Literary Mixtape: Arya Stark


If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: George R.R. Martin’s feistiest heroine, the indomitable Arya Stark.

Earlier this month, we posted a mixtape for Lord Snow, king of smolder, and heard an entreaty for an Arya Stark edition (along with some others, which we’re getting to, we promise). The half-sister of the aforementioned Jon Snow, Arya is the youngest girl of the Stark line, a willful, fiery young lady who, unlike her sister Sansa, has much more interest in learning to sword fight than she does in learning to crochet. At the start of the books, Arya is tomboyish and adorable, but as they go on she displays more and more of her skills — an ability to face danger and hardship without flinching, a pragmatic temperament, and a curiosity and hopefulness even in the darkest of times. Like some others of her siblings, she sometimes dreams she is a direwolf, inhabiting her childhood pet Nymeria in her sleeping hours. Unlike any of her siblings — and unlike any other character in A Song of Ice and Fire thus far — she has had at least one POV chapter in every book, so we have an inkling that she just might be George R.R. Martin’s favorite. Nine years old at the beginning of A Game of Thrones, Arya grows up fast. Here’s what we think she would pass as a boy, practice with Needle, and get her revenge to.

Stream the mixtape here.

“Werewolf” — CocoRosie

CocoRosie is one of those bands that is perennially captivating to young girls who have always found themselves a little left of center — plus the pair knows a thing or two about cross-dressing. All that aside, we think the moment Arya heard this track open “In my dreams I was a werewolf…” she’d be captivated.

“Just a Girl” — No Doubt

The theme song for any tomboy stuffed into silks and silks and ribbons and told she can’t do things. We think Arya probably broke out of the mold even better than Gwen Stefani.

“Breakaway” — Kelly Clarkson

Oh, she’s a little girl, of course she digs Kelly Clarkson. We think this song could soundtrack any of her many escapes from any of her many homes — not the true one, though. There she belonged.

“Homesick” — The Vines

For all of Arya’s moments of desperate, hopeless homesickness.

“All Will Be Fine” — Small Sins

We can only imagine that Arya, especially while on the road with a certain person whose identity we won’t give away, might need some bolstering music to help her believe that everything might turn out all right after all.

“This Place Is a Prison” — The Postal Service

To listen to while scrubbing the floors at Harrenhal. They probably wouldn’t allow iPods, though, the bastards. Oh, Jaqen!

“Sincerely, Jane” — Janelle Monáe

For a little help dealing with a world that’s gone totally crazy — even if it’s gone crazy in a profoundly different way.

“Soon We’ll Be Found” — Sia

Another song for Arya to sing herself to sleep with on the hard, cold nights: “Well, it’s been rough but we’ll be just fine/ Work it out, yeah, we’ll survive/ You mustn’t let a few bad times dictate/ So come along, it wont be long/ ‘Til we return happy…”

“Kiss With a Fist” — Florence + The Machine

That’s what the lecherous men of Westeros get when they mess with Arya. Just saying.

“The Greatest” — Cat Power

To soundtrack Arya’s fall from grace — and her rise into something else entirely.