The most surprising scene in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Season 6 Episode 7 was when Arya Stark gets stabbed multiple times in the gut by the Waif. Arya escapes by jumping into river below and staying underwater long enough for the Waif to think she died.

But what if that wasn’t Arya at all? Her actions in the moments leading up to the stabbing were decidedly strange — and un-Arya-like.

Arya Waif Theory: Jaqen H’gar was impersonating Arya to test the Waif

arya waif theory
HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

The Arya Waif theory is that Jaqen H’gar was impersonating Arya to test the Waif. There were several allusions to Arya needing to die because she didn’t complete her task of killing Lady Crane — “one way or another, a face will be added to the wall tonight.” Or “A shame, a girl had many gifts” — but Jaqen could also have been talking about the Waif in those scenes as well. All of the recruits are “no one” — including the Waif.

It’s entirely possible that the Waif was being tested just as Arya was. The Waif hated Arya because Arya was a highborn girl who didn’t quite “fit in” with the Faceless Men. The Waif had a clear personal vendetta against Arya — which is something the Faceless Men do not approve of (personal vendettas).

This was made crystal clear when Jaqen told the Waif not to let Arya suffer when killing her, but then when the Waif stabbed Arya, the show made an intentional point of showing the Waif twisted the knife in her gut. She was not attempting to assassinate Arya in a clean-cut way. She wanted Arya to suffer.

What if that was the Waif’s test? Then she failed.

The entire scene leading up to Arya’s stabbing is suspect. Last we saw in her Episode 6, she had Needle and was curling up in bed, clearly afraid and knowing that the Faceless Men would be after her. It would make no sense for her to then be walking about Bravos, in broad daylight, dressed in nicer clothes and throwing around bags of gold like it were nothing. And then watching the sunset alone before happily greeting a complete stranger.

None of that was Arya-like. She displayed none of her wits or training in that scene. At the end of Episode 6, she was preparing herself for a fight and was well aware that she would be chased. Why, then, would she suddenly be not afraid of anything — and not carrying Needle?

The theory is that the “Arya” we saw in Episode 7 was not Arya at all — but Jaqen in disguise, acting like Arya in an attempt to lure the Waif. If so, then the Waif failed her test (she wanted Arya to suffer).

And we saw in Season 5 that Jaqen has the ability to put Arya’s face on people — even though she isn’t dead.

We also get a glimpse in the Episode 8 preview of Arya running parkour-style and jumping off of roofs. That would be difficult to do just moments after being stabbed multiple times in the gut.

Arya and the Waif were both being tested by the Faceless Men. We’ve been led to believe that Arya has been the one failing all the tests, but the Faceless Men are known for deception. It could have been the Waif who was failing the tests all along.

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