George R.R. Martin has released a new excerpt from "Winds of Winter," the yet-to-be released sixth novel of "The Song of Ice and Fire" series. The new "Game of Thrones" chapter focuses on "Mercy," but fans will know her better as Arya Stark.
Warning: Full "Game of Thrones" and "Song of Ice and Fire" spoilers ahead.
Last we saw of Arya, in "A Dance With Dragons," she was going to begin her training with Izembaro, the King of Mummers. In the new "Winds of Winter" chapter, Arya, now known as "Mercy," is a part of the acting troupe that will perform a new play around the recent events at King's Landing. Several interesting things are going on in the chapter, including the idea that, in the play, Arya/Mercy is playing the role of Sansa Stark, as noted by some fans, and she crosses another name off of her hit list.
Speaking about the new "Winds of Winter" chapter, Martin said on his blog that the chapter has evolved over the course of a decade. At first it was supposed to be in "A Dance With Dragons," then was switched to "A Feast for Crows," then back to "Dance" before landing in "WInds of Winter."
Arya Stark has, perhaps, the best arc of any character in the "Game of Thrones" series. She was overshadowed by her siblings at the start of the series, as Robb Stark was heir while Sansa Stark was to be married to Joffrey. Arya did not fit in with what was expected of a Lady from House Stark.
In "A Game of Thrones," Arya escaped from King's Landing following the execution of her father, Eddard Stark. In "A Clash of Kings," she made friends with a group of Night's Watch recruits, but her trip to the Wall was cut short and she was taken to Harrenhal, which is home to the Brave Companions. As Arya plots her revenge she comes up with a list of names to kill in her "prayer," most notably Gregor Clegane, Ser Amory Lorch, the Tickler, Polliver, Joffrey and Cersei.
One of the Night's Watch prisoners she freed after the attack by Ser Amory, Jaqen H'ghar, gives her three murders in exchange for the lives she saved. She uses this to escape Harenhall, and in her last meeting with Jaqen, he gives her an iron coin that will change her future.
In "A Storm of Swords," she meets up with the Brotherhood Without Banners and is later captured by the Hound, Ser Sandor Clegane. The Hound is set to bring her back to her family but abandons that plan in the wake of the "Red Wedding." After a fight at an inn with the Tickler and Polliver, the Hound is wounded and Arya leaves him and boards a ship to Braavos using Jaqen's coin.
"A Feast for Crows" sees Arya arrive at Braavos, find the House of Black and White, join the Faceless Men and train to become an assassin. In "Dance with Dragons," Arya performs her first assassination and completes her transformation from Arya Stark to an assassin with an ever-changing identity.
In addition to a new Arya chapter from "Winds of Winter," Martin released a Tyrion chapter as part of the "Game of Thrones" app.