Arya tricks/blackmails Jaqen H'ghar into helping her after she's used up her first two victims.

I can't imagine he'd be too pleased about killing more people than originally bargained; not to mention it goes against his religious beliefs of balancing the number of lives and deaths.

Why does he give her the coin and the words so that she can seek more help? Why would he want to help her even more? Aren't they even?

  • 16
    My impression was that he was impressed by her -- she handled herself quite well, for a child, and blackmailing a supernaturally-powerful assassin takes serious guts.
    – evilsoup
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 13:13
  • @evilsoup: This may be different in the books, but did Arya at that point know he was supernaturally powerful, instead of just a good assassin? Also, given how he was stuck in the cage when she met him, she may have assumed him to not be so powerful.
    – Flater
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 14:40
  • where does it talk about his religious beliefs wanting to balance the number of lives and deaths? I don't remember that part
    – childcat15
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 2:31
  • 2
    "He then informs her of the debt he, Rorge, and Biter owe her. Because she saved three lives, she has taken three lives from the Red God. He says that they must be given back and that she is to name three people who will be killed to repay the debt. " - gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Jaqen_H%27ghar . Don't have book handy for exact quote.
    – Jay
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 3:05

3 Answers 3


Because they were friends and Arya asked him for a way to meet up with him again.

A man hears, a man sees... A man knows

Jaqen knows that Arry/Weasel/Nan is actually Arya of House Stark

“Some men have many names. Weasel. Arry. Arya.”
She backed away from him, until she was pressed against the heart tree. “Did Gendry tell?”
“A man knows,” he said again. “My lady of Stark.”

He has taken the time to figure out her story and offer her these three free kills in the first place1.

Totes Besties

He also considers himself a friend to her; he says as much when she names him as the third kill:

Arya put her lips to his ear. “It’s Jaqen H’ghar.”
Even in the burning barn, with walls of flame towering all around and him in chains, he had not seemed so distraught as he did now. “A girl... she makes a jest.”
“You swore. The gods heard you swear.”
“The gods did hear,” There was a knife in his hand suddenly, its blade thin as her little finger. Whether it was meant for her or him, Arya could not say. “A girl will weep. A girl will lose her only friend.
“You’re not my friend. A friend would help me.” She stepped away from him, balanced on the balls of her feet in case he threw his knife. “I’d never kill a friend.”
Jaqen’s smile came and went. “A girl might... name another name then, if a friend did help?”
“A girl might,” she said. “If a friend did help.”
The knife vanished. “Come.”
-A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two - A Clash of Kings, Chapter Fourty-Seven (Arya IX). [emphasis mine]

Weasel Soup

They then go on to have this whirling adventure; freeing a group of captured Northmen, killing some guards with some soup whilst Electric Youth plays "The Best Thing" in the background2. An event which will forever be remembered as Weasel Soup.

See you later, alligator

Now, once outside, Jaqen tells Arya that he must now "die", and he proceeds to change his face, at which point, Arya becomes completely bewildered and asks him to teach her how:

“A god has his due. And now a man must die.” A strange smile touched the lips of Jaqen H’ghar.
“Die?” she said, confused. What did he mean? “But I unsaid the name. You don’t need to die now.”
“I do. My time is done.” Jaqen passed a hand down his face from forehead to chin, and where it went he changed. His cheeks grew fuller, his eyes closer; his nose hooked, a scar appeared on his right cheek where no scar had been before. And when he shook his head, his long straight hair, half red and half white, dissolved away to reveal a cap of tight black curls.
Arya’s mouth hung open. “Who are you?” she whispered, too astonished to be afraid. “How did you do that? Was it hard?”
He grinned, revealing a shiny gold tooth. “No harder than taking a new name, if you know the way.”
“Show me,” she blurted. “I want to do it too.”
“If you would learn, you must come with me.”
Arya grew hesitant. “Where?”
“Far and away, across the narrow sea.”
“I can’t. I have to go home. To Winterfell.”
“Then we must part,” he said, “for I have duties too.” He lifted her hand and pressed a small coin into her palm. “Here.”
“What is it?”
“A coin of great value.”
Arya bit it. It was so hard it could only be iron. “Is it worth enough to buy a horse?”
“It is not meant for the buying of horses.”
“Then what good is it?”
“As well ask what good is life, what good is death? If the day comes when you would find me again, give that coin to any man from Braavos, and say these words to him - valar morghulis.
-A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two - A Clash of Kings, Chapter Fourty-Seven (Arya IX). [emphasis mine]

Arya then does just that later on.

1. He could easily have killed three random people to help his own cause or simply level the debt to the God of Death, but he chose to offer them to Arya and not take them for his own.

2. That's how it went down in my mind.

  • 6
    I like your commentary
    – Jay
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 3:24
  • @Jayraj Thank you. I like to add a bit of commentary to my answers - especially the longer ones - to keep them from getting dull.
    – Möoz
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 20:39
  • 1
    Also, if you believe some theories fans have come up with... Jaqen may have already known Arya from before this encounter. Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 3:21
  • 1
    I may have missed it in your answer, but the reason he offered her three names, was because she saved him, along with Rorge and Biter, from being burnt in their cage when attacked by the Mountain (Yoren was bringing them all to the wall to become members of the nightswatch - not sure how much sense putting them psychos up there would have made ...)
    – robert
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 12:49
  • 1
    Upvoting for "totes besties". also, as robert said, the three kills weren't random, they were in exchange for her saving him and his two companions. I don't think he cares about balancing lives and deaths in general, just that he gave her three hits in exchange for those three lives she spared
    – childcat15
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 2:31

From the show, on episode Valar Morghulis (S02E10), I remember Jaqen asking Arya to join the Faceless Assassins. He tells her to join him in Braavos, because Arya asks him to teach her how to change her face, like he does.

Arya refuses, because she wants to find and rejoin her family. That is the reason he gives her the coin (of great value). Even though she refuses, Jaqen must have wanted to help her, if she ever showed up in Braavos. He says that if you ever go to Braavos, show the coin to any Braavosi and say 'Valar Morghulis' and they will help you. This way, Arya will be able to find Jaqen

I don't remember any other reason on the show or the book. To be honest, I don't think the Faceless Assassins were mentioned at this point of the book.


Because he sees something in her and understands her future path will be similar to his own. In order to facilitate what Arya needs for her personal evolution, he gives her the coin and phrase that will get her to Braavos. He hints that she might find him there, but he really knows what she will find is what she needs/is looking for in her life.

  • 3
    This would be a better answer if it included quotes from the books or the TV series.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 1:29

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