Game of Thrones reached into the wayback machine this week on several fronts. We had Tyrion writing one of the first lines he ever uttered from the pilot episode to Jon, Sam's tribute to Commander Mormont from the first two seasons, Littlefinger bringing up his returning of Ned's remains to Catelyn, and even a rundown of every ruler Varys has worked for in seven years. But nothing was as moving as the reunion of Nymeria and Arya. Though the trailer teased it last week, seeing Arya's one time pup full-grown was still a shock.
According to Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, fans ask her about what happened to Nymeria more than any other single thing on the show, even after all this time. Though seeing Nymeria again, and letting fans know what happened to Arya's one beloved wolf gave us closure, it gave even more closure to the two of them. Williams said,
It's even nicer that they don't live happily ever after. Nymeria has created her own world and created her own pack and isn't ready to be Arya's pet. To be someone's pet would reverse everything she's learned. So they almost just regard each other and go their separate ways.
It's a message Arya gets not only from Nymeria, but from the other character she runs into just beforehand: Hot Pie. Arya is trying to be the "lone wolf" as it were, functioning without her pack. She successfully killed the Freys, but can she really do the same to Cersei? "When winter comes, the lone wolf dies," as the saying goes.
When Arya and Nymeria went their own ways as lone wolves, it was still summer. But the seasons have changed. Nymeria has her pack now, one she wouldn't leave for Arya, or for anyone. That's her family.
Arya needs to go home to find her pack -- one she won't leave for anything. Let's just hope that when she gets there, Sansa is ready to join up with her. Pack Stark need each other to survive.