Warning: This article contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 2 of Game of Thrones.
On Sunday night's Game of Thrones, audiences got to see the return of an unexpected character: Nymeria, Arya Stark's former direwolf. Arya was heading north to Winterfell after learning Jon Snow had returned home when all of a sudden, a pack of wolves surrounded her, and her chances did not look good. But it turns out Nymeria was the leader of the pack—and the emotional result was devastating.
Arya approached Nymeria and asked her to return to Winterfell with her. "I'm heading north, girl. Back to Winterfell. I'm finally going home," she said. But instead, Nymeria just turned her back and walked away with her pack. Arya was shocked at first, but then knowingly said, "That's not you."
It turns out that line was a callback to the very first season of the show. On "Inside the Episode," an extra you can watch on HBO Go or HBO Now, show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explain what the moment really meant.
Nymeria was last seen in the first season of the show, when Arya let her go. The direwolf had bitten Joffrey to defend Arya, and Cersei was going to kill her for doing so. So Arya forced her to run away in order to save her life.
Also in that season, Arya had a sit-down moment with her father Ned Stark, in which he explained to her the kind of life she could live as the lady of a castle, marrying a lord. "No, that's not me," Arya told her father back then.
"Arya's not domesticated and it makes total sense that her wolf wouldn't be either," Weiss said in the extra. "And when the wolf walks away, at first she's heartbroken to have come this close, then she realizes that the wolf is doing exactly what she would do if she were that wolf."
It's also a sign of how far Arya's character has come since then. It's been so long since she was in the north, that even her wolf has found a new family of her own.
"It's even nicer that they don't live happily ever after," Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) explained to Entertainment Weekly. "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."
The episode's writer, Bryan Cogman, agreed. "In the end, they're both lone wolves," he told EW. "They can't go back to the way things were. And that might be foreshadowing for Arya too."
That last part is interesting. What does it foreshadow for Arya? She's headed back home to Winterfell, but does this mean she'll stay a lone wolf and not reunite with her family after all?
Game of Thrones returns next Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO. Watch the trailer for the next episode below.