The list of beloved characters in “Game of Thrones” is a lengthy one, but if you asked anyone at the start of the series if Sansa Stark was a favorite, they would have simply scoffed.
“Game of Thrones” has a myriad of strong female characters that we choose to adore, from Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, and at times, even Cersei Lannister.
All these women have shown strength and cunning to survive a society ruled by the male gender. In “Game of Thrones,” a woman's place should be at the side of her husband, bearing children.
From the beginning, Sansa Stark embodies this female stereotype of the modern day housewife. She is the perfect image of what a “lady” should be. Because of this, she is a character who is easily overlooked in the series.
However, if you’ve stuck with the show to its final season, you’ve seen Sansa grow from a young, naive girl to an independent and strong woman. In an interview with The New York Times, Sophie Turner went on to say about her character, “She’s no longer a pawn in anyone’s game; she’s no longer a prisoner.”
Below are a few of Sansa Stark’s most unforgettable quotes from “Game of Thrones,” showing her character growth along the way.
Season one, episode six: “A Golden Crown”
Sansa: “Where do you come from, the north or the south?”
Septa: “I come from a very small village…”
Sansa: “Oh wait, I just realized I don't care.”
Septa Mordane was a tutor to the daughters of the House Stark. She often praised Sansa for her skills in ladylike duties such as needlework. When Arya and Sansa travel to King’s Landing, she accompanies them in order to continue their studies in the city. Sansa has always wanted to leave Winterfell, where she had spent most of her life.
During her time at King’s Landing, she completely changes her personality. She goes from a sweet girl to a rude teen trying to conform to the ways of the west. She even begins to change her appearance like her hair. Back home, she never would have spoken to Septa Mordane in such a disrespectful manner. King’s Landing proves to be a place of nightmares for Sansa. So much so, that she refuses to return later in the series.
Season one, episode ten: “Fire and Blood”
Joffrey: “I'll tell you what. I'm going to give you a present. After I raise my armies, and kill your traitor brother, I'll give you his head as well.”
Sansa: “Or maybe he'll give me yours.”
When the Baratheons first arrive at Winterfell, Sansa immediately catches the eye of Prince Joffrey, the Baratheon eldest son and heir to the throne. King Robert hopes to unite House Baratheon and House Stark by marrying Sansa to Joffrey.
Almost too soon, Joffrey shows his true colors of a spoiled little boy. Despite her pleading, Joffrey has Sansa’s father beheaded. Sansa wishes to return home but is forced to stay in King’s Landing and follow through with her engagement. After forcing Sansa to look at the heads of both her father and Septa Mordane, Joffrey promises to give her Robb’s, her brother, head as well. With a newfound hatred for her husband to be, Sansa replies that perhaps Robb, will give her Joffrey's head instead.
Season four, episode one: “Two Swords”
Sansa: “Will you pardon me, my lord? I’d like to visit the Godswood.”
Tyrion: “Of course, of course. Prayer can be helpful, I hear.”
Sansa: “I don’t pray anymore. It’s the only place I can go where people don’t talk to me.”
In the beginning of season four, Sansa is dealing with the death of her mother and brother. She is refusing to eat and admits she lies awake thinking of their deaths. Tyrion, her husband, attempts to console her and assures her that her mother would want her to be strong.
Sansa spills somewhat of a white lie by saying she doesn’t pray anymore. Time and time again she has been humiliated for her faith, even by Cersei. Moments later we see Sansa hunched and praying, so it appears she lied to Tyrion. In a literal sense, the Godswood really is the only place where Sansa can be truly alone with her thoughts. Unbothered by even her handmaids.
Season four, episode two: “The Lion and the Rose”
“We have a new queen.”
In a previous season, Sansa’s engagement to Joffrey is annulled when he agrees to marry Margaery from House Tyrell. Sansa is secretly delighted that she won't have to marry the monster after all. However, later on in the series, she is forced to marry Tyrion Lannister who is actually unlike his cruel family and will become a friend to Sansa.
When the long awaited marriage between Joffrey and Margaery is sealed with a kiss, Sansa rolls her eyes as she comments that they have a new queen. Tyrion simply replies with “better her, than you” a gentle reminder that her life as Joffrey’s wife would have been an endless torture.
Season five, episode six: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
“I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can't frighten me.”
Sansa is back home at Winterfell but it is under the rule of House Bolton. She is set to marry Ramsay Bolton who has a very sadistic nature even though he appears charming at first. Myranda has been a servant to the Boltons for years and is even Ramsey's lover. She is blinded by love and even believes that he will marry her one day.
Before Sansa and Ramsay's wedding, Myranda is sent to help Sansa bathe. During this scene, Myranda warns Sansa not to bore Ramsey or she’ll end up like the women in his past, hunted down and killed by his dogs. This is clearly a threat from a jealous girl and Sansa immediately puts Myranda in her place and lets her know that she will not be intimidated.
Season five, episode ten: “Mother’s Mercy”
“I know what Ramsay is. I know what he’ll do to me. If I’m going to die, let it happen while there’s still some of me left.”
Having escaped from her bedroom to signal for help, Sansa realizes it's too late and tries to return to her bedroom without being spotted. Unfortunately, she is caught by Theon and Myranda. Myranda points a bow and arrow at her and says she will escort her back to her chamber. Theon urges Sansa to comply and not try to escape. Sansa retaliates by saying she isn’t afraid to die, because even after all she’s been through, she hasn't been broken yet.
Season six, episode nine: “Battle of the Bastards”
“You’re going to die tomorrow Lord Bolton. Sleep well.”
Having escaped Winterfell and found safety at Castle Black, Sansa urges Jon to fight and drive the Boltons out of Winterfell. Jon, Sansa, and others meet with Ramsey and his men back at Winterfell. He thanks Jon for returning his beloved wife, Sansa, to him and demands Jon kneel before him.
Ramsey taunts Jon and assures him if they go to battle, thousands of men will die at the hands of Ramseys men. Ramsey proceeds to ask if they are willing to risk the life of their younger brother, Rickon Stark, who Ramsey has taken as prisoner. Sansa demands proof of her brother's captivity. To which, Ramsey presents Jon and Sansa with Rickon's direwolf head thrown at their feet. Sansa slowly looks up from the direwolves head and cuts Ramsey off when he begins to speak and delivers her line assuring his death the following day before turning around and riding away on her horse.
Season six, episode ten: “The Winds of Winter”
“Winter is here.”
From the beginning of the series, the words “Winter is coming” has been the motto of House Stark. First spoken by Ned Stark, he explained that the seasons in Westeros are unpredictable, the current peaceful summer having already lasted nine years. But when winter does come, it always hits Winterfell the hardest.
Having reclaimed Winterfell from the Boltons, Sansa tells Jon a white raven arrived from the Citadel, indicating the beginning of winter. They share small smiles as they recall their father promising the arrival of winter sooner than everyone believed. But Westeros isn’t prepared for a long winter, especially with the White Walkers on a mission to destroy the Wall.
Season seven, episode seven: “The Dragon and the Wolf”
“You’re the strongest person I know.”
It’s been years since the Starks were together in Winterfell. They’ve lost loved ones and been on individual journeys that have revealed a lot about each character. Since childhood, Arya and Sansa were complete opposites. Sansa was born to be a lady and Arya was more of a tomboy at heart. They have always had their differences and like most siblings, would have easily said they hated each other.
At the end of season seven, we see the sisters resolve their differences. Arya acknowledges that she never could have survived what she can only imagine Sansa has been through. Sansa reassures her that she would have survived because shes the strongest person she knows. Arya looks at her sister and responds with “I believe that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.”
“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
Immediately after reconciling, Sansa quotes their deceased father with this line as she and Arya look out at the snow covered land outside of Winterfell. Now more than ever, the Starks must be stronger together if they are to survive the winter.
Even though Sansa has shown character development throughout the series, her character is a prime example that femininity should never be looked at as a negative trait. Female characters should not have to take on stereotypical male attitudes to be portrayed as strong females. Sansa’s courage drives her to overcome all the obstacles thrown at her despite seeming to lose everything along the way.
Sansa Stark, now Lady of Winterfell, who at the beginning wanted nothing more than to leave home, lost her family, was beaten and raped, and forced into marriage to more than one man, prevailed all and proved she would do anything to secure Winterfell back as home to the Stark family.