Season 4, Episode 1: Two Swords
Arya reclaims Needle and kills Polliver, Inigo Montoya-style. But scarier.
Two Swords finds Arya and The Hound coming upon some of the Lannister’s men, one of whom Arya recognizes as Polliver, a soldier who killed her friend Lommy and stole Needle on the way up to Castle Black. It’s here where we realize the extent to which watching her friends die has traumatized Arya, and has manifested itself in extremely violent ways. During a tense exchange at a farmhouse where the Lannister guards and The Hound exchange pleasantries about stolen chickens and rape, The Hound basically makes it clear that only one of them are making it out of the inn alive. Bar fight!
While The Hound takes on a group of armored men by himself, Arya reclaims Needle and while Polliver is subdued on the ground, Arya begins ritualistically reciting the exact words Polliver said before killing Lommy. She then slowly drives Needle through his neck, just as Polliver had done with her friend.
You know who else has a ritual? Serial killers. I mean, damn, Arya.
Even though Polliver was totally asking for it and then some, this type of behavior in Arya marked a shift towards something more disturbing. It showed a young girl who had developed a taste for killing, on top of justifiably savoring the sweet justice that came along with it. But there’s also an odd comfort to see at least one of the Starks finally realizing the brutal world they’re living in and adjusting their morals and behavior accordingly. Because those are the people that ultimately survive in Westeros.