Essays · TV

Arya Stark’s Kill List: A Retrospective

Who else will meet the God of Death before Game of Thrones is over?
Arya Kill List
By  · Published on March 28th, 2019

In this series…

Westeros’ very own version of Kill Bill’s The Bride, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) has become a Game of Thrones fan favorite thanks to a satisfying story arc involving lots of bloody, righteous, and well-orchestrated acts of vengeance. The final season could bring us a slightly more humane Arya than we’ve seen over the past few seasons, as she’s back in Winterfell with family after years of brutal formal and informal training. Still, the kill list she recites like a lullaby isn’t quite finished — Cersei Lannister, Melisandre, and Gregor Clegane, among others, are still alive — and she’s found plenty of other villains worth drawing her sword for along the way.

From Ned Stark to Syrio, Yoren to Jaqen, Sandor to Brienne, and the House of Black and White, Arya has learned strategy and wisdom from the best and boldest warriors the realms have to offer. Williams has grown with her character, playing the youngest Stark girl with distant cool, wry humor, petulant irritation, or genuine sorrow depending on what the moment calls for. The choreography and writing of her fight scenes are frequently matched by the verbal barbs she trades with well-matched actors, and she still likely has several significant character reunions ahead of her.

As the series draws to a close this spring, Arya’s final chapter is rightfully one of the most anticipated, so let’s take a look back at the kills and grudges that made her who she is today.

“The Tickler”

The Tickler

Offense: A torturer for Gregor Clegane back in Season 2, The Tickler picked one prisoner per day and forced them to endure interrogation while a hungry rat is strapped to their chest and taunted by fire. A real sicko, The Tickler always ended up killing the prisoner in the end regardless of the information gleaned.

Status: Dead. When Jaqen H’ghar offers Arya three deaths in exchange for the lives she saved, her first choice is The Tickler, and she finds him with a broken neck a short time later.

Amory Lorch

Amory Lorch

Offense: Lorch kills fatherly Night’s Watch recruiter Yoren and imprisons Arya and her friends in Season 2. Later, he catches Arya stealing an important letter and intends to turn her in, to Tywin Lannister.

Status: Dead. While escaping Lorch, Arya runs to Jaqen and yells his name, selecting him as her second free kill. H’ghar assassinates the man with a poisoned dart.

Sandor Clegane, listed as “The Hound”

Sandor Clegane

Offense: In the series’ second episode, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane kills a local butcher’s son, Mycah, under orders from sadistic Prince Joffrey. The butcher’s boy had been Arya’s friend and sword-fighting partner on the road to King’s Landing.

Status: Alive. In Season 3, the Brotherhood Without Banners puts Sandor to trial by combat for the death of Mycah, and he slays Beric Dondarrion, proving himself innocent. Arya witnesses this, though when Sandor later kidnaps her for ransom, she contemplates killing him with a large rock while he sleeps. Eventually, the two bond, and when Sandor appears mortally wounded after a savage battle with Brienne, Arya refuses to kill him. She hasn’t seen him since but confessed in the House of Black and White that she removed his name from her list.



Offense: Polliver helps capture the kids in Season 2, killing a boy with an injured leg named Lommy in the process. He helps Gregor Clegane torture prisoners and later robs an innkeeper and threatens his daughter, telling Sandor and Arya that as the King’s men, he and his pals can do anything and get away with it. He also stole Arya’s sword, Needle.

Status: Dead. In one of the duo’s most memorable scenes, Arya and The Hound encounter Polliver and his crew at an inn, where he’s disgustingly on brand in his assumptions about their relationship and his bragging attitude about the crimes he’s committed. When Sandor tells Polliver to bring him a chicken to eat, it’s not long before a brawl breaks out, and Arya ends up killing Polliver with Needle after reminding him about Lommy. “Something wrong with your leg, boy?” she asks him, echoing the question he asked the boy before killing him.



Offense: Joffrey was consistently and horrifically evil, but Arya hated him especially for ordering the execution of Ned Stark.

Status: Dead, but not at Arya’s hand. Lady Olenna poisoned Joffrey at his own wedding, a crime that was pinned on Sansa and Tyrion.


Cersei Lannister

Offense: Around the same time that Sandor killed the butcher’s son, Cersei ordered Ned to kill Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, because of Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria’s, perceived misbehavior. This soured the relationship between the two sisters. Cersei also shares blame for Ned’s death and Sansa’s mistreatment at the hands of Joffrey.

Status: Alive and sitting on the Iron Throne. Last season Arya planned to head to King’s Landing to kill her, but after hearing that Jon was alive and at Winterfell, she traveled there instead. Looking at the rest of this list, though, we should assume that once she’s in Arya’s crosshairs her odds for survival aren’t good.

Walder Frey

Walder Frey

Offense: Killing Robb, Talisa, and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding in a surprise attack during a moment of apparent hospitality.

Status: Dead, along with dozens of his family members. Arya infiltrated his ranks and killed Walder, slitting his throat to emulate the way her mother was killed. Then she stole his face and, assuming his identity, held a feast. A toast was made with poisoned wine, and all the male heirs of House Frey swiftly died.

Meryn Trant

Meryn Trant

Offense: The Kingsguard knight presumably kills Arya’s beloved water dancing instructor, Syrio Forel, and later begins habitually beating Sansa at Joffrey’s request (though Arya doesn’t know about this). He is later revealed to have a penchant for violent abuse of young girls.

Status: Dead, with an ultra-violent demise to match his crimes. In Season 5, Trant visits a Braavosi brothel, where he proceeds to beat three very young girls. The third girl is Arya in disguise, and she reveals her true face before stabbing Trant repeatedly in both eyes and elsewhere, stuffing a cloth in his mouth, and slitting his throat.

Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister

Offense: Tywin led an army against Robb Stark, and although he didn’t kill Robb, Roose Bolton’s famous line, “The Lannisters send their regards,” led many to lay the blame on House Lannister in the confusing aftermath.

Status: Dead by his son Tyrion’s hand. After relentlessly persecuting his son for his entire life, Tywin committed his final sin by bedding Tyrion’s lover, Shae, then calling her a whore when Tyrion had a crossbow aimed at his chest.

Melisandre, listed as “The Red Woman”


Offense: Arya calls Melisandre a witch for taking her closest friend Gendry away from her for nefarious purposes.

Status: Alive, although Melisandre has prophesied both that she will meet Arya again and that she will return to Westeros to die. In Season 7, she was set to leave Dragonstone for Volantis, cowed by her banishment after sacrificing Shireen and convinced her singular duty — to help Daenerys and Jon meet — had been fulfilled.

Thoros of Myr


Offense: The Brotherhood Without Banners allowed Melisandre to take Gendry away, and also freed Sandor Clegane after trial by combat.

Status: Dead, frozen to death during Season 7’s expedition north to catch a wight.

Beric Dondarrion


Offense: Like Thoros, he allowed Melisandre to take Gendry away and freed Sandor after trial by combat.

Status: Alive, although Sandor points out that without Thoros, he won’t be able to resurrect again. It’s unclear whether or not Arya still wants to kill him because she’s since made peace with Sandor and Gendry is still alive.

Ilyn Payne

Ilyn Payne

Offense: Payne is the Lannisters’ executioner, and he beheaded Ned Stark with his own sword back in Season 1 under orders from Joffrey.

Status: Presumed alive. As of Season 4, a reference from Tyrion confirms that he is still in the Lannisters’ service.

Gregor Clegane, listed as “The Mountain”

The Mountain

Offense: Along with Polliver and The Tickler, Gregor tortured and killed kids at Harrenhal. His ruthlessness and penchant for torture and are well-known, and Arya later learns that he sadistically burned Sandor’s face when they were children.

Status: Undead. Clegane was fatally wounded in combat against Oberyn Martell, but Cersei’s creepy doctor Qyburn brought him back to life. He no longer speaks or looks the same, but is still capable of violence. Most recently, Sandor came face to face with him during the Queen’s parlay and said “You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.” This seems to point to the popular fan theory that Sandor and Gregor will ultimately battle to the death, so whether by Arya’s sword or another, Gregor’s days may be numbered.



Offense: When Arya is a Night’s Watch recruit, Rorge, The Biter, and Jaqen are the three prisoners, threatened by a spreading fire, whom she frees during an attack. While imprisoned, Rorge threatened her with rape, and he later joined the Lannister army.

Status: Dead. Sandor and Arya encounter Rorge and The Biter pillaging someone’s home and are engaged in combat. Sandor kills The Biter, then asks Arya if Rorge is on her kill list. She says he isn’t because she never knew his name; Rorge thoughtlessly tells it to her and she stabs him in the heart.

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Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, TV-lover, and mac and cheese enthusiast. As a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects, she covers television through regular reviews and her recurring column, Episodes. She is also a voting member of the Critics Choice Association's television and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)