‘Game of Thrones': Why Arya Told Nymeria ‘That’s Not You’

The reunion between a Stark and her direwolf recalled an important character moment from Season 1

Last Updated: July 24, 2017 @ 4:23 PM

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched “Game of Thrones” Season 7 Episode 2, “Stormborn”)

Six seasons later, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) was finally reunited with an old friend in the second episode of Season 7: her direwolf, Nymeria.

On the road north to finally meet back up with her family at Winterfell, Arya camped with her horse, alone in the woods. There, she was accosted by a pack of wolves that looked like they thought they’d found some easy dinner. Armed with Needle, her sword, Arya prepared for a fight.

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That’s when the wolfpack’s leader appeared, and Arya discovered that her direwolf, Nymeria, was still alive.

Up to now, Arya hasn’t seen Nymeria since the second episode of “Game of Thrones.” That was when the direwolf defended Arya against Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), biting his arm when he threatened Arya with his sword. Arya knew Nymeria would be killed for attacking the prince, so she freed the direwolf in the woods. Arya even had to throw rocks at Nymeria to get her to leave.

In Episode 2 of Season 7, “Stormborn,” it was a heartfelt reunion between a girl and her wolf, although years later, Nymeria is absolutely huge. After Arya briefly reconnected with her former pet, she implored Nymeria to accompany her back north, to Winterfell. But in a sad moment, the wolf refused, turning away and leading her pack back into the woods. Arya ended the interaction with a single line: “That’s not you.”

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The moment demonstrated some serious understanding from Arya, as she recalled saying a similar thing to her father, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), way back in Season 1.

Back when all the Starks were still alive and (mostly) in good health, Arya had a moment with Ned after he discovered the small sword, Needle, that her brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington) had had made for her at Winterfell. Ned had asked Arya why she wasn’t into the kind of lady stuff that her sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner) likes so much — like sewing, going to court and being polite.

“That’s not me,” Arya told him. It was the moment that led Ned to enroll Arya in her “dancing lessons.” Fans will recall that the dancing lessons were actually fighting lessons with master swordsman Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou), because Ned understood what Arya was telling him about who she is.

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Arya, recognizing that Nymeria’s place is with her pack, said the same thing to the direwolf. “That’s not you” was Arya understanding that asking Nymeria to go back to being a pet wouldn’t be true to Nymeria.

In the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books on which “Game of Thrones” is based, Arya occasionally has “wolf dreams” where she dreams she is Nymeria — a lot like the dreams Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) used to have of being his direwolf, Summer. Those dreams were the precursor to Bran learning how to use his warg powers to take over Summer and Hodor (Kristian Nairn).

But this moment between Arya and Nymeria seems to suggest that we won’t be getting more of the direwolf in the future, and we probably won’t see Arya learn any spiffy warg abilities, either. It’s just as well, though, as Arya is more of a lone wolf (ahem) anyway. You can’t really wear a random person’s face, infiltrate a great house and assassinate its lord with your direwolf pet hanging around to give you away.

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