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Why Sansa Stark Should Rule the Seven Kingdoms on GAME OF THRONES

Why Sansa Stark Should Rule the Seven Kingdoms on GAME OF THRONES

Tracking the evolution of a Game of Thrones character is always fascinating, from Arya’s transformation into badass assassin, to Tyrion’s transition from reluctant Lannister loyalist to right-hand man of the prospective Queen that would displace his own sister. In the case of Sansa Stark, we’ve watched a girl become a woman in the most difficult ways imaginable. Sansa’s endured the deaths of her parents and siblings, sexual abuse at the hand of her second husband, and countless separations from anyone who might help protect her. As a result, she’s learned to stand on her own in such a way that she’s a respectable leader herself. By all rights, Sansa Stark could rule the Seven Kingdoms if it was what she wanted. And there are a few valid reasons that she should.

She has a rightful claim to the throne. Over time, it’s likely that the characters will learn, as the audience already has, that Jon Snow is a Targaryen and thus a worthier successor to the throne than he is as a Northern bastard. But at this point, Sansa, being a pureblooded Stark, actually has a stronger biological claim–blood is power in the world of Westeros.

She values loyalty and rejects traitors. As we’ve been reminded countless times, “the North remembers.” Sansa’s adherence to those unofficial house words gained her a few fans in the first episode of this season, when she urged Jon to reject Houses Umber and Karstark. It was a bold move, made in front of all the heads of Northern houses, and openly disagreeing with Jon took guts. Jon’s more of a “We need all the help we can get” guy; Sansa only wants the help that will remain loyal to the end. Jon wasn’t thrilled with her decision to call him out in front of an assembly hall filled with Northmen, Lyanna Mormont, and Brienne of Tarth, and that may have been the moment at which Jon realized Sansa was just as much cut out for this line of work as he is. Making her warden of the North in his absence was a step in the right direction; it’d be wonderful to see him continue down that path.

She’s willing to accept the mistakes her family has made. Given the amount of time Sansa spent alongside the Lannisters and, later, the Boltons, she’s been able to discern a number of leadership dos and don’ts (do care for your people, do be ruthless when necessary, do defend your family, don’t do literally anything Ramsay did, etc.). She’s still a Stark—loyal, resilient, courageous—but she also has the cunning of a Lannister. It’s a valuable trait, one we’re certain to see play out in the future. So far this season, we’ve seen some not-so-subtle references to Cersei’s influence over Sansa, from hairstyle to Sansa’s reluctantly admiration of aspects of Cersei’s leadership. And though that could be worrying, Sansa still has a moral compass, which Cersei seems to lack (and perhaps never really had). Someone with the wiles of a Lannister and the purity of a Stark makes for a powerful, unique leader, and that’s what we’re getting from Sansa.

She has powerful allies and admirers across the Seven Kingdoms. Littlefinger would give his life for her. Theon Greyjoy, perhaps the weeniest character in this entire show, once protected her at what could’ve been a great cost to himself. Even Tyrion recognizes that she’s the Stark who’ll be left standing after all of this; as he put it way back in season two, “Lady Stark, you may survive us yet.” That kind of admiration on all sides will lead her to greater success than she might otherwise have. Robb and even Eddard before her didn’t have the same sort of reach the Sansa Stark brand appears to.

She has Arya. There’s a wrinkle here, and his name is Petyr Baelish. Littlefinger’s plan to create a rift between Sansa and Arya is underway, and it’s hard not to speculate that Arya will kill him or he’ll be responsible for Arya’s death. (Littlefinger would never kill Arya himself, as doesn’t get his hands dirty, but he could surely orchestrate her demise.) Regardless, it’s likely Sansa will lose one ally or another. And, fingers crossed, it won’t be Arya. She’s an excellent foil for Sansa; she challenges her sister, making sure Sansa’s motivations are pure, sifting through her diplomatic statements to find the truth. She’d be a brilliant hand, and not just because that hand is unstoppable when it’s holding a sword. If the Stark sisters stay together, they’ll survive us yet—and thrive in so doing.

Do you think Sansa has a solid claim to the Iron Throne? Let us know in the comments!

Images: HBO

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