Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4 are ahead.
Arya Stark not only shattered the Night King into a thousand little pieces but now she’s also shattered the patriarchy. During Episode 4 of Game of Thrones, Gendry — fresh off his new title and land, a gift from Daenerys — decides he doesn’t want to rule this little corner of Westeros alone and gets down on one knee and asks Arya to marry him. It’s very much a moment some fans have been hoping for since season 3, and only recently rekindled after Arya and Gendry slept together before the Battle of Winterfell. But the preeminent assassin of the North, Arya Stark turns Gendry down. And if you were shocked by her answer, then you haven’t been paying attention to Arya for the last eight seasons.
She never wanted to be a lady, and she’s never going to be a lady, and if Gendry really wanted her by his side, he should have known that asking her that would be an outright rejection. Arya literally named her sword “Needle” out of protest for Sansa’s sewing needles and her desire to be anything but a lady.
Yes, it is awful cute that Gendry has clearly caught feels for Arya. It's also cute that during the celebratory dinner at Winterfell, he keeps asking if she’s around and when no one has seen her inside the hall he gets up to leave and find her (that’s when Dany bestows Storm's End on him). It's even sweeter when, outside in the courtyard, she’s shooting arrows and Gendry explains that his new title and land won’t “be worth anything if you’re not with me” so Arya should be his wife and the lady of Storm's End. And if you were momentarily excited at the prospect, that's fine!
The reason this is, at first, so exciting, is because way back in season 1, when Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon are talking in the Winterfell crypts, Robert jokingly says “I have a son, you have a daughter, we’ll join our houses.” At the time, he’s talking about marrying Joffrey and Sansa off but we all know how that turned out. With Gendry now a true Baratheon, this so-called prophecy could come true. If Robert and Ned were both still alive, they’d be proud. *Tear*
What's more is that Gendry’s reference to Arya being a lady also strikes a chord, because it’s what he called her back in season 3. Shortly before the two part ways for five seasons, Gendry tells her he’s going to say on as a smith for the Brotherhood without Banners. Arya yells at him, saying that she could be his family rather than the Brotherhood, to which Gendry responds, “You wouldn’t be my family, you’d be m’lady.”
Hearing this again in season 8 is definitely a major moment. However, it’s incredibly apparent that Gendry has no idea what Arya has been through since they last saw each other, let alone who she has become. The last thing Arya is ever going to do is sit around and needlepoint, unless needlepointing actually is stabbing people. Arya lets Gendry down as nicely as possible, telling him, “Any lady would be lucky to have you. But I’m not a lady. I never have been. That’s not me.” (An echo of a line Arya's used before, I might add.)
He looks somewhat shocked to be rejected so bluntly and quickly, but he’s clearly not in love with Arya for all the reasons we love her. He calls her beautiful, which she is, but he fails to mention that it’s hella impressive she killed the Night King by herself, survived her travels with the Hound, survived being put through assassin boot camp in Braavos, got rid of the remaining Tullys, actually gave her name for a while, and returned home with minimal scratches. Those are the reasons why you fall in love with Arya Stark. And anyone who doesn't know that doesn't really know Arya.
We as viewers should have always known there was no romantic ending for Arya and Gendry together unless one of the Game of Thrones spin-offs is about the two of them on the run as a weapons expert and highly skilled assassin. Becoming a lady and ruling over a kingdom was never in the cards for the youngest Stark girl, and it’s still not something on the horizon for her. At the end of episode 4, she has apparently joined the Hound again for parts unknown as the two set off together. There was no way you were ever going to tie Arya down, Gendry.
Game of Thrones season 8 airs in the UK on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and is available on Now TV