"Game of Thrones," the long running fantasy epic series based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, started its seventh season on HBO recently. The TV show has often been described as an anti-Lord of the Rings; in that, even its heroes display ignoble traits, no great example of that characteristic occurred than in the opening scene of the first episode of the season. Some spoilers follow.

What came for the House Fey

The scene opens with Walder Fey, the old monster, addressing a banquet attended by his retainers and various other hangers on. Right away the viewer is taken aback.

Wasn't Walder killed by Arya Stark in the last season? Maybe we're witnessing a flashback or a dream sequence.

Those who had been paying attention knew what was going on. "Walder" serves up the best wine from his cellars and proposes a toast to his men. They drink and, soon after, discover that the wine has a special extra ingredient as they choke and fall over dead.

"Walder" is, of course, Arya wearing the face of the old monster while completing her vengeance for the Red Wedding. She turns to a woman who had been standing next to her, no doubt terrified out of her mind, and tells her that "Winter has come to House Fey." Then, the Stark scion turned mass murderer leaves.

A meeting in the woods

We next see Arya riding through the forest, coming on a party of soldiers taking their ease with a dinner of a roast rabbit. They invite her to join them, which she warily does. It turns out that the meeting is not a trap or an ambush. The group is comprised of amiable sorts, discussing the fighting and their families at home as soldiers do anywhere and at any time.

They ask her why she is going to King's Landing and she replies she is headed there to kill the Queen. They laugh, thinking she is joking and she laughs too, probably because she is not joking.

Arya as a tragic heroine

Arya started "Game of Thrones" as a spunky tomboy and has been forced to become, by both necessity and horrific experiences, a stone cold killer.

To be sure, she has only killed in either self-defense or people who richly deserve it. However, each murder must take a little bit of her soul as payment. If she survives to the end, with everyone on her lengthy death list having been dispatched, will there be anything left for her? Her existence has no other purpose but to wreck vengeance on anyone and everyone who has wronged her and her family. Ordinary human happiness is no longer an option, no matter what happens.