Warning: All men must die, but not all men must read Game of Thrones spoilers. Go back and finish season eight, episode three before reading on.
Game of Thrones has walloped fans with so many shocking moments over the years — Ned's beheading! The Red Wedding! Cersei blowing up . . . well, everyone! — that sometimes it's hard to believe that showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have any more tricks up their sleeves. And yet — and yet — they were able to deliver one of the greatest twists in the series's eight seasons in the most recent episode, "The Long Night," when Arya kills the Night King. Adding another interesting layer to the showdown is that a scene between Arya and Bran back in season seven might have actually been teasing what was to come.
In season seven's fourth episode, "The Spoils of War," Littlefinger bestows upon Bran the Valyrian steel dagger that essentially started the War of the Five Kings when an assassin tried to kill little Bran with it in the first season. Bran, now fully in Three-Eyed Raven mode and clearly having no need for a weapon, immediately passes it on to Arya when they reunite for the first time since season one in Winterfell's Godswood.
But did the Three-Eyed Raven give his sister the dagger because he thought she could use a gift to lift her spirits? Or because he knew she'd one day face off against the Night King in the exact same spot and be in need of a weapon forged from one of the few materials that can kill a White Walker?
Bran's powers are still a bit undefined even now in season eight, but this scene certainly seems to hint that he is indeed omniscient (including being able to see the future), as well as having the ability to travel back into the past. Not only did he likely see Arya slicing Littlefinger's throat with the dagger not long after that reunion in the Godswood but also her eventual sneak attack on the White Walker's leader during the Battle of Winterfell. Apparently, Bran does have a role beyond saying inappropriate greetings to his long-lost siblings!
Although the more obvious heroes in the HBO fantasy series — Jon, Dany, even Jaime or Brienne — seem like they'd be far more likely candidates for such an important plot twist, Arya taking on the honor makes sense beyond her season seven interaction with Bran. She's small and therefore easily underestimated, both of which she uses to her advantage in this moment. Furthermore, she's been training for a moment like this ever since she witnessed her father's head get chopped off in King's Landing. She's dedicated the better part of her life to becoming capable and strong enough to defend not only herself but her family.
It's also worth noting that Bran isn't the only one who might have known what was in store for Arya. She actually gets a pep talk from the recently resurfaced Melisandre as the battle rages inside the walls of Winterfell, who tells Arya that it's her destiny to kill the White Walkers (they're the ones with "blue eyes," remember?). She promptly takes off running, and although we don't actually get to see how she navigates from the innards of Winterfell out to the Godswood, the Game of Thrones creators always knew that was where Arya and the Night King's showdown would take place.
Series cocreator Benioff explained in the Behind the Episode video after "The Long Night" aired that although it hasn't been confirmed that the Night King was originally made in the Starks' particular Godswood all those years ago, the Children of the Forest did choose a very similar location to drive the dragonglass into his heart.
"We knew it had to be Valyrian steel put to the exact spot where the Child of the Forest put the dragonglass blade to create the Night King," Benioff said. "And he's uncreated by the Valyrian steel."
So, now that Arya has taken out the Night King and his entire army of frozen zombies, will she join her family in the next big battle against Cersei's forces in King's Landing? Something tells us she wouldn't miss it for the world.