The Widow of Winterfell and the Benefit of Doubt

So there’s no punishment for treason, and no reward for loyalty? — Sansa Stark

There’s a new Game of Thrones episode on the horizon (new to most of us who are avoiding details from the leaked episode that is) but rather than looking forward to the next episode “The Spoils of War” – let’s take a look back at the first episode of the season. And at Sansa Stark.

The show’s return to Winterfell featured King in the North Jon Snow laying out his agenda for the coming war against the Night King’s White Walkers and their walking-dead wights. Jon prioritized weapons development with dragonglass, and shoring up the defenses at the Wall with wildling volunteers to reinforce Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

Jon knows the kind of threats posed by the army of the dead from his experience at Hardhome; the Wall alone might not suffice. The fear that the Wall could be bypassed led to the third item on Jon’s agenda: the utilization of the two most northern castles south of the Wall. Decisions needed to be made about Last Hearth of the Umbers, and Karhold of the Karstarks.

Jon and Sansa argued over the disposition of the castles. Sansa suggested that new families, loyal ones that fought for the Starks should be granted possession of these holdings, but Jon was willing to forgive the surviving children for the misdeeds of their now-dead elders and let them pledge fealty as a means of reconciliation.

Eventually, Jon ended the conversation by invoking his executive privilege and the relieved Alys Karstark and Ned Umber knelt before Jon and swore earnest oaths, to the acceptance of the witnessing northern lords.

It was a stirring scene when the little lord and lady pledged fealty, which gave some gravity and heft to Jon’s behavior as a righteous king, but seemingly at Sansa’s expense in the viewers’ eyes.


Jon, Sansa, Davos 1

Was Sansa being needlessly cruel in wanting to punish the children of the Karstarks and Umbers? Or was she just being stupid as some might have alleged over the years (*cough* *cough* Cersei *cough*) in not recognizing that Jon’s plan for reconciliation sets aside the past squabbles of Summer to prepare for Winter? (And the big war that Winter will bring.)

Were we supposed to interpret Sansa’s contrarian views as a hint that she was going to oppose Jon this season or the next? There’s been some debate on this topic during the hiatus between seasons six and seven, based on the ambiguous glances that Sansa and Lord Baelish were giving each other when Jon was declared to be King in the North.

It’s not my place to tell people how to think, or how they should feel about any particular character. I’m also not interested in trying to guess what the motives the showrunners and the writers have when they bring these characters to life through their words and deeds. But I am interested in trying to guess at the character’s own thoughts and motivations.

This is a subjective issues, and your mileage may vary. None of us can know these characters’ thoughts from the show, unlike in the books when we get access to their perspectives, if not access to their full thoughts.

Ned: You can just stay out of my head. I made a promise.
Lyanna: Promise me Ned…
Ned: ThinkaboutsomethingelseThinkaboutsomethingelseNotaboutJon…
Me: Dude, we totally know.

Our inability to know a character’s thoughts is a good thing in my opinion. Ambiguity and doubt are a good thing. It’s what drives discussion and speculation. There is a benefit in doubt.

If I can list my own biases: I try to go in with the assumption that these characters are striving to make rational choices. But they are fallible humans and are going to behave emotionally or impulsively at times. They will make mistakes. This is especially true of characters who are so smart, they can rationalize poor decisions.

Alys and Ned Game of Thrones

Applying this to Sansa Stark, here are my biases and assumptions:

  • She’s not stupid.
  • She’s not cruel.
  • She does not harbor ill-will towards Jon.

From those assumptions, let’s return to the conflict with Jon about the castles of the Karstarks and Umbers.

Or rather, let’s quickly break off on a tangent and tackle a related topic: Sansa speaking her mind in court. (We’ll come back to my main examination in a moment.)

After the matter is resolved in court, Jon admonishes Sansa for speaking out against him. His complaint is that arguing with him undermines his authority. He’s sort of right. He’s sort of wrong.

To be fair, Sansa could have easily made this assertion after the meeting:

Sansa: Hey Jon, when I suggested that we grant the castles to loyal families, you really shouldn’t have contradicted me. It undermines my authority as Lady of Winterfell.
Lord Royce: Now see here, Lady Sansa! When I recommended that Last Hearth and Karhold be torn down, you contradicted me! You’re undermining my authority as a great Lord of the Vale.
Jon: Yeah. But that was a stupid idea.
Lord Royce: Well, I see that now. But I’m too sensitive a person to have my ideas challenged in public!
Sansa: You snowflake.

From a Vito Corleone point of view, Jon makes sense in that public squabbles undermine the message, but Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell. She has a right to voice her opinion, just like Lord Glover and Lady Mormont do when they challenge Jon’s plan to meet face-to-face (them’s some lovely faces) with Daenerys Targaryen.

Jon: I’m going to meet up with this dragon queen.
Lord Royce: Don’t! It’s a trap!
Lord Glover: I don’t think you should go, your grace.
Lady Mormont: I agree with Lord Glover.
Lord Glover: YOU DO? This is a new thing I’m experiencing.
Lady Mormont: Don’t get used to it.
Lady Sansa: I have an opinion on this matter, but literally no one wants me to voice it, so I’ll just sit here and be extraneous.

Let’s cut Sansa some slack on being in sync with Jon or not. She’s entitled to her opinion, and entitled to voice her opinion. Even when she’s wrong.

And I don’t think she’s necessarily wrong about Last Hearth and Karhold.


703-Winterfell-Sansa-Littlefinger-1

I approve of Jon’s action in granting amnesty to Alys Karstark and little Ned Umber, it’s the move I would have supported, but I think Sansa’s plan for the castles is based on her rational priorities and not on either cruelty or being too stupid to see the value in Jon’s judgment.

Jon is planning for a war against supernatural forces from beyond the Wall. Sansa is waging a smaller war closer to home, and it’s a war that she has to keep under the radar of her friends, family, and her enemy. That enemy is Littlefinger.

Brienne: Why is he still here?
Sansa: It’s so gross, I know, but we need him. Knights of the Vale, etc. Ugh.

The Knights of the Vale at Winterfell are probably the dominant military force on-site. Lord Royce is aligned sympathetically with House Stark, but Sansa probably senses the influence that Lord Baelish has with the knights. Baelish is technically the Lord Protector of the Vale as Lord Robin Arryn’s beloved step-father. (And Sansa already knows that Baelish tends to buy loyalty from men in critical positions.)

Sansa has to keep Baelish in check, since in a moment of treachery he could dramatically shift the balance of power in the North. In my opinion, Sansa is reluctant to tell Jon her fears about Littlefinger, either because he’ll discount them or force a confrontation with Baelish that will backfire. We’ve seen Lord Royce’s own men back Baelish over Royce at the beginning of Season Six. Sansa has cause to worry about Jon trying to take Baelish on out in the open.

It would probably be worse if Sansa confided in Jon, and expected him to keep things on the down-low.

Sansa: Okay, just play it cool, I’m working on ways to cut Littlefinger off from his power base. Don’t mess this up.
Jon: I can be cool. I’m the coolest. My last name is Snow, after all.
Sansa: That might be true, but it’s irrelevant.
Baelish: Ah, good day my lady, your grace.
Jon: WE WEREN’T TALKING ABOUT YOU OR ANYTHING!

Sansa knows that in most circumstances, honorable intentions work in the North. But not always. Jon is facing a very direct enemy up north. Littlefinger is short-sighted enough not to understand that, and has lived in a world where treachery is rewarded, and loyalty can be a liability.

So, what does this have to do with Karhold and Last Hearth? Sansa’s problem is that Littlefinger has a large military force at Winterfell, a force that doesn’t have any real political ties to her and Jon. Sansa’s stated plan for the castles was to use them as rewards for those who shed blood for the Starks.

ep59-ss15-1920

Most of the North did not shed blood for the Starks. The bulk of Jon’s forces were the wildlings, and they can probably be trusted to man the castles at the Wall, but probably can’t be expected to administer large areas settled by northmen, especially those who traditionally have fought wildlings.

The heroes of the Battle of the Bastards would be the Vale cavalry. It seems logical that they should benefit from these rewards. Or at least it might not be suspicious to Littlefinger if Jon Snow granted them castles and land, something Sansa could use to the Stark advantage.

If Karhold and Last Hearth were granted to some of the leading knights (or maybe just the large holdfasts within those regions) there would be some advantages. These lords from the Vale would now owe actual fealty to the King in the North, in regards to being landholders, and would have something to lose if the Wall was breached. There would be a relationship with northern authority that did not flow through Littlefinger’s control.

The northerners in the Last Hearth and Karhold regions might not like having someone from the Vale put in place, but this is something that political marriages can smooth over. Marriages also set up a political dependency and affiliation that is outside of Littlefinger’s control.

These are the kinds of wranglings that Sansa would understand better than Jon, and would let her work to erode Littlefinger’s potential treachery by instilling an alternative authority in the knights from the Vale.

If we consider Sansa’s priorities in this light, it makes her follow-up conversation with Jon, about Ned and Robb making mistakes, something of more depth and import.


Sansa Stark Spoils of War

But isn’t it still a cruel thing for Sansa to evict the remaining Karstarks and Umbers? One of my assumptions with Sansa is that she isn’t cruel. How does this conform with her priorities?

To be fair, it seems doubtful that Alys Karstark and Ned Umber, along with any younger siblings, would be dropped out in a snow bank to freeze or starve. They’d be fostered with other northern families, with the possibility of one day outliving the dishonor incurred by their fathers.

We’ve seen fostering as a tool for building connections between families (Ned being fostered with Robert Baratheon in the home of Jon Arryn) and as the result of war (Balon Greyjoy’s yielding to Robert kicked off the fostering of Theon with the Starks.) The books have other examples of young lords growing up with the families of other lords, as a means to build up unity in the region.

This might not be what Alys or the young Umber might want, but it’s certainly better than what happened to the Reynes of Castamere.


Now, all of this is speculation based on a few short scenes, but from my perspective it satisfies what we want from Sansa. (Or what some of us want from Sansa.)

We want her to have learned some lessons during her past seasons of hard experience. We want her to have come through it better. We want her to take Littlefinger down a peg. We want this.

We don’t always get what we want. I’m cool with that. But until we do, I’m willing to give Sansa the benefit of the doubt, and enjoy the speculation that the ambiguities attached to Sansa and her unknown motivations can afford us.

The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. — Sansa Stark

I think we can make some solid guesses in regards to her motivation.

160 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I love this.

      I really like Sansa this season. I feel she has learned from her mistakes of last season, knows little finger is a threat and is trying to figure out how to neutralize him. I was very anti-Sansa last season, too just b/c of tons of mistakes she and how arrogant she was about certain things. I think her arrogance has been tempered and she knows her decisions can have life or death consequences. I think she realized strongly that Jon could have died in the Battle of the Bastards b/c she wasn’t forthright about their resources and was shaken that the Lords of the North didn’t automatically rally to them.

      Another possible reason she’s speaking out against Jon in public is to keep up the image that there is a rift between them so that LF will continue to have hope that he can drive a wedge there. We know from her private conversations with Jon that she supports him and thinks he’s a good King.

      My interpretation of her look at LF when Jon said she has the North was realizing that he was going to be an even bigger threat to them now that she had the power he said she deserved.

      MY hope and gut feeling is that the LF/Sansa plot is going to unfold into a huge bunch of awesome and we’ll go back and find so many clues that leads up to it.

        Quote  Reply

    2. There is no way that Sansa will undermine Jon to anyone especially Lurkio. That is all done with now, as far as I can see it was just about the opening episodes where she opposed him, which both learned lessons from. Sansa knows that Jon has everyone’s best interests at heart. She has faith in him and he has faith in her.

        Quote  Reply

    3. Sansa knows that in most circumstances, honorable intentions work in the North.

      Not based on what we’ve seen.

      All of this is plausible enough as supposition, but it’s way too much to presume with no actual textual basis. If Sansa was concerned about the loyalty of the Knights of the Vale (which is logically something she’d be worried about), we would see her, well, doing something about that.

      As far as the argument between Jon and Sansa, while Sansa’s position is the exact opposite of what the book character would do, neither character’s position is wrong, strictly speaking. You can find plenty of examples in both real world history and the history of Westeros where conciliating the families of dead rebels worked, and plenty of times where that just gave them another chance to stab their liege in the back later. It’s legitimate to think that the risk that Alys and Ned will never come around and be truly loyal to the man who killed their fathers is too great.

        Quote  Reply

    4. Sansa haters won’t like it, it’s too nuanced, too complex, and not simplistic, and basically it says Sansa is better politician that Jon which should be a no brainer observation but well… anyway good analysis!

        Quote  Reply

    5. No there isn’t, but if you agree with the three assumptions about Sansa above (which I do) its possible to consider them. And btw Patrick I really love your thinking in this post. Gives me food for thought, for sure.

        Quote  Reply

    6. Sean C.,

      what Sansa is concerned about it’s not future loyalty/betrayal of the Umbers and Karstarks, it’s the possible frustration and state of loyalty of the few loyal northern houses and the knights of the Vale. The fact that them taking the risk to fight for a House Stark that was nothing at that moment is not rewarded in any form, could generate frustrations with consequences unknown. In the feudal system, you might not punish the rebels and losers but you always reward the loyal.

        Quote  Reply

    7. Sansa is playing “business as usual”, Jon is preparing for a world-ending war.

      At some point, she’s going to get a glimpse of the army of the dead, and apologize.

        Quote  Reply

    8. HelloThere:
      I will never read another Sophie Turner interview again.

      I’ve enjoyed every Sansa scene this season.

      Completely agree. Based on the pre-season “hype” (for lack of a better word), I was prepared to hate her scenes. Its been just the opposite.

        Quote  Reply

    9. Sansa’s been through trauma that has shaped her greatly, giving her insight that few possess. She got a crash course in how truly terrible people can be, that nothing is as lovely as it seems on the surface, and that nothing can be taken for granted. That makes her no less prone to being an entitled little snot, stamping her foot for recognition and a seat at the table when she hasn’t fully earned it. She’s smart, has some good experience, is far more perceptive than she used to be, and still has a long way to go before she will be someone people choose to follow. I don’t doubt she’s getting there. She’s just not there yet.

        Quote  Reply

    10. Jenny:
      I mean there is no indication whatsoever that she thought any of this in the show but okay lol.

      🙂 Guilty as charged. My assumptions can also be wrong, she might be cruel, or stupid, or deliberately out to undermine Jon. Sansa is in a position where she can’t really confide in anyone, for benefit of the viewers to learn her thoughts.

      I’m hoping this will change if Arya shows up in Winterfell, or the Hound. I’d love for Sansa to get some anti-Baelish scheming going with Sandor Clegane.

      Baelish: Fight every battle, all the time, then you’ll never be surpris- Ow.
      The Hound: Surprise. You bleed a lot for a little man.

        Quote  Reply

    11. HelloThere:
      I will never read another Sophie Turner interview again.

      I’ve enjoyed every Sansa scene this season.

      Hmmm, I should hunt down some of these interviews. I try to avoid what the actors and showrunners say, because it sometimes just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        Quote  Reply

    12. You made some interesting points but I think you missed the point about why Jon was mad at Sansa. She is the Lady of Winterfell and a legitimate Stark meaning she has the potential to undermine him if she wanted to. By speaking out against Jon IN PUBLIC, she is undermining him. She should not have said that bit about treason and loyalty in public. That is definitely perceived by Jon and even other Northern lords as an attempt to override his authority. She should’ve waited and explained her position later. Jon would probably understand her point(if she made the point you made about uniting the Vale with the North). But he would still not want to take the homes away from these kids in the same way the Boltons did to him and Sansa.

      At this point, Sansa could prove that she is actually a political genius. Just because Jon has given the Umbers and Karstarks their homes back, doesn’t mean Ned and Alys can’t be used to achieve Sansa’s end. Alys is a powerful chip. Whoever marries her gets Karhold for their family. So all Sansa has to do is marry a powerful lord from the Vale to Alys and have Jon convince Alys to do it. Furthermore, if she wanted to really unite the Vale with the North, she could organize a political marriage between herself and another powerful Vale lord. She could do the same with Jon.

      Unfortunately, this didn’t happen for two reasons. 1) The show just doesn’t have the time to do this. 2) I am not convinced that Sansa is a political genius. But that’s just my 2 cents

        Quote  Reply

    13. ash:
      No there isn’t, but if you agree with the three assumptions about Sansa above (which I do) its possible to consider them. And btw Patrick I really love your thinking in this post.Gives me food for thought, for sure.

      Thank you, Ash. I like thinking about possible character motivations, without going too far into crazy tinfoil theories. Even if I’m wrong (Sansa suddenly reveals her evil nature and has Jon killed or something) I think there’s value in the speculation.

        Quote  Reply

    14. omeka:
      Sansa haters won’t like it, it’s too nuanced, too complex, and not simplistic, and basically it says Sansa is better politician that Jon which should be a no brainer observation but well… anyway good analysis!

      Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. I appreciate what you’re saying about people who have biases against Sansa, and I have to respect their position, since I have biases of my own. (And still argue against the Sansa hate)

      I agree with you that we should consider Sansa the better politician, and view her actions through that lens.

      Thanks again

        Quote  Reply

    15. Patrick Sponaugle,

      She loves trolling
      She says a lot of outlandish things like Sansa could become the next evil Cersei, and that shes now the most brilliant player in the game, and that Jon is sexist, etc…

      And yet, what I see on screen is a young girl, coming into her own, and finally being able to voice her opinion and intelligence after years of being forced to squash it down. Shes still got a long way to go. LF is still a crutch for her I think, she needs to gain enough confidence in her own abilities and learn she no longer needs him. Shes still very green, and Im glad about that.

        Quote  Reply

    16. Jon should meet with his crew before he speaks in public about his plan. Isn’t that what a small council is for? I would guess that Davos is Hand of the King and Tormund, Sansa, possibly Royce and Brianne are on the council. Wouldn’t he run his plans past them first? Instead of blurting them out to everyone? And why are people cool with a 10-year old (Lady Mormont) speaking her mind, but not Sansa?

        Quote  Reply

    17. Different people respond differently to different conflicts.

      EXAMPLE: People’s comments on Grey Worm/Missandei love scenes in trailers ranged from, “How does that even work?!’ to “Yuck! He’s a eunuch!” and some of those same people want to see Jon and Dany get it on and that would be incest and that should gross them out but it’s not real and they are attracted to one or both of those characters so they don’t even care about context.

      Sansa and Jon’s conflict is for people that don’t understand or care about the WWs. At the end of the day my opinion is that Bran is the most important character because he can actually save the world, but there are people who are only interested in the human conflict and Sansa has dealt with more on that front than most of the characters in the show.

        Quote  Reply

    18. Ten Bears:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      I am SO on board with Sandor cutting down DouchebagFinger mid-smirk.

      It’s like #1 on my list. Along with Sansa telling Baelish “I’m sentencing you to death, for the slaying of Ser Dontos. I saved that man’s life. You had no right to take what was mine.”

        Quote  Reply

    19. Sue the Fury,

      If they wanted to show that Sansa was a political genius, she could still make alliances with the Vale even with Jon giving the Umbers and Karstarks their home back. That’s the point. Now, if you want to say that they didn’t do this because of time constraints(which I mentioned), fine. But Im still not seeing where Sansa is good at politics. She gets some grain to Winterfell. Cool. She’s apparently a blacksmith apprentice to Gendry. Cool. That’s not actually politics. That’s my point and I think you missed it.

        Quote  Reply

    20. thorne garnet:

      why are people cool with a 10-year old (Lady Mormont) speaking her mind, but not Sansa?

      Because they probably view Sansa with suspicion. Lady Mormont is of the north, born and bred. I doubt she’s stepped foot past the Neck. There’s no doubting her loyalties. Sansa looks like her Southern mother, spent a considerable time in the South, and was married to a Lannister and a Bolton, enemies to House Stark. However untrue or unfair that is, Sansa’s got to prove herself one of them in a way Lyanna doesn’t. Her experience and skill with political intrigue wouldn’t exactly endear her to them as that isn’t a quality prized in the North (however necessary for someone in the court to have).

        Quote  Reply

    21. HelloThere,

      Thumbs up! I appreciate you cutting Sansa some slack. I want everyone to more or less make rational choices, and some of those choices can be suboptimal.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Bella’s Bell,

      In a response to myself, Sansa could prove herself a political genius by convincing the other lords to send their grain to Winterfell if those lords try to rebel against that law. But the plan itself is not really political

        Quote  Reply

    23. elizabethe,

      Thank you so much! And thank you for sharing your thoughts on Sansa’s motivations, and how her actions last year could be shaping her behavior going forward.

        Quote  Reply

    24. If everyone has been paying attention to interviews, and preseason hype, and coming in with the expectation that we need to now see Sansa as a “political genius”, then I agree, its not there.
      Nor should it be. Tune all that out…Those interviews have damaged our outlook on the character

      Shes a young girl getting her first taste at leadership, and learning that she wears it quite well. Shes still coming into her own. And THAT has been shown beautifully.

      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Its not really about cutting her slack, we need to tune out the off season conjecture, and see the character and story thats actually being shown. Which is not that Sansa transformed into a political mastermind evil genius, lol.

        Quote  Reply

    25. HelloThere,

      I still love Sophie Turner’s interviews, even though I tend to take them with a grain of salt. In this particular case, however, I think she was just being a good soldier for HBO, and having some fun doing it (as is her style). If it wasn’t evident before the season, it’s abundantly clear now that “Jon and Sansa will be in conflict with one another” is Season 7’s version of “Jon Snow is dead”. Technically true at the beginning, but significantly different from what the actual story of the season is concerned with. It’s clear that Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, and everyone else involved in the production were trying to conceal the fact that Jon heads south to meet with Daenerys by Episode 2, and Sansa’s primary conflict for the season will center around her relationship with Littlefinger. He’s always been her foil to reckon with.

      I’ve really appreciated that, public disputes about politics aside, we’ve seen multiple scenes this season where Jon and Sansa speak to one another honestly and with obvious affection for one another. Their conversation on the Winterfell walkways in Episode 1. Their discussion of Tyrion’s letter in Episode 2, where Jon solicits Sansa’s honest opinion. The look they shared after Jon left Sansa in charge of Winterfell, and their sad, but clearly loving wave goodbye. Jon telling Tyrion that Sansa is “starting to let on” about how smart she is. Sansa telling Bran how she wishes that Jon were with them … and seeming to genuinely mean it. It’s clear that after everything they went through in Season 6, the two of them have become closer than they’ve ever been in their lives. Whatever their disagreements, it’s not spilling over in a way that damages their sibling bond, or undermining how grateful they are to have found one another.

        Quote  Reply

    26. HelloThere:

      Shes a young girl getting her first taste at leadership, and learning that she wears it quite well. Shes still coming into her own. And THAT has been shown beautifully.

      This! She’s not there yet, but she’s making tremendous progress, even if she’s not perfect. The journey is what’s fun to watch – even if it can be frustrating! 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    27. Bella’s Bell:
      You made some interesting points but I think you missed the point about why Jon was mad at Sansa. She is the Lady of Winterfell and a legitimate Stark meaning she has the potential to undermine him if she wanted to.

      I appreciate what you’re saying, but in fairness to Sansa, she made her suggestion first. It seems a bit unfair of Jon (who I freaking love, don’t get me wrong) to not entertain debate from her. He’s correct that his message is stronger if they’re united, I respect that. I also think people should back up their positions. Jon backed his up, and I felt it played well to the assembled northerners.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Bella’s Bell:
      You made some interesting points but I think you missed the point about why Jon was mad at Sansa. She is the Lady of Winterfell and a legitimate Stark meaning she has the potential to undermine him if she wanted to. By speaking out against Jon IN PUBLIC, she is undermining him. She should not have said that bit about treason and loyalty in public. That is definitely perceived by Jon and even other Northern lords as an attempt to override his authority. She should’ve waited and explained her position later. Jon would probably understand her point(if she made the point you made about uniting the Vale with the North). But he would still not want to take the homes away from these kids in the same way the Boltons did to him and Sansa.

      I see a totally different reason Jon was (and had a right to be) mad at Sansa for questioning him in front of his court. At this point in the story Jon is Sansa’s older brother (remember WE know he is not, but THEY dont) AND her king. Jon is defacto head of the north, of her family, and of Winterfell. In the time and place GOT takes place in that means, in public at least, she keeps her mouth shut.
      I also believe Sansa had legitimate gripe with Jon for ,if not asking her advise, at least keeping her in the loop. As his sister she deserves that and I think he got the message as we see him make a point to ask for her advise in the next episodes (but he is still working on the “let her know what I thinking” thing lol).

        Quote  Reply

    29. I thought Sansa started setting up Baleish (in earnest) since 6-10, no way she’s forgetting what his miscalculations on Ramsey, or killing her Aunt ( as screwed up she was ), her reminding him about betraying prior houses for his own gains; she’s missing some info, she also knows Jon and now Bran are a threat to LF plans, absolutely no way is she going to let him hurt them.
      We see her worried at the end of season 6; in 7-1 she is giving valid points to Jon, doing it public has multiple reasons one of which is knowing he is there and she is setting him up with truths, where honesty from the Northern Lords fall on both sides of Jon’s argument.

      In 7-2, I think Jon and Sansa ironed out most of their problems, yet he still managed to blindside her with leaving WF and the North” in good hands” I saw many YT videos saying oh yeah she’s happy now he gave her power, she’s going to betray him etc.
      Anyone who payed attention to that scene saw she was not, happy; she was actually fearful ; her protector is leaving ( despite what she said about protection in 7-1 ), she went through shock,fear,reluctance and finally acceptance.
      Sansa’s quick look to LF mimics her look and feelings at the end 0f 6-10, she knows he will try and use this; only two people were smiling in that scene ( Sansa wasn’t one of them ), Brienne and LF, Brieene got what Jon did: in one action, he acknowledged her, he provided and instilled confidence in her thinking and abilities, but one of the more subtle thing he’s doing goes back to Craster’s Keep: LC Mormont to Jon; “You’re to lead one day ( Jon nods ) Learn to follow ” Jon is grooming her for leading and commanding people, it’s a subtle move; Brieene understood it, LF sees it as a manipulation play that he can exploit.
      LF is soooo screwed, Bran is there, I’m sure Sansa now knowing what Bran can do will engage him for info, and we can add Arya also ( if they get pass their problems ) since she was in the after ep 3 next on

      Does this mean Sansa won’t go against Jon later ?
      No, but if she does, I think it be more because he may do something that the North won’t want ; bending the knee, allowing Dani to rule over the North etc.

        Quote  Reply

    30. I have to admit, I was angry with Sansa when she undermined Jon in the first episode, but the next scene immediately dispelled all of it. I was worried after Season 6, because it wasn’t completely clear to me where Sansa’s thoughts were at, regarding Littlefinger especially. I’m still not convinced she’s graduated to savvy politician, but she IS very good at holding her cards close to her chest, and I’m proud of her for that. After watching the last episode several times, I do believe she’s capable of handling her position as Lady of Winterfell, and attempting to play a long game with Littlefinger. I don’t know what effect Arya’s return will have on Sansa, but I hope it’s a positive experience for both. I don’t necessarily think she’ll spill all her beans to Arya, because she’s wary of fully trusting anyone. But perhaps she’ll come around to opening up to the rest of her remaining family again.

        Quote  Reply

    31. Carole H:
      There is no way that Sansa will undermine Jon to anyone especially Lurkio.That is all done with now, as far as I can see it was just about the opening episodes where she opposed him, which both learned lessons from. Sansa knows that Jon has everyone’s best interests at heart.She has faith in him and he has faith in her.

      I agree! The hyped Jon vs. Sansa conflict was not evident to me in 6×10 nor in any episode so far this season. They simply acted as siblings do – squabbling, disagreeing but in the end you can sense they care for each other. Not sure why they insinuated the “Sansa will betray Jon and side with LF” idea. Sansa’s been nothing but Team Jon:
      – declared Jon was a Stark to her and thought he should take the Lord’s chamber
      – praised Jon for being good at ruling (there’s a “but” after that, but she made sense)
      – was visibly worried for Jon about going to Dragonstone
      – was visibly sad when Jon left WF
      – wished Jon were there to see Bran

        Quote  Reply

    32. Jenny:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      I agree with all three of your assumptions about Sansa but I still don’t think she thought any of this in the show.

      That’s completely fair. But do you think it’s likely that she considers Baelish a danger to Jon, and would want to try to minimize his power and influence? I’m fine with not convincing you about my read on this one scene, but I don’t think Sansa is not noodling some of this through, maybe not my specifics of arranging political in-roads with the Vale knights.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Very good analysis! I am sold on your take on Sansa. And while I understand Jon’s decision, I think Sansa’s way would have been more pragmatic. Jon’s decision was more emotional, from the gut and heart, a Stark trait that has backfired on both Ned and Robb. Ned chose to have mercy on Cersei and her children, and it got him killed. Not saying he should have wanted the children murdered, but he could have figured out some other way to deal with what he knew. He had time, there wasn’t a big rush, no one else knew the truth about the children. And Robb, of course, broke a promise for love, and it got him, his wife, unborn child, and his mother all murdered.
      Sansa is right: Jon needs to learn from the mistakes of Ned and Robb. I have a feeling there will be treachery from LF/the Vale men that could have been avoided by awarding them the Karhold and the Hearth. Ugh.

        Quote  Reply

    34. I have to confess that until this season I wasn’t a huge fan of Sophie or her character, but this season they’ve BOTH come into their own in a big way. Now that Jon has left Sansa in charge (“okay sweetheart, you’re up! It’s showtime”), she’s got the “credit” and the power she’s felt she deserved. It’ll be interesting to see what she does with the opportunity.

      As for the Karstark-Umber conondrum: I felt both Sansa and Jon were right. Those who bled and died should’ve been rewarded at the expense of those who betrayed and backstabbed. On the other hand, Jon is correct in not visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, especially as to families who were traditional Stark allies for centuries until circumstances and a few now-dead jerks caused them to break faith. Jon’s a conciliator: which is now so much more important than intra-house squabbles.

      I’m actually perplexed by Lord Glover more than anyone. In last season’s finale, he apologized for not fighting with Jon against the Boltons, asked for forgiveness, and gave that rousing (though belated) declaration: “House Glover will stand behind House Stark, as we have for a thousand years. And I will stand behind Jon Snow, the King in the North!”

      And yet, as soon as King Jon orders that all men, women, boys and girls must prepare to fight, Lord Glover started whining about putting a sword in his (grand?)daughter’s hand; Little Bear Lyanna Mormont had to shame him AGAIN. And then Lord Glover started bitching openly about Jon’s decision to travel to Dragonstone. Lord Glover’s ONLY response should be “As you command, your Grace.”

      Anyway, back to Sansa: it finally seemed (in the last episode) that she’s getting tired of LF. I hope she realizes his “pretty picture” is propaganda; that he didn’t “love” her mother, and he doesn’t “love” her.

      (I guess Ramsay’s starving dogs aren’t in the WF kennels anymore. Too bad. I can imagine their thoughts… “Yummy! Tastes just like chicken fingers!”)

        Quote  Reply

    35. thorne garnet:
      And why are people cool with a 10-year old (Lady Mormont) speaking her mind, but not Sansa?

      Lady Morment is Jon’s banner woman and head of her house. There is a big difference between his banner woman speaking her mind( you will notice that she NEVER said “you cant” or “you shouldnt”..just that the North needed him in the north) and his own sister PUBLICLY questioning his decisions and back talking him. That is why, as you said yourself, Jon needs to let his “team” (especially Sansa) know things before he puts it out there in the open, so that any issues or questions can be dealt with privately and then present a strong united front

        Quote  Reply

    36. selena,

      Lady Morment is Jon’s banner woman and head of her house.

      And Sansa is the head of House Stark and the Lady of Winterfell. That’s addressed in the article.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Carole H,

      Where is the drama in that? They have to fill four more episodes at WF and they need some conflict to make that interesting, plus they need to make LF’s character relevant in some way. Just having a family reunion won’t be enough.

      Trust me, if there’s nothing more certain, you can put money on LF creating doubt and mistrust among the Starks.

        Quote  Reply

    38. I was wondering yesterday if Jon’s manner of open forum dialogue with northern leaders a vestige from past northern kingdom customs or something he picked up from his time with Mance Rayder and the free folk.

        Quote  Reply

    39. Sean C.: Not based on what we’ve seen.

      All of this is plausible enough as supposition, but it’s way too much to presume with no actual textual basis. If Sansa was concerned about the loyalty of the Knights of the Vale (which is logically something she’d be worried about), we would see her, well, doing something about that.

      True, but most of us know it’s because D & D removed her Vale story where she has / is working on control of SR, where she is noticing Lynn Cobray is double dealing etc.

      Her arc is now reverting to the Vale one, just not as believable to many who haven’t read the books or excerpts.
      Maybe after the LF play , she gets SR to support her and Jon.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Grayven Reyne:
      Sansa is playing “business as usual”, Jon is preparing for a world-ending war.

      At some point, she’s going to get a glimpse of the army of the dead, and apologize.

      She’s playing a multi level battle, keeping her, Jon , and the family safe, running WF and getting food etc, and keeping LF at bay, this is not business as usual, it’s someone who sees, not just what Jon sees, but also what he doesn’t.

        Quote  Reply

    41. ramses,

      Maybe a little of both…Remember when Robb was holding the meeting with the Northern lords at Winterfell? It was similar. Robb listened to everyone, but had to assert himself finally when he made a decision.

        Quote  Reply

    42. Jared:

      If it wasn’t evident before the season, it’s abundantly clear now that “Jon and Sansa will be in conflict with one another” is Season 7’s version of “Jon Snow is dead”. Technically true at the beginning, but significantly different from what the actual story of the season is concerned with. It’s clear that Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, and everyone else involved in the production were trying to conceal the fact that Jon heads south to meet with Daenerys by Episode 2, and Sansa’s primary conflict for the season will center around her relationship with Littlefinger.

      You’d be surprised how many people are still grasping at ways to make this obvious misdirection fit the narrative. I mean, some people actually expect Jon’s meeting with Dany to just be a quick side bar before he hightails it back up to Winterfell to continue overseeing bow and arrow drills and pressing the “resume” button on nonexistent Starkbowl. I guess it does provide more discussion fodder than “Littlefinger creeps around while Sansa checks food stores,” though.

      Grail King,

      I’m sorry, but what evidence is there that Jon doesn’t see any threats beyond the Night King? The writers themselves have explicitly stated that he’s not dismissing the threat to the south but is rather prioritizing the one to the North, and rightfully so. We’ve seen no indication thus far of this “multilevel game” you assert Sansa is playing.

        Quote  Reply

    43. ginny,

      I was trying to remember what that scene was all about. Was that the dinner scene where Greywind bites off Umber’s finger and Robb was acting Lord of Winterfell?

      Or is there a scene from when Robb was KiTN?

        Quote  Reply

    44. Bella’s Bell,

      She is still learning, and most agree she should have voiced in private; but Jon error also, as KITN he can’t do it in a vacuum he should had talked to Sansa and Davos prior so they would be on the same page; NIETHER one of them had invalid arguments, they’re winging this at the moment, but to me they got most of it ironed out in 7-2.

        Quote  Reply

    45. ramses,

      The one I’m talking about is the one where Grey Wind bit off the finger. That was when Ned had been taken prisoner, and Robb and the Northern lords were planning war in response.

        Quote  Reply

    46. HelloThere,
      LF is still a crutch for her I think, she needs to gain enough confidence in her own abilities and learn she no longer needs him. Shes still very green, and Im glad about that.

      I don’t think he’s a crutch, he’s a problem she needs to solve and eliminate, if anyone is a crutch, in all honesty, it was Jon. Despite all she said about Jon not protecting her she wants his protection with Jon leaving and placing her in charge solves that, now she will show or not show who Sansa Stark truly is.
      I tend to have an optimistic outlook in life and it usually shows when it comes to Sansa.

        Quote  Reply

    47. Sansa screaming “You’re abandoning your people!” in front of everyone was stupid beyond belief. If they turn on Jon, the whole family loses power.

      No D&D won’t have her side with LF, obviously.

        Quote  Reply

    48. I was hoping that Jon and Sansa fall in love somehow inspite of not wanting to. And when Jon finds out his true parentage then they can become guilt free about it. All those looks that these two keep exchanging could turn out to be in this direction if you look back. But after Jon and Dany meetings it seems more likely the writers want to pair up these two somehow. Personally I root for Jon and Sansa.

        Quote  Reply

    49. selena: I see a totally different reason Jon was (and had a right to be) mad at Sansa for questioning him in front of his court.At this point in the story Jon is Sansa’s older brother (remember WE know he is not, but THEY dont) AND her king. Jon is defacto head of the north, of her family, and of Winterfell. In the time and place GOT takes place in that means, in public at least, she keeps her mouth shut.I also believe Sansa had legitimate gripe with Jon for ,if not asking her advise, at least keeping her in the loop. As his sister she deserves that and I think he got the message as we see him make a point to ask for her advise in the next episodes (but he is still working on the “let her know what I thinking” thing lol).

      Jon is KITN, Jon is not head of WF, he has no rights to it as a bastard as the North thinks, or as Lyanna’s son as we know he is.
      The two most powerful people in the North are Jon and Sansa; Jon as the chosen King, Sansa as the head of Winterfell and ( since Bran is opting out ) Lady of WF, it’s her job to protect the interest of said house and it’s people she has every right to question him ( in private is best ) more then any other house.
      They’re both growing into this, they both were correct, and Sansa did come around, as did Jon in 7-2.

        Quote  Reply

    50. Carole H,

      Eventually. But she will be tested.

      There is absolutely no investment in her character if she just seems to be unchallenged by the only antagonist in WF.

      My guess is she will be tempted by him, and will begin to have doubts, but finally side with her family and completely wrong foot LF.

      Now, you could argue that she could be pretending all along, but if so, she needs to trick us and not just LF or there will be no tension.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Sansa isn’t stupid, cruel, nor trying to undermine Jon. If anything I see her trying to protect Jon, and now Bran (and Arya if she returns to WF). She’s not going to pick up a sword to do it though. Perhaps that’s why she never answered LF as to why she’s unhappy. She’s trying to figure out how to best protect her family. If Jon is facing the threat to the North, that leaves Sansa free to figure out how to deal with the threat from the South. That’s the point of the pack, and Jon and Sansa are the head of the Stark pack.

        Quote  Reply

    52. Grail King,

      Jon is TKITN because he is acknowledged to be Ned Stark’s son. The North only recognises the Starks as the ruling dynasty of the North.

      It’s not just his military competence or the respect that he has earned, it is birthright. The northern lords have chosen him as their king and glossed over the fact that he isn’t legitimate.

      If the Starks are the ruling dynasty of the North and he is the acknowledged KITN, then by law and custom, he MUST be head of House Stark. It makes no sense at all to claim otherwise.

      Which is part of the problem with the writers not having legitimised Jon in the show. He simply can’t be head of that family unless he’s legitimised and he can’t be king unless he’s the legitimate head of that family.

      It’s bonkers and though I love the show more than the books at the moment, Martin is far to informed by the realities of the history he is heavily inspired by to make this sort of silly mistake.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Silent Sister:
      “…I don’t know what effect Arya’s return will have on Sansa, but I hope it’s a positive experience for both. I don’t necessarily think she’ll spill all her beans to Arya, because she’s wary of fully trusting anyone. But perhaps she’ll come around to opening up to the rest of her remaining family again.”

      I shouldn’t be greedy, since two of the three items on my S7 Wish List have already been granted: Arya reuniting with Nymeria, and the return of Hot Pie (to break the happy news to Arya).
      However, I’d love a heart to heart talk between Sansa and Arya, and in particular, for Sansa to share how she was brutalized by Joffrey in KL, e.g.:

      Sansa: “Joffrey’s sadist Kingsguard Ser Meryn punched me in the face and bloodied my lip; then in the throne room Ser Meryn punched me in the stomach and ripped open my dress. He was smiling the whole time and I could see by the look in his eyes that he enjoyed hurting me!”

      Arya: “If we’re talking about Meryn F*cking Trant, you don’t have to worry about the look in his eyes anymore.”

      Sansa: “What do you mean?”

      Arya: “I gouged out his eyes and stabbed him in the face twenty times.”

      Sansa: “No way!”

      Arya: “Way. And he punched me in the stomach too…right before I filleted his eyeballs and knifed him in the stomach a bunch of times.”

      Sansa: “What did you DO to him?”

      Arya; “Let’s just say he got more than a bloody lip. His face looked like a pin cushion and blood was pouring from his eye sockets before I was done with him.”

      Sansa: “Before??? What else did you do?

      Arya: “I tried to conduct an exit interview with him, but he wasn’t in a talkative mood. Perhaps that was because of the gag I stuffed down his throat. Or the punctured lungs. Or leaking stomach contents. Or severed arteries. It’s really amazing how many times you can stab someone and keep them alive if you have a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy.

      Sansa: “So what happened to him?”

      Arya: “Our conversation was going nowhere. But I made sure he knew it was a Stark who was killing him, before I slit his throat.”

      Sansa: “That’s my girl!!!!”

        Quote  Reply

    54. Something else to chew on before the open chat starts; the Missandei and GW sex scene. Specifically, Missandei’ s questioning of GW.

      Missandei’s line delivery of, “is that what I am, your weakness”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_SsRmqTHw0

      reminded me so much of the Waif’s line delivery of, “are you sure you’re not forgetting someone” at 2:34 mark
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBue47iGonM

      It caught my attention right away and it freaked me out a bit. Probably just a coincidence….. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    55. ramses:
      I was wondering yesterday if Jon’s manner of open forum dialogue with northern leaders a vestige from past northern kingdom customs or something he picked up from his time with Mance Rayder and the free folk.

      I think more from Ned. Ned also made it a point to have a different Lord at the head table to talk, get their needs and knowledge.

        Quote  Reply

    56. ramses,

      that’s kind of how I interpret it. It’s an expression of his character.

      I also think when he announced he was heading south in front of Sansa, he knew she would object and knew that would put the Lords on her side and then knew that would mean they had to support her when he made her in charge. If they had just announced “Sansa is in charge, I’m out” the Lords would have argued about it.

        Quote  Reply

    57. Violator,

      I believe him being made King in the North in the show means it will happen in the books and this is something GRRM told them about. But in the books I’m sure Robb’s Will legitimizing him plays the key factor in this event occurring. Otherwise what’s the point of it? It confuses me why they didn’t include this in the show. It clears up most of these kinds of arguments.

      Though one way of looking at, is if you read between the lines they know from GRRM that Sansa winds up the ultimate ruler of the North at the end of the story. So instead of complicating things for the viewer they kept him as bastard King Jon Snow and sent him away from the North allowing Sansa to take control now and prepare the viewer for her ultimate endpoint as ruler of the North. Just a thought.

        Quote  Reply

    58. Can I also point out, just to reinforce my previous post, that our very own favourite fire brand Lyanna Mormont, says:

      “…”but, House Mormont remembers. The North remembers! We know no King but the King of the North whose name is Stark. I don’t care if he’s a bastard. Ned Stark’s blood runs through his veins. He’s my king–from this day until his last day.”

      Jon is here be acknowledged as King because of his birthright – that he is for all intents and purposes the eldest male heir to the House of Stark and that his illegitimacy is not an issue.

      Okay, well it is an issue, but seeing as you’ve just declared yourself a sovereign nation, just legitimise Jon. Surely that was possible under earlier Northern customs before the North became part of the Seven Kingdoms? If not, just invent something.

      The same issue concerns Cersei. How the fuck is she the Queen and head of House Lannister when there is a legitimate male heir who is helpfully, no longer a Kings’ Guard?

      He must be in a position where by he is legally unable to claim the estate and titles if Cersei is to succeed.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Grail King,

      i would disagree. They made a point last season of Sansa telling Jon she considered him a Stark and telling Jon he should take their father’s room not her. They made a point of her almost immediately trying to step aside for Bran to be Lord of Winterfell when he arrived. they did this for a reason. Sansa wants respect, she wants to have a voice but she has been raised to understand ( and believe) that her brothers come first.
      Littlefinger knows this. It wasnt by accident that Vale knights showed up at the VERY LAST moment. For Littlefinge’rs plan to work Robb/Bran/Rickon all have to be dead. Robb died in the war..Bran disappeared beyond the wall and is presumed dead. Rickon is alive, in the heads of a psycho so let psycho do the dirty work. Voila, all three LEGIT starks boys dead, (then let cavalry ride in at last minute to save the day). Misson accomplished, Sansa will rule the north. He did not count on the north following The Bastard instead of the true born daughter. Ok, time for a new plan. OH WAIT..The Bastard is going south (which never bodes well for Stark men) and leaving Sansa in charge (notice the EXTREME control to not happy dance around the great hall). Plan A back in full effect.

      KNOCK KNOCK
      BRAANNN!!!!!!!!

      “….ohh WTF how many damn brothers can this bitch have come back from the dead anyway!!??”

        Quote  Reply

    60. HelloThere:
      I will never read another Sophie Turner interview again.

      I’ve enjoyed every Sansa scene this season.

      This. I remember musing once on here after reading one of her recent interviews, “Does Sophie even watch Game of Thrones?”

      Either shes a troll or has no clue what her character is actually doing/saying.

      That said, Sansa isnt a great politician. Sure shes seen some of the best snakes in the business in action, but that doesnt mean she’s one of them or on their level.

      Shes not dumb, but she also doesnt fully understand what they are up against either.

        Quote  Reply

    61. elybe,

      He’s still dismissive of the southern problem, he also tweaked LF in the crypts which is’nt a good move.
      I’m sure he knows about food etc, but he is primarily focusing on the WW issue but is having a small blind spot , he feels he has the Vale, Sansa knows they could turn on a dime with either LF wishes or a well timed raven scroll from the Eyrie.
      Also ( Not a JON issue but D & D one ) no Ghost, it would have alleviated some issues with LF.

        Quote  Reply

    62. Violator:
      Carole H,

      Eventually. But she will be tested.

      There is absolutely no investment in her character if she just seems to be unchallenged by the only antagonist in WF.

      My guess is she will be tempted by him, and will begin to have doubts, but finally side with her family and completely wrong foot LF.

      Now, you could argue that she could be pretending all along, but if so, she needs to trick us and not just LF or there will be no tension.

      Seems she’s tricking many, if they think she’s going to side with LF, and back stab Jon.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Grail King: She’s playing a multi level battle, keeping her, Jon , and the family safe, running WF and getting food etc, and keeping LF at bay, this is not business as usual, it’s someone who sees, not just what Jon sees, but also what he doesn’t.

      She sees houses and alliances, stores of food, titles and names. Business as usual. Another winter to be survived, just like the stories.

      If the North were in her hands, everyone would die.

        Quote  Reply

    64. selena,

      Yes, Sansa acknowledge Jon as a Stark, and thought he should take the Lord’s room, yet he isn’t Ned’s son, he’s Lyanna’s.
      He can be King, by acclimation or will, but he can’t be Lord of Winterfell, it will go to Bran > Sansa, > Arya, > Jon; if they die.
      I’m not sure the Will will be coming in the book, or how Sansa’s marriage will be handled.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Grayven Reyne: She sees houses and alliances, stores of food, titles and names. Business as usual.Another winter to be survived, just like the stories.

      If the North were in her hands, everyone would die.

      She’s also planning on refugees heading to WF, they won’t have time to pack or bring grain; planning for influx of thousands is NOT business as usual.

        Quote  Reply

    66. selena:
      Grail King,

      KNOCK KNOCK
      BRAANNN!!!!!!!!

      “….ohh WTF how many damn brothers can this bitch have come back from the dead anyway!!??”

      It’s rather hilarious. If Arya shows up in WF, LF is going to be like WTF! I thought I only had the bastard king to get rid of, now I’ve got to dispatch the crippled brother and the mouthy short stack sister over there. And considering one’s the 3ER and the other is a FM ninja, LF’s odds aren’t looking so good (this is completely my fantasy anyway).

        Quote  Reply

    67. I really am enjoying these excellent articles.

      Jon is right in what he does. The North isn’t the Westerlands and Jon is not Tywin. But I tend to agree with Sansa, the Northern houses and Knights of the Vale should be rewarded for their loyalty. So I’m curious about what happened to the Dreadfort and the Bolton lands?

      There are no surviving Bolton’s, someone has to take over their lands. A bigger prize than Last Hearth and Karhold, That’s a lot of real estate Jon and Sansa can use for influence over the Northern houses and Vale Lords.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Grail King,

      He’s not dismissing it as a threat, he’s focusing on the more imminent one, which Sansa herself told LF two episodes later is the right call. Jon correctly pointed out that Cersei isn’t about to invade the North in the winter and that the Night King is more dangerous. Prioritizing one conflict does not mean you have a blind spot for the other one, and D&D have explicitly said that Jon is not ignoring Cersei. I don’t know how much clearer it needs to be. If Sansa’s such a clever multilevel combatant, perhaps now that she’s in charge she can take her own advice and devise a plan to neutralize Cersei in the midst of all that apocalypse prep.

      As for Jon riling LF up in the crypts? Yeah, that was hotheaded of him. If he ever needed to describe his weaknesses during a job interview, “Dragon-blooded berserker” would probably top the list. But was it any dumber than Sansa sassing Ramsay Bolton one episode before he turned her into his new torture toy?

      Jenny,

      My issue is that her cunning game play has been a Rorschach inkblot ever since she descended those stairs in the Vale. We’re supposed to just project genius onto any decision she makes. I’m eagerly awaiting the day Sansa displays something resembling political acumen, because right now she’s mostly demonstrated her ability to state the obvious and make a scene.

      Her “politically tone deaf” brother who “only operates on emotion,” for all his faults, has made allies of wildlings, crows, and north men, successfully infiltrated an enemy camp and betrayed his lover in order to escape and relay his intel, is in the process of striking an alliance with a queen who has a massive army, three dragons, and a crap ton of dragonglass, and if that’s not enough, his book counterpart arranged marriages between house Karstark and the Thenns, took hostages from the wildlings in order to ensure their compliance, and balanced all of that with restoring castles, negotiating loans from the Iron Bank, and planning to build greenhouses to ensure that they could grow food during the winter.

      If Sansa’s meant to be a political genius by comparison, I’m going to need to see something from her that goes beyond performing the same types of administrative tasks we already saw Jon perform at the Wall, and having to infer rationales for her decisions that are never actually supported by the writing. I’m enjoying her more this season than I have for quite some time, but having the other characters sing her praises is not a substitute for actually showing her demonstrate the skills she’s being lauded for.

        Quote  Reply

    69. orange,

      But there is no such thing as a ‘Bastard King’.

      A king is a legitimate male head of both their house and state and a bastard is not the legitimate heir to anything.

      Consider the situation as it exists between Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. Now when they were married, the then princess and heir was advised by ministers NOT take the oath to ‘love and obey’ her husband. The reason was this would cause a tricky constitutional issue because the Queen isn’t supposed to be answerable to a man just because he’s her husband – she’s the sovereign head of state. If a woman became queen because of a lack of male heirs, two things could happen: either she married another royal and thus the ruling family would change or she would have to be the legitimate head of her family – no other situation could arise. Now historically, both of these situations were unpalatable.

      However, the marriage of Elizabeth to Phillip effectively fudged it. The government judged that the British public would not accept a change in their royal family – particularly to one that was still considered Greek (remember, Windsor was a name George V had chosen to disguise the fact that the Royal family had a German name).

      So, Elizabeth got to have her wish and take the oath as a wife as she wanted to, but she would not become a Mountbatten and neither would any of her children. Moreover, she remains the legitimate head of the House of Windsor.

      It is not the case that she can be monarch and yet someone else – even her husband – can be head of her own family. The same is true of Jon Stark!

      Let’s take another real example – William the Conqueror, who was also Duke William II of Normandy. He was called ‘William the Bastard’ but he had the support of the French King so that helped him secure the Duchy and to be legitimised.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Grail King,

      He can’t be king and NOT the head of the ruling house.

      That makes no sense in terms of the feudal laws which this ‘world’ operates by.

      He would have to be both TKITN AND head of the house of Stark.

      Name a single precedent in European history where you can think of a monarch who was not also the recognised head of their own family. It makes no sense.

        Quote  Reply

    71. Grail King,

      She may not ‘back stab’ Jon as you say, but if LF begins to sow doubts in her mind as to whether he will return then that could be enough. Remember, he is for all intents and purposes a prisoner on Dragonstone (despite what Tyrion says). LF could argue that he won’t be able to come back and the North leads a strong leader.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Violator,

      As far as in-universe Westoros, were Robert, Joffrey, and Tommen the Lords of the Stormlands when they were respectively King?

      edit- I looked it up, Renly was Lord of the Stormlands while Robert was alive. Still not sure what happened after their deaths.

        Quote  Reply

    73. ramses,

      Yes, renley was lord of the stormlands when Robert was king. In the books I believe stannis claimed it after he killed him but has since been taken from him by the character claiming to be rhaegars son aegon as part of HIS invasion of the seven kingdoms

        Quote  Reply

    74. For those who have not figured out this story is the parallel with Odysseus that of course being Jon, Sansa being Penelope and Danny being Calysto

        Quote  Reply

    75. Sansa: *is rude to Littlefinger in episode 1*

      GoT fans: Omg yaaaas queen! You don’t need him!!!11 she’s such a great leader and politician!

      Jon: *is rude to Littlefinger in episode 2*

      GoT fans: Omg what a terrible mistake! He was so rude. He is such a terrible leader and politician!!!111

      *Eyeroll*

        Quote  Reply

    76. Violator

      William the Conqueror was never legitimized by the French king or anyone else. Pope Alexander did support William’s invasion of England, but this did not legitimize him. William invaded England, killed Harold who had been crowned king, and seized the English throne. You could argue that he legitimized himself ascending to the English throne, but he was legitimized by any other means recognized during that time period.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Isabelle,

      That picture brought a huge smile to my face. Emilia is a delight! So is Kit, for that matter. And they’re even more delightful together. Their characters have only been together for one episode, but it’s already the gift that keeps on giving.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Patrick Sponaugle: 🙂 Guilty as charged. My assumptions can also be wrong, she might be cruel, or stupid, or deliberately out to undermine Jon. Sansa is in a position where she can’t really confide in anyone, for benefit of the viewers to learn her thoughts.

      I love assumptions and theorizing! Even though I would stand on the opposite side of this one, I’m so glad we are getting some of this speculation from someone who hopefully hasn’t been spoiled. Thanks, Patrick!

      As to Sansa’s cruelty, she’s certainly no Ramsay, no Joffrey, and no Cersei. That said, her actions from the beginning of our tale seem to me to be quite self-focused and self-absorbed, leading her to choose to lie for her petulant crowned prince over some useless butcher’s boy, and that led to the death of said boy. I am not sure we saw her shed tears for the boy who died to save her chance to be queen, but we do see plenty of tears for her Lady. She certainly shed no tears for Ramsay, her first kill, but actually smiled as she walked away – according to Dan Weiss commentary.

      From a commentary video on her meeting with Littlefinger in Molestown, Dan Weiss says:

      She is starting to look a couple of moves ahead….

      Sansa is showing us the ways in which LF has shaped her ways of looking at the world….

      If she really trusted Jon…

      Littlefinger still has some kind of a hold on Sansa.

      Commenting on the King in the North episode, Benioff says:

      Definitely a hint of conflict there…

      Little bit of anger…

      Little bit of jealousy…

      That relationship will be crucial to watch.

        Quote  Reply

    79. To bad Cersi didnt feel the same way Sansa felt about the Umbers and Karstarks. She could have saved all of us from having to listen to people defend her for no reason. Unless she kills Baelish, her whole story line is pointless.

        Quote  Reply

    80. mau,

      I would agree. Both events will happen in the books. He will be declared Jon Stark and then whatever his Targaryen name is. To lessen the confusion for the viewer they kept him as Jon Snow and won’t ever call him by his actual name until as late as possible in the story. I agree with you and think this seems a reasonable conclusion to come to for the adaptation.

        Quote  Reply

    81. Grail King: She’s also planning on refugees heading to WF, they won’t have time to pack or bring grain; planning for influx of thousands is NOT business as usual.

      Feeding people during winter is the definition of “business as usual” in the North. It’s an important task, but nowhere near as important as making sure there are human mouths around to need that food.

        Quote  Reply

    82. Mark,

      Maybe the Stark’s simply claimed the Bolton lands for themselves? Sansa is technically the “Lady of the Dreadfort” as well as Winterfell.

        Quote  Reply

    83. Her calculation doesn’t even need to be this complex to have been a good move.

      She needs to be seen as capable of speaking up and defending her ideas to be effective as Lady even if some disagree with her on a point. Very very likely some of the lords and knights in that room operate on a transactional basis and were expecting a reward, be it the knights of the Vale or some of the Northerners. By voicing what they were thinking, she made them feel as if their position had been considered, even though it did not prevail. That matters too when it comes to managing fickle loyalties.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Jenny:

      I agree with all three of your assumptions about Sansa but I still don’t think she thought any of this in the show.

      Agreed. I accept the assumptions, but there are general assumptions that equally apply:
      1. Your core values as a child inform your core values as an adult.
      2. If you treat people one way, you should treat everyone that way, including yourself.
      3. Use your strengths, but recognise your own weaknesses and act accordingly
      4. Lives must be valued, individually or in the aggregate.
      A mere Watcher cannot fully reply to such an extended, and well-written essay, Patrick. But brevity is the soul of wit, so here goes:
      1) Young Sansa casually loved her family, but was snobbish, self-centered, mendacious, disloyal, and naive. She had her own “pretty little picture”, her own “everything”, and still does. No longer naive and probably no longer disloyal, her first three attributes still apply. (I haven’t room to adduce evidence here, but will if asked. FWIW, it’s much clearer in the books.) In any case, once the scales fell from her eyes in S1E9, she used her bird-in-a-gilded-cage status to learn from her mistakes. Jon, Arya, Tyrion, Jaime, learn from mistakes too, but Sansa also learned from the snakes around her, mainly Baelish, less Cersei. She still has much Stark decency, but is the lite version of a Littlefinger/Cersei hybrid. And that is despite knowing Petyr’s motivations and some of his nefarious deeds. In S4E10, her outfit tells Petyr and us that she is mini-Cersei, dressed for ruthless power and literally on the dark side.
      As to speaking out in court, several posters have answered that. Frankly, it was inappropriate and, yes, undermining. With two HUGE enemies looming, a newly-cobbled together uneasy alliance, and varied emotions running high in the room, those sitting at High Table must be perceived as a team. Of all people, Sansa—both protocol-aware and familiar with proceedings in the KL throne room—should know this. Arya is one to blurt a contradiction to a king. But Sansa doing it, especially under the circumstances, is incomprehensible and upsetting. After being chastised by Jon and told to never do it again—well, it’s frankly inexcusable! Yes, she’s entitled to express her opinion, but not there, not then. I think he should have demoted her temporarily to sitting with the lords. Instead, ever indulgent, he hands her the reins…and her pretty little picture starts to coalesce. By the way, now that she rules the High Table, will she have Bran and Arya sit up there with her? And would she tolerate either of them countering her in a decision-making session? That I doubt.

      2) I’d dismiss the Karstark/Umber issue since both their approaches were reasonable, but you address it at length. First, for six bloody seasons several houses played footie over Sansa because she was ‘key to the North’. Two marriage arrangements went south, two were completed. The poor dear was forced to marry a kind man whom she disdained because of his looks and his family. And then she was coerced (remember, she accepted) into marrying the worst sadist in Westeros, whose family had killed her bother, mother, House, (and family of the Lords present) AND had confiscated her home. If she had really learned from her mistakes or had a shred of empathy, she would never had contemplated forcing political marriages on those children. Moreover, a thematic moral indicator throughout the show and books is that one is merciful towards innocent children. Ned particularly espoused this bedrock principle and died for it. Jon and Arya retain it (she’s never knowingly hurt an innocent, much less a child). Sansa crossed that line in advocating punishing those kids for the sins of their fathers, no matter how much she might have softened the blow. What neither you not most people discussing this brought up is that there was no need. Even if they wanted to, logistical limitations would prevent those kids from betraying Jon for either the enemy to the north or south. So, actually, they were no threat at all.

      3&4) You (and many apologists for Sansa) give elaborate strategic reasons for her to not tell Jon about the KotV. First, neither she nor even Littlefinger is a military strategist. Second, Jon consulted her and even included her in his battle planning sessions. She gave personal insights, but openly admitted she knew nothing about battles. So despite this weakness she furtively denied him the one piece of crucial, potentially life-saving military information she had. She did this to the experienced battle commander brother who succored her and reluctantly took on this burden because she had convinced him to take Winterfell and save Rickon. Even then she must have known Rickon was beyond saving but didn’t tell him that till later. I won’t try to plumb her motivations, other than to say she never wanted Jon hurt. But it was perfidious of her and a vote of non-confidence in Jon, and possibly cost thousands of lives and could have cost Jon’s. You wrote, “It would probably be worse if Sansa confided in Jon, and expected him to keep things on the down-low.” I beg to differ. It would have been better to always have fully confided in Jon (now her king) about that, about Littlefinger and keeping the KotV, about almost everything. Sansa shares and hides information according to what she wants or needs. Now she has power, she would never tolerate that in an underling (or sibling). Yes, she seemed very efficient last week and could save lives by her sensible planning. But unlike Ned, Robb, Jon, and Arya, she has never seen smallfolk as people but as numbers. She doesn’t talk to them unless they’re servants. IMHO, that too is a weakness. FWIW, I think she wants LF around to squeeze every last ounce of advice out him before disposing of him. Otherwise, if she were smart, shortly after the BotB she would have approached Royce on the QT and explained what really happened with Lysa and why she was forced to lie for LF. She might even remind him that she and Robin are supposed to marry. Royce hates LF and would readily believe her. Cheerio, Littlefinger! Instead, Sansa is manipulating for manipulation’s sake and taking a huge chance keeping a serial-killer like LF in her home. She’s smart but oh so foolish.

      Finally, you said that ambiguity is a good thing. Yes, but not if it’s constant. She is so ambiguous that viewers are confused, Sophie and cast troll about her motivations, and the Internet discusses it incessantly. (One of her Episode 4 scenes is currently being picked apart by those who’ve seen it!) Crikey! Some ambiguity is justified, but it happened so frequently that I think Sophie is not a clear emotional actress….or both. GoT is full of rich, layered, often ambiguous characters, but 90% of the time I can correctly guess what Cersei, Tyrion, Jon, Arya, Dany, LF etc are thinking and may intend. Sansa is a main character, and our comprehension of her should not be on quicksand so much of the time.

      Yes, she deserves benefit of the doubt. Ultimately, I agree with Ginevra’s conclusion on WotW a while back that Sansa is an anti-villain. I don’t care for Sansa very much, especially on the show. Her book story and motivations were usually clearer, largely thanks to POVs as you mentioned. That whole replacing Jeyne Poole as false Arya change still has me incensed. But she is still a Stark, and neither stupid, nor cruel, nor against her own family now. She’s flawed, like everyone…especially in GRRM’s world.

        Quote  Reply

    85. Flayed Potatoes,

      Being rude, and choke holding LF are two different things.

      Sansa pushing Ramsey’s ” bastard ” button was not the wisest move, she had the right to show displeasure, Jon also had a right, we know what happened to Ned though; Jon doesn’t see LF as a threat to himself, the way Sansa sees it.
      He’s looking at him as a small insect instead as a danger to his life.

        Quote  Reply

    86. SimoneS,

      He would have to have legitimized himself and in order to do this, he would need the support of the French King.

      You simply cannot be the a head of state or duchy and NOT be the head of your own family.

        Quote  Reply

    87. New to the board and recent GOT watcher!

      I don’t really get the Sansa hate in the fandom, not when there’s been so many other worthy characters of the blind hate. She made mistakes when she was a girl. A girl who had been raised to act and think a certain way. Sansa was a naive and flighty child but she grew up quickly. She’s been a prisoner, a victim and beaten down so much that would have left most people a shell of their former selves but she’s survived, rediscovered her roots and helped to take her home back. Jon wouldn’t have even attempted to take back Winterfell without Sansa.

      She’s not as feisty or a fighter as some of the other female characters but she’s smart, adaptable and has come into her own the last two seasons. She’s learned a lot and has survived.

      I don’t think she’s ever going to please some “fans” but she’s defintitely proving herself as a leader. Maybe her political abilities hasn’t been explored in depth, but she knew how the Northern bannermen were feeling in the first scenes in season 7 and from my perspective she was trying to help Jon. They were both right, but he wasn’t explaining himself in a way that his bannermen could understand or agreed with. She was arguing their point and getting him to assert himself. Her advice to Jon might come across as obvious, but Jon isn’t supposed to be a king. He was trained to be a fighter, a military man and he needs someone like Sansa who can challenge him and get him to focus on all his duties and potential enemies not just the White Walkers, just like he needs someone like Davos who has the military and political experience.

      Sansa is also scared. It’s the first time in years that she, and her family, have some type of power and she knows how easy it is to lose that power by making stupid mistakes like not listening to the bannermen, and she warned Jon about about making stupid mistakes.

      Sansa is looking out for the North, preparing for the inevitable with war looming and aware that Cersai will/could make a move and might be just as big of a threat to the Starks tentative safety as the White Walkers. Sansas also lonely and even though she now has Bran (and Arya?) she shows her vulnerability and longingness to feel safe whenever she mentions Jon. Jon is the key to her safety and she’ll do whatever she has to, to secure his place as KITN and to keep their home.

      I don’t think she’ll betray Jon. Perhaps before in season 5/6 when she was a pawn and had no options to protect herself, but if anything Starkbowl is a red herring. A red herring for when she takes down LF (probably) and to surprise us with Jon’s trust in her rule… maybes even to mask a potential Targbowl?

        Quote  Reply

    88. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Wow, that’s a huge comment, and I have to leave in two minutes to go see A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream… so I can’t fully respond. Your feedback is solid. I will defend myself in saying

      1) I’ve never defended Sansa’s decision to not tell Jon anything about Littlefinger’s offer of the Knights of the Vale before the battle of the bastards. I just implied that now in Winterfell, she might have worries about LF and the knights that she’s keeping close to her chest, in case Jon hot-headedly tips her hand.

      2) I never said that Sansa was planning on marrying either Ned Umber or Alys Karstark off against their will, or anyone against their will. Especially those two, since in my head canon, they’d be fostered off and no longer be heirs to those properties.

      We can debate this later, but I respect where you’re coming from.

        Quote  Reply

    89. Grayven Reyne,

      Your missing the point!, she asked what was the worst winter in 100 years, she’s trying to factor in the worst scenario she can , that’s not business as usual. She may not understand fully the WW themselves, but she isn’t taking them for granted either, nor her responsibilities. thinking as usual would be Lord Glover’s response.
      Also as usual would not require the other houses to send extra food in excess of normal to Winterfell .

        Quote  Reply

    90. Grail King,

      That reasoning presupposes that Littlefinger wouldn’t have betrayed Ned if only Ned had refrained from choking him. I think we all know Littlefinger well enough at this point to know that he would have stabbed Ned in the back regardless. Do we really think that Littlefinger wouldn’t be trying to remove the “complication” that is Jon’s kingship if Jon had merely said “thank you” in the crypt? And realistically, how is Littlefinger even a threat to Jon’s life while Jon is a thousand miles away from him, making friends with people who have WMD’s?

        Quote  Reply

    91. elybe,

      What makes you think it makes Jon any safer ?
      LF i over confident, he probably thinks he can wait him out, in the mean time there is Bran to think about.
      He’s a danger, Sansa knows it, Bran knows it, and if she shows up, Arya knows it.
      Wished they showed Sansa working SR and LF more.

        Quote  Reply

    92. Patrick Sponaugle:

      I just implied that now in Winterfell, she might have worries about LF and the knights that she’s keeping close to her chest, in case Jon hot-headedly tips her hand.

      The thing is, while Jon is canonically hotheaded, he’s also canonically poker-faced (“a face that gave nothing away”) and managed to stay undercover for months without “tipping his hand” until he was faced with the prospect of murdering an innocent man. The notion that he’d blow the Vale army has no basis in his characterization and seems to unfairly undermine his common sense. There’s a big difference between rushing to save your brother in a moment of desperation and spilling secrets to your enemy, which is something that Jon has never done. In fact, Jon fed the wildlings lies about Castle Black’s defenses, which in essence bought the Watch some time, while simultaneously being wound up by Orell. We have no reason to believe he’d treat sensitive military intel any differently.

      Grail King: What makes you think it makes Jon any safer ?

      Why do I think Jon is safer on an island one thousand miles away from Winterfell and courting powerful allies than in the same castle as Littlefinger? Got me. What makes you think he isn’t? What’s Littlefinger going to do, stick voodoo pins into him? Littlefinger can think whatever he wants, but he’s basically been impotent ever since he reached the North.

        Quote  Reply

    93. elybe: The thing is, while Jon is canonically hotheaded, he’s also canonically poker-faced (“a face that gave nothing away”) and managed to stay undercover for months without “tipping his hand” until he was faced with the prospect of murdering an innocent man. The notion that he’d blow the Vale army has no basis in his characterization and seems to unfairly undermine his common sense. There’s a big difference between rushing to save your brother in a moment of desperation and spilling secrets to your enemy, which is something that Jon has never done. In fact, Jon fed the wildlings lies about Castle Black’s defenses, which in essence bought the Watch some time, while simultaneously being wound up by Orell. We have no reason to believe he’d treat sensitive military intel any differently.

      Why do I think Jon is safer on an island one thousand miles away from Winterfell and courting powerful allies than in the same castle as Littlefinger? Got me. What makes you think he isn’t? What’s Littlefinger going to do, stick voodoo pins into him? Littlefinger can think whatever he wants, but he’s basically been impotent ever since he reached the North.

      I don’t, I never said that.

        Quote  Reply

    94. Violator,

      William’s situation was complicated, but there is no doubt that he was illegitimate and that he was never legitimized under Christian law. There is no historical evidence that William ever passed a law to legitimize himself or declared himself legitimate because he and his Norman lords would not have considered him illegitimate even though he was frequently referred to as “William the Bastard.”

      Despite converting to christianity generations before, the Normans practiced the polygyny in the Danish tradition. Where the men had several wives whose children had inheritance rights. Most Norman lords were, therefore, illegitimate according to christianity laws at the time.

      William’s father, Robert was the Duke of Normandy. Robert recognized William as his legitimate successor as was custom under Norman law and he had his lords swear loyalty to William before before he died. After surviving multiple assassination attempts as a child, William seized power with the support of the French king and became his most powerful vassal as his military prowess grew. Pope Alexander also recognized William’s Duchy as he regularly called on the Normans for military support. Thus, it was politically expedient for them to ignore the circumstances around his birth.

        Quote  Reply

    95. Selena,

      Yeah, from what I read The Stormlands are still in dispute at this point for obvious reasons. Point being though, someone can be King/ Queen while not being the head of their household.

      One title is the ruler of the realm, the other a vassal of said ruler.

        Quote  Reply

    96. Ginevra,

      When Sansa was brought before Robert the butcher’s boy was already dead. Even if she had told the truth, that wouldn’t have brought him back.

        Quote  Reply

    97. Ginevra,

      Well, in addition to Mycah, Sansa didn’t shed any tears for:
      • Aunt Lysa (who was no longer an immediate threat to Sansa when LF launched her out the Moon Door);
      • Ser Dontos, the poor fool;
      • Sandor (assuming Brienne told her she chucked over a cliff the “man” Arya was with – the same “man”, Sandor, who had saved Sansa from gang rape and murder);
      • Her still-missing little sister;
      • Jon Arryn (if Sansa could deduce that’s who Lysa was talking about when crying to LF “I lied for you, I killed for you”);
      • Herself, for being framed for regicide by LF.

      But let’s see if S7 Sansa has evolved.

        Quote  Reply

    98. ramses,

      They would have to be head of House Baratheon.

      They don’t need to be Lord of the Stormlands so long as that is a region that is ultimately under the authority of the Iron Throne.

      So in essence, Robert could be Head of House Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms but not Lord of Storms’ End, if he wants to give that to someone else.

      Same with the Targaryens. Aegon set up his new seat in the Red Keep and gave Dragonstone to the heir apparent and this remained the custom. However, we know that Robert broke with this custom when he game Dragonstone to his eldest brother as opposed to his eldest son.

      The fact remains, the monarch remains head of the ruling house. They have to be since the head of a house has authority over every other member of that family and so if the king or queen is not head of their own family, they are technically subordinate to someone else.

      Sansa could tell Jon what to do even though he’s technically her sovereign lord, because she would be the head of his family.

      The fact remains, The northeners recognise no king in the North except those derived from the Stark family, so a Northern king must be a member of that family and in order to be king, they’d have to be head of that family. Now in order to be head of the family, they’d have to be legitimised – how can you be head of House Stark and not be… well, a Stark?

        Quote  Reply

    99. SimoneS,

      But you would agree that in order for him to be ‘Duke of Normandy’, he would have to be recognised as a member of and head of the ruling House of Normandy?

        Quote  Reply

    100. ramses,

      That is clearly not the case!

      The dispute is because there has been a civil war by members of the Baratheon family who question whether the reignining monarch is a member of their own family and thus entitled to the throne.

      That is why Stannis and Renly both mount a challenge to Joffrey’s rule, because both are saying that Joffrey is a Lannister and not a Baratheon and thus not a member of the ruling House and so that position and with it the throne itself should go to the next in line.

      Stannis takes the position that it’s him by law and custom because he is the seconbd eldest son.

      Renly thinks he can fudge custom by being more popular than his elder brother.

      Neither, however, disputes, that once they’ve got the crown, they would be head of their own house.

        Quote  Reply

    101. Violator,

      “So in essence, Robert could be Head of House Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms but not Lord of Storms’ End, if he wants to give that to someone else.”

      Are you creating a new title?

      “The monarch remains head of the ruling house.”

      The monarch is ruler of the realm, thus ruler of all households.

      “Sansa could tell Jon what to do even though he’s technically her sovereign lord, because she would be the head of his family.”

      Absolutely not. Kingship would supplant Lord/Lady of House Stark.

        Quote  Reply

    102. I fully agree with this, the Karstarks and Umbers can’t necessarily expect to get to keep their holdings after rebelling against the Starks. What would probably have been a likelier way of handling this in Westerosi history, would be to force Alys Karstark to marry a landless Vale knight, and evict Ned Umber.

      More importantly, a decision like this probably shouldn’t be made by the full assembly of Northern Lords, but rather behind closed doors by the King’s small council.

      By the way, what’s up with them not discussing the Dreadfort?

        Quote  Reply

    103. Violator,

      “That is clearly not the case!”

      Yikes!

      What are you responding to in this post? I fully understand the dispute of The Stormlands, but thanks for the wiki lesson 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    104. A quick thought. The Northern lords etc. in both show and books are more akin to late medieval Scotland than to the ‘Wars of the Roses’ time in England – they are bloody-minded about speaking their views (as we still are, very much so). And still, the decision is taken by the leader, who may be the king, or a regent, or otherwise.

      So, Wee-Bear can speak her mind, as can Glover and such. Sansa, though, is in a rather different position and she challenges in a different mode, being still very much a ‘southron’ (through her mother and by her first marriage) and potentially seen as such.

      However, I’m rather liking Sansa’s arc here, as she would have learned skills of maintaining a large household, being trained up in this by Cat, and she now appreciates the need to think beyond the household to the needs of the people both near and far within the North. I like her attempting to get supplies from where she can in the north, with the probability that the people she asks these from will need to shelter within Winterfell during the worst winter for a hundred+ years…

      A foretelling as a ‘spaewife’ – this coming episode may be pivotal to the season. But can I keep awake for the next 3-4 hours, or do I watch in the morning? Waiting determinedly…

        Quote  Reply

    105. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Wow! Great, great post. 😏

      At this juncture, with regard to your comment, excerpted below:…
      ……….
      “(3&4) You (and many apologists for Sansa) give elaborate strategic reasons for her to not tell Jon about the KotV….”

      ….. it would be/would’ve been prudent for Sansa to give Jon a heads-up that LF’s go-to move is political assassinations that he makes look like accidents or for which he frames other people (and silences witnesses by killing them).
      Knowing about the possibility of the KotV before BoB was one thing; but now that LF is lurking around WF – and Sansa was aware that LF is not a fan of the “motherless bastard born in the south” and wants her (i.e. himself via her) in power, it would’ve been a good idea to let Jon know that LF has assassinated:
      1. Lysa Arryn
      2. Possibly, Jon Arryn (if Sansa could deduce that from Lysa’s wailing);
      3. Joffrey;
      4. Ser Dontos.

      And of course there are more Sansa doesn’t know about. Telling Jon that LF framed Tyrion and Sansa herself for Joffrey’s murder would also be something he’d want to know about.

      Jon did implore Sansa: “We have so many enemies now. We have to trust each other.” From what I gather, all she told Jon was that LF “sold” her to the Boltons, and her general opinion that “only a fool would trust LF.”
      It would be crucial for Jon to know that LF is a power-mad psycho who has used multiple assassinations to climb the “laddaaaah”, and has no compunctions about doing it again at any time to anyone.

      Just a thought… But perhaps we’ll be surprised to learn Sansa has thought about this and has taken countermeasures, without bothering to include Jon in the loop.

      (I for one don’t see LF as neutered at this point: it’s his M.O. to do something crazy to create “chaos” when by all appearances he’s just a bystander.)

        Quote  Reply

    106. A medieval monarch like the one on the IT is a sovereign over all their domain which means that under law and custom, there is no higher legal or political power to which they must be answerable within their own country.

      A head of a family is sovereign within their family which means that – again – according to law and custom, there is no legal or political power in that family which they are answerable to.

      Now if you take the two statements above and imagine a situation where a monarch is not the head of their own family, then you have a constitutional issue – straight away. A king would be legally sovereign above all in their own country and yet also not legally sovereign above all in their own country since one of their subjects – a member of their family – is by law and custom in possession of greater legal rights. That is not possible. To avoid such a sticky business, the greatest possessor legal rights in a kingdom would also have the greatest legal rights within their own family.

        Quote  Reply

    107. ramses,

      Yeah, from what I read The Stormlands are still in dispute at this point for obvious reasons. Point being though, someone can be King/ Queen while not being the head of their household

      That comment.

      The reason I keep going on about this is there seems to be some attempt to distinguish between the title of KITN and the title ‘head of House Stark’ as if to suggest that they can belong to two separate people, which is bonkers.

      I guess someone could be Lord or Lady of Winterfell but not head of House Stark.

        Quote  Reply

    108. Violator,

      “constitutional issue – straight away”

      I’ve never heard mention any written constitutional law in Westoros.

      Also, the dilemma you speak of is non-existent. A monarch rules over all the realm. It does not matter who is older (head) in their familial home.

        Quote  Reply

    109. Violator,

      “The reason I keep going on about this is there seems to be some attempt to distinguish between the title of KITN and the title ‘head of House Stark’ which is bonkers.”

      HA!
      Yeah we’re never going to agree here. And that’s okay. I think it is bonkers to not acknowledge a distinction.
      Anyway, enjoy the show.

        Quote  Reply

    110. Two points:
      1. Constitutional law is not necessarily ‘written’ as such, but may be a result of many legal judgements, and –
      2. the ruler of a kingdom would not necessarily be the ‘head’ of her/his own house; the monarch could be either head of the land, or head of the people, depending on the ‘constitutional’ remit (e.g. in England, the land, in Scotland, the people, from the style of their rulers). There may be a different head of the ‘house’ depending on circumstances, and there would be a different acting head to deal with the day to day events of the ‘house’.

        Quote  Reply

    111. Ten Bears:
      Ginevra,

      Well, in addition to Mycah, Sansa didn’t shed any tears for:• Aunt Lysa (who was no longer an immediate threat to Sansa when LF launched her out the Moon Door);
      • Ser Dontos, the poor fool;
      • Sandor (assuming Brienne told her she chucked over a cliff the “man” Arya was with – the same “man”, Sandor, who had saved Sansa from gang rape and murder);
      • Her still-missing little sister;
      • Jon Arryn (if Sansa could deduce that’s who Lysa was talking about when crying to LF “I lied for you, I killed for you”);
      • Herself, for being framed for regicide by LF.

      But let’s see if S7 Sansa has evolved.

      Sansa had nothing to do with Mycah’s death, Cersei sent the hound out before Sansa was even called, and he was dead before Sansa ever gave her story.
      Out side of being in shock, said nutty Aunt tried to send her out the moon door, I don’t know if I shed a tear for a Aunt or cousin who did that to me or someone I care about.
      Can’t remember in book, but in show she sure as hell showed emotion, LF had to cover her mouth.
      Brienne never mentioned Sandor, just some man, Sansa smiled at the thought of Arya not dressing as a lady; in book we see that thinking of her family really hurts, she tries not to dwell on it.
      As said about Lysa applies to Jon Arryn.
      As far as her being framed, in books, she knows it, but doesn’t trust the Vale, because ” they didn’t fight for Robb, why will they for me ”
      Book 1 and season 1 Sansa died long ago.

        Quote  Reply

    112. Grail King,

      It looks like the books (which I have yet to read) add some nuance to Sansa’s thoughts and actions. It can’t all be translated to the screen. But thanks for the additional info. 🤓

      (Less than three hours to go! Maybe the chickens will come home to roost — I mean maybe The Hound will cross paths with LF and stop any more word salad from pouring out his c*nt mouth.)

        Quote  Reply

    113. whats funny to me is this whole discussion about Jon status as head of House Stark is the very reason Cat could never accept him. In her mind there was the possibility that Ned could ask his best bud Robert to make him legitimate..and depending on who was born first (no one has ever managed to figure it out) a LEGIT Jon could be heir to Winterfell, not Robb. He would in any case come before Bran and Rickon.

      the truth is of course, much different. Ned’s one goal was to keep Jon under the radar, far from those who would kill him (robert) or use him (Varys to name one) because of his REAL parentage.

        Quote  Reply

    114. Violator, I hear your pain. 🙂 There is a solution, though I don’t think that’s what the showrunners are going for. There could be two branches of house Stark now. One headed by Jon as kitn and another by Sansa as lady of Winterfell. Jon’s children would inherit the crown (and hopfully rule from another castle), while Sansa’s would be lords of Winterfell and vassals of the other branch. Yeah, I know, this theory is shit and certainly not D&D’s intention, but it is a possible explanation.

      That is what effectively happened to Baratheons
      They split into three different families: Baratheons of KL under Robert, Baratheons of Storm’s End under Renly, and Baratheons of Dragonstone under Stannis. They were not a single family anymore for the purposes of feudal rights and obligations.

        Quote  Reply

    115. Grail King,

      Actually, books themselves are very confusing on the matter of wives inheriting lands. Logically, it should be impossible. Catelyn doesn’t succeed Ned nor Cersei Robert. Titles follow bloodlines and wife is not related by blood to her husband. Therefore, Sansa should have no claim to the Dreadfort; the castle and its lands go to whatever distant Bolton cousin, if there are any.

      However, there are book examples of wives retaining power after their husbands died for reasons not clear. Lady Hornwood seems to inherit after her husband and children die. Ramsay then forcibly marries her in order to become Lord Hornwood, suggesting he derives his title through this marriage, which shouldn’t be how these things work. Then there’s Lady Dustin, nee Ryswell, who has been ruling for 15 years ever since her husband died in Robert’s Rebellion. Again, I am unclear on why the title didn’t pass to some Dustin kinsman upon Lord Dustin’s death.

        Quote  Reply

    116. Hi! I would just like to ask if Bran Stark can be happy and lively like he was before even as the three-eyed raven now? Just want to see him smile and be happy again. Rooting for all the Starks:) Bran was very sweet and sensitive and nice to his family and everyone in Winterfell. Why can’t he be Bran and the three-eyed raven at the same time? Can he still be happy with his powers as three eyed raven? I hope so! Thanks!

        Quote  Reply

    117. GoT fan,

      After seeing today’s episode I definitely think they are going with Jon and Danerys pairing. I so would have liked Jon and Sansa pairing. Now Sansa has no one except that weirdo Robyn Arryn!

        Quote  Reply

    118. thorne garnet,
      Excellent point in regards to everyone thinking 10-year old Lyanna Mormont is “badass” when she speaks, but Sansa as the Lady of Winterfell and someone who has been schooled at the feet of monsters is out-of-line voicing HER opinions?
      I really don’t see any basis to assume Jon IS a better politician than Sansa —-which one of them got murdered by their own men because of their inability to communicate?

        Quote  Reply

    119. Sansa is definitely improving over time. I used to despise her (ever since the Butcher’s boy incident) and even though I pitied her for Joffrey’s treatment, I find it tough to sympathize with people who don’t care about someone’s cruelty until they are on the receiving end of it.

      Of course, she was extremely young back then, which makes me want to cut her slack. I had a rough time of it, though, considering Arya was even younger and already had a clearer view and better judgment (I’m a huge Arya fan, in case that wasn’t obvious).

      But… you make a good point about her being Lady of Winterfell and needing to have a voice in these debates and all. Plus, I often think Jon Snow is guilty of the same impractical, binary, honor-based thinking as his stepdad… much as I like them both.

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *