Arya Stark as Classic Horror’s Final Girl

Game of Thrones s8 e3

If you want to see how much Game of Thrones fans loved Arya Stark’s sleight-of-hand before slaying the Night King in the godswood with a Valyrian steel dagger, just go on Twitter and look at how often her face has been superimposed on basketball players making breathtaking stealth moves before a stunning slam dunk.  Entertainment Weekly reports that Maisie Williams was worried that fans would “hate” how the Battle of Winterfell was resolved and conclude that Arya “didn’t deserve it.”

The show prepared us for the finale all along in a variety of ways, one of which was the scene showing a terrified Arya making her way through the library, trying her best to elude the White Walkers lurking in the stacks. (Did anyone else have a flashback to Jurassic Park, with a terrified Tim and Lex hiding from the raptors in the kitchen?) Here we have the “distressed female” of classic horror, the survivor known as the Final Girl, who is “chased, cornered, wounded” and whom we see “scream, stagger, fall, rise, and scream again,” as Carol Clover puts it in Men, Women, and Chainsaws. She is the one who looks death in the face and finds the strength to slay the monster.  Even as she is terrorized and tortured, the Final Girl rises to the challenging terrors that no one else was able to face down.

And while we are at it, did anyone else notice the striking resemblance between Max Schreck in the German horror film Nosferatu (1922) and the Night King?