By Katie Gowrie
With the final season of Game of Thrones wrapping up, I need to be vocal about my undying devotion to Sansa Stark. I’ve loved her since the beginning, and that love was affirmed when I devoured A Feast for Crows—some people found it boring, but I loved it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve hailed the Mother of Dragons and I’m riveted by everything Arya does. There are so many strong women in this series, there’s no reason to love any one more than the others. But I’ll always make a case in favor of Sansa Stark—and guys, I have no idea if they’re going to kill her off.
I am concerned. I am scared.
If you haven’t been keeping up, TURN BACK NOW, as there are some spoilers ahead (though at the time of writing I had not seen this week’s episode, so no spoilers there).
Why pledge allegiance to Sansa Stark? I think it all started with my henny-pennying about a helpless little girl in trouble. But Sansa’s not a “little bird,” as Cersei and the Hound used to say; she’s arguably the character who’s grown the most since season 1. She started out behind most of the other female leads—not particularly courageous or benevolent, but a rather shallow and self-absorbed preteen. By season 8, she’s grown into an intelligent, fair-minded woman capable of leading a great house—possibly the North? But I digress.
Her quiet strength in previous seasons was perhaps not as obvious as Dany’s, Cersei’s or Arya’s but she is powerful in her own way. She’s grown undercover, with few people noticing, and I think this will be to her advantage in the end. While in past seasons Dany and Arya have had allies and, for the most part, have been able to operate independently outside of war-torn Westeros, Sansa’s had to be very strategic in working against her oppressors. She’s had to learn patience, making small but clever steps towards attaining her freedom, and all at great risk.
How about all those amazing Sansa moments that made your heart soar?
There was the time she almost pushed Joffrey off a ledge to his death:
And the time she took down Littlefinger:
And the time she reunited with Jon at the Wall (the most satisfying reunion in the show, in my opinion):
Plus, that time her necklace game rivaled Daenerys Targaryan’s:
Her trials have given her a unique knowledge of the war in Westeros. Remember when Jon comments to her that she sounds as if she admires Cersei? And she replies, “I learned a great deal from her,” before staring off ominously into the North?
UUUMMMMM… Think of all the information she’s absorbed, living through the war under Cersei, being passed like chattel from one great house to the next. She probably understands the political situation of the Seven Kingdoms better than anyone (okay, maybe not better than Bran). But she’s likely uncovered family secrets, military strategy, an understanding of house histories, allies, enemies, possibly a better understanding of geography, than most noble ladies (whoever’s left of them, anyway). By this point, she’s like the Westeros version of Gretchen Weiners—full of secrets! (Or would that be Varys?)
I think she’s surprised viewers this season. Each week reveals the ways she’s grown and changed, becoming ever more loyal to her family, the North and her people—and with a steely determination to fight for them. I’m glad the writers have given her space to rise up. But, this being Game of Thrones, no one is safe! She could be here one week and gone the next—no guarantees. So I’ll continue to live each week in sheer terror.
She’s capable of being a great leader, and to be frank, she deserves a happy ending. So, if she doesn’t get it, don’t expect me to go gentle into that good night.