The Game of Thrones season six finale was chockablock with satisfying developments. Daenerys? On her way to Westeros with a full navy, three well-behaved dragons, and a new Hand in Tyrion, which was one of the sweetest scenes the show has ever done. (Not a ton of competition, but still.) The High Sparrow and the dastardly traitor Lancel? Vaporized by wildfire, the latter at close range. (Which, like, C- subterfuge by the little dude who led him down into the caves, because Lancel got really close to just blowing out those candles and saying, “Phew, that was a close one!” But, again, still.) Lyanna Mormont? Dropped a series of sick burns on fully grown men until they agreed to let Jon be king. All great.
But the most satisfying part of the episode for many was Arya Stark finally crossing another name off of her death list, in grand fashion, by pulling a full Scott Tenorman on Walder Frey before slitting his throat. Although maybe it was more of a Reverse Scott Tenorman, because Cartman fed Scott’s parents to him and Arya fed Walder Frey his sons. Unless a Reverse Scott Tenorman is, like, feeding your own parents to your enemy. Probably not as effective. In any event, Red Wedding avenged. Vaya con dios, Walder Frey.
Which is great! Walder Frey was a creep and a scoundrel and he did lots of weird mouth things when he talked or even just looked at people, so getting him out of there at the hands of someone he wronged in dramatic fashion felt cathartic, even if Arya’s new brand of giddy, smiling bloodthirst is a little bit unsettling. But there was one thing that jumped out at me during the scene, and it’s an incredibly stupid point to make considering a woman leveled half a city with magic green fire less than 30 minutes earlier, but here goes anyway…
When did Arya learn to bake a pie?
I don’t think she learned it at Winterfell growing up, because they had servants there to handle the cooking and cleaning. I don’t think she picked up baking skills while running through the woods for the better part of a few seasons, either, although that would explain the cutting and butchering of Walder Frey’s sons. (UPDATE: Lotta people pointing out the possibility that Hot Pie taught her. Zero chance. Picture Arya’s face five seconds after he started talking about crusts and such.) And I doubt the Faceless Men had a Home Ec elective as part of the curriculum in their prestige assassin academy. (If they did, not showing it to the audience is an unforgivable sin.) The only thing I can think of that resembles an explanation is that maybe she picked it up secondhand by watching the staff when she was acting as Tywin Lannister’s servant. Because for someone with minimal kitchen training, source of protein aside, this doesn’t look half bad.
(I really wish Arya had made a quiche instead of a pie, for the record, if only because it would have been much funnier. If the universe gives you two options, and there is no harm whatsoever in choosing one over the other, you should always pick the funnier one. Little life tip from me to you. Also, quiche is great. So two tips.)
My goal in bringing this up is not to point out a tiny little “But how did Varys get from that place to the other place, are we supposed to believe he possesses some sort of magical teleportation power that had gone unrevealed for almost six full seasons?” plot nitpick in an otherwise terrific episode. My goal is to drive home the fact that, at some point during the evening, Arya had to go into the kitchen to cook that dish, and there’s a good chance she didn’t know what she was doing, and it must have been hilarious.
Here’s what I want you to do: Close your eyes and picture Arya in the Frey castle kitchen — possibly in a chef’s hat, definitely with flour all over her face, cooking area just a disaster — getting very upset as she pulls a third consecutive burned Frey pie out of the oven and looks over at her dwindling pile of Frey meat, realizing that her years-in-development plan to get revenge on Walder Frey in the most soul-crushing manner possible might go up in smoke not because she couldn’t get access, not because she lacked the commitment or backbone, but because she couldn’t get the crust of a pie to look appetizing enough to avoid suspicion. Imagine her face in that moment.