One of the most exciting twists in movies of the late 1990s was the reveal in Fight Club that the characters played by Edward Norton and Brad Pitt are one and the same. The audience loved this moment, and the box office proved it. It would not surprise any of us, therefore, that viewers would look for similar reveals in movies and television shows and writers would seek to emulate this storytelling technique. It should also not surprise us that, after experiencing such mind-blowing reveals as how Hodor came to be known as Hodor, viewers of season six of Game of Thrones have started to wonder if the show is pulling a Fight Club on us with Arya and the Waif after this week's episode. Here is the latest theory that's blowing up the internet.
The Theory That Arya Stark and the Waif Are the Same Person
The theory, first credited to Redditor catNamedStupidity, goes something like this: Arya and the Waif (the girl who trains with her in the House of Black and White) are the same. The Waif is simply part of Arya's psyche, a Brad Pitt to Arya's Edward Norton. Either Arya must defeat the Waif and then be Arya again, or the Waif will kill Arya and the Arya we have grown to love will be gone, now truly "no one" and now one of the Faceless Men.
Support For the Theory
Is your mind blown yet? For those of you who are totally confused, here are some reasons to support this theory.
- Only Arya and Jaqen see the Waif. The three of them are in a room together sometimes, but no one ever seems to see the Waif with Arya other than him.
- When Arya has gone blind and is on the street begging, the Waif attacks her, but we see a shot of Arya blindly swinging at open air. No heads turn at the blind girl being attacked, and indeed she may simply be fighting nobody.
- In spite of the beatings Arya takes during her training, she is not covered in bruises, only small wounds that may be inflicted by hitting herself or doing a faceplant when falling.
- It seems to fit with the House of Black and White, where at one moment the Waif is Jaqen, at another Jaqen is dead and Arya pulls his faces away until she sees her own. This is truly a place of mystery, so the theory is not so far-fetched.
- It would be really cool (probably the biggest supporting point of many of these types of theories).
Problems With the Theory
While the theory certainly makes sense, the show will have to do a good job of selling it if true.
- In season five, Arya arrives at the House of Black and White and is beaten with a cane when she replies to the Waif by saying that she is "no one." If this is a moment where Arya is beating herself, why? She doesn't know enough about this place to know that an answer like this would not be acceptable.
- What about the scene when Arya goes to the basement and sees the Waif cleaning the bodies? Arya has just arrived, so why would she already be cleaning the bodies if she and the Waif are one?
- The Hodor reveal is one of the greatest reveals in the history of the show. Who didn't get choked up watching that? So to follow that moment with a reveal that is pretty much the same as what happens in Fight Club seems less exciting. Perhaps there is a way the show will closely follow this theory but put a spin on it to make it more original.
It May Be Left to Interpretation
There's also the point floating around that the show could allow this theory to play out in a way that leaves you to believe it or not but does not give us an answer. This could feel quite fulfilling, if done well. It basically says that if Arya kills the Waif, then Arya goes back home and continues to be Arya, and we never know what truly happened to the Waif but can presume that she was part of Arya's psyche and is no more. On the other side, the Waif could kill Arya and continue on as the Waif, and we could assume that side of Arya's psyche has won. It could easily play out where both believers of the theory and nonbelievers are left happy.
Directions the Show Could Go With the Waif
We are left with three equally likely options of who the Waif could be.
- She is who she says she is: another girl who came there to serve the Many-Faced God and who doubts Arya's devotion.
- The theory is correct and the Waif is the same person as Arya, just a different version of her within her mind, and only one can survive.
- They put a spin on the theory above but with a slightly different angle (see below).
The third option may very well incorporate aspects of number two, but wouldn't we all be much more impressed if it's an original spin on this theory? Perhaps the Waif is simply a spirit that serves the Many-Faced God or an aspect of Jaqen himself that must be defeated for his apprentice (Arya in this case) to prove her worth. There could be numerous other reveals that would be exciting and, perhaps, more intriguing than something we've seen before.
Hopefully we'll be getting an answer next week, since the episode is called "No One." What are your thoughts? Would you be blown away if the Waif and Arya are one and the same, or would you feel it was too cliché?