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Have We Been Pronouncing Arya Stark's Name the Wrong Way All This Time?

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  • Maisie Williams (Arya Stark on Game of Thrones) clarified how to say her character's name in a recent interview.
  • She said it's pronounced "Ah-Yah" in the show, but she prefers "Arr-Ee-Yah" or "Aria."
  • Author George R. R. Martin, however, calls her "Arr-Yuh" due to his American accent.

    A girl has a name—but do you know how to pronounce it? In a recent interview, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams clarified how to properly say her character Arya Stark's moniker, ending possible speculation. However, she didn't really have a clear answer.

    "So the correct pronunciation of Arya is 'Ah-Yah,'" Williams, who's played the role for nearly 10 years, told Sky Atlantic in a video. "Michelle [Fairley, who plays Arya's mother Catelyn Stark] said that in the first series and then we've had to say it that way ever since. But I'm gonna put this right once and for all. You pronounce it 'Arr-Ee-Yah' and that's the way it's supposed to be said."



    In other words Williams prefers her character's name is pronounced "aria," but Fairley's accent set a different precedent. You can hear it when she asks "Where's Arya?" in Season 1, Episode 1, during the scene where King Robert Baratheon and his family visits the Stark family in Winterfell (at 1:59 in the video). Williams later repeats the pronunciation (at 4:39).

    As devoted fans of the series may already know, Williams continues the pronunciation throughout the show, like when she declares herself "Arya Stark of Winterfell" when she leaves the House of Black and White after her Faceless Men training, or when she returns home in Season 7.



    George R. R. Martin, the author behind the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series on which Game of Thrones is based (and therefore the creator of Arya Stark), delivers the same pronunciation as Fairley does. However, since he has an American accent, he says it with a hard "R" sound.

    "I say it 'Arr-Yuh,' two syllables not three. Not 'aria,' not like an operatic thing, but 'Arr-Yuh.' Very sharp," Martin said at a convention before GoT even premiered. (Watch at the 3:04 mark in the video below.)

    "I wanted something that was like a knife," he added, possibly alluding to the character's assassin training. "That was a sharp and hard sound to contrast to the flowery Sansa [Stark, Arya's older sister]."

    However, Martin did say, "I really don't care how you pronounce them," while talking about the pronunciation of his characters' names. Perhaps he won't mind Maisie's take on Arya.

    But if it all gets too confusing, you can always just call her "No One" and call it a day.


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