This week’s episode of Game of Thrones featured the surprise return of not one, but two characters. Arya reunited with two characters from her past when she met Hot Pie at the Inn at the Crossroads, and then met her old direwolf Nymeria later that evening.
For those who don’t remember, Hot Pie was one of Arya Stark’s traveling companions in season two and season three. Although he initially was an orphan recruited to join the Night’s Watch, he and Arya were captured by the Lannisters and sent to Harrenhal.
Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie eventually escaped from Harrenhal and then met the Brotherhood without Banners. Hot Pie departed Arya’s company at the Inn at the Crossroads to become a baker. Hot Pie is notably one of the few characters in Game of Thrones who didn’t meet some sort of grisly death or fate when they were written out of the show.
While Hot Pie didn’t have a large role in the series, he did give Arya some invaluable lessons on how to bake a pie, which she then used when she baked two of Walder Frey’s sons into a dish that she then served to the head of House Frey before killing him. Arya even referenced her own pie making abilities when speaking to Hot Pie in the Inn.
After departing the inn for her evening, Arya and her horse were beset by a large pack of wolves, led none other by her old direwolf Nymeria. The wolf recognized Arya, but Arya couldn’t convince Nymeria to join her on her journey back to the North.
Arya was given Nymeria by her father Ned at the beginning of season one, but was forced to let it go when it attacked Joffrey after Joffrey threatened to kill Arya.
While Nymeria hasn’t been referenced in the TV show since, it’s implied that she took over a giant pack of wolves in the Riverlands that has made several attacks on Lannister forces. In the books, Arya still has a connection to Nymeria as she often wargs into the wolf as she sleeps.
While both characters only made brief appearances in tonight’s episode, they showed Arya and the viewers just how far she’s come since the last time she tried to make her way back home.
We’ll have to see if Game of Thrones brings any other characters later this season.