Warning: This story contains spoilers for the Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones.
Nothing could have prepared us for how totally badass Arya was in the opening scene of Game of Thrones's Season 7 premiere. At the start of the episode, Arya posed as Walder Frey and poisoned an entire party of his guests before tearing his face off to reveal herself, instructing one wife standing nearby to tell the world that "winter came for House Frey." ("Tell them the North remembers" is probably every GoT fan's new favorite catchphrase.)
But as shocking as that scene was, the show was quick to put Arya in a much tamer situation, when she shared a laugh and a rabbit with none other than (a much-reviled) Ed Sheeran and a group of Lannister bannermen. In this scene—which was likely meant to humanize the soldiers to Arya, showing her they're real people who miss their families and their homes—something just seems off. And there might be a sinister reason why. One Reddit user shared their theory that Arya knew exactly what she was doing the second she entered the soldiers' camp.
As she's riding by on her horse, Arya hears singing off in the distance and—even though she could have stayed back and kept herself hidden until nightfall—she made the conscious decision to ride by the men in broad daylight. And it's not just because Ed Sheeran has a nice singing voice.
"Once the soldiers address her, she is immediately playing a character," Reddit user delipeachtea explains in their analysis of the scene. "She acts young and inexperienced, and we as the audience are given confirmation that the ruse has worked when the soldiers ask if she is old enough to drink. This is a trained killer with a brutal sense of vengeance—and she has the entire pack of soldiers convinced she's a harmless northern girl too young for wine. The question is, why?" The Reddit user suggests Arya was using this moment to observe the men—almost like a weird, pre-murder social experiment—with the hopes of using the skills she learned from the Faceless Men to impersonate one of them.
This might sound like a bit of a stretch for someone who just shared blackberry wine and fire-roasted rabbit with these kins men. Still, Arya did learn to distance herself from others to an above-average extent when training under Jaqen H'ghar, so it's possible—even likely—she'll using these skills to cross another name off her list: Cersei Lannister.
The camera in this scene plays a huge role, as it pans slowly over the campsite and follows Arya as she dismounts her horse and, more importantly, as she notices the soldiers' swords out of reach. This information could give her an advantage over killing one—or all—of the men, if the theory holds true. We're introduced to two soldiers—the first, a handsome, dark-haired man who tells Arya about his wife and newborn baby; the second, a young man who offers homemade wine and reminisces about his dad—who could become her next victims. "My mother always told me to be kind to strangers, and strangers will be kind to you," the second soldier tells her. If you subscribe to this theory at all, the irony in this line is almost heartbreaking. The look on Arya's face in the following shot reveals she already knows she's going to disprove his belief—one way or another—soon. While most people might have read this look as realization that some Lannister followers actually have good intentions, it's possible Arya was just storing this information for later use, should she have to wear his face to get into the Red Keep.
Eventually, Arya blatantly admits she intends to kill Cersei, which the men take as a joke. After all, who in their right mind would admit they want to kill a queen to a full troop her soldiers? Everyone shares a laugh at the dark "joke," but longtime viewers will know Arya was far from kidding. Not only does this serve as a moment for the audience to revel in this bit of dramatic irony, but it also confirms to Arya that she's gained the trust of these men and convinced them she's not a threat. A girl is very sneaky.
So don't be too shocked if you happen to see one of these kind soldiers show up at Cersei's side in following episodes. It just might mean another name is about to be checked off Arya Stark's list.