Game of Thrones has given us a lot of memorable moments over the years. Moments like Ned Stark’s execution, the Red Wedding, and Hardhome. At times, the show can really feel like it’s own sport. In a way it is. There are rivalries. Everyone wants to win the title. There are epic battles. GoT highlights should be shown on ESPN every Monday morning.
Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Arya Stark. Which name doesn’t belong?
Last Sunday, Arya Stark gave us a moment that will be shown in highlight reels for years to come. When TV montages of the best moments from the best shows are shown, this will be part of it. Which got me thinking. There have been a ton of amazing sports moments over the years. Arya’s moment is right on par with some of these memorable sports events. Which one is it most similar to though?
The easiest comparison to make is with MJ’s in-air hand-switch layup in the 1991 NBA Finals, for obvious reasons:
They literally both switch hands and see success happen as a result of that switch. But it didn’t feel right as the comparable moment, besides the fact that they both did a similar move.
I kept trying to think of an event that had similar emotions to the Arya moment. What were people feeling as the moment unfolded? What was the significance of the moment? What was the shock factor? These were all key pieces into why Arya’s moment became such a massive event.
We also aren’t talking about everything that led up to the moment or what happened after. Just the moment itself. The best way to think about Arya’s moment is to see this video of a bar watching the moment unfold live:1I’ve always thought that it would suck to watch GoT at a bar, with lots of other people. You never know if the quality will be good, people will be talking, it’s not as comfortable. Seeing this video made me regret this line of thinking. This seemed awesome.
If you didn’t see the GoT video in the bottom right, you probably would think these people were watching a major sports moment happen. It’s as if the U.S. men’s soccer team actually won the World Cup.2This will never happen. At least we have the women’s team. Or your team won the Super Bowl on a Hail Mary. Or even seeing the DVD screensaver finally hit perfectly in the corner:
The anticipation before the moment. The uncertainty of what the outcome will be. And then the ultimate payoff happens. The MJ moment while surprising and out of nowhere, wouldn’t get these sorts of reactions.
The only moment that eventually came to mind happened in 2005. It was at a golf tournament of all places and with one of the greatest golfers of our generation. Let me remind you of the moment:
Think about it. In a huge moment at the Masters, at a crucial hole, Tiger was in a really tough spot, while his main competitor was sitting pretty. Listen to the announcers talk about how difficult this shot will be. How one of them said how lucky he would be to even get it close to his competitor’s ball. Listen to the fans as they go from increasing excitement, to disappointment, to insanely loud cheering.
You could switch out the fans at the Masters with the people at the bar, and you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference. You could replace Verne Lundquist’s call and have it dubbed over Arya’s moment and it would be exactly the same.3Verne would say “Here it comes” as the Night King and Bran are locking eyes in anticipation of the upcoming death. “Oh, my goodness!” comes in after you see Arya appear behind the Night King. The bit of silence occurs after the Night King catches Arya and you think it’s over for her. Then the “OH, WOW!” happens right when Arya switches hands and stabs the Night King.
“Here it comes … Oh, my goodness! … OH, WOW! IN YOUR LIFE, have you seen anything like that?!”Verne Lundquist, 2005 Masters
Look at the evidence. As the ball is heading towards the hole, that’s Arya’s leap towards the Night King. Tiger’s ball stopping at the lip of the hole, that’s the Night King turning and catching Arya before she gets to him. Tiger’s ball getting that last rotation before falling in, that’s Arya doing the hand switch and stabbing the Night King.
This is the correct comparable moment.
They are both incredible achievements in sports that deserve their places in history. Throw in Arya’s moment in all sports highlight montages moving forward. It has earned its place among the truly improbable moments from our favorite athletes and teams. Raise her Stark armor to the rafters. Arya Stark is the G.O.A.T. What do we say to the God of Doubters? Not today!