Let’s Talk About that Arya/Gendry Scene in Episode 2

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

 

Ever since the pilot episode of Game of Thrones, Arya has been a personal favorite of mine. Her character development since the time of Ned Stark’s decapitation to season 8 has been by far one of the more captivating story lines in the show. However, her most recent interaction with Gendry, Robert Baratheon’s illegitimate son, has fans of the show divided. If you’re caught up, you know that Arya gave her virginity to Gendry near the end of the second episode of this season. Many have been up in arms about Arya’s age on the show and whether or not this action is Arya coming into her womanhood or a ploy by the writers to keep interest in these episodes leading up to the Battle of Winterfell (which we are all eagerly waiting for and will know the results of by the time you read this; Arya, I hope you’re still kicking ily).

Personally, I felt the Arya/Gendry sex scene was forced. This has nothing to do with her age or her position as the little sister in the show, but with her storyline and character development. The scene began with Arya and Gendry discussing something quite unrelated, when Arya suddenly interrupts Gendry mid-sentence and grills him about how many sexual partners he has entertained. This action seems out of character for Arya, the writers have been setting up a romance between Arya and Gendry for a while now and I believe that we were meant to anticipate some culmination of those feelings. However, romance does not always equal sex. Arya’s life since the death of her father up to that point has been dedicated to revenge and to desensitising herself, the thought that when she believes she is close to death that the most pressing thing on her mind would be dying a virgin and not that she didn’t get a chance at Cersei before she died seems unlikely. In the House of Black and White, Arya was training to become noone and while that training did not work in the end, I do believe that it dampened some of her more emotional traits. If that is the case, then a young woman who has not so much as kissed a man before this moment and has intense emotional control, would be very unlikely to immediately jump straight into bed; even with a man whom she understands well and has been known to fancy.

The scene was consensual (something that cannot be said for many of the sex scenes in GoT) and for that I was grateful. Since Arya’s character has already been through so much the thought of the writers ruining another Stark girl’s life would be incredibly sad. However, it was rushed. Gendry and Arya had only recently been reunited, they had not unpacked any of the things that had happened to either of them in the time they had been absent from one another. The Arya, or Ari when she was pretending to be a male, that Gendry knew is a completely different person than the Arya he is faced with in Winterfell in season 8. Many have argued that this is a culmination of the promise that Robert Baratheon made to Ned Stark that their houses would be joined, therefor making their union not only expected but encouraged. I agree, and share in the excitement of loose ends from season 1 being tied, but I think it was mostly just a ploy by the writers to get people even more excited and to create a ruckus on various social media. Of course, this scene has already happened and no amount of analysis will change that (regrettably), but it begs the question of what is going to happen now? On twitter and instagram, people have speculated that Arya did not enjoy her encounter with Gendry as much as she thought she would, so will the joining of the Baratheon and Stark houses happen? Could we imagine Arya settling down at all after the freedom she has experienced in her travels? I’m not sure, but I can’t wait for the rest of the episodes so we can find out.