There was A LOT going on in that Season 8 opener. Game of Thrones has picked right up with the pace at which it romped through Season 7. And that’s awesome, because it means we’re in for a hell of a ride for the series’ final season: we’re all Jon mounted on the back of Rhaegal right now.
One of the biggest talking points to come out of the episode was the schematic Arya handed to master blacksmith Gendry, whom she has tasked with manufacturing the dragonglass weapons required for the battle ahead. And, yes, incidentally, we ship this duo hard. Just as Arya herself did, unwittingly, right from the start, in fact — adopting the portmanteau ‘Arry’ given to her prophetically by Yoren when she was pretending to be an orphan boy. Anyway, we digress (still shipping hard though).
That schematic. Arya presented Gendry with a sketch of a weapon she wanted him to make. It was spear-like and in two sections, with the front end consisting of a shard of dragonglass – she’d written ‘dragonglass’ next to it — and the back end rather more obscured. This has led to fans speculating over what the weapon could be, what she’ll end up using it for and, indeed, what her intentions for it are.
A Gift for Jaime
Of course, Arya still has a kill list — with several names remaining on it — and she may well be intending the weapon to be for personal use. Just maybe she has something nasty in mind for Cersei, let’s say. But one fan thinks she’s actually getting it made for Jaime, as some kind of attachment, or “interchangeable mounting prosthetic”, for his right arm. The show has previous in adapting equipment for the disabled – remember the blueprint Tyrion gave Bran after his ‘accident’ for a specially designed saddle?
Though the Redditor suggests the design and order to make it comes from Bran, Arya’s nothing if not her own person now. Quite why Arya would set about helping a Lannister when the family is responsible for the deaths of her father, mother and elder brother is anybody’s guess. At this stage in proceedings, anyway — and particularly at the exclusion of others close to her who might also benefit from a special weapon. Buuuut, Bran might well know Jaime is coming, know what an asset he’s going to be in the battle ahead and want to both equip him for what’s to come, at the same time as extending a peace offering.
Many fans, however – including SerBronnoftheBlackwater from Fandom’s Game of Thrones community – think the most likely explanation is that it’s a kind of quarterstaff or bo staff with dragonglass at one end and the Valyrian steel catspaw dagger at the other:
“In the season trailer you can see Arya wielding what is known as a quarterstaff, which is basically just a sturdy wooden stick. You may remember that was all she trained with in Braavos. I think she wants some kind of fixture so she can attach her dagger.”
It makes sense that it would be a multi-use weapon that can adapt depending on the situation she finds herself in, and that plays to her skills. She’s as handy with a staff as she is with her sword, Needle. She’s also a skilled bowman – let’s not forget that this was set up as early as Season 1 — and there are plenty of fans thinking her design is for some kind of arrow or crossbow bolt.
It also makes sense that she’d want a weapon suitable for both melee combat and ranged attacks – especially since there’s the small matter of an ice-dragon to contend with.
“It was only a glimpse, I couldn’t figure it out. Looked like some sort of projectile,” says Fandom GoT community member Dave chaves, who reckons on it being something she can propel.
There are lots of fans gunning for the projectile theory, and with this, the idea that Arya will be the one to fell Viserion.
“I personally think it’s a dragonglass spear with a detachable dragonglass sword,” says s0fiathecat — perfect for throwing or using at close range.
“Remember how The Night King “killed” Viserion?” the Reddit user goes on to say. “I really hope Arya (or the others) will do the same to Ice Viserion–throw the Dragonglass spear to Ice Viserion, the same way TNK did to kill it. Full circle.”
Damn_Dog_Inappropes thinks it could well be a dragonglass ballista used to take down the “dracolich“, or undead dragon, while nomadofwaves confidently asserts: “Valerian steel ballista missile. Game over.”
One fan is sure it’s a weapon to use against dragons – but thinks Arya could use it against one of Dany’s surviving dragons potentially, rather than Viserion.
“I think it’s definitely a weapon against dragons. Whether that’d be the ice dragon, or one of Dany’s Dragons remains to be seen,” says OnionStark. One theory is that Arya has been trained by the Faceless Men — notorious dragon haters — to slay the re-emerged dragons and has Dany’s two remaining ‘children’ in her sights…
Another Redditor taps into his knowledge of 13th century Chinese weaponry to draw comparisons between Arya’s drawing and a ranged weapon from Jurchen Jin Dynasty China.
“The bell at the non-dragonglass tipped end looks so much like the gunpowder bell on a Heilongjiang hand cannon,” says Flailing Octane. “I think it fires a dragonglass spear for taking out Ice Dragons and can be repurposed into firing dragonglass grapeshot for anyone else.”
He’s suggesting Arya’s weapon could transform into a type of gun – something other fans seem to be on board with.
This Redditor also noticed the similarity to Chinese weaponry from a bygone era: “It’s a firelance handgonne — the earliest type of firearm. The first Chinese firelances used arrows as projectiles which is what I believe we’re seeing here. The handle shaped thing at the base makes me feel this is a bit more evolved than a firelance and more like a hand held cannon. Maybe Arya learned about fireworks from Braavos or maybe wildfire can be used to the same explosive effect.”
Some fans are on board with the idea that wildfire could be used as an alternative to gunpowder, with Thats1LuckyStump reckoning it would be the perfect substance to create the required explosion to push the “bullet”. It would be super interesting if wildfire could be repurposed in Game of Thrones to power Arya’s weapon, and it would make sense for the substance to be brought back into play in some way.
Game of Thrones weapons creator, Tommy Dunne, added fuel to the already raging conversation with comments he made during Vanity Fair podcast, Still Watching.
“There is one creation in Season 8 that is absolutely phenomenal,” said Dunne. “It’ll be a showstopper. That was great to finish. It was great to make, great to design in that it was able to be reverse engineered and made into two different items.”
Now that we’ve seen Arya’s design in the opening episode, he can only be talking about one weapon.
Of course, Arya is well practiced at assassin moves since learning to become a Faceless Man, so a versatile melee weapon playing to her strengths could be the way her mind is heading.
There’s a lot of support for the idea that it’s a relatively straightforward double-ended weapon, that comes apart for optimum flexibility.
“I think it is a double sided weapon that can come apart to be used in close quarters in each hand,” says jmsturm.
“Arya’s design is a staff like the one she used during her training with the FM. The main innovations are the dragonglass and the possibility to turn it into two shorter weapons,” says somewaterdancer.
The creator of this post, meanwhile, believes it to be a combination of spear, dragonglass dagger and metal bludgeon. He breaks down his findings in some detail, identifying that it’s definitely made predominantly of wood — if indeed the weapon we’ve seen Arya using in footage is the same as the one in her schematic.
Echoes of the Past
Another Reddit user reminded us all about a legendary character from the books who could well be an inspiration for Arya’s weapon.
iLikeBubbles11 writes: “Symeon Star-Eyes is said to have a double-bladed staff. Here’s the quote from AGOT: ‘There was a knight once who couldn’t see,’ Bran said stubbornly, as Ser Rodrik went on below. ‘Old Nan told me about him. He had a long staff with blades at both ends and he could spin it in his hands and chop two men at once.'”
Just as Symeon was blind, so was Arya for a while during her time in Braavos. The echoes within their two stories could be significant, particularly since Game of Thrones likes to use mirroring and foreshadowing extensively.
While some think the weapon could be a type of crossbow bolt, others think it could be a “fire and ice” weapon, with the non-dragonglass end — that some think looks like a bludgeon — being a kind of torch that can be ignited.
“The “bludgeon” part reminds me of a torch, maybe it can be a fire and ice weapon. This has the potential to be lit,” suggests Bronn_Sugar.
This fan, meanwhile, wonders if it could be the prophesied flaming weapon, Lightbringer: Are there any theories if this could possibly be lightbringer? I know the show probably won’t mention it but it’s odd they are making this weapon a bit mysterious for something that will only kill wights.
And this Redditor reckons Arya intends for it to spark Cleganebowl: “I think it’s intended for the Mountain. He’s on Arya’s list and he stands between her and Cersei (also on the list obvs). Also, the Mountain was resurrected by Qyburn so he may be akin to a white walker and therefore susceptible to dragon glass. I think she plans to give it to the Hound. Maybe there’s a fire element and the spear detaches from the shaft because of the Hound’s fear of fire. Maybe the act of detaching the spear from the shaft creates the spark for ignition.”
Now, this is something we’d like to see.
Community Poll Results
We polled Fandom’s Game of Thrones community to find out what they thought was at the other end of Arya’s weapon. Here are the results:
More dragonglass 30%
The catspaw dagger 26%
Reforged Valyrian steel 25%
Something else 6%
A metal knot to be used as a bludgeon 5%
A handle to hang off her belt 4%
A double-ended dragonglass weapon then? Got it.
Game of Thrones Season 8 continues on Sunday in the US and Monday in the UK.