Arya and the Rat Cook on ‘Game of Thrones’

arya new look

Arya has death on her mind. But her inspiration comes from a surprising source. (HBO)

There was a very special scene with Arya in the Game of Thrones finale that fans have long been waiting for. But what you may not know is that her idea for this scene came from a rather surprising source. We’ve got all the details below, but first… SPOILER WARNING. Everything below this contains spoilers for Season 6 Episode 10, “The Winds of Winter.”

Here’s what you need to know.

Arya has killed in many ways, but she had something special in store for the man who killed her mother and brother, sister-in-law and niece. She baked the man’s sons into a pie! She reveals this fact when she serves what is clearly the second piece of that pie. Did Walder eat the first slice with his sons Lothar and Black Walder in it?!

Killing Walder Frey in this way was almost certainly inspired by the Westerosi child’s tale: The Rat Cook. In it, a man’s son is secretly baked into a pie, and the father proceeds to eat his own son. But the Rat Cook is primarily a tale about guests’ right, the most sacred law that Walder Frey broke.

Bran tells the story in season three episode ten:

Game of Thrones S03E10 – Bran tells the story of the Rat CookAccording to legend, the man who would later be known as the Rat Cook was a simple cook at the Nightfort. He became infamous when he served an Andal King a pie that was made of bacon and, unknown to the King, the King's own son. The Cook killed the King's son, a Prince, in…2013-06-10T14:22:56.000Z

And here’s what the book have to say about the Rat Cook, courtesy of

In, Storm of Swords – Bran IV, the story of the Rat Cook is shared. It talks about how “The Rat Cook” had cooked the son of the Andal king in a pie and really dressed the pie up, adding lots of tasty ingredients along with red wine on the side.

Here’s where it gets even more disturbing:

“Then he served him to his father, who praised the taste and had a second slice. Afterward the gods transformed the cook into a monstrous white rat who could only eat his own young.”

The book says that the rat roamed the Nightfort, only able to eat his own kids, but his hunger was never satisfied. Old Nan says:

“It was not for murder that the gods cursed him, nor for serving the Andal king his son in a pie. A man has a right to vengeance. But he slew a guest beneath his roof, and that the gods cannot forgive.”

The Rat Cook story is also told in The World of Ice and Fire, The North, also by George R. R. Martin.

In the North, they tell the tale of the Rat Cook, who served an Andal king—identified by some as King Tywell II of the Rock, and by others as King Oswell I of the Vale and Mountain—the flesh of the king’s own son, baked into a pie. For this, he was punished by being turned into a monstrous rat that ate its own young. Yet the punishment was incurred not for killing the king’s son, or for feeding him to the king, but for the breaking of guest right.

This is where Arya likely got her inspiration. If you recall, Walder Frey offered “guests rights” to the Stark family before murdering them at the Red Wedding.

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