Unlike her sister, Sansa, Arya Stark rejects the role society has determined for her based on her gender. She prefers practicing with her sword Needle to needlework, breeches to dresses, and fighting to almost anything else. At just nine years old, she must avoid being captured by the Lannisters or any of the evil bands of men roaming the land who would love to have a highborn girl to ransom—or worse—as she tries to find a way back to Winterfell. Brave and intelligent, she reassures herself by repeating aphorisms from her fencing teacher, such as “fear cuts deeper than swords,” and by regularly chanting a long list of people she’d like to kill. Over the course of the novel, Arya learns that violence needs to be used wisely, maturely, and with an awareness of its consequences. Her development from a willful, aggressive girl to a responsible but dangerous warrior forms the backbone of her story.