After Arya Stark got stabbed by the Waif last week on Game of Thrones, fan theories have been bouncing around the Web to explain how she might survive. The most widely shared were:
Option 1: The Waif didn't actually stab Arya. She stabbed Jaqen H'ghar disguised as Arya. Fans pointed to way back in Season 2 when he owed her a death, and she told him to kill himself. He talked her out of it at the time, but would he perhaps sacrifice himself now to save her?
This theory made intriguing use of old plot points, but failed to explain why Jaqen would take Arya's place after ordering her assassination. Wouldn't it be easier to just tell the Waif to let her go?
The Waif didn't actually stab Arya, because the Waif is Arya. Is your mind blown? Well it shouldn't be, because that idea was a cheap
knock-off that never really made sense if you gave it too much thought.
Option 3: The Waif didn't actually stab Arya, because she was using stage trickery, such as a bag of pig's blood under her shirt. This theory at least made sense of Arya's aloof approach to being on the run from a brutal, shape-shifting sociopath. She was being awfully conspicuous after fleeing the House of Black and White -- standing on a bridge like a sitting duck and letting a stranger get within stabbing distance.
Her laziness would make sense if it were all a trick, though. After saving Lady Crane, the actress owed Arya something. So, the theory goes, Lady Crane helped Arya with some stage trickery.
That theory wasn't half-bad. But it was wrong. They all were.
In the end, Occam's Razor was right. Sometimes the right solution really is the simplest one.
The Waif stabbed Arya. She really was bleeding profusely and clinging to life while stumbling through the streets of Braavos. She made her way to the theater, however, and Lady Crane found her, took her home and patched her up. A bowl of nasty soup and a little Milk of the Poppy and Arya was on the road to recovery.
Of course, the Waif wasn't going to stop hunting. She tracked them down, killed Lady Crane and went after Arya.
After a chase through the streets of Braavos, Arya - against all odds - emerged the victor. She lured the Waif back to the House of Black and White, then extinguished a candle and let Needle do the rest.
At least there's one thing to be said for this whole Braavos subplot: There turned out to be a reason for Arya to go blind for a couple of episodes. It was the only way she could beat the Waif.
How will the rest of her time serving the Many-Faced God be relevant? There must be some reason, right? Let the theorising begin. Just don't expect to be right.