Though much of Game of Thrones' storylines are shrouded in mystery, everything about Arya Stark's is particularly elusive. While some of the Starks have reunited, Arya has been sweeping, washing corpses, and perfecting her combat skills in the House of Black and White. She's hard at work training to be a Faceless Man.
Who Are the Faceless Men and What Are They Capable Of?
They're a guild of assassins based in Braavos with a reputation for being both extremely successful in their work and extremely expensive to hire. But they aren't employed by just anybody. They serve the Many-Faced God, also known as the God of Death.
Our first taste of a Faceless Man comes with Jaqen H'ghar, who spends time with Arya in Harrenhal on season two. He tasks her with naming three people for him to kill after she'd taken three lives that weren't hers to take. Upon later escaping Harrenhal, he gives Arya a coin and the phrase "Valar Morghulis," both of which will help her find him in Braavos if she wished to train with him. With that, he shows off an ability of the Faceless Men — changing his face to that of another person's — and disappears until Arya arrives at Braavos on season five. In the books, Jaqen doesn't appear again at all. Rather, a character called the Kindly Man takes on the role of Arya's mentor.
How Do the Faceless Men Come to Be?
During Arya's training with Jaqen, he reveals the story of the Faceless Men's history, which goes all the way back to ancient Valyria. In the city's volcanic mines, slaves prayed to different gods, pleading to end their suffering. A man heard their pleas and concluded that they were actually all praying to one god with many different faces: Death. The man then began killing the slaves and eventually their masters, thus beginning the Faceless Men and instilling their belief that death is a gift.
What Would Becoming a Faceless Man Mean For Arya?
Since season five, Arya has been immersed in the world of Faceless Men and the Many-Faced God. Should she become a Faceless Man herself, she would live the life of an assassin with no true identity. Instead of Arya Stark, she'd become "no one" and possess the ability to shapeshift into an entirely new person to assist in killing those who request death from the Many-Faced God.
Despite Arya's sheer determination in training, we've gotten many hints that suggest she may not be fit for her new lifestyle. She's already gone against the rules when she killed Meryn Trant for personal gain, an act which temporarily blinded her. Another Faceless Man called the Waif also always insists that Arya's not ready to join their ranks. Most recently, Arya watched a play in Braavos that crudely portrayed some events of the War of the Five Kings thus far — including the beheading of her father and her sister Sansa's time in the hands of the Lannisters. It serves as a reminder that Arya's not yet "no one"; she's still a Stark. Will she eventually relinquish that part of herself to truly become a Faceless Man?