In the TV Series we see Arya wear various faces, initially the faces seem to be similar to her, young females that she could easily take on the mannerisms and possibly learn to put a voice on for. The faces she wears here we have never seen before and so can't compare the voice or mannerisms to the original wearer.

However when she dons the face of Walder Frey she perfectly mimics his voice, his mannerisms, her body size and shape seem to match his own and she becomes almost a perfect copy. Considering she is a young small women at this point it seems that the face must do more then just allow her to look like the person she is imitating.

Has it ever been explained as to the powers or limits of the faces, are these powers shown in the books (a wearer looking and sounding like the original person), does the face change the person, or does it simply change the perception of all those looking at the wearer so they see and hear what they expect to?

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    If you want answer from the books, consider adding [a-song-of-ice-and-fire] tag. Also, faces have indeed much more power than just physical face swap, like memories from the previous owner of the face – Kepotx Apr 18 at 13:03
  • Do you mean to exclude any magical skills of the wearer? Perhaps what is actually happening is the magic is in the acolytes of the faceless god, and the faces are merely totems or relics that channel the magic. – Todd Wilcox Apr 18 at 15:23

We know the faces have magic properties. Arya gets blinded after taking and using one of the faces without the proper permission. We also know the Faceless are master assassins, always watching their target for the right time to join them.

If you notice her scene as Frey, she actually walks out after the hall is wiped out-and it appears her clothing has multiple layers/is really thick to appear larger. Her mask is off, and it's all Arya walking out. Her Frey imitation was close enough to avoid suspicion. She observed Frey as a serving girl for some time before taking his face and playing his part, so it's possible she picked up how to act.

The only part of the costume that seems to need some effort is the voice. We know Jacqen uses different voices with different faces. We never hear a normal voice that doesn't belong to that face. It would be reasonable to assume that a face gives the user the look and sound, the rest they have to learn from the target.

  • Arya gets blinded after taking and using one of the faces without the proper permission. In the books this was due to a potion she was forced to drink. Do you have a source that this was due to the face itself? – JAD Apr 18 at 14:31
  • There was a quip from Jaqen at that point "To someone, the faces are as good as poison." when Arya went blind in the Season 5 episode "Mother's Mercy" – m1gp0z Apr 18 at 14:39
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    The story in Braavos with Arya's training is very different between the books and the series. In the books she is made blind and forced to play the role of a beggar as part of her training. Basically HBO managed to screw up every single bit of Arya's story since after she left the Hound, and none for the better. Spend 100 millions dollars on special effects, spend 1 dollar on script writers... – Amarth Apr 18 at 15:20
  • @Amarth Her last fight in Essos (that we see) is pretty epic though. – user1129682 Apr 19 at 9:08

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