In Sunday’s Game of Thrones season-eight episode “The Long Night,” just when all seemed to be lost for the defenders of Winterfell, Arya Stark popped out of the gloom unexpectedly to slay the Night King, the White Walker head honcho who’s served as the series’ Big Bad since season four. Arya’s kill shot may have seemed to come out of nowhere, but for the series’ creators, it’s been a long time coming. On Game of Thrones’ mini-aftershow, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said they’ve always known that Arya would be the Winterfell warrior to take out the Night King — or, at least, they’ve known for about three years.
“For, god, I think it’s probably three years now, we’ve known that it was going to be Arya who delivers that fatal blow,” Benioff explained. “We hoped to kind of avoid the expected. Jon Snow has always been the hero, the one who’s been the savior, but it just didn’t seem right to us, for this moment.” Oh, and just as importantly, Arya already had that sweet, sweet Valyrian steel.