The Real Reason Arya Can Never Die In Game Of Thrones

Throughout the history of pop culture, a lucky few characters have been granted immortality. Sometimes this is thanks to special heritage, or a curse, or, more often than not, a company's refusal to kill off a reliable piece of intellectual property. Other times, as with Arya Stark from "Game of Thrones," it's thanks to emotional extortion on the part of an author's wife.

George R. R. Martin, the writer who has caused a million nerd ulcers with his staunch willingness to slap chop his characters whenever the spirit moves him, was married in 2011 to his longtime partner Parris McBride. The two have been together since at least the early '80s. They seem very fond of each other. With close proximity to the throne comes a measure of power, and according to Arya actress Maisie Williams, McBride used hers to keep the young Stark saying "not today" to the god of death, even on her husband's most kill-happy days.

George R. R. Martin knows that keeping Arya alive is what's good for him

The revelation that Arya was death proof came courtesy of a 2015 Cosmopolitan interview with Maisie Williams. In the wake of the onscreen passing of Jon Snow, which we're told was entirely permanent and in no way a cruel trick on the part of the showrunners, Williams was asked about her odds of staying relatively upright and unexsanguinated in the coming seasons.

She then revealed the secret to her longevity: George R. R. Martin's wife had an affinity for Arya and Sansa Stark. "His wife did actually say that if he ever kills off Arya or Sansa, she's going to leave him," Williams recalled. "I'll just keep smiling, and say 'if you want to stay with your wife, you've got to keep me alive!'"

The "don't kill me or your wife will leave you" maneuver is generally viewed as dirty pool, narratively speaking, but it kept Williams working for eight seasons. That said, people change, and it's been a decade since the last book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series was released. Maybe by the time book six, "The Winds of Winter," comes out, Martin will feel differently. "Chapter One: Arya fell off a horse and died. Parris, I want a divorce."