15 Jun 2016 9:15 PM +00:00 UTC

Should Arya Have Died of Her Wounds on Game of Thrones? Medical Expert Explains An Answer


Back when Game of Thrones Season 3 first premired, we heard about the ice climber who explained that, because of their terrible climbing techniques, Jon and the wildlings would never have been able to scale the wall. We also heard about that dermatologist who told us that greyscale "isn't particularly reflective of real world skin diseases".

Now, Game of Thrones is getting more real world analysis. A Redditor named Zahn1138 showed a detailed analysis of the wounds and their outcome in the show and concluded that Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) should have not survived after being stabbed at the hands of the waif. The details are incredible; the Redditor had taken the time to create medical review charts of critical wounds that Game of Thrones characters have suffered in the past.



Zahn1138 acknowledges that Game of Thrones is a series set in a fantasy world where the dead can be resurrected, where ice zombies exist, and where a dragon queen is magically immune to fire. Zahn1138's point isn't that the HBO series needs to accurately reflect reality, but that the show needs to be internally consistent.

Why Arya's wounds should have led to her death?

The Redditor argues that Arya's wounds– deep, abdominal wounds inflicted with a knife – are similar to the fatal wounds sustained by Rob Stark's wife Talisa (Oona Chapman) at the Red Wedding. The poster says that it's conceivable no major arteries were cut in Arya, but the "ifnection is a serious threat in Game of Thrones, as is blodo loss-induced shock.

"[Arya's] lost a ton of blood by the time she crawls out of the water, expended herself immensely, and more importantly, irrigated her abdominal cavity with the s--- of every peasant in Braavos," the poster notes. If events happened logically, Arya would have been dommed to die from peritionitis (an infection of the stomach lining) and eventual septic shock.

Not even Lady Crane's treatment is enough, says Zahn1138. It would not have been possible for her to reverse Arya's infection, especially not with the rudimentary cleaning and stitching up techniques she was shown to have.

The Redditor brought up characters who were shown to succumb to serious infections in the past: King Robert Baratheon, who died after being gored by a bore, and Jaime Lannister, who became ill after the removal of his hand.


Zahn1138 concludes, Arya's resilience and improbable recovery are signs that "the writers were taking stupid pills when they devised her plotline".


What does everyone else think about Zahn1138's medical analysis on Arya's injuries?

While some fans acknowledged her detailed analysis, and questioned how Arya actually survived after being stabbed, commenters on the Reddit thread are split in their response. While some agree with the medical expert, others have pointed out that the viewers really know all that much about Lady Crane's healing skills, or the condition of the waterways in Braavos. Lady Crane may have had access to some kind of rudimentary herbal antibiotic, and the water in Braavos could be saline since the city is close to the coast.

Both sides make great points, but I actually wish that the show made it more clear how Arya survived the stabs. Prior to the premiere of the 'No One' episode, fans speculated that Arya put pouches of pig blood on her abdomen to trick the waif, and although the idea sounds absurd, seeing that would make more sense than seeing her capable of running away after Lady Crane's treatment.

One of the great things I like about Game of Thrones is that even though it has fantasy elements, the show is also grounded in realism, and that there's a sense that anyone could be killed, even the main characters. Of course, we wanted Arya Stark to live, but her unlikely survival undermined the show's credibility.

So what do you think? Do you think Arya Stark should have died or not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.