For nearly six Game of Thrones seasons, Sansa Stark has been pushed back and forth across Westeros as a pawn in other people’s machinations. It wasn’t until she reunited with Jon Snow and used her connection with Littlefinger to turn the tide of the Battle of Bastards that she was finally developing schemes of her own. As season six ended, we saw a very different Sansa from the young girl who left for King’s Landing in season one. This new, darker Sansa fed Ramsay Bolton to his own dogs, and even seems to be mulling over Littlefinger’s proposal for the Iron Throne.
What’s going on inside Sansa Stark’s head? The Hollywood Reporter talked to Sophie Turner to find out.
“There’s definitely something in her that’s… it’s kind of a jealousy toward Jon. He’s getting all of the credit for basically Sansa saving his ass. … She looks at Littlefinger knowing that he would have put her as Queen in the North, and given her the credit she deserves. I don’t think she’s gunning for the Iron Throne anytime soon, but she realizes that Littlefinger might be a better ally than she thought, a more trustworthy ally than she thought.”
And a more skilled player in the Game of Thrones, too. After seeing Jon Snow abandon his battle plans and charge after Rickon like a dumbass, someone like Littlefinger starts to look pretty good solely off the fact that he won’t get her killed through sheer stupidity. Through malice and betrayal? Sure. But not via typical Jon Snow know-nothing behavior.
Sansa just recently matured out of her own know-nothing phase as well, so there’s probably some sympathy there. But she knows better than most what the stakes are. The last time she made a wrong move she ended up in Ramsay Bolton’s clutches, and as Ramsay said near the end of episode nine, “I’m part of you now.” You can’t deny the darkness in Sansa that wasn’t there before.
“She had certainly been building up to this over the past five seasons, her first kill. But I think what people should be maybe a bit wary of is how much she seemed to enjoy it. I have to give a lot of credit to Miguel [Sapochnik], the director of the episode.
That was kind of his idea, the look back in, where it lasts a little bit too long. I think Sansa could maybe develop a taste for killing. Who knows. It could be a little worrying, for sure.”
With everything that’s happened to the Starks — everything that happened to Sansa — would it be so shocking if she became a cruel and heartless woman who gives no quarter to her enemies? And would that really be such a bad transformation? Westeros is a hard land, and it will only get harder now that winter has come. Sansa understands that, and now she’s got that hardness inside of her that you need to destroy your enemies and make sure they never hurt you again. She’s finally become a legitimate player in the Game of Thrones.