FAQ: I don’t watch video theories. I don’t listen to podcast theories. Unless it’s written down (legibly and with sources preferred), I don’t care, sorry.
But since some googling has given me a vague idea of what’s in those video rants, let me just say, no, Oberyn did not found the Brave Companions and command them to maim Jaime, that’s complete balderdash. Quentyn is extremely dead. Marwyn and Qyburn and Mirri Maz Duur are not Martell agents, again that’s ridiculous. The Martells are not behind the militarization of the Faith. And for more, there are some decent take downs here and here, if you’re still interested.
Anyway, conspiracy theories lose me in general, especially ridiculously complex ones. We know what the Martell plan was, and it wasn’t that good, unfortunately. And the fact that Doran is completely befuddled by Aegon showing up basically says it all. I’m sorry, but even though they’re pretty darn cool, the Martells aren’t badass long-con conspiracy master planners. We’ll just have to see if their current plan (Nymeria on the Small Council, Tyene infiltrating the Faith, Arianne meeting Aegon) gets anywhere, or if it ends as badly as Arianne’s last plan… or as bad as Quentyn’s.
In Defense of Arya Stark
Nothing bothers me more than seeing people label Arya as a “sociopath” or a “psychopath”. Besides the fact that it seems to indicate that the those people don’t actually know the meaning of the words, it also demonstrates either an absurdly biased reading of the character or just the lack of ability to read and understand context, themes, ect. in complex literature.
For starters, let’s look at the definitions of these words.
a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.
Sociopaths are people defined by a lack of empathy and understanding/dealing with people- which are not Arya’s problems. Arya continues to illustrate empathy for people she has no reason to feel for. She questions why the first Faceless Men would kill the slaves and not the slavers. She immediately feeds dehydrated, caged, brutal men water just because she feels bad for their extensive suffering despite their depraved acts. Arya intervenes when Samwell is about to be mugged/robbed/killed in Braavos despite never meeting him before; then she offers him advice on how to avoid that situation, gives him free food, and directs him where he wants to go. Arya puts herself in a very dangerous position while being ambushed by goldcloaks over a little girl, Weasel, who- when Gendry stated was useless- stood up for her and said don’t blame her for being young. Arya feels guilt over wrecking a woman’s nice dress, apologizes over it, and feels sorry for the woman’s (Lady Smallwood) son’s death. Arya feels incredibly guilty that her actions in Harrenhal caused people to suffer because she naively assumed she was putting good people in charge- she feels so guilty she forces herself to imagine someone else’s head in place of the ones she accidentally helped put on spikes. Arya felt uncomfortable and guilty with the knowledge that some Northmen she never met and had no control over their actions had raped/pillaged a village. Arya could not accept the idea of leaving Hotpie, Gendry, Weasel, or even Lommy behind even when she would have benefitted from it; she even puts herself in great danger for Gendry and Weasel.
Arya can and does empathize with people, interact with them, has a conscience, and feels.
a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.
I’ll be the first to admit that Arya is suffering from mental trauma like many of the young characters in ASoIaF, but she is not stuck with “abnormal or violent social behavior”. Arya does not have to curb herself from the desire to attack people or kill them when she meets them because she has not real violent urges. Does she act violently at times (or even a lot of times)? YES. Does that really make her a violent person? Not really. She doesn’t delight in hurting people or have to consciously hold back from attacking people. Arya is quick to decide that she must kill someone for her survival, probably too quick, but she’s never brutal or vicious or sadistic. She doesn’t desire to hurt people who have never wronged her- she doesn’t take any pleasure in violence.
People really confuse darkness with evil here. Arya is incredibly traumatized. Seriously, she has been alone in a kill or be kill world since she was eight. She was present when her father was unjustly executed to the people around her’s delight, she was present during the Red Wedding, she was captured and made a servant multiple times, undergoes severe identity loss to the point that in only the third book she wonders if she only dreamt up Arya Stark. Furthermore, she has been starved, pushed around, caught in battles, witnessed horrific torture, seen the aftereffects of the war torn Westeros which exacerbate her ongoing disillusionment and dealing with serious abandonment issues ranging from people dying on her (her family, Yoren) to people betraying her in her mind (Gendry, Hotpie, Harwin.) So Arya is really dark at this point.
But that’s the point. Arya has undergone such impossibly awful experiences at such a young age that she’s been almost conditioned to act the way we see. She kills/wants to kill casually not because of any real malicious intent (aside from the people on her list who have seriously wronged her) but because of survival- at least in her own mind. From the moment the stable boy tried to forcibly take her to Cersei and only his death saved her, Arya began to see that people would destroy/kill her if she hesitated. Even in the House of Black and White, it is clearly stated that Arya believes she has nowhere else to go and not being an assassin would get her kicked out. As a result, Arya has become seemingly cold and callous at the idea of death. She doesn’t desire to kill people for fun (like real psychos Ramsay Bolton and Gregor Clegane,) she doesn’t even enjoy the fight or battle (like Sandor Clegane and even Robert Baratheon,) and she doesn’t even kill anyone she doesn’t perceive as “bad” or “dangerous”.
Does that make it okay? No, not really. Especially when Arya’s perceptions as an eight to twelve year old aren’t always fair or right. But also Westeros is not the modern world as people keep forgetting. There are value differences such as treatment of the common folk, treatment of women and rape, and, yes, even treatment of killing. After all, it’s a culture where a common practice to prove one’s innocence is a trial by combat aka a fight to the death typically against someone who has never wronged you in any way. It’s also a culture where all a noble has to say is this commoner wronged me, kill him (as evidenced by Mycah.)
So when people call Arya a “sociopath”, “psychopath”, or even “deranged murderer”, they miss not only the true meanings of those words but also the complex character arc and fantasy world that GRRM has created.