In Game of Thrones S08E03 "The Long Night", Arya is a skilled assassin, master of stealth and whatnot.

However, the area around Bran is mostly clear, as shown in earlier scenes, how did they not see or hear that character approaching the Night King? Or did they notice and not warned it (as unlikely as it may sound)?

  • 8
    Have we ever heard them talk in the TV show. They may be mute. Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 19:06
  • 1
    @Paul They speak Skroth.
    – Möoz
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 22:58
  • 1
    @Möoz: sure, although that does make it sound a bit like it’s never actually been heard on-screen. Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 23:09
  • 4
    The show already showed us Arya can sneak around and not be heard by the dead. The library scene shows that the dead can hear the drip of blood on the floor but can’t hear her moving about. This was done to foreshadow her attack on the night king.
    – Richard C
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 23:41
  • 1
    In contrast to my own answer, here's foreshadowing of simple stealth
    – user12059
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 15:53

6 Answers 6



She didn't actually surprise the Night King. We see him slowly drawing his sword, see her leap towards him and he suddenly spins and grabs her by the throat. The way he does this is very deliberate. He appears to be expecting her attack and deliberately appearing unaware. (If you watch the scene very carefully, one thing you will see is that his eyes do not move at all when he changes from pulling his sword to spinning towards her attack.)

Notice that the other white walker also doesn't appear to have any expression as he turns. He appears to be dispassionately observing something. There's no surprise on his face.

The wights stayed silent not because they didn't see her, but because the Night King was keeping them silent. This was a ceremonial killing, not an attack.

This is not the first time in the battle the Night King showed such indifference and arrogance. He does this twice before in this episode alone, once just before Daenerys unleashes dragon fire, another time as Jon Snow starts to charge. In the latter case, he could have raised the dead long before. He's rubbing Jon Snow's face in his failure.

This is an arrogant creature who is amusing himself by toying with humans, rubbing their faces in the powerlessness of their attacks. That's exactly how he reacts with Arya. He let's her think she's got a shot, then spins around to demonstrate his superiority.

Then, she kills him with trickery.

  • 3
    Personally I got the impression that he noticed that Bran started looking in a different direction, as if through and behind him, and deduced someone was coming up on him. Then queue the arrogance. Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 7:15
  • 1
    While it's cheap writing on GoT's part (at least that's always my opinion of "villains who die because of their arrogance" tropes), I feel this is a good explanation. Especially the part where he's purposely keeping the other Walkers back.
    – DeeV
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 14:19
  • Notice that the other white walker also doesn't appear to have any expression as he turns. He appears to be dispassionately observing something. Watch again - his hair flutters in a breeze and he feels it but is unconcerned. Arya has just moved past him unnoticed. Maybe below camera level, maybe also out of his sight due to some unshown aspect of the local geography, maybe moving so fast there was no time to react... Maybe, there's a semi-magical element to her sneaky powers. Remember earlier, when Jon also asked how did you sneak up on me? Commented May 15, 2019 at 11:57

They stayed silent because they didn't know what was going on. Arya is from Winterfell. She knows its passages, dead ends, and paths to get to Bran. Though wooded, she can make her way through woods easier than the army of the dead. We know that the wights have good hearing/sight, but she could have slipped to a tree closest to the NK, undetected, then just waited for him to make his move-then rush full speed, passed the walkers (who only noticed a breeze of her movement). Remember, she had a forward leap, and at her speed she'd need a running start to make the leap that she did. The distance from the trees to the god tree is around 20-30 feet... Believable striking distance for a 20 year old.

      |          U                                    U               |
      |                         []god tree                            |
      |                             Bran                              |
      |U                        Night King                           U|
   tre|es                                 \                        tre|es
      |                        Wh. Walkers \                          |
      |___________U_______                  \  ________U______________|
                          |                   |   Arya  
                          |                   |
                          |                   |
                          |                   |
                          |                   |
  • 1
    I don't understand the picture. Can you explain that Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 4:47
  • 11
    This pictures needs more hand-drawn circles. Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 13:38
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    u = undead, The treeline is made up of | and _, and Arya's path is is the \ Commented May 2, 2019 at 21:53

My friend and I are actually thinking about this scene as well, we thought of two possible theories:

  1. Arya used her skills from what she learned with the Faceless Men.
  2. Her speed allowed her to move so fast to do what she was meant to do. (We agree that she knows Winterfell more than anyone else so she used that advantage to quickly sneak in.)

The official answer so far appears to be that Arya...

Came out of nowhere

Watching Game Revealed for the episode and that is what all of the people involved in the show say and is even the title of the segment about it.

Looking into the behind the scene footage though she generally appears to come from the direction that the Night King had just come from. Which is probably why the "wind" brushed past the White Walkers face. See the following set images which of course match to the direction she comes from.

Maise's stunt double on set

Maisie's green screen footage

So why don't they warn him? They actually could have done, there is some element of mental communication between the Night King and his army and so they could have warned him and the Night King does turn around and stop the attack but is fooled by The Last Jedi trick.

In the end though I think the Night King has commanded his army step down and arrogance has taken over. He thinks he has won and no one can stop him now and so doesn't want to worry about anyone approaching him to attack and kill him.


I think Arya was disguised as one of the walkers. Did you see the way it focused on one blowing his hair, I think that was her.

  • Any reason for this theory? That walker is regularly shown as the NK's Lieutenant.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 4, 2019 at 18:39
  • @Edlothiad It is a widely speculated theory. You can google "arya disguised as white walker". Although the answer is of very low quality, it is not a baseless theory.
    – user65648
    Commented May 4, 2019 at 19:28
  • Well time will tell, nobody knows where she came from, hope this suffices.
    – david wild
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 18:29

I agree with zibadawa timmy.

The slight movement of Bran's face and then the slight movement of the Night King's expression told me the Night King was clueless of what was coming.

The Night King nor Bran have ever shown those expressions before. It was a sign of surprise and then the Night King knew something was coming. He had no clue nor did the White Walkers behind him. He reacted quickly as he should have but it was to late.

Bran's change of expression on his face and the Night King's was priceless in my opinion

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