I’m somewhat careful with Arya shipping. I hate it when authors basically say that underneath a facade of bravado Arya is a delicate little lady, as if she’s just playing at being a warrior. And often, a perception of traditional gender roles means that a fic has to present the man as either physically or emotionally stronger, usually by empathising Arya’s grief or loneliness.
Well, I say fuck that. Jon Snow feels unsure of himself sometimes, so does Ned, Jaime, Tyrion and pretty much every other badass male character in the series. Arya being sad sometimes is not her inner femininity shining through, it’s her humanity and possibly her age.
That said, there’s a fuzzy line between gender stereotypes and Arya being human. And without some vulnerably it’s difficult to make a romance fic work. I try to keep this in mind when I’m reading Arya fanfic.