In season one of Game of Thrones, back when all of your favorites were still alive and (kinda) well, Cersei Lannister uttered the now famous line, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” Ned Stark, we quickly learn, should have still heeded her warning. In a world as dark and corrupt as Westeros, a rigidly principled man like Ned was never going to survive if he didn’t budge. Unfortunately for the Stark patriarch, he lost his head before he learned his lesson, and Robb followed in his footsteps to an early grave. However, at least one of his children has learned from the mistakes of her father and is learning to live in a morally perilous world.
In the classic fairy tales, the heroes were pure and the villains were evil. But Game of Thrones isn’t that kind of story. Dragons may be real, but moral flexibility is the key to survival and success. As we approach the final seasons, speculation has ramped up about who will ultimately end up on the Iron Throne. Will Danaerys reclaim her birthright, or will Jon embrace his Targaryen blood and lead Westeros against the terror north of the Wall? Cersei ended season six as a major player, blowing up her enemies in the Sept and bringing some more ill-gotten glory to the Lannister name. And then there’s Tyrion, who has consistently been one of the best players since episode one. However, a dark horse option has emerged: Sansa Stark.
Sansa started out the show as a bratty preteen who only cared about becoming a princess and marrying her beloved Joffrey, so much so that she accidentally aided in the execution of her own father. Since then, Sansa has been frequently and punishingly reminded that being a princess is nothing like she believed it would be.