, so Arya is actually delusional and experiencing some kind of 'MR ROBOT' schizophrenia. Which can include self harm and visuals, sequences.

In the street fight scenes and the one you mention, Arya vs The Waif..

  • Nobody turns or looks up or reacts in the slightest to the fight.
  • The Waif disappears when Ayra finds her confidence in the second sequence.
  • When she picks up Needle, given by her older brother, she defeats the Waif.

My theory is the house of black and white has some kind of magic to help people find themselves, including becoming no one, was just a part of the process. When she cuts the candle she is entering the darkness by her own choice to kill her delusional duel personality, the Waif.

Realising she is Arya Stark of Winterfel, curing her delusion of being no one.

Adding more points.

  • The Waif represents an impoverished noble princess, who ended up across the narrow sea.
  • When Ayra is shanked by the Waif she does not die, even though her belly was sliced and cut into several times, and even skewed.
  • Nobody in the marketplace helps Ayra, just look at her as if she is mad.
  • The Waif spits out the most dialogue when fighting Arya, when she talks about her past life, and the Waif is keen for her to go into detail.
  • Ayra must enter the darkness to see what she could not see in the light (blind training), which I guess turned out to be who she really was in the first place, her true self.

I cannot 'link' these scenes without violating copyright but can search them on YouTube if you think I made anything up.

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    This is a fan theory and no support in canon. We see scenes where the Waif is taking instructions from Jaqen directly plus other training scenes. awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/… – Skooba Dec 16 '16 at 20:20
  • No, it is what happened in the TV show like the guy is talking about. You are referring to the Waif in the Books, which is entirely separate canon. Jaqan replaces the Waif in the TV show where she is a physical part of the universe and not within Ayras mind. – Chris Dec 16 '16 at 20:46
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    Yes it is a separate canon, but there is still no indication that the theory is correct. After the events of the season, one would have expected a reveal, much like the Tower of Joy. – Skooba Dec 16 '16 at 21:16
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    That poor actress would have had it even worse under this theory. – Paul D. Waite Dec 17 '16 at 2:00
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    I'm actually amused you guys don't see it. user568458; that is how I trained in a few different things, Shaolin, Kick Boxing and um, Mathamatics. – Chris Dec 17 '16 at 12:42

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