George R R Martin has opened up about the inspirations that went into creating Arya Stark, explaining how feminism and the sexual revolution helped him craft one of the franchise’s most popular characters.
The author explained in an interview with Rolling Stone that, back when he imagined Arya and her sister Sansa for the very first time, he saw them as two opposite forces.
Sansa, he said, was to be a “romantic” mediaeval ideal who ”dreamed of jousts, bards singing of her beauty, fair knights, being the mistress of a castle and perhaps a princess and queen”.
Arya, on the contrary, would “chafe at the roles she was being pushed into”, favouring sword fights over sewing.
Asked whether any specific people in his life had helped him create Arya’s character traits, Martin replied: “I can’t say there’s any one specific model, but a lot of the women I’ve known over the years have had aspects of Arya with them.”
He added: “Especially some of the women I knew when I was a young man back in the sixties and seventies, you know — the decade of the sexual revolution and the feminist movement. I knew a lot of young women who weren’t buying into the, ‘Oh, I have to find a husband and be a housewife.’”