The Writing On the Wall: The Bird Who Grew Wings

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Game Of Thrones will leave behind a plethora of legacies but arguably its most potent one will be its penchant for upending conventional narratives that have for so long defined the fantasy genre. The execution of Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) at the end of “Baelor” and the slaughter of the Starks at the Red Wedding in “The Rains of Castamere” are arguably the series’s most infamous moments in this regard. Yet the series’s commitment to character subversions is just as critical to the story’s success, for it is what arguably allows the plot subversions to be simultaneously germane and surprising.

The journey of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is a prime example of Game Of Thrones committing itself to character subversions, even if some of its elements were drawn in less than a desirable fashion. She goes from an entitled aristocratic child who expects the world to simply bend towards her will to a hardened woman who has realized that the world is a harsh, bitter place where the principles of fairness and justice are rarely applied and when they are, those are moments to cherish and not expect.

Sansa’s alteration is most notably impacted by the amount of time she spends ensnared within the political machinations of King’s Landing. The capital, infamous for the Machiavellian tendencies it inspires, is a dangerous place for Sansa. She is nevertheless in part protected by her status as the heir to Winterfell. Upon the defeat of her family, the sparsely populated North would go to her and theoretically to her husband. Few may think too much of her, but they think highly of her position.

Little-Sansa-Stark

Before she arrives in the capital, however, Sansa begins her journey in Game Of Thrones as the pampered princess of Winterfell. As the eldest daughter of a noble family, there are specific expectations attached to her station and she was raised with an acute awareness of what they were. As a young girl, she knew that one day she would be married off to someone of an equivalent or higher rank in a transactional approach. It was her part to play, she is told, to form or solidify an alliance.

When Prince Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) arrives at Winterfell, Sansa is at first thrilled. She would marry a prince and after he becomes king, she would become queen. She would become a mother to little princes and princesses and thus ensure the longevity of her position. Most importantly, she would be living in the sunny capital, which Sansa feels is a much more civilized place than the frigid, biting North. Troubling signs with Joffrey arise quickly, but Sansa looks past them out of necessity and a desire to hold onto that dream she has been taught is her reality.

Sansa gets a significant amount of vitriol for her early behavior, but Game Of Thrones is placing Sansa in the seat of a reader or viewer who begins this story with the expectations a generic fantasy narrative would provide. She expects to be married happily and even if her relationship is based on forging an alliance, she believes that a transformative love would be born out of that transactional capacity. She believes in a form of stability and honor that her father’s sheltered upbringing unfortunately buoyed. It is a hopeful innocence many of us espouse before we realize that the world isn’t as delivering of such expectations.

Sansa2

That mirage was punctured quite quickly with the death sentence imparted upon Sansa’s direwolf Lady. Lady’s unjust execution is an early indicator of how seriously Game Of Thrones takes the dark reality of its world but in that moment, it is important to acknowledge the difficulty Sansa was facing in that circumstance, even if the audience’s sympathies were lying squarely against the prickly prince from King’s Landing. Sansa’s upbringing was in part geared towards her forming an alliance through marriage. If she betrayed Joffrey in this instance, then she was betraying her family in a different way and on a selfish level, she did not want to betray her person dreams.

As soon as Ser Ilyn Payne’s (Wilko Johnson) sword strikes through her father’s neck, however Sansa’s entire political reality changes. She is thrust into what can be accurately termed as being a series of unfortunate events that continue to drive forth her absolute desperation. Her entire survival, in spite of her being the heiress to the North, seems tumultuous and she commits herself to surviving, no matter what she has to suffer through and how much dignity she has to maintain in in spite of the horrid abuses hurled her way. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), after witnessing Sansa’s continued strength, rightfully notes his assertion that Lady Sansa will survive them all.

Sansa’s survival becomes contingent in part upon her abilities to observe and learn, two skills that the capital offers a plethora of learning opportunities from. Her three greatest teachers are arguably three of the shrewdest minds in Westeros, each of whom is attempting to survive and climb in different ways. Cersei (Lena Headey) is attempting to assert her dominance in a political landscape that is not kind to a woman. Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is attempting to do the same but in a markedly different way. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is attempting to play them all, crafting a sea of utter chaos and forging a ladder for himself.

Sansa Stark Dragonstone

Sansa is caught up in that sea of utter chaos without any sort of recourse, being pulled from one rocky shore to another as if an endless cycle of misery had ensnared her and refused to let go. Upon each shore, however, she learns something and the writing of the character is largely able to shape her into someone who could organically grow into the character we see her to be in “The Battle Of the Bastards.” We see a bit of Cersei, a bit of Margaery, and a bit of Littlefinger all coming together to inform the decisions she makes in that fateful battle for the North.

The most critical element that Sansa learns from her three professors, for lack of a better phrase, is that of survival. She sees the cleverness and strategizing that kept Margaery alive, the ruthlessness that kept Cersei alive, and the Machiavellian machinations that kept Littlefinger alive. She realizes the overzealous nobility that killed her brother and father, the same kind of nobility that she sees as a potential danger to her brother Jon (Kit Harington). She comes to the realization that her brother Rickon (Art Parkinson) is likely doomed, hardened by her lessons of reality and survival.

When Sansa is standing before Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), she is standing in loss and triumph, reflecting upon her circumstances. Ramsay notes wryly that he would never truly leave for he had become a part of her. In a sense, he is correct in that his abuse of Sansa left a mark on her that would possibly never go away. Yet he misses the mark for Sansa ultimately is able to take circumstances that are inflicted upon her and take the lessons she needs to survive. Therein lies the critical difference in understanding Sansa facing an abuser in a true position of power, and meting out the justice that has escaped her for so long.

Valar Dohaeris,

Akash Of the Andals

181 responses

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    1. This is why Sophie Turner/Sansa Stark will be receiving my vote for Best Lead Actress when that poll comes around.

      As you pointed out in your article, I was one of the many who didn’t care for the entitled, aristocratic character that she was, but it was a necessary beginning for this character if we are to see how one can be shaped by reality vs. the fantasy they believe to be their destiny. She said herself in S6 that she was a stupid girl who only wanted what she didn’t have and never appreciating what she had. (paraphrasing, of course)

      I’ve become incredibly impressed with her character; I have no doubts of her loyalty and commitment to the North…her people.

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    2. zandru:

      I really, REALLY hope it’s not on the Iron Throne. Just sayin’.

      I don’t see that happening (and not because she would be a terrible ruler; on the contrary. I think she would be quite capable and competent.)

      I don’t think it will happen because she is where she belongs, story-wise. She’s establishing herself as the Lady of Winterfell and she will no doubt have plenty on her plate in the upcoming season to keep her occupied. She will be tested like never before, I imagine, so it would be incongruous to the story to have her on the throne.

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    3. zandru:
      mau,

      I really, REALLY hope it’s not on the Iron Throne. Just sayin’.

      I dislike that theory. Just not that satisfying an ending to me but I also think its wrong.

      I am interested in seeing how Sansa reacts to Jon’s parentage and if she uses that to argue he should not be in charge of the North and Winterfell since he is not Ned’s son. Although if she learned from Littlefingsr she would argue he belongs in KL.

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    4. House Monty: I dislike that theory. Just not that satisfying an ending to me but I also think its wrong.

      I am interested in seeing how Sansa reacts to Jon’s parentage and if she uses that to argue he should not be in charge of the North and Winterfell since he is not Ned’s son. Although if she learned from Littlefingsr she would argue he belongs in KL.

      Exactly.

      As I said above, she’ll have plenty to deal with in the upcoming season, Jon’s true identity among them. Will she and the North accept a Targaryen Warden of the North if they all learn of his true identity? I don’t think so. I think he would even be willing to give it up without a fight/argument and just ask that Sansa be officially declared Wardeness of the North.

      It would make sense to withhold that information from Jon until the NK is defeated (but they couldn’t know how long that would take so there’s the prospect of him never knowing if they go that route…)

      But, there’s not much drama in that, is there?

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    5. talvikorppi:
      Ooh, a Sansa article/thread. I’ll go and get my popcorn ready.

      Hahaha…dude. If this thread becomes a pro/con Sansa thread, I promise you now that no one is more surprised than me to find myself on the “pro” Sansa side. But, there it is.

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    6. Erica: Will she and the North accept a Targaryen Warden of the North if they all learn of his true identity?

      Well, the North heralded Jon as their King even when they thought he was nothing more than a bastard. Don’t know about Sansa – she still seems to crave power and won’t surrender it back to Jon if she can avoid it. That puts Arya in the middle, and in spite of their recent reproachment, I suspect she’ll go with the older brother she’s always loved over the snooty sister who even now insists that Arya take a knee to her and call her “M’lady.”

      Perhaps they’ll all get lucky and Jon&Dany will tie the knot and fly away together, making a confrontation unnecessary! (Popcorn for that, at least.)

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    7. zandru: Well, the North heralded Jon as their King even when they thought he was nothing more than a bastard. Don’t know about Sansa – she still seems to crave power and won’t surrender it back to Jon if she can avoid it. That puts Arya in the middle, and in spite of their recent reproachment, I suspect she’ll go with the older brother she’s always loved over the snooty sister who even now insists that Arya take a knee to her and call her “M’lady.”

      Perhaps they’ll all get lucky and Jon&Dany will tie the knot and fly away together, making a confrontation unnecessary! (Popcorn for that, at least.)

      There could be a diffference though between choosing between the bastard son of the last true Warden of the North and his daugher – both of them Ned’s offpring but both with a crucial deficiency vis a vis the ideal of a true born son – and a trueborn Targaryen whose claim to Winterfell is through his mother and the eldest true born daughter of the Warden of the North. Not only that, but this true born Targaryen who bent the knee to a would be Targaryen Queen and is involved with her romantically. The whole thing becomes a super messy situation that needs to be worked through but Jon’s position as ruler of the North looks to be on very shaky ground with the big reveal. The interesting quesion is do those elements that want him out do they just turn on him or do they become part of a King’s court that is actively pushing for him to be King of Westeros.

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    8. zandru: Well, the North heralded Jon as their King even when they thought he was nothing more than a bastard. Don’t know about Sansa – she still seems to crave power and won’t surrender it back to Jon if she can avoid it. That puts Arya in the middle, and in spite of their recent reproachment, I suspect she’ll go with the older brother she’s always loved over the snooty sister who even now insists that Arya take a knee to her and call her “M’lady.”

      Perhaps they’ll all get lucky and Jon&Dany will tie the knot and fly away together, making a confrontation unnecessary! (Popcorn for that, at least.)

      I believe they accepted Jon, in part, because, even as bastard, he was at least Ned Stark’s bastard.

      And I agree with you that the Targaryen revelation will no doubt bring to the fore Sansa’s ambitions. As I said, she will be tested like never before.

      Perhaps they’ll all get lucky and Jon&Dany will tie the knot and fly away together, making a confrontation unnecessary! (Popcorn for that, at least.)

      I require extra butter on my popcorn for that! 🙂

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    9. I god damn love Sansa. She’s one of the highest tiers in terms of character development and my favorite Stark purely because we aren’t engineered to love her unconditionally, unlike say Arya, who I also love but mostly because she’s never portrayed in a truly bad light and never does anything to make the audience dislike her or question her, which makes her way less interesting to me.

      Also Sansa won’t have to give up WF after Jon’s heritage is revealed I’m pretty sure. Plus she’s by far the most likely to rule WF when all is said and done, her story is far, FAR more connected to that place than any other character, from being the only Stark wanting to leave it, to building the snow castle, all the way to being the one to initiate the war to retake it and going on to prepare the place for the coming battle.

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    10. Another interesting angle is the whole saving the North vs conquering the North angle. Its one thing for a Stark to ally with a Targaryen Queen and bring her forces up North.

      The optics could look very different though if its a Targaryen couple coming with a dothraki horde, unsullied and two dragons. At that point, the difference between saving and conquering is not that clear.

      The politics of R+L=J are fascinating. And the news could not be in the hands of the worse person to handle its reveal in a sensitive manner: Bran

      Sansa is going to have a huge role in how this ultimatley plays out.

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    11. Eric Womack:
      In other words, it’s going to be a mess, just like D&D likes it!

      Awww, come on, man. Ye of little faith..

      Hahaha….but yeah, you could be right and we’ll be right there, knee deep in it.

      I can’t wait!

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    12. Eric Womack:
      In other words, it’s going to be a mess, just like D&D likes it!

      From the perspective of good drama, you make it the biggest mess possible and then have people pick up the pieces throughout the season.

      Which probably means the reveal will happen in the Winterfell court room with everyone there and Bran saying “Welcome back Aegon Targaryen, your father Rhaegar looked so handsome the day he married our aunt Lyanna”

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    13. House Monty: From the perspective of good drama, you make it the biggest mess possible and then have people pick up the pieces throughout the season.

      Which probably means the reveal will happen in the Winterfell court room with everyone there and Bran saying “Welcome back Aegon Targaryen, your father Rhaegar looked so handsome the day he married our aunt Lyanna”

      Hahahaha!! Oh my god! That’s awesome!

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    14. The most critical element that Sansa learns from her three professors, for lack of a better phrase, is that of survival. She sees the cleverness and strategizing that kept Margaery alive, the ruthlessness that kept Cersei alive, and the Machiavellian machinations that kept Littlefinger alive.

      I don’t really see the connection being made there. Sansa’s story is about survival, certainly, but none of the characters cited there were primarily about survival, and certainly not when Sansa knew them. Littlefinger, Margaery and Cersei didn’t do the things they did to survive, they did them to aggrandize themselves (or, in two of the three cases, because they enjoy hurting other people — even, in Cersei’s case, when it’s counterproductive).

      Margaery’s role in Sansa’s development, for instance, is to demonstrate how to make use of the performance of the role of a noble lady and the use of benevolence to boost the family’s image. She doesn’t have any role in developing Sansa’s understanding of scheming, because Sansa isn’t around for any of that (this is also the case with Tyrion and Cersei, incidentally). The whole “noble lady” thing ends up being largely lost because the TV show never actually has Sansa do that in later seasons (“player” Sansa’s default mode is to glower and act coldly imperious; there’s really no sign of Margaery in how the character ended up).

      zandru:
      Don’t know about Sansa – she still seems to crave power and won’t surrender it back to Jon if she can avoid it.

      Jon being a Targaryen/Dany’s potential consort/king would be good for Sansa, as far as having power goes, because it would make Sansa’s being in charge of the North either de facto or de jure permanent. Jon can’t be Warden of the North in practise if he’s down south most of the time. The sisters already agreed, implicitly, to go along with Jon signing Northern independence away in the finale.

      hat puts Arya in the middle, and in spite of their recent reproachment, I suspect she’ll go with the older brother she’s always loved over the snooty sister who even now insists that Arya take a knee to her and call her “M’lady.”

      That was a joke.

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    15. im not a fan of her at all…but for to be honest .. i would say that she is too brave to suffer all this terrible situations that happened to her and to survive from all those crazy peoples[except Tyrion and Sandor] who she got on her way..Somehow her story has its own interesting…Im not sure if she will survive at all..but even and if she survive i would like to see her hooking up again with Tyrion[be again his wife] or Sandor [in a beauty and the beast GOT role]or she being queen regent in Dannys/Jon son/daughter..She now doesnt believe anymore in handsome princes,beautiful lives/lies in castles and other non-realistic fairytales..that in GOT wouldnt happen ..She has pretty learn her lesson that sweet dreams never happen there or transformed into unpredictable nightmares..so she should to continue to stay on that way now ..becoz that way has the most profits and benefits for her and her arc

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    16. House Monty,

      You can see it now, where we have Jon trying to conceal from his family and the Northern lords that he is in a relationship with a woman he adores and trying to protect her from all these allegations of taking over the north Targaryen style and then through all of this Bran tells him that he is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, Ned lied to him and the women he wants to be with is related to him all while this is happening with the Night King and his army coming….just great drama and popcorn time indeed!

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    17. House Monty:

      The politics of R+L=J are fascinating. And the news could not be in the hands of the worse person to handle its reveal in a sensitive manner: Bran.

      On that note, I loved hearing him tell Sam, “We have to tell him.” “We,” not “I.” I think there’s enough of Bran left in the 3ER to understand that such a momentous revelation should be handled by a human, not a tree god.

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    18. Wolfish:
      House Monty:

      On that note, I loved hearing him tell Sam, “We have to tell him.” “We,” not “I.” I think there’s enough of Bran left in the 3ER to understand that such a momentous revelation should be handled by a human, not a tree god.

      I noticed that, too. It will have to be Sam…or rather, should be. It won’t do much to limit the implications this will have overall, but it will probably be an occasion for us to revisit the “you’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark,” moment with Sam telling Jon he’s a “Stark and a Targaryen.” We know it’s coming back just as Dany and Tormund brought back the ‘kneeling vs. pride’ argument Jon had with Mance.

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    19. House Monty: Which probably means the reveal will happen in the Winterfell court room with everyone there and Bran saying “Welcome back Aegon Targaryen, your father Rhaegar looked so handsome the day he married our aunt Lyanna”

      Har! And I can just visualize Jon checking in back of him, looking for the silver-haired, purple eyed dragon rider “Aegon,” and wondering where that Targaryen apparition came from. Yes, better if Samwell breaks the news, preferably in private with Jon and with Bran in attendance.

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    20. Wolfish:
      House Monty:

      On that note, I loved hearing him tell Sam, “We have to tell him.” “We,” not “I.” I think there’s enough of Bran left in the 3ER to understand that such a momentous revelation should be handled by a human, not a tree god.

      I hear you. But maximum drama comes from maximum desimination of the news which is why I would bet on it getting out. Bran doing it in an insensitive way was more a joke but somehow its getting out. Might even be Jon himself who can’t lie about anything.

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    21. zandru,

      I think you raise an interesting point about how the Stark sisters might react to the news – if Bran and Sam share it – of R+L=J.

      Sansa would be well within her rights, even honour-bound, to insist on her right as the rightful heir to Lord Eddard Stark. Bran has waived his claim, the other sons are dead and Sansa is the eldest daughter.

      Jon is only the son of Lord Eddard’s younger sister, so behind even Arya in the Winterfell succession. He was hailed King in the North by northern bannerman despite being a bastard because he was thought to be the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark. The exact relationship between KitN and Lady (lord’s position) of Winterfell wasn’t really resolved. Jon left Sansa in charge as the ruling Lady of Winterfell when he went south.

      But here’s the hitch: he isn’t the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark. He’s only a Stark through the female line, and half-Targaryen to boot. Plus he just gave away the title King in the North, and northern independence, by bending the knee to the new Targaryen queen, who happens to be his girlfriend. We watchers know he did the right thing, because of the war for the dawn to come, but will the northern lords see it that way? And how will Sansa, who has a better claim on Winterfell, deal with the situation?

      And, one question I’m looking forward to find out about: where lies Arya’s loyalty? Is it to the Starks, her family, or to her favourite “brother” Jon personally? So she could potentially side with the Targaryens even against her family, the Starks.

      I hope this struggle with loyalty among the Starks/half-Starks won’t get protracted, there are more important things to be dealing with, like the Others and the Army of the Dead, but I hope the show will touch on these issues.

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    22. Wolfish,

      I doubt Mr. Sensitivity (Bran nka 3ER) will give it a second thought, but I can’t help but wonder if Sam doesn’t conclude that keeping the secret a secret might be the prudent course of action.

      After all, it doesn’t take a wizard to figure out that revealing Jon’s paternity would be counterproductive.

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    23. Sansa really is not a subversion of any classic arcs, but rather a flip-flopping of one. We get the classic “ugly duckling” arc all the time: Arya is providing it here, we see it in Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, etc.

      Sansa is the “Stupid Duckling.” She effectively begins as an idiot. It’s not just that she doesn’t think: she basically has no idea how to think. She’s never been asked to do so, and she has been rewarded for not doing so all of her life. Moreover, she clearly believes that the one female she knows who engages in “thinking” behavior (the inquisitive and independent-minded Arya) is some sort of freak.

      We still do not know for certain how Sansa will end up in the books: the last chapter we read of her, she’s just starting to actually think for the first time. But at least on the show, we’ve seen something different: she’s gone from someone who works completely on beliefs to someone who has shed superstition for thinking. Yes, she’s had some bumps on the way: but, then, that is part of a true character arc. Moreover, as one of many protagonists, she has to have commonalities in her arc with the other protagonists: and “rise, crash & burn, re-rise from the ashes” is a commonality to the arcs of all the primary protagonists in this story. Because Sansa’s rising comes from thinking for herself, so does the fall and the re-rise.

      Insofar as I know, the “stupid duckling” is not a common arc. Yes, modern literature is replete with women coming to terms with the fact that they are as smart as men and even smarter than many men. However, I’ve never seen an example of a “beauty queen” type doing so: usually the protagonists consider themselves unattractive or at best think themselves the 2nd best looking girl in a group. (This could be because so little literature comes from former homecoming queens who later realized that they were brilliant!)

      The big curveball that I can see M,B&W having for Sansa comes from this. She’s spent years learning that the fairy tales are all lies. Now she is going to have to accept that there is some truth in the fairy tales, after all! How will she fare?

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    24. Ten Bears: After all, it doesn’t take a wizard to figure out that revealing Jon’s paternity would be counterproductive.

      Ah, but this is a story, and Jon’s parentage is too relevant to the story because it creates huge dilemmas for several main characters.

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    25. Thank you for a well written article.

      The R + L = J reveal has so much potential. I wonder how Danny will react, will she believe Jon didn’t know (they have shown her he doesn’t lie), will she accuse Sam of lying to get back at her for killing his family? What will Varys do?

      I think Jon would excuse himself in favour of Sansa as ruler of WF … so long as he can keep leading the fight against the NK.

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    26. Northstar,

      I think that the reaction of everyone else will tell Daenerys that Jon didn’t know.

      Varys probably will slap himself on the forehead and wonder how he didn’t put that together. Of course, the reason is simple: simplicity. The easiest lies to maintain are simple ones. Very few people knew the truth. A nobleman fathering a bastard is about as newsworthy as sheep bahhing. Ned Stark doing something so foolishly honorable as acknowledging the bastard and raising him almost as a true born son is completely consistent with Ned’s character.

      In a sense, it should be for Varys what it is for most show-watchers & book-readers: a moment where you go: “oh, damn: that makes perfect sense!”

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    27. Wimsey,

      Sansa was never stupid. She was naive and sheltered. Those are not the same.

      The big curveball that I can see M,B&W having for Sansa comes from this. She’s spent years learning that the fairy tales are all lies. Now she is going to have to accept that there is some truth in the fairy tales, after all! How will she fare?

      She did that offscreen in Episode 604.

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    28. Wimsey: Now she is going to have to accept that there is some truth in the fairy tales, after all!

      I’m quite certain that she’s already accepted the threat of the WW’s (she’s preparing the Castle) and apparently also Jon’s resurection off screen. If the authors had wanted to make Sansa’s having to come to terms with the fact that some fairy tales are real a thing, they should have hinted at it in the last two seasons. But we didn’t see her doubt the supernatural.

      Apart from that, I think it is a disservice to the debate to call the character an idiot, considering that “Sansa” as a topic can escalate quickly. So let’s try not to lower the bar needlessly.

      It’s not a fitting term anyway, IMO. Sansa’s not stupid, she was ignorant of the flaws of the system and the reason why is because there was no need, no motivation for her to question anything, because everything worked perfectly fine for her. The fairy tales were some sort of reference system for her thinking. But it’s eroding constantly as the story goes along. As you say, she starts to think for herself, although we could also say that she starts thinking outside the narratives that were fed to her and within which she felt comfortable.

      Arya is more “woke” from the beginning. She didn’t really have a choice but to question the world that surrounds her and think for herself, because the system rejected her true self and didn’t offer a role for girls like her. (Also why she found comfort in the tale of Nymeria.).

      EDIT: Or what Sean said 🙂

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    29. talvikorppi,

      Heh. Actually I have been paying more attention to her chapters as I’ve been reading Game of Thrones (50th anniv edition, lots of great illustrations) and am seeing why people were so angry with her. Yeah, spoiled brat is right, but so early on you see her as the victim, the hostage being treated cruely by those she trusted. By that time I always gave her the benefit of the doubt.

      Im hoping her role as Lady of Winterfell will play a huge role in the survival of the north. And hopefully find a match that is worthy of her. (tho honestly, wouldn’t mind it if she stayed married to Tyrion. He was kind to her, and has respect for her, and think she may see him with very different eyes by the time the series is through

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    30. Wimsey: Ah, but this is a story, and Jon’s parentage is too relevant to the story because it creates huge dilemmas for several main characters.

      Of course: Because the revelation will f*ck everything up, that’s all the more reason to anticipate it’ll happen. 😋

      P.S. Speaking of wizards, your presence has been missed. Did my invocation get through to you?

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    31. ash:
      talvikorppi,

      Heh.Actually I have been paying more attention to her chapters as I’ve been reading Game of Thrones (50th anniv edition, lots of great illustrations) and am seeing why people were so angry with her. Yeah, spoiled brat is right, but so early on you see her as the victim, the hostage being treated cruely by those she trusted. By that time I always gave her the benefit of the doubt.

      Im hoping her role as Lady of Winterfell will play a huge role in the survival of the north.And hopefully find a match that is worthy of her. (tho honestly, wouldn’t mind it if she stayed married to Tyrion.He was kind to her, and has respect for her, and think she may see him with very different eyes by the time the series is through

      Thinking about it more, she could play the role she has been grommed for by helping resolve the R+L=J bomb thats going to go off.

      Politically she can keep the North on side for Jon and help negotiate the marriage between Jon and Daenerys that keeps the Dragon and Wolf alliance in tact which is essential to defeat the AOTD and Cersei and clears the way for her to become ruler of the North.

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    32. I love Sansa Stark up until season six and seven. I love that they’ve made her a stronger character but considering she was one of my early favorites I want to be able to back her decisions and I haven’t been able to do that lately. With the exception of her killing Littlefinger of cause I can back that.

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    33. Wimsey,

      I liked your “Stupid Ducking” analysis.
      I’m trying to recall if I’ve ever seen a character portrayed that way in a movie or TV show, e.g., the beauty queen who’s never had to rely on her brains but ultimately realizing she’s brilliant.

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    34. Wimsey,

      H

      owever, I’ve never seen an example of a “beauty queen” type doing so: usually the protagonists consider themselves unattractive or at best think themselves the 2nd best looking girl in a group. (This could be because so little literature comes from former homecoming queens who later realized that they were brilliant!)

      Not literature, but the movie Legally Blonde would possibly be an example of that. i think there are some others, thinking of fantasy books I read in the 80s where the young woman is known for beauty and forced to become someone who thinks for herself

      And of course thats really not fair, because beautiful women can be and are strong and intelligent. That stereotype is one I wish would disappear among others

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    35. Sean C.:
      Wimsey,

      “….She’s spent years learning that the fairy tales are all lies. Now she is going to have to accept that there is some truth in the fairy tales, after all! How will she fare?”

      She did that offscreen in Episode 604.

      What did she do offscreen in S6e4? (Not doubting you; just not sure what you’re referring to.)

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    36. Erica: I don’t see that happening (and not because she would be a terrible ruler; on the contrary. I think she would be quite capable and competent.)

      I don’t think it will happen because she is where she belongs, story-wise. She’s establishing herself as the Lady of Winterfell and she will no doubt have plenty on her plate in the upcoming season to keep her occupied. She will be tested like never before, I imagine, so it would be incongruous to the story to have her on the throne.

      I don’t think it will happen either or that she will end up with a husband as others might hope. Time and again she acknowledges in the course of her journey that nobody can protect her. Her new identity as Lady of Winterfell gives her independence which would be compromised by marriage. For now, her character is written as wanting to be home and safe,

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    37. Erica: I noticed that, too. It will have to be Sam…or rather, should be. It won’t do much to limit the implications this will have overall, but it will probably be an occasion for us to revisit the “you’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark,” moment with Sam telling Jon he’s a “Stark and a Targaryen.” We know it’s coming back just as Dany and Tormund brought back the ‘kneeling vs. pride’ argument Jon had with Mance.

      Good point! It probably will come back.

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    38. Ten Bears,

      The suggestion was that Sansa’s attitude toward magic’s existence would be a story point in Season 8. My rejoinder was that 604 had Sansa accept, offscreen, that Jon was resurrected from the dead and that the White Walkers exist, and that’s never been an issue in the following seasons. Indeed, in Season 7 Sansa accepts without issue that Bran is an all-seeing prophet and that Arya can use magic faces to transform herself into other people.

      I said at the time that just skipping over one of the characters least involved with magic learning about all this stuff was a huge waste of interesting character material (indeed, if the writers were looking to generate tension between Jon and Sansa in season 6, that would have been a more organic way to do it), but it’s way too late to bring that in now.

        Quote  Reply

    39. ash,

      There you go! “Legally Blonde” was a good example!

      P.S. If you liked Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde”, and her Oscar-winning role in “Walk the Line”, you should check her out in “Freeway” (1996). She should’ve won an Academy Award for her performance in that movie – a twisted modern take on “Little Red Riding Hood.”

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    40. Wimsey,

      Welcome back! We’ve missed you. Interesting idea, a “stupid duckling”, and one I need to contemplate. First reaction: Attractiveness is a physical trait one either has or lacks. The Ugly Duckling is especially unhappy because he’s ridiculed, shunned, and stuck with his face. An attractive person wising up, while commendable, is a much less startling development than an unattractive person triumphing. Hollywood and especially Disney have always made attractive people the winners, usually once they learn a lesson. It would truly break the trope wheel for an ‘ugly’ or ignored person to come out on top or get the guy/girl by virtue of talent, merit, and having a good, generous heart. Will GRRM and D&D do that? The other aspect is the purpose Sansa sought out Littlefinger’s manipulation lessons for four seasons. For the good of the family, the North, mankind,…or herself? Another question–thanks to Ramsay she was a broken thing, but she seems mostly recovered. Did the lessons stick? IIRC, the duckling at least learned humility and the importance of inner beauty. He and improved as a ‘person’ because he was a pariah before he was turned gorgeous.

      talvikorppi,

      And, one question I’m looking forward to find out about: where lies Arya’s loyalty? Is it to the Starks, her family, or to her favourite “brother” Jon personally? So she could potentially side with the Targaryens even against her family, the Starks.

      I hope this struggle with loyalty among the Starks/half-Starks won’t get protracted, there are more important things to be dealing with, like the Others and the Army of the Dead, but I hope the show will touch on these issues.

      Excellent points. The Others must be the focus, not Cersei or internecine conflicts in the otherwise most united family in Westeros. My guess is Arya and Bran will stay totally loyal to Jon out of love and the need to defeat the Enemy. For them, Jon will remain their brother. Sansa will probably stay loyal too, perhaps with less enthusiasm and more frustration. But hopefully there’s no time or excuse for melodrama in S8. Littlefinger was the snake roiling the Garden in S7 and had to be disposed of, one way or the other. Hence the drama.

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    41. Wimsey,

      Sansa is the “Stupid Duckling.” She effectively begins as an idiot. It’s not just that she doesn’t think: she basically has no idea how to think. She’s never been asked to do so, and she has been rewarded for not doing so all of her life. Moreover, she clearly believes that the one female she knows who engages in “thinking” behavior (the inquisitive and independent-minded Arya) is some sort of freak.

      I’ve just re-read the first book. Once again, Sansa’s theme for me is education. Ned Stark gave his daughters what he thought was an excellent education – which ends up worth less than nothing, because in Sansa’s case, it got people killed.

      This is of course historically accurate – Anne of Cleves apparently did beautiful embroidery and pretty much nothing else, because in her country women weren’t given an ‘education’. Whereas Anne Boleyn was raised in the more forward French court and had a proper grasp of meatier topics, such as the religious debate of the time. And indeed Jane Austen would be still discussing the merits of an educated, well-read woman so many years later. Later still, in the Great Gatsby, Daisy states that a woman should hope to be stupid, so she’ll never notice how bad her own independent prospects are.

      Today, we still have people who wonder “what the fuss is about” when it is questioned why we still drill our girls with a diet of Barbie, hair and makeup. It’s okay to like embroidery – but foster other pursuits!

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    42. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Game of Thrones is about drama and intrigue. Unless your going to defeat the NK quickly to get back to the drama, not sure you can have five episodes where a lot of the character conflicts are supressed.

      Will be interesting to see how they juggle that.

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    43. Stark Raven’ Rad: It would truly break the trope wheel for an ‘ugly’ or ignored person to come out on top or get the guy/girl by virtue of talent, merit, and having a good, generous heart.

      Indeed. We see this trope in comedy a lot. Because it’s so funny. In drama, forget it.

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    44. I strongly doubt there would be much of a struggle over who rules Winterfell. After the big Battle of Bastards (nice scheduling, to air it on Father’s Day!), Jon immediately tells Sansa she should occupy the Lord’s chambers, because she’s the rightful heir, not him. He’s slightly mortified with this “King o’ the North!” thing, and only accepts the position because this will enable him to rally the fight against the Others. (Ok, “White Walkers”. grumble.)

      When Jon returns to Winterfell, probably on dragonback with Daenerys, his banners are going to follow them. I mean really – dragons! What a better weapon than airborne flamethrowers? Who wouldn’t be glad to follow leaders with firepower (heh) like that? If there’s any “castle intrigue” over Winterfell, who will even care with the threat from the North advancing and having taken down sections of the Wall, no less?

      And actually, the “castle intrigue” angle is coming up from the south, King’s Landing, where Cersei is treacherously gathering her hired horde. The last skeleton to sit on the Iron Thrones “wins!”

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    45. Sean C.:
      Wimsey,

      Sansa was never stupid.She was naive and sheltered.Those are not the same.

      She did that offscreen in Episode 604.

      Between show and books, we know she isn’t stupid, just naive and not just 6-4 I’m sure once she saw WunWun, she said oh shit they exist. : )

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    46. House Monty: Thinking about it more, she could play the role she has been grommed for by helping resolve the R+L=J bomb thats going to go off.

      Politically she can keep the North on side for Jon and help negotiate the marriage between Jon and Daenerys that keeps the Dragon and Wolf alliance in tact which is essential to defeat the AOTD and Cersei and clears the way for her to become ruler of the North.

      I have no doubt that Sansa will bring up the marriage portion, it would be a win for House Stark and the North and after a time some stability for Westeros.
      Jon, may not be happy though.

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    47. Of all the main character arcs in GoT, Sansa I reckon has had the toughest time to get to the point she has now reached in S7 as Lady of Winterfell. Used/abused by so many for their political ambitions.

      For some time Sansa had known that LF had his own agenda, but wasn’t until Arya and then Bran arrived at WF until all was revealed that she dealt with LF in the appropriate way! Her answers to LF when he pleaded for his life were some of the best lines from the series and so true.

      I have no idea how her story will end, but believe she will be one of the survivors. Even if its revealed to her that Jon Snow is not her bastard half brother, but Aegon Targaryen, I can’t see how that would change things for Sansa? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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    48. Emily,

      I’ve just re-read the first book. Once again, Sansa’s theme for me is education. Ned Stark gave his daughters what he thought was an excellent education – which ends up worth less than nothing, because in Sansa’s case, it got people killed.

      It’s equally about Bran’s, Arya’s and Jon’s education, especially the training/education they each pursued (formally, informally, and via mentors) to follow their chosen paths. Ned and CAt gave all their bairns an excellent education for their expected highborn lives: moral, behavioural, and practical, but not political. Starks and Tullys hadn’t needed it and they assumed they could arrange things so their children would avoid the ‘snake’s nest’. Advanced political knowledge is useful mainly in the South. But Robert lured Ned down there to his death and the upset apple cart forced the Wolf Pups to respectively become a pampered hostage, wander a war-ravaged countryside, face the decision-tree of waging war, and become a god! Only Jon got the education he needed, but by choosing the Watch.

      It was always meant to be about education. GRRM’s 1993 outline said the story was about five young people growing up and changing the world. Those five who would survive all the books in a generational family saga: Jon, Bran, Arya, Dany, and Tyrion. Most of the details of that outline changed, but GRRM is thought to be following its broad outlines, which means so are D&D. No doubt over time Sansa’s grown into an important (and whitewashed) character from her initial role as the irritant among the ‘too perfect’ Stark family. For the outline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-1azW1G4Ak

      zandru,

      Indeed. We see this trope in comedy a lot. Because it’s so funny. In drama, forget it.

      Brilliant insight! It may be less so these days as treating less-than-perfect looking characters in a lesser way is not politically correct. But in the past, tis as you say. I hope a commercially and artistically successful endeavor like GoT will have the cushion and nerve to upend the trope. After all, we all speak meritocracy. Unfortunately, words are wind.

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    49. …Ramsay notes wryly that he would never truly leave for he had become a part of her. In a sense, he is correct in that his abuse of Sansa left a mark on her that would possibly never go away….

      While I find Sansa’s journey on film and on the page both fascinating and disturbing, I’ll stick with my opinion that she must/should retain a certain “Stockholm Syndrome” dysfunction or PTSD regarding her perceptions, decisions and actions. She knows the dark side all too well. She will be stronger, yes, but enduring 3+ socio/psychopaths for years does not leave one unscathed.

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    50. Black Raven,

      Black Raven: For some time Sansa had known that LF had his own agenda, but wasn’t until Arya and then Bran arrived at WF until all was revealed that she dealt with LF in the appropriate way! Her answers to LF when he pleaded for his life were some of the best lines from the series and so true.

      This. I strongly disliked Sansa in the early books and first season of the show, but there’s no denying that she’s grown a lot. I think that, encouraged by the showrunners who liked to misdirect their audience with talk of “tension” that amounted to very little, people have misinterpreted Sansa’s interactions with LF in Seasons 6 & 7.

      When they met at Moletown in S6 she was quick to deny him and his offer of help. That initial response was her true assessment of LF: untrustworthy, not someone to have as an ally. When Jon dismissed her advice to wait to attack the Boltons until they had more fighters, she set aside her reservations about LF as an ally and demanded his help. If you look at the message she sent him, she wasn’t apologetic for turning him down earlier, she wasn’t trying to approach him as a friend, or to appeal to his affections. It seemed to me that she wasn’t at all sure that LF would answer her summons – and I surmised that that was why she didn’t mention it to Jon. If Jon and Davos had revised their battle plans at the 11th hour in anticipation of reinforcements that didn’t come, she’d have been responsible for their slaughter and defeat by promising help that never materialized.

      I hated the Winterfell subplot in Season 7, particularly because of how they had Arya so easily duped by LF. Ugh. But where others saw evidence of Sansa’s desire for power, I saw her treading carefully so that they wouldn’t lose the Vale forces. I thought she was very consistently trying to serve Jon’s and the North’s interests in Season 7. She let LF stick around until it was clear he was trying to sow discord between her and her siblings and among the Northern lords, and that she was reasonably sure that the Knights of the Vale would stick around without him. She didn’t try to defend Jon’s absenteeism when the Northern lords were grumbling (because the absenteeism did look bad), but instead calmly stated his right as their king to do what he thought needed to be done. She kept a lid on a situation that could have easily boiled over.

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    51. Gwidhiel,

      i hope she does defend him and Danny ..but somehow she is jealous for Danny having Jon..Littlefinger dies..but not before he somehow gotten manipulate her again ..with that Danny is beautiful,they could marry for alliance and etc making her in a degree jealous about Jon/Danny..I hope that just doesnt happen..and Sansa should to accept Danny and her relationship with Jon.

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    52. Gwidhiel:
      Black Raven,

      This. I strongly disliked Sansa in the early books and first season of the show, but there’s no denying that she’s grown a lot. I think that, encouraged by the showrunners who liked to misdirect their audience with talk of “tension” that amounted to very little, people have misinterpreted Sansa’s interactions with LF in Seasons 6 & 7.

      When they met at Moletown in S6 she was quick to deny him and his offer of help.That initial response was her true assessment of LF: untrustworthy, not someone to have as an ally. When Jon dismissed her advice to wait to attack the Boltons until they had more fighters, she set aside her reservations about LF as an ally and demanded his help. If you look at the message she sent him, she wasn’t apologetic for turning him down earlier, she wasn’t trying to approach him as a friend, or to appeal to his affections. It seemed to me that she wasn’t at all sure that LF would answer her summons – and I surmised that that was why she didn’t mention it to Jon. If Jon and Davos had revised their battle plans at the 11th hour in anticipation of reinforcements that didn’t come, she’d have been responsible for their slaughter and defeat by promising help that never materialized.

      I hated the Winterfell subplot in Season 7, particularly because of how they had Arya so easily duped by LF. Ugh. But where others saw evidence of Sansa’s desire for power, I saw her treading carefully so that they wouldn’t lose the Vale forces. I thought she was very consistently trying to serve Jon’s and the North’s interests in Season 7. She let LF stick around until it was clear he was trying to sow discord between her and her siblings and among the Northern lords, and that she was reasonably sure that the Knights of the Vale would stick around without him. She didn’t try to defend Jon’s absenteeism when the Northern lords were grumbling (because the absenteeism did look bad), but instead calmly stated his right as their king to do what he thought needed to be done. She kept a lid on a situation that could have easily boiled over.

      This !

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    53. Artemisia:
      Gwidhiel,

      i hope she does defend him and Danny ..but somehow she is jealous for Danny having Jon..Littlefinger dies..but not before he somehow gotten manipulate her again ..with that Danny is beautiful,they could marry for alliance and etc making her in a degree jealous about Jon/Danny..I hope that just doesnt happen..and Sansa should to accept Danny and her relationship with Jon.

      Why is she jealous of Danny?
      She may not trust her ( Sansa is well aware of what happened to her Grandfather and Uncle at Danery’s dad’s hands )because as she says she’s coming to conquer and Jon bent the knee which Sansa and Bran along with Arya and Jon will have to deal with to those wavering northern lords.
      I think she will see advantages to Jon having to marry Danny after her initial skepticism.

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    54. For what it is worth, Arya was almost surely not duped. She enacted a dangerous FAceless Men-style ruse against Littlefinger.. She had already put LF on notice by using his prized dagger and then giving him her death glare. That all but invited him to go after her. When she did her spying she did not wear a Face, though she had several available, so she must have wanted him to see her. And when she got that letter she used it to lure Sansa to search her room so that she’d find the Faces (the bag was left out!) and Arya could tell her about the FM. As soon as she did, she handed Sansa LF’s dagger as a signal.

      Handing someone a weapon means you’re not going to hurt them, and handing over another person’s weapon sort of points at them. Sure enough, when Sansa told LF that Arya was a FM, he knew immediately Arya could kill him as anyone anytime! So he played his mind game to convince Sansa to kill Arya based on the pretext that Arya planned to kill her to be Lady of Winterfell. But Arya had just given Sansa the weapon and walked away, so she knew that was a lie and also that Arya had no interest in ruling Winterfell either. Sansa wised up, the three Stark kids set up the trial-trap, LF died, and on the battlements afterwards Sansa called Arya “the strongest person I know.”

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    55. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      For what it is worth, Arya was almost surely not duped.

      Yes, she was. Most of the things you cite as contrary evidence are just sloppy and contrived writing. Maisie Williams herself has said Arya wasn’t faking anything.

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    56. Artemisia:
      Grail King,

      Sansa cant blame Danny for her father crimes ..Her father crimes are just her father crimes ..not Dannys crimes ..and i do hope Sansadoes agree Jon marry Danny

      No where did I say Sansa blames Danny, I said she’s aware of what happened to her family as a historical reference ( minus what we and Sam and Bran knows ) she knows Danny wants the North back under Targ rule. Sansa will demand Danny’s proving she’s not her father’s daughter before she acquiesce.

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    57. The fact that so many people have different interpretations of the Winterfell plot in season 7 highlights how poorly handled it was. I enjoy most of what D&D have done, but the Winterfell plot in season 7 was a mess.

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    58. Sean C.: Yes, she was.Most of the things you cite as contrary evidence are just sloppy and contrived writing.Maisie Williams herself has said Arya wasn’t faking anything.

      Added to that: D&D said LF played Arya, too.

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    59. Mr Derp:
      The fact that so many people have different interpretations of the Winterfell plot in season 7 highlights how poorly handled it was.I enjoy most of what D&D have done, but the Winterfell plot in season 7 was a mess.

      Agreed.

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    60. Artemisia,

      I don’t think I follow why Sansa would be jealous of Dany. Maybe she’d envy her wardrobe? I could see Sansa being wary of Dany and Dany’s intentions towards the North. If anyone would be jealous of Dany’s new relationship with Jon, I expect it would be Arya, who’s always been possessive of her favorite brother. Soon after her arrival in Winterfell she made a pointed comment about Jon leaving Sansa in charge, and Sansa quickly remarked that, however happy Jon was to be reunited with Sansa, he’ll be much more so to see Arya. Even before Sansa got the full measure of how Arya vengeful and ruthless Arya had become, she knew to reassure Arya that she’d always be first in Jon’s affections. I doubt Dany will do that. And if Arya is scornful of Sansa’s love of pretty clothes, I think she’ll take a dim view of Daenerys’s outfits. But perhaps the dragons will balance it out.

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    61. Mr Derp:
      The fact that so many people have different interpretations of the Winterfell plot in season 7 highlights how poorly handled it was.I enjoy most of what D&D have done, but the Winterfell plot in season 7 was a mess.

      I couldn’t agree more. They seem to be especially bad at handling Arya’s arc and developing her character; Season 6 and Season 7 were both really bad in that regard.

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    62. Gwidhiel,

      I agree also.

      BTW, a great reply from you to my earlier post. Sansa was no fool and as you say, although she had little respect for LF after her bad experience with the Boltons, she used him to get the support of The Vale army without which Jon would have lost the BotB.

      She played him right until the end and LF never suspected that it was him being tried for treason, but without Bran and his ability to see into the past, I doubt if Sansa could have done that? It was good that D&D decided to delete the scene which was purported to show Sansa and Bran discussing LF before the trial. If that had been shown, it would have given ‘the game away’ and we would have known what was coming.

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    63. To me Turner’s acting kicked up a serious few notches after she did the X-Men film. Either she got some serious coaching or she realized that Sansa the Victim needed to grow a spine and she came back with some of the Jane Grey mojo. It was probably a bit of both and she has been amazing since then. The Lady of the North got seriously schooled at Kings’ Landing. By the last episode of Season 7, she passed her orals in the theory and practice of being a female bad-ass, in other words, Hail the Queen in the North!!!!

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    64. House Monty,

      How does two Targaryens marrying keep the “Dragon and the Wolf alliance” intact?

      In that scenario R+L=J is completely redundant.

      Jon need not have been a Targaryen at all, let alone be legitimate or have a claim to the throne. He could’ve just been Ned’s bastard, named King in the North and married Daenerys to form an alliance.

      This grand revelation that has been debated for 20 years and which the show has spent 7 seasons building towards should have consequences.

      At this point, I wouldn’t put it past the producers to superficially gloss over it, have it all ironed out in an episode and ultimately resolve matters in a way that makes the entire revelation redundant.

      But they spent all of Season 7 hammering home the fact that Jon’s rule hangs by a thread. Having him subsequently rock up to Winterfell with a Targaryen queen, to whom he’s already relinquished his title, and for it then to be revealed that he too is a Targaryen is a situation that, logically, could not be resolved by proposing marriage between him and Dany.

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    65. Gwidhiel,

      i do hope that happen..but i dont like the jealous Arya theory..Arya likes strong womens and her idol is a strong Targaryen female warrior..Visenya..I hope Danny and Arya goes better next season.

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    66. Gwidhiel,

      “ If anyone would be jealous of Dany’s new relationship with Jon, I expect it would be Arya…”
      —————-
      Nah. Arya would be fangirling all over Daenerys Targaryen. Remember how she spoke to Tywin about Visenya Targaryen, “a great warrior”?

      Arya will not be jealous. [Forgive this if it’s a duplicate post…]. Here’s how I picture their first meeting:

      Arya (gushing): “Aunt Dany…I mean Queen Daenerys…I mean Your Grace…Squeeee!”

      Dany: “Excuse me?”

      Arya: (gulp): “It’s just that …I just wanted to tell you… you’re my biggest fan…I mean I’m your biggest fan!” (face palm; starts hyperventilating).

      Dany: “You alright?”

      Arya (blushing): “It’s just that….You’re even more awesome in person and now I can’t breathe! I’m so sorry! ….I’m such a dork.”

      Dany: “No, you’re cool as f*ck, My Princess…Hey, how’d you like to go dragon riding with me? See the world from high up in the sky. Maybe we’ll spot some ice zombies to flambe. I can show you how to do the Dracarys command….”

      Arya: (faints)

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    67. Black Raven:
      Gwidhiel,

      I agree also.

      BTW, a great reply from you to my earlier post. Sansa was no fool and as you say, although she had little respect for LF after her bad experience with the Boltons, she used him to get the support of The Vale army without which Jon would have lost the BotB.

      She played him right until the end and LF never suspected that it was him being tried for treason, but without Bran and his ability to see into the past, I doubt if Sansa could have done that? It was good that D&D decided to delete the scene which was purported to show Sansa and Bran discussing LF before the trial. If that had been shown, it would have given ‘the game away’and we would have known what was coming.

      I agree. The S7 Winterfell subplot was written to string us along and in the process they made Arya look like a rather petty-minded dupe, Sansa look resolutely uncertain about everything going on around her, and LF look … I don’t know what they were going for, what his endgame was supposed to be, in his mind. Oh and then there’s Bran.

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    68. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      “ If anyone would be jealous of Dany’s new relationship with Jon, I expect it would be Arya…”
      —————-
      Nah. Arya would be fangirling all over Daenerys Targaryen. Remember how she spoke to Tywin about Visenya Targaryen, “a great warrior”?

      But that’s the problem with Dany: she’s not a trained warrior. Have we ever seen her even hold a weapon? She’s a dragonrider, and that’s admittedly super-cool and I could see Arya being fascinated with her for that reason. But Dany has no fighting skills whatsoever, she’s incredibly haughty and arrogant and wed to protocols announcing all of her titles. I don’t see Arya getting on board with that

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    69. Artemisia:
      Grail King,

      and then why Sansa is jealous of Danny hooking up with Jon?there is something personal for Sansa..

      Do you think, Sansa loves Jon?
      Because all I saw was family love and concern for his safety which; leads to her safety and the North’s safety.

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    70. Grail King: Do you think, Sansa loves Jon?
      Because all I saw was family love and concern for his safety which; leads to her safety and the North’s safety.

      I agree – and after her traumatic experience at Ramsay’s hands, I can’t imagine Sansa’s looking at anyone romantically.

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    71. Erica,
      Grail King,

      If we could have another season that would be some cool speculation with Sansa developing feelings for Jon after finding out he is not her brother and then we get a love triangle of sorts with Sansa and Dany rivalry lol. But alas there is no time for any of that with only six episodes.

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    72. Grail King</strong I dont think she loves him as a man..but has some psychosis/jealousy with him and Danny…Littlefinger left his stigma for another time… before he dies..Like a poisonous animal ..who leaves the poison on his victim ..even and that victim does kill his/her abuser.Littlefinger was capable to do that..knowing that he will killed soon.

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    73. Gwidhiel,

      Really? Dany defeated the Masters’ armada in S6e9, led her Dothraki army into battle against the Lannister army in S7e4, and rescued the Snow Patrol from the Army of the Dead in S7e6 (contrary to Tyrion’s advice to “do nothing”).

      I don’t think she has to have kickass swordfighting skills to be considered a great warrior.

      Am I wrong?

        Quote  Reply

    74. Artemisia:
      Grail King</strongI dont think she loves him as a man..but has some psychosis/jealousy with him and Danny…Littlefinger left his stigma for another time… before he dies..Like a poisonous animal ..who leaves the poison on his victim ..even and that victim does kill his/her abuser.Littlefinger was capable to do that..knowing that he will killed soon.


      Yeah, no, I don’t think so; if anything I think Sansa becomes more like Lady Olenna, just a Stark version of the Queen of Thorns. Nobody will ever be allowed to bring harm or destruction to her house or the North again.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Grail King: Yeah, no, I don’t think so; if anything I think Sansa becomes more like Lady Olenna, just a Stark version of the Queen of Thorns. Nobody will ever be allowed to bring harm or destruction to her house or the North again.

      ETA: It could happen in book, in show if it happens they need a time jump, both of them have strengths the other lacks, and it could be a second coming for House Stark, but I thought I read GRRM said he isn’t doing a Jon and Sansa.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Grail King,

      No, i don’t think she loves Jon except as her brother….Jon only wants Dany and i think even after the reveal the love won’t go away…even if he might like it too!

        Quote  Reply

    77. Grail King,

      in the books wont happen that because she will marry a man named Harry…Jon there may remain dead and Danny may married Aegon..The Young Griff…As for what i said before…dont underestimate Littlefingers power in the peoples..He can manipulate them even and dying..because as Varys did said to Lady Olenna…Littlefinger was the most dangerous man in the Westeros.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      Really? Dany defeated the Masters’ armada in S6e9, led her Dothraki army into battle against the Lannister army in S7e4, and rescued the Snow Patrol from the Army of the Dead in S7e6 (contrary to Tyrion’s advice to “do nothing”).

      I don’t think she has to have kickass swordfighting skills to be considered a great warrior.

      Am I wrong?

      Well I’m certainly not going to say that you’re wrong, but I think Daenerys’s status as a warrior is a matter of opinion. But my current understanding of Arya – particularly Season 7 Arya – is that she seems to value women who validate the path that she has chosen and excels in, women like Brienne. S7 Arya also seems to be keen to demonstrate her mad skillz to everyone (another D&B mistake, IMHO, I don’t think anyone with Faceless Man training would be such a public show-off about their fighting abilities).

      So no, I don’t think she’ll be very impressed with Daenerys. If you take away D’s dragons, she’d be just another pretty girl who “likes to wear nice things” and thinks she’s “better than everyone else,” and leaves fighting to the men. The dragons are impressive, no doubt. But I don’t see Arya being impressed with Daenerys herself, especially when she detects something between D&J. And when she finds out that Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, unless Dany bends the knee herself and goes along with it, I can see Arya being implacable where Jon (and Sansa) might not be.

      That’s my taken FWIW. I could totally be wrong, though.

        Quote  Reply

    79. ygritte:
      Erica,
      Grail King,

      If we could have another season that would be some cool speculation with Sansa developing feelings for Jon after finding out he is not her brother and then we get a love triangle of sorts with Sansa and Dany rivalry lol. But alas there is no time for any of that with only six episodes.

      Probably an honest error, but I never speculated that Sansa would develop feelings for Jon. I can’t see that happening at all, even if we had 7 more seasons. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    80. Gwidhiel,

      I agree with you.

      To me Daenerys is like an F-16 pilot strafing a medieval army armed with swords and bows. Aside from her ability to wield a weapon of mass destruction, she is not very warrior-esque.

      Season 2 Arya wasn’t awed by Tywin Lannister despite being a defenceless young girl, so I can’t picture sword-twirling, somersaulting, face-stealing Season 7 Arya being particularly impressed by Daenerys.

      I think she’s more likely to make some veiled remark about killing queens to warn Daenerys against crossing House Stark.

        Quote  Reply

    81. It will be all shock & awe when the North first sees Dany’s dragons but seeing only two of them will remind them that the NK now has one of those dragons (Bran already knows what’s happened). So, Dany could be blamed for that, in their minds, and could have a bit of an uphill battle with the northern Lords. Then there will be Jon’s revelation to contend with. The NK and company will have to be the distraction that sorts out the priorities at that point.

      As for Sansa, if Jaime arrives at WF before the wights, Jon’s going to have to deal with Sansa’s ‘I told you so,’ when they learn Cersei is not only NOT joining them, she’s bringing in the Golden Co. Dany will have an “I told ya so,” too. Poor Jon. Again, the NK arriving will have to be the distraction.

      I think Arya will stay out of the politics all together. I imagine her being like, “Point me towards danger, Jon. I’m ready!” (nod to Robin Hood Prince of Thieves).

        Quote  Reply

    82. Gwidhiel,

      I’m relying on Arya’s own words of admiration for dragon-riding Targaryen women. Take a look at the expressions on her face during her conversation with Tywin in S2e7 (dialogue below):

      Tywin: Harrenhal was built to withstand an attack from the land. A million men could have marched on these walls and a million men would have been repelled. But an attack from the air with dragon fire … . Harren and all his sons roasted alive within these walls. Aegon Targaryen changed the rules. That’s why every child alive still knows his name 300 years after his death.

      Arya: Aegon…AND his sisters…It wasn’t just Aegon riding his dragon. It was Rhaenys and Visenya, too.

      Tywin: Correct. A student of history, are you?

      Arya: Rhaenys rode Meraxes. Visenya rode Vhagar.

      Tywin: I’m sure I knew that when I was a boy.

      Arya: Visenya Targaryen was a great warrior. She had a Valyrian steel sword she called Dark Sister.

      Tywin: Hmm. She’s a heroine of yours, I take it. Aren’t most girls more interested in the pretty maidens from the songs? Jonquil with the flowers in her hair?

      Arya: Most girls are idiots.

      (Tywin laughs)….
      ***

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    83. Gwidhiel,

      I side more with Ten Bears on this issue. Arya named her direwolf after Nymeria, whom also didn’t engage in personal combat but is remembered as a warrior queen.
      From George

      Nymeria had more in common with someone like Daenerys or Joan d’Arc than with Brienne or Xena the Warrior Princess.
      http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Answers_to_Old_Questions

      And I wouldn’t call any of Dany’s outfits this past season “nice” ( as in elegant), she’s still always wearing her boots and trousers as Michele Clapton points out, in case something goes awry. Her nicest piece is the three headed dragon pin. The show also made a point of reestablishing Daenerys’ willingness of putting herself in harms way to do what she thinks is right.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Erica,

      I think Dany’s ‘I told you so’ will be for reserved for Tyrion, once they realise Cersei has double-crossed them.

      And I think Jon will get it in the neck from both Sansa and the rest of The North for going north of The Wall and inadvertently gifting the Night King the means to invade, all in order to win Cersei’s support which ended in failure anyway.

      Remember Davos saying, “You can’t lead a raid beyond The Wall. You’re not in the Night’s Watch anymore, you’re King in the North”, trying to remind Jon of his duties.

      It’s hard to tell how consistent the producers are going to be one season to the next, but it’s heavily implied that Jon’s decisions are alienating and may lose him The North.

      They had Sansa trying to convince him to be smarter than Ned and Robb, yet he’s basically been retreading their missteps – everything from being too honest with Cersei to falling in love with a foreigner.

      They had all the lords insisting he refuse the invitation to meet Daenerys and expressing their distaste for the Targaryens.

      They’ve had the Northern and Vale lords looking to line up behind Sansa’s rule after growing discontent with Jon’s long absence.

      And not only has Jon’s reckless mission beyond The Wall gifted the Night King a dragon, which will surely cost thousands of Northern lives, he has also bent the knee and given away his people’s independence.

      And to top it all off, they end the season with Jorah reminding us how hated the Targaryens are in The North, yet Jon naively suggesting that the optics will look better if they arrive at Winterfell together.

      It all appears aligned for things to blow up in Jon’s face, with the revelation about his parentage sealing the deal.

        Quote  Reply

    85. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      I’m relying on Arya’s own words of admiration for dragon-riding Targaryen women. Take a look at the expressions on her face during her conversation with Tywin in S2e7 (dialogue below):

      Tywin: Harrenhal was built to withstand an attack from the land. A million men could have marched on these walls and a million men would have been repelled. But an attack from the air with dragon fire … . Harren and all his sons roasted alive within these walls. Aegon Targaryen changed the rules. That’s why every child alive still knows his name 300 years after his death.

      Arya: Aegon…AND his sisters…It wasn’t just Aegon riding his dragon. It was Rhaenys and Visenya, too.

      Tywin: Correct. A student of history, are you?

      Arya: Rhaenys rode Meraxes. Visenya rode Vhagar.

      Tywin: I’m sure I knew that when I was a boy.

      Arya: Visenya Targaryen was a great warrior. She had a Valyrian steel sword she called Dark Sister.

      Tywin: Hmm. She’s a heroine of yours, I take it. Aren’t most girls more interested in the pretty maidens from the songs? Jonquil with the flowers in her hair?

      Arya: Most girls are idiots.

      (Tywin laughs)….***

      I can totally see where you’re coming from, and you may well be right. It’s not how I’ve processed what we’ve seen so far, but I won’t be surprised if I’m wrong. I think the show has made such a botched mess of Arya’s characterization, particularly in S7, that I wouldn’t be surprised by anything they have her do in Season 8.

        Quote  Reply

    86. Jay Targ:
      Gwidhiel,

      I side more with Ten Bears on this issue.Arya named her direwolf after Nymeria, whom also didn’t engage in personal combat but is remembered as a warrior queen.
      From George

      And I wouldn’t call any of Dany’s outfits this past season “nice” ( as in elegant), she’s still always wearing her boots and trousers as Michele Clapton points out, in case something goes awry.Her nicest piece is the three headed dragon pin.The show also made a point of reestablishing Daenerys’ willingness of putting herself in harms way to do what she thinks is right.

      Dany’s outfits were more subdued in the last season, but they are still pretty fancy. And if she’s trying to look beautiful for her new lover I wouldn’t be surprised to see her outfitted in one of her alluring gowns.

      Her Season 7 clothes reflected her wish to look like a conqueror. I believe that, in her mind, the North is already hers since Jon bent the knee – so I could see her reverting to Sexy Khaleesi clothes for a welcome feast at Winterfell. But even if that doesn’t happen, her clothes are pretty fancy. And she’s undeniably haughty and arrogant.

        Quote  Reply

    87. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Erica,

      I think Dany’s ‘I told you so’ will be for reserved for Tyrion, once they realise Cersei has double-crossed them.

      And I think Jon will get it in the neck from both Sansa and the rest of The North for going north of The Wall and inadvertently gifting the Night King the means to invade, all in order to win Cersei’s support which ended in failure anyway.

      Remember Davos saying, “You can’t lead a raid beyond The Wall. You’re not in the Night’s Watch anymore, you’re King in the North”, trying to remind Jon of his duties.

      It’s hard to tell how consistent the producers are going to be one season to the next, but it’s heavily implied that Jon’s decisions are alienating and may lose him The North.

      They had Sansa trying to convince him to be smarter than Ned and Robb, yet he’s basically been retreading their missteps – everything from being too honest with Cersei to falling in love with a foreigner.

      They had all the lords insisting he refuse the invitation to meet Daenerys and expressing their distaste for the Targaryens.

      They’ve had the Northern and Vale lords looking to line up behind Sansa’s rule after growing discontent with Jon’s long absence.

      And not only has Jon’s reckless mission beyond The Wall gifted the Night King a dragon, which will surely cost thousands of Northern lives, he has also bent the knee and given away his people’s independence.

      And to top it all off, they end the season with Jorah reminding us how hated the Targaryens are in The North, yet Jon naively suggesting that the optics will look better if they arrive at Winterfell together.

      It all appears aligned for things to blow up in Jon’s face, with the revelation about his parentage sealing the deal.

      Yup, I agree 100%!

        Quote  Reply

    88. Gwidhiel,

      And another thing: Arya is quite pragmatic when it comes to defeating one’s enemies, as illustrated in her exchange with Sandor in S4e8 when discussing Joffrey’s assassination:

      Arya: You protected him for most of his life. You think you could have saved him?
      Sandor: I wasn’t the damn wine taster. Little sh*t deserved to die, but poison– poison’s a woman’s weapon. Men kill with steel.
      Arya: That’s your stupid pride talking. That’s why you’ll never be a great killer. I’d have killed Joffrey with a chicken bone if I had to.
      Sandor: I’d pay good money to see that.

      Fast forward to the opening scene of S7e1…and Arya using the “woman’s weapon” to exterminate House Frey. 🍷🍷🍷

        Quote  Reply

    89. Gwidhiel,

      “I think the show has made such a botched mess of Arya’s characterization, particularly in S7…”
      ——————————-
      Well, Arya’s scenes in S7e4 were great, especially sparring with Brienne, but I’m compelled to agree with you that the Stark sisters-LF “plot” in e5 and e6, e.g. soap operish eavesdropping, lurking behind corners, and breaking into rooms – and then Arya musing about cutting off Sansa’s face and impersonating her – was kind of a “botched mess.”
      Still, the sparring scene with Brienne in e4 and the reconciliation with Sansa scene at the end of e7 made up for the “messy” stuff, in my mind.

        Quote  Reply

    90. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      And another thing: Arya is quite pragmatic when it comes to defeating one’s enemies, as illustrated in her exchange with Sandor in S4e8 when discussing Joffrey’s assassination:

      Arya: You protected him for most of his life. You think you could have saved him?
      Sandor: I wasn’t the damn wine taster. Little sh*t deserved to die, but poison– poison’s a woman’s weapon. Men kill with steel.
      Arya: That’s your stupid pride talking. That’s why you’ll never be a great killer. I’d have killed Joffrey with a chicken bone if I had to.
      Sandor: I’d pay good money to see that.

      Fast forward to the opening scene of S7e1…and Arya using the “woman’s weapon” to exterminate House Frey. 🍷🍷🍷

      I’m not denying that Daenerys is brave and has dragons and has done things that Arya might deem admirable. I’m merely pointing out that she’s not a trained fighter, and the Arya we were “treated” to in Season 7 seemed to be very caught up in her scorn for femininity and any signs that Jon favored Sansa over her. Perhaps that resentment was reserved for her sister, but I myself don’t read it that way. I think the show did many disservices to Arya’s character in Season 7 that made her seem petty and capable of maliciousness. Perhaps it was merely in service of keeping us all wondering what would happen, in which case Arya in Season 8 might suddenly be less dark and less suspicious and less in need of winning recognition for how badass she is. But if they continue with the characterization they presented in Season 7, I think it’s not unreasonable to guess that she might not care much for Daenerys.

        Quote  Reply

    91. Gwidhiel:
      Her Season 7 clothes reflected her wish to look like a conqueror.I believe that, in her mind, the North is already hers since Jon bent the knee – so I could see her reverting to Sexy Khaleesi clothes for a welcome feast at Winterfell.But even if that doesn’t happen, her clothes are pretty fancy. And she’s undeniably haughty and arrogant.

      Lol Winter has arrived, I doubt we’ll see her wearing sexy anything while at Winterfell. And imo, her clothes last season weren’t any fancier than Jon or Sansa’s. She’s definitely a proud person but I wouldn’t call her haughty. Surely someone with that level of arrogance wouldn’t have named Tyrion, a dwarf, her hand. Wouldn’t be telling a bastard (to her knowledge) how she hopes she deserves his pledge to her. Wouldn’t have shown interest in her friend’s (a former slave btw) love life. Though I guess you can say that she can come across as cold to those she’s not familiar with.

        Quote  Reply

    92. Ten Bears,

      I loved the opening scene of S7e1! I did enjoy seeing Arya sparring with Brienne, but even while watching it I wondered why she was showing her hand like that. Overall, I think the showrunners should apologize to Arya Stark for depicting her as a resentful, petty, brat who was stuck on a childhood rivalry with her sister, indiscreet about her fighting skills, and not smart enough to see through LF’s pretty transparent machinations.

        Quote  Reply

    93. And I think Jon will get it in the neck from both Sansa and the rest of The North for going north of The Wall and inadvertently gifting the Night King the means to invade, all in order to win Cersei’s support which ended in failure anyway.

      This is funny and not. Geeze. Is there no one on this show’s writing team whose job is to stand back, look at the bigger picture and point out when a ‘cool idea’ will have really dumb unintentional consequences?

        Quote  Reply

    94. lucy: This is funny and not. Geeze. Is there no one on this show’s writing team whose job is to stand back, look at the bigger picture and point out when a ‘cool idea’ will have really dumb unintentional consequences?

      Umm. I guess there isn’t. My theory? This is the price of success: After all of the (well-deserved) accolades, the writing team winds up composing story lines “in a bubble”, with nobody around to point out inconsistencies. Also, when 90% of the writing is stellar, the less-than-enthralling 10% sticks out like a sore thumb. Look, I can’t expect perfection. I cannot imagine how challenging it is to write scripts with so many “moving parts” on fixed deadlines. Still, if there isn’t an objective, critical story editor on the outside looking in, it’s probably easy for writers to overlook “unintended consequences” or questiinable character decisions. (This doesn’t only apply to scriptwriting: Stephen King, in his book “On Writing”, explained that a novelist writes the first draft “for himself or herself”, and even the best novelist needs a good editor to insure that the final draft is written “for the world.”)

      Not to go further off topic, but I attribute some of the awkwardness of the e5 & e6 Stark sisters-LF plot to the absence of women writers. I grew up in a family with eleven sisters on my maternal grandmother’s side. I have three sisters. Real sisters may have sibling rivalries growing up, but they do not behave the way Arya and Sansa behaved in those episodes. Nor do they suddenly become dumb, or withhold crucial information instead of simply asking and answering direct questions.

      Disclaimer: I am not qualified to critique the writing on the show. I’m just giving my perspective as one member of the audience for which the show is presented.

        Quote  Reply

    95. Gwidhiel,

      Well, to be fair, in S7e4 there was no reason for Arya not to “show her hand” insofar as her swordfighting skills were concerned. At the time, I viewed it as an effective way to show Sansa just how accomplished her little sister had become in the martial arts (and possibly make Sansa realize Arya’s kill list wasn’t a joke.).

        Quote  Reply

    96. Ten Bears,

      I don’t think the lack of women writers (which is certainly regrettable in a number of ways) enters into that specific context. The poor communication, etc. is simply a prerequisite of the plot. The writers made Littlefinger’s position so weak that if the sisters behaved in a remotely reasonable and intelligent manner there’d be no jeopardy at all.

        Quote  Reply

    97. Sean C.,

      I’ve never seen sisters behave like that in real life, that’s all. And the characters’ behavior in those two episodes was so out of whack, that it was jarring to see them return to “normal” in the next (final) episode, e.g., Arya going from “I wonder how it’d be if I cut off your face and wore it as a mask” to “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

        Quote  Reply

    98. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      Well, to be fair, in S7e4 there was no reason for Arya not to “show her hand” insofar as her swordfighting skills were concerned. At the time, I viewed it as an effective way to show Sansa just how accomplished her little sister had become in the martial arts (and possibly make Sansa realize Arya’s kill list wasn’t a joke.).

      Good points, that’s a very reasonable way to look at it.

        Quote  Reply

    99. Ten Bears:
      Sean C.,

      I’ve never seen sisters behave like that in real life, that’s all. And the characters’ behavior in those two episodes was so out of whack, that it was jarring to see them return to “normal” in the next (final) episode, e.g., Arya going from “I wonder how it’d be if I cut off your face and wore it as a mask” to “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

      I agree. The build up and coda of the Winterfell subplot were so disjointed and unrealistic. And I liked the point you’ve made Ten Bears, about how differently Sansa and Arya’s dialogues might have been done if there were a stronger female presence on the writing staff.

        Quote  Reply

    100. Ten Bears,

      I agree that the characterization was extremely poor, but I don’t think that you could meaningfully improve it and still have a story, because the writers boxed themselves into a situation where a story is only possible if the characters act wildly inconsistently. There simply isn’t any reason for the characters to fight or fall for anything Littlefinger does.

        Quote  Reply

    101. Sean C.,

      I think you’re right about that. I was puzzled about why they seemed so intent on making us think that there was a possibility that Sansa would be swayed by Littlefinger into betraying Jon/her family. If they needed to assemble Sansa, Bran, and Arya in Winterfell and get rid of Littlefinger they could have provided the justification for executing him as they did with just one fireside chat among the 3 siblings. No need for Arya to be so dreadful for a couple of episodes.

      I wonder – just idle wondering, I’m not at all convinced this is the case – if the Season 7 Winterfell theme of Doubting Sansa’s Loyalty was the show voicing and exploring (clumsily) the misgivings and anti-Sansa biases that so many audience members hold. I didn’t like her at all – especially in the show – at first. But I’m puzzled by the enduring enmity that some people seem to have for her. It’s like they’re channeling Cersei.

        Quote  Reply

    102. Sean C.:
      Ten Bears,

      I agree that the characterization was extremely poor, but I don’t think that you could meaningfully improve it and still have a story, because the writers boxed themselves into a situation where a story is only possible if the characters act wildly inconsistently.There simply isn’t any reason for the characters to fight or fall for anything Littlefinger does.

      To be honest, I thought that a convincing story line leading to LF’s downfall had been set up quite nicely in S2 with the information Arya overheard as “cupbearer” when LF met with Tywin at Harrenhall. Even without the aid of Bran-o-vision, Sansa and Arya – with a little input from Brienne – could’ve pieced together not only that LF conspired to defeat Robb, but that he intentionally deceived Catelyn into freeing the Kingslayer (and betraying Robb) with the sham “hostage exchange” proposal.

      I also continue to be perplexed by the whole dagger ownership accusation. I understood that Joffrey (or maybe Jaime?) had orchestrated the catspaw assassination plot; LF couldn’t have done it. (Nor would he gift the attempted murder weapon to Bran if it could implicate him.) In fact, I thought LF had good “defenses” to all of the accusations leveled against him in S7e7 – but could’ve been ensnared by the statements he made when conspiring with Tywin.

      As much as I detested the character*, the real LF should’ve gone down “swinging” (verbally) instead of with a whimper. In e7, Arya and Sansa could have methodically boxed in LF and proven that he betrayed their mother and sabotaged Robb, without relying on Bran’s bird visions, nonexistent letters from Lysa, or accusations of murdering Lysa that Sansa herself had already refuted in the Vale inquest.
      The two episodes of dumbed-down PsychoArya and FranticSansa getting bamboozled by LF would’ve been unnecessary. And LF’s conviction and death sentence would’ve been earned.
      (Still loved Sophie in that episode. She was really good. “Do you deny it!” … Me: “Uh, no I don’t.” And I’ll always like the last scene with the two sisters on the battlements commending each other before quoting their departed father. 😢)

      * Slightly off-topic: I always thought that a manipulator like LF should exude charm and charisma; that’s how real life scammers succeed. But whenever I saw show! LF, I wanted to punch him. I was surprised none of the characters had pummeled and strangled him already.

      It just so happens that about a month ago, I had the TV on but wasn’t really watching. It was some Angelina Jolie action flick. I noticed an extremely well-dressed, impossibly handsome man greet Angelina’s character and start talking to her in a sincere (and luscious) voice. I thought to myself, “THAT is what Littlefinger should be like.”
      After a minute or so, I realized: “Holy sh*t! That’s Jorah F*cking Mormont!” (Iain Glen).

        Quote  Reply

    103. Gwidhiel:
      Sean C.,

      “… I was puzzled about why they seemed so intent on making us think that there was a possibility that Sansa would be swayed by Littlefinger into betraying Jon/her family. If they needed to assemble Sansa, Bran, and Arya in Winterfell and get rid of Littlefinger they could have provided the justification for executing him as they did with just one fireside chat among the 3 siblings. No need for Arya to be so dreadful for a couple of episodes.”

      Me too! See 11:24 AM comment, above.

        Quote  Reply

    104. Yea, most of my feelings have been covered on this from you guys, but the Winterfell plot in season 7 never should’ve happened…at all. What bugs me in a more general sense is that Sansa said to Jon at the end of season 6 that only a fool would trust Littlefinger, yet she allows the same untrustworthy man into her inner circle to give her council for season 7? Sorry, but regardless of who it is, if I know for a fact that someone is untrustworthy the last thing I would do is allow this person into my inner circle. It may be useful to deal with them once in a while, but not daily, and certainly not having them be one of my main council, following me around all the time and allowed to be alone with me in a room. Just monumentally dumb.

        Quote  Reply

    105. Ten Bears,

      I liked Aiden Gillen’s Littlefinger for the most part, but in the last two seasons his story arc became nonsensical and completely out of character. I could never believe that he’d have sent Sansa to the Boltons – especially if he was obsessed with her himself. I recognized that the show needed to condense story lines and accepted that that was a necessary compromise. But after that initial “out of character” detour, the show’s Littlefinger never recovered.

      I couldn’t figure out what he thought he was trying to accomplish in Season 7. If having influence over Sansa, and possibly wedding her eventually, was his goal, it seems to me he would have played Wonderful Uncle Peter to all of the Stark siblings – get them to like him. I thought that might have been what he was trying to do when he was talking with Jon in the crypts, although obviously that didn’t go well. And I guess, maybe, that was what he was trying to do with Bran, too, with the dagger. Maybe Bran letting Littlefinger know that he knew all about him, and Jon’s open hostility to the idea of Littlefinger being in love with Sansa, made LF decide that he needed to isolate Sansa from her siblings if he was to retain his hold on her?

      Or just bad writing.

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    106. Mr Derp:
      Yea, most of my feelings have been covered on this from you guys, but the Winterfell plot in season 7 never should’ve happened…at all.What bugs me in a more general sense is that Sansa said to Jon at the end of season 6 that only a fool would trust Littlefinger, yet she allows the same untrustworthy man into her inner circle to give her council for season 7?Sorry, but regardless of who it is, if I know for a fact that someone is untrustworthy the last thing I would do is allow this person into my inner circle.It may be useful to deal with them once in a while, but not daily, and certainly not having them be one of my main council, following me around all the time and allowed to be alone with me in a room.Just monumentally dumb.

      So true.

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    107. Mr Derp,

      If you watch the premiere, LF is clearly not in her inner circle. He’s trying to worm his way into her confidence but she’s rebutting him. His goal this year was to regain her confidence, which meant poisoning her against everyone else and making her dependent on him. Creating a conflict between her and Arya was the way he tried to do it.

      I actually think most of the scenes in Winterfell were fine, if a bit rushed. Arya is not a complete idiot in this plot – her suspicion of Sansa is based on Sansa’s desire for Jon’s position, which Arya accurately perceived! I thought she was unfair towards Sansa concerning the letter, but that didn’t seem out of character for her really. Everyone loves her, but she ain’t perfect. She’s got a very black-and-white mentality, which makes it nearly impossible for her to appreciate the conflicts Sansa has been in since Season 1.

      The one scene that went too far was Arya creepily threatening Sansa. Cut or edit that scene slightly and the whole storyline is much improved, imo.

      People who think a conflict between Sansa and Arya was not believable I think underestimate the issues in their relationship and SEVERELY underestimate the effect their respective traumas have had on their ability to trust anyone, including each other.

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    108. Gwidhiel,

      “…I could never believe that he’d have sent Sansa to the Boltons – especially if he was obsessed with her himself.”
      —————

      Yeah, that’s always bugged me. Whether LF was a sicko or just an ambitious twit, no man would ever barter the virtue of his obsession for ANY price. Even if his objective was to “f*ck the Starks”, defiling Sansa himself would be the ultimate zinger. Jealous men act that way in real life. Possessive, controlling men even more so.
      Not to mention selling her off to a recently legitimized bastard without doing any investigation…was inconsistent with his reputation as “master” gameplayer. I shouldn’t revisit this again, but I could never grasp how or why Sansa would agree to such a ridiculous plan – to marry into the family that butchered her family. It set back her character evolution from budding player back to hapless victim again.

      (Another poster above or in another thread discussing the ill-conceived wight hunt described unintended consequences of what the writers thought was a “cool idea.” I guess we can chalk up much of Sansa’s wobbly story lines to the “cool idea” of shoehorning Sansa into the Jayne Poole book! story line. The initial logic was sketchy, and the merger has continued to have unforseeen repercussions. Unfortunately for Sophie, the inexplicable actions and decisions by her character left her open to criticism when she couldn’t come up with reasonable justifications in interviews, and left many viewers with the impression that Sansa was a dummy.)

      Damn it. I’m so sorry. This wasn’t intended to be a dredged-up rant.

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    109. Sean C.,

      Absolutely. And there was no need to make Littlefinger so weak and ineffective.

      He could’ve still been playing both sides of the fence, with the threat of him following through on claiming The North for Cersei and delivering Sansa’s head still looming.

      They could’ve had him publicly casting doubt on Jon’s claims about the Army of the Dead and his right to rule.

      In Jon’s absence he could’ve been putting the squeeze on Sansa by threatening to march the Knights of the Vale home and making moves to undermine her position unless she danced to his tune.

      And in turn, she could’ve been trying to counteract his influence by actively ingratiating herself to the Lords of the North and Vale. Perhaps using Bran to dig up dirt on him, which she could use to set a trap where he would eventually incriminate himself.

      Instead we got nonsensical squabbling between Sansa and Arya, all supposedly revolving around the ludicrous possibility of Arya murdering her sister, then a shameless deus ex Bran resolution, concluding with the sisters nostalgically quoting Ned on the battlements with everything preposterously hunky-dory.

      And nobody emerges from the plot with any credit.

      It was terrible.

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    110. Hodor Targaryen: If you watch the premiere, LF is clearly not in her inner circle. He’s trying to worm his way into her confidence but she’s rebutting him.

      Hodor Targaryen,

      Yea, she rebutted him in the premiere, however, if you watch more than just the premiere he clearly got closer each time until towards the end of the season she was taking his council alone with just the two of them in a room together and no one else around. That’s called being in someone’s inner circle. If she didn’t want him around she could’ve told him to leave. You could try and excuse it by saying that she was leading him on or something like that, but it just wasn’t the case here. She was genuinely listening to him and taking his advice until the end.

      Hodor Targaryen: His goal this year was to regain her confidence, which meant poisoning her against everyone else and making her dependent on him. Creating a conflict between her and Arya was the way he tried to do it.

      Hodor Targaryen,

      She already knew not to trust him, so whatever he tried to do should not have worked at all. It should’ve been a non-starter.

      Hodor Targaryen: People who think a conflict between Sansa and Arya was not believable I think underestimate the issues in their relationship and SEVERELY underestimate the effect their respective traumas have had on their ability to trust anyone, including each other.

      Hodor Targaryen,

      Arya and Sansa have both evolved into intelligent people who are now grown up. Obviously trauma plays a part, but by this time they both showed to be mature human beings that fully understand the difference between right and wrong in every other situation, so I think it’s a cop-out to assume that once the two of them got back together that they would just regress into petty jealous people. Of course ymmv, but that’s my opinion.

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    111. Hodor Targaryen,

      Except the whole “homicidal sisters” detour depended on soap operish behavior. For example, the real Arya and Sansa would’ve confronted each other:

      Sansa: “Where did you get this letter I sent to Robb?”
      Arya: “I saw your as*hole buddy Littlefinger get it for you from Maester Wolkan and thank him for it on your behalf.”
      Sansa: “That motherf*cker!”

      Instead, the sisters talked to each other in riddles, answered questions with questions, and appeared to be willfully oblivious.

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    112. Ten Bears:
      Hodor Targaryen,

      Except the whole “homicidal sisters” detour depended on soap operish behavior. For example, the real Arya and Sansa would’ve confronted each other:

      Sansa: “Where did you get this letter I sent to Robb?”
      Arya: “I saw your as*hole buddy Littlefinger get it for you from Maester Wolkan and thank him for it on your behalf.”
      Sansa: “That motherf*cker!”

      Instead, the sisters talked to each other in riddles, answered questions with questions, and appeared to be willfully oblivious.

      Haha – yes, exactly!

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    113. Mr Derp: Hodor Targaryen,

      Yea, she rebutted him in the premiere, however, if you watch more than just the premiere he clearly got closer each time until towards the end of the season she was taking his council alone with just the two of them in a room together and no one else around.That’s called being in someone’s inner circle.If she didn’t want him around she could’ve told him to leave.You could try and excuse it by saying that she was leading him on or something like that, but it just wasn’t the case here.She was genuinely listening to him and taking his advice until the end.

      Hodor Targaryen,

      She already knew not to trust him, so whatever he tried to do should not have worked at all.It should’ve been a non-starter.

      Hodor Targaryen,

      Arya and Sansa have both evolved into intelligent people who are now grown up.Obviously trauma plays a part, but by this time they both showed to be mature human beings that fully understand the difference between right and wrong in every other situation, so I think it’s a cop-out to assume that once the two of them got back together that they would just regress into petty jealous people.Of course ymmv, but that’s my opinion.

      I agree entirely with this view.

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    114. Mr Derp,

      “…if you watch more than just the premiere he clearly got closer each time until towards the end of the season she was taking his council alone with just the two of them in a room together and no one else around. That’s called being in someone’s inner circle….”
      ———————-
      It seemed like in almost every scene LF was attached to Sansa like a barnacle.

      LF sticking to Sansa like a parasite reminded me of Groucho Marx’s classic line (from “Duck Soup”
      or “A Day at the Races”) around 85-90 years ago:

      “If I were any closer, I’d be in back of you.”

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    115. Ten Bears,

      Lol, Im not too familiar with the works of the Marx Brothers. All I can think of is a stereotypical 1920’s-30’s gangster talking with a cigar sticking out of his mouth. “Mmmyea, see?? It’s just some blind tigah jerkin suds on the side seee???????”

      I have no idea why I associate Groucho with Edward G. Robinson, but I do.

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    116. Mr Derp,

      My older brother was a big Marx Brothers fan. I resisted watching any of their movies because (genre snob that I am) I figured movies from the 1930’s would be dated and boring.

      I was wrong! Their movies are timeless comedy classics. I’d recommend “A Night at the Opera” (1935) starring Groucho Marx as Otis P. Driftwood, and “A Day at the Races” (1937) starring Groucho as Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush.

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    117. Hodor Targaryen:
      Mr Derp,

      If you watch the premiere, LF is clearly not in her inner circle. He’s trying to worm his way into her confidence but she’s rebutting him. His goal this year was to regain her confidence, which meant poisoning her against everyone else and making her dependent on him. Creating a conflict between her and Arya was the way he tried to do it.

      I actually think most of the scenes in Winterfell were fine, if a bit rushed. Arya is not a complete idiot in this plot – her suspicion of Sansa is based on Sansa’s desire for Jon’s position, which Arya accurately perceived! I thought she was unfair towards Sansa concerning the letter, but that didn’t seem out of character for her really. Everyone loves her, but she ain’t perfect. She’s got a very black-and-white mentality, which makes it nearly impossible for her to appreciate the conflicts Sansa has been in since Season 1.

      The one scene that went too far was Arya creepily threatening Sansa. Cut or edit that scene slightly and the whole storyline is much improved, imo.

      People who think a conflict between Sansa and Arya was not believable I think underestimate the issues in their relationship and SEVERELY underestimate the effect their respective traumas have had on their ability to trust anyone, including each other.

      Her suspicion is based on false memories of what she saw in KL with Sansa on the dais and lack of info add her view of the play in Bravos, her statement and facial expression to Jaugen about finding her sister and her first hug and it’s clear she had issues before that lords meeting she was stuck in season 1 mode.
      Only two people smiled when Jon named her regent; Brienne and LF. Arya’s perception was less then stellar since she was well played by LF in my opinion.

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    118. Grail King: Her suspicion isbased on false memories of what she saw in KL with Sansa on the dais and lack of info add her view of the play in Bravos, her statement and facial expression to Jaugen about finding her sister and her first hug and it’s clear she had issues before that lords meeting she was stuck in season 1 mode.
      Only two people smiled when Jon named her regent; Brienne and LF. Arya’s perception was less then stellar since she was well played by LF in my opinion.

      Yeah, given how easily the show could have resolved the Littlefinger story line without making Arya temporarily(?) become a not-too-bright psychopath, I am worried about what lies ahead for her. I’m hoping it was just sloppy, careless writing that won’t continue into next season.

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    119. I truly enjoy the vast majority of what D&D have done with the show, so this is the last I’ll say about this subject because I don’t want this to take on the look of a negative thread.

      I think the Winterfell plot in season 7 is a good example of having a twist just for the sake of having a twist. All the GoT fans that whinge about the show not having enough twists should look no further than the Winterfell plot in season 7 as a prime example as to why having more twists isn’t necessarily a good thing.

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    120. Hodor Targaryen:
      Arya is not a complete idiot in this plot – her suspicion of Sansa is based on Sansa’s desire for Jon’s position, which Arya accurately perceived!

      I don’t think I agree with this: the show’s producers went out of their way to stoke the audience’s suspicions that Sansa, encouraged by Littlefinger, wants to rule instead of Jon. What is the actual evidence that we saw in the show for this supposed desire on Sansa’s part? IIRC: 1) We were shown her exchanging some meaningful looks with Littlefinger, 2) She has expressed to Jon a few times her wish that he’d heed her advice. I don’t think #2 is actually strong evidence that she wants to rule in Jon’s place, just that she wants a stronger voice in his decision-making. So we’re left with some ambiguous looks exchanged with Littlefinger to suggest that she’s secretly wishing she were in charge.

      On the other hand, when the Northern and Vale lords expressed their regret at naming Jon rather than Sansa as their leader, Sansa didn’t do anything to fan those flames, let alone try to instigate a coup. She didn’t make the mistake of arguing in favor of Jon’s absence (because it was pretty indefensible, given what info she and they had), but she did quietly assert his right to do what he thought was best and, by extension, her confidence in him.

      People criticize Sansa for being too attached to stereotyped gender roles and “ladylike” behavior. I don’t disagree that she’s quite gender conformist and probably will continue to be so. A deeply entrenched consequence of that is that she’s unlikely to envision herself as a ruling leader in Westeros society, North or South. She once dreamed of being a queen consort, never a queen in her own right. Arya’s suspicions or Littlefinger’s hopes that Sansa would like to usurp Jon’s position reflect what they would do in her shoes.

      If she were the one confronted by the discontented lords wondering where the f*ck Jon was, Arya no doubt would have bristled angrily and gotten into a shouting match with them, which would have only made the situation worse. Arya judged Sansa for not standing up for Jon the way that she, Arya, would have liked to – but Arya’s solution to any obstacle is to start killing people. Arya judged Sansa not based on what Sansa is – nor even on what she was when they were children – but through her own very peculiar lens.

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    121. Mr Derp:
      I truly enjoy the vast majority of what D&D have done with the show, so this is the last I’ll say about this subject because I don’t want this to take on the look of a negative thread.

      I think the Winterfell plot in season 7 is a good example of having a twist just for the sake of having a twist.All the GoT fans that whinge about the show not having enough twists should look no further than the Winterfell plot in season 7 as a prime example as to why having more twists isn’t necessarily a good thing.

      Very good points

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    122. Gwidhiel: Yeah, given how easily the show could have resolved the Littlefinger story line without making Arya temporarily(?) become a not-too-bright psychopath, I am worried about what lies ahead for her. I’m hoping it was just sloppy, careless writing that won’t continue into next season.

      Well, that’s what I thought the sisters’ final scene on the battlements was supposed to accomplish, albeit clumsily:
      “Never mind the face-peeling and execution talk: it turns out we love each other after all! Now we’re gonna look out for one another, protect each other and complement each other because we’re the wolf pack. Yay!”

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    123. Gwidhiel,

      One other thing: with only six episodes left 😨, I’d be very surprised and disappointed if the showrunners spend another minute on interfamily personality conflicts. Sansa vs. Jon followed by Sansa vs. Arya were more than enough, and (in my opinion) detracted from the story, weren’t very engrossing, and didn’t justify the precious time spent on them.

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    124. To the folks who believe that LF would not hand Sansa over to the Boltons because he was obsessed with her, can I please remind you that his raison d’être was to take over the realm:
      LF was consolidating his power so having a Stark/Tully as his protege that he could barter was a means to an end. He went to considerable lengths to get her out of KL to use as a pawn.

      He was make Lord of Harrenhal for forging the Tyrell-Lannister alliance. Harrenal made him a powerful and wealthy Lord which he wasn’t before.

      By marrying Lisa Arryn (then killing her) he became de factor Lord Protector of the Vale – more power and an army.

      Gifting Sansa to Roose Bolton for his son-gave him both a valued “temporary” ally in the North and the means to depose that ally when the opportunity presented itself. He gambled that he would still have Sansa on side when he needed her. After all, a Stark is the key to the North, right?

      He intended to replace Roose Bolton as Warden of the North all along. Don’t forget that on his return to KL he told Cersei that Roose Bolton married Sansa to the bastard son that Tommen had legitimized. He then asked Cersei to make him WoTN. That didn’t happen because Cersei got thrown into the black cells by the High Sparrow.

      He thought that if he had the North, Vale and Riverun on side he could repeat history – the success of Robert’s rebellion with LF replacing Robert this time around. He kept talking and talking about it to Sansa.

      Perhaps my view has no merit, what do you guys think?

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    125. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      One other thing: with only six episodes left 😨, I’d be very surprised and disappointed if the showrunners spend another minute on interfamily personality conflicts. Sansa vs. Jon followed by Sansa vs. Arya were more than enough, and (in my opinion) detracted from the story, weren’t very engrossing,and didn’t justify the precious time spent on them.

      Agreed on all counts. My worries for Arya aren’t that she’ll have strife with any other family members but instead that she’ll be crossing swords (literally or figuratively) with others that she (mis)perceives to be a threat to House Stark. I actually don’t think that’s going to happen, though. I think, and certainly hope, that they’ll abandon the stupid&malevolent!Arya detour and keep her focused on the things that matter.

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    126. Sheila H,

      I never agreed with the often popular fan contention that Littlefinger would never marry Sansa off for political gain. He still wanted her when he could fully expect her to have been raped by Tyrion post-marriage, so there’s no reason to think her being a virgin is a preoccupation of his. He’d marry her off if he sees that he gets something sufficiently valuable out of it and can ultimately have her for himself later.

      The problem with the Season 5-6 plot from his perspective is that the payoff for marrying her to the Boltons doesn’t remotely justify the risk he’s taking. The writers made it quite clear that he’s sincere when he says at the end of Season 6 that his end goal involves her sitting alongside him as a prize trophy; that’s why his final season arc is him trying to sway her back to him. The whole Bolton marriage plan exposes her to enormous risk of death (particularly once you learn that he was planning to attack the winner of the Boltons/Stannis battle all along) for negligible benefit (the right to travel from the Bloody Gate to the Neck without anybody thinking anything amiss) that he frankly does not need to execute the rest of the plan.

      Ten Bears,

      Indeed, that is the point of the scene. The big problem is that the story building up to that scene doesn’t support anything said in it. What about the preceding episode would, for instance, motivate Sansa to declare Arya “the strongest person I know”? She was nothing but a hindrance to Sansa at all points that season. It’s a story about the girls overcoming their differences and working together that forgets to actually do those things and just skips ahead to the resolution.

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    127. Sheila H,

      I think that LF said he was banking on Stannis defeating the Boltons. Either way, the logical move would have been to keep Sansa safe, on the sidelines, until the battle played out.

      And at the risk of being redundant, bartering away virtuous Cat 2.0 to some random bastard instead of keeping her for himself made little sense to me. He just plopped her in WF and split. No brilliant takeover plan. Nothing except word salad like “you’ve learned from the best; you’ll have Ramsay wrapped around your finger; you’ll be Wardeness of the North, blah blah blah.”

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    128. Sean C.,

      “…It’s a story about the girls overcoming their differences and working together that forgets to actually do those things and just skips ahead to the resolution.”
      —————

      I know. ☹️. That was a story I would have liked to see: resolving their differences and working together. I’m hoping that is their story line in S8, because Jon’s gonna need some serious family support when he waltzes back into town with a Targ girlfriend and no crown.

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    129. Mr Derp,

      I agree that LF eventually got in her inner circle by the end of the season. That’s the point! He put her in a crisis in which she needed guidance, but couldn’t rely on, say, Brienne, to help her out. So she was dependent on him.

      I don’t think her listening to him at the end means she started completely trusting him. Distrusting does not necessarily mean thinking they are your adversary. It means that his advice will always be in his interest, which in her mind is also her own. I think people keep thinking her line about not trusting LF should be an indication that she knows he’s a villain, when really it’s just a healthy attitude towards any ambitious person playing the game, including your allies.

      Gwidhiel,

      I think the show makes clear, even if it’s never explicit, that Sansa thinks she would be a better ruler of the North than Jon and is at least tempted to grab that power. It’s communicated through serious looks and whatnot, but if you look at her scene with LF in the S6 finale it does seem like she is at least conflicted. The resolution of her arc was her choosing not to act on those temptations, and instead embrace Arya and support Jon.

      And one thing Arya definitely knows is that Sansa has always wanted to be a lady. In Arya’s mind, Sansa has always cared more about climbing the social ladder than her own family. And it was probably a little true when they were young! I think Arya still believed that about Sansa, despite everything they went through.

      Ten Bears,

      I actually do think that’s a legitimate complaint. But I don’t think it would have been fatal to LF’s plan if Arya had mentioned how she got the letter. If Sansa confronted him about it, he could have just said “Yes, I remembered the letter and thought it would hurt you if it got out. So I asked for it and hid it. Didn’t know Arya was following me, or would use it against you.” But that’s why I thought it was weird he denied knowing how she got the letter, since it was still possible to be caught in that kind of a lie by Sansa, if she talked about it with either Arya or the Maester.

      I’m not arguing the storyline was flawless. I think it was rushed, there were some logical holes in LF’s actions (like pretending not to know about how Arya got the letter), the dagger scene in episode 6 was bad, and I think they needed an onscreen resolution to their conflict. I’m just defending the premise of the story, really, and specifically responding to the point that Arya would never get angry at Sansa the way she did when she found the letter. To me, that makes total sense with the impulsive, black-and-white mentality of the character.

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    130. Hodor Targaryen,

      I think the show makes clear, even if it’s never explicit, that Sansa thinks she would be a better ruler of the North than Jon and is at least tempted to grab that power.

      I don’t share your interpretation of what Sansa wants and thinks. You might be right – the show deliberately leaves it vague – but that’s never been how I saw it. I might be overly influenced by Book Sansa. I haven’t followed most of Sophie Turner’s interviews over the last couple of years but from what I have seen I can see why folks would conclude that Sansa wants power, since Sophie has expressed that wish for her and has talked up Sansa’s supposedly formidable skills as a “player.”

      As an aside, I get the sense that some actors have been given more advance knowledge of future plot developments than others. From the few interviews I’ve seen with Sophie Turner, I don’t have the impression that in previous seasons, including Season 7, she had much long-range access to info about her character’s long-term story arc.

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    131. Sean C.,

      I think Littlefinger’s end goal was to rule the North through Sansa. He thought the best way to do that was by backstabbing the Boltons, which involved gaining their trust first. I don’t think this plan was communicated as well as it should have, but I certainly think his end goal was worth the risk of danger he put Sansa through (in his mind, of course). If she wasn’t there, then his marching north would have raised alarm bells for both Cersei and the Boltons and would have made his taking of Winterfell with Vale forces far more difficult.

      I agree with you about the lack of resolution to the S7 Winterfell plot, though. This actually bugs me more than even the odd scene where Arya threatened Sansa. If they didn’t want to spoil the surprise with Littlefinger, they should have made that last scene a bit longer and had them address some of their (previously resolved) problems there.

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    132. Hodor Targaryen:
      I think Littlefinger’s end goal was to rule the North through Sansa. He thought the best way to do that was by backstabbing the Boltons, which involved gaining their trust first. I don’t think this plan was communicated as well as it should have, but I certainly think his end goal was worth the risk of danger he put Sansa through (in his mind, of course). If she wasn’t there, then his marching north would have raised alarm bells for both Cersei and the Boltons and would have made his taking of Winterfell with Vale forces far more difficult.

      That’s the thing, marrying Sansa to the Boltons doesn’t gain him any kind of advantage over the Boltons. It just dumps Sansa into a conflict zone between Stannis and the Boltons, one where, at the time, Stannis was more likely than not to live. So she’d have to survive the sack of Winterfell. And then she’d have to survive the battle where Littlefinger attacks Stannis, as he was planning to do had Stannis won. In the alternative, as happened, the Boltons win, at which point Sansa is stuck with them when Littlefinger invades and the Boltons would be able to use her as leverage against him (if she hadn’t escaped, which wasn’t part of the plan). How does that make any sense if Sansa is important to him?

      All he got out of it was a brief headstart on Cersei knowing he was betraying her, but Cersei wouldn’t have been able to stop him from moving the Vale army north anyway. It’s not very far, and she wouldn’t have time to react.

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    133. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:

      I think Dany’s ‘I told you so’ will be for reserved for Tyrion, once they realise Cersei has double-crossed them.

      I might be grasping at straws here (okay, I’m full of whiskey and I am grasping at straws), but since first watching S7 Ep7, I’ve wondered if Tyrion did make a deal with Cersei that she perceived as a betrayal of Daenerys… but that was, in fact, a giant gamble on Tyrion’s part. I think Tyrion, who knows and understands both his siblings far better than they do him, might have bet the farm on Jaime leaving after Cersei’s duplicity was revealed to him. And I think that he might know about the impending arrival of the Golden Company, and instead of making a plan with Dany, Jon & Co. is instead considering acting on his own. (How? I don’t know. Did I mention I’m full of whiskey?) Three of his plans, which sounded good at the time (pardon the cliché) have already blown up in his face. Perhaps now he believes that, if he acts silently behind the scenes, he can still be a hero… whereas if he fails publicly, he’ll fall flat on his face again/be exiled/become Drogon’s dinner. Not to mention, be forced to cope with Jon “I Can’t Tell a Lie” Snow and his inability to hatch a plot.

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    134. Ten Bears,

      Oh I was watching them on tv with my parents from the time I was a little kid. Probably can recite Day at the Races and Night at the Opera (well, maybe not now, too many fried brain cells). Loved their humor and for a long time would compare other movies to them and found them wanting.

      Oh what are we talking about? Season 7 – they could have cut out all those scenes with LF on the balcony being creepy, and have added some scenes between the sibs that made sense. The one scene that was cut (when Sansa comes to talk with Bran) was essential, I think.

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    135. Sean C.,

      I think you’ve got the right read of the Littlefinger-Sansa-Boltons situation.

      Wolfish.,

      Your Tyrion idea is intriguing. Not sure if I buy it but it would certainly be an interesting twist!

      It does remind me of a small thought that occurred to me, about Tyrion grimly observing Jon entering Dany’s cabin for some sexytime: I presume his knowledge of their hook-up will be relevant somehow in Season 8, which makes me think that they might not be open about their new relationship when they arrive at Winterfell.

      I can just picture Tyrion sitting moodily with a drink after news of Jon’s parentage is revealed, and telling Sam and Bran that the story is even more complicated than they realize.

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    136. Gwidhiel,

      You should definitely post more often! I’ve really been loving this conversation (with many of my favorite commenters, including Ten Bears, Sean C., Ramsay’s 20th Good Man, and Hodor Targaryen). I just wish I wasn’t in a semi-catatonic state right now, and could make some more intelligent contributions…

      As for Tyrion, I’d love to see him “sitting moodily with a drink” at least once more in the six (!) episodes we have left to us.

        Quote  Reply

    137. Gwidhiel,

      “I can just picture Tyrion sitting moodily with a drink after news of Jon’s parentage is revealed, and telling Sam and Bran that the story is even more complicated than they realize.”
      …………………

      Alright then! You’ve convinced me. I’m moving my cockamamie theory from the tinfoil heap to the probable pile: Sam and Bran – maybe in consultation with Tyrion – will decide to keep Jon’s parentage a secret from everyone, including Jon. Revealing it will only open up can(s) of worms. And Jon himself is too “honorable” to keep the secret.

        Quote  Reply

    138. Wolfish,

      As long as you’re in a semi-catatonic state….Do you recall a post you wrote several months about Turner? Not Sophie Turner. The artist Turner. I had a reply in my old phone that would get zapped each time I tried to post it; I’m not sure if I was ever able to upload it.
      Does this ring a bell?

      (This does relate to GoT… indirectly.)

        Quote  Reply

    139. Gwidhiel,

      I am sure Jon and Danys relationship will be hidden from the people of North when they get to Winterfell but i think Sansa, Arya, Sam and Bran will figure out that they are involved with each even before the reveal of Jon’s parentage.

        Quote  Reply

    140. Ten Bears,

      I don’t recall, probably because I was in a semi-catatonic state when I wrote it. (I’m like Stephen King pre-sobriety, minus the millions and the fame. Just throwing that out there since you mentioned On Writing earlier, one of my favorite memoirs/writing guides.)

      Turner. Hmmm. The only things I can think of are 1) cinematography (seascapes, scenes at sea) or 2) Harry Potter-related diversions, given the fact that Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew/Ron Weasley’s rat) played Turner in a biopic I’ve shamefully not yet seen.

        Quote  Reply

    141. Wolfish,

      “…(How? I don’t know. Did I mention I’m full of whiskey?) Three of his plans, which sounded good at the time (pardon the cliché) have already blown up in his face.”
      ***
      “As for Tyrion, I’d love to see him “sitting moodily with a drink” at least once more in the six (!) episodes we have left to us.”
      —————————

      Intentionally or not, I think you’ve pinpointed why Tyrion’s “clever plans” have failed! He hasn’t been drinking!

      “I drink and I know things” isn’t just a catchphrase. It’s an imperative.

        Quote  Reply

    142. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      “I can just picture Tyrion sitting moodily with a drink after news of Jon’s parentage is revealed, and telling Sam and Bran that the story is even more complicated than they realize.”
      …………………

      Alright then! You’ve convinced me.I’m moving my cockamamie theory from the tinfoil heap to the probable pile: Sam and Bran – maybe in consultation with Tyrion – will decide to keep Jon’s parentage a secret from everyone, including Jon. Revealing it will only open up can(s) of worms. And Jon himself is too “honorable” to keep the secret.

      Haha! That’s not where I was going with the thought, although that would be interesting.

      I suspect that Bran’s determination to tell Jon about his parentage won’t be deterred. Of course Tyrion could just lock him in a closet until Jon sets out to confront the NK …

        Quote  Reply

    143. Wolfish:
      Gwidhiel,

      You should definitely post more often! I’ve really been loving this conversation (with many of my favorite commenters, including Ten Bears, Sean C., Ramsay’s 20th Good Man, and Hodor Targaryen). I just wish I wasn’t in a semi-catatonic state right now, and could make some more intelligent contributions…

      As for Tyrion, I’d love to see him “sitting moodily with a drink” at least once more in the six (!) episodes we have left to us.

      One thing I really like about this community is that the discourse is lively without sacrificing civility.

        Quote  Reply

    144. Eric Womack:
      Gwidhiel,

      I am sure Jon and Danys relationship will be hidden from the people of North when they get to Winterfell but i think Sansa, Arya, Sam and Bran will figure out that they are involved with each even before the reveal of Jon’s parentage.

      Ugh, I had a response written out and then the window mysteriously refreshed itself and I lost it. I think you might well be right; Sam, Sansa, and Arya know Jon better than anyone else and might detect vibes between him and Dany. And Bran can know anything he wants to know.

      Plus I think Dany will extend herself to Jon’s family. Poor kid could use some positive sibling relationships. Too bad it’s all gonna blow up in their faces.

        Quote  Reply

    145. Ten Bears:
      Wolfish,

      “…(How? I don’t know. Did I mention I’m full of whiskey?) Three of his plans, which sounded good at the time (pardon the cliché) have already blown up in his face.” ***
      “As for Tyrion, I’d love to see him “sitting moodily with a drink” at least once more in the six (!) episodes we have left to us.”
      —————————

      Intentionally or not, I think you’ve pinpointed why Tyrion’s “clever plans” have failed! He hasn’t been drinking!

      “I drink and I know things” isn’t just a catchphrase. It’s an imperative.

      Wait, Tyrion stopped drinking?

        Quote  Reply

    146. A Dornish Tyrell,

      Thanks! It’s nice to discuss these things with folks whose knowledge and engagement equal or outstrip my own; my husband doesn’t watch the show and my friends who do live far away from my city. I’m usually too busy to participate but just happen to have a bit of free time on my hands right now, so I’m indulging.

        Quote  Reply

    147. Gwidhiel:

      I suspect that Bran’s determination to tell Jon about his parentage won’t be deterred. Of course Tyrion could just lock him in a closet until Jon sets out to confront the NK…

      …at which point Bran would find a parrot to warg into.

        Quote  Reply

    148. Gwidhiel:

      One thing I really like about this community is that the discourse is lively without sacrificing civility.

      One of the chief reasons I’m here, and nowhere else! (I fall into a Reddit thread once every few months, and then have to take a bath afterwards.)

        Quote  Reply

    149. Gwidhiel: just happen to have a bit of free time on my hands right now, so I’m indulging.

      And you totally should!! I comment very seldom here, sometimes due to a lack of time, sometimes because others are more articulate and insightful in what I would like to say. But it’s always a pleasure to read some frequent (and not so frequent) commenters here.

        Quote  Reply

    150. Bearded Onion,

      Hi Bearded Onion, I just have to put in a strong protest to your comment that Arya never does anything to make the audience dislike her: unless your assumption is that all audience members like murdering psychopaths. Arya is one of the darkest characters in all Game of Thrones. She was an acolyte of Death. She is a trained assassin–that means she murders people for pay. The only reason she stopped on that path was because she couldn’t let go of her ego enough to follow the rules of the priests who invested so much time and faith in her. The Waif was right all along that Arya was just using them and that Jaqen was being snookered by a con artist. I absolutely love Arya as a character, but that’s DESPITE her actions, not because of them.

      Perhaps the reason you think that Arya is some kind of Mary Sue is because her actions seem understandable. That’s just a result of good writing, good storytelling, and a good degree of fan service. However, her actions, when looked at objectively, are pretty loathsome. They just hit emotional sweet spots, like when she skewers Polliver through the neck. That was some dark shit. It felt good because it stoked revenge fantasies, not because it appealed to our sense of justice.

      Erica mentioned she hated Sansa at first. I loved Sansa from the beginning, because I understood where she was coming from (I related to her a bit). Perhaps I’m in a minority–a majority are able to understand Arya, but that doens’t make her any more “Stark-like” (there’s nothing remotely honorable about Arya).

      Arya and Sansa are my two absolute favorite characters in all of Game of Thrones–for wildly different reasons. But they are equally dark, equally dishonorable, equally powerful, and, in my opinion, equal epitomes of the evolution we all as humans hopefully go through.

        Quote  Reply

    151. David Thomas,

      “…She [Arya] is a trained assassin–that means she murders people for pay. The only reason she stopped on that path was because she couldn’t let go of her ego enough to follow the rules of the priests who invested so much time and faith in her.”
      ……………………………………
      • She would not and did not “murder people for pay.” At the risk of her own life, she refused to whack Lady Crane. She saw through the “gift” mumbo jumbo and realized the FM were just hitmen for hire, with a euthanasia-funeral home storefront hiding a body parts harvesting operation in the back.

      • She “stopped on that path” not because she “couldn’t let go of her ego”, but because she realized she can’t be a brainwashed, cold-hearted automaton; she still has a moral compass.

      #TheMany-FacedGoddess

        Quote  Reply

    152. David Thomas,

      The only reason she stopped on that path was because she couldn’t let go of her ego enough to follow the rules of the priests who invested so much time and faith in her. The Waif was right all along that Arya was just using them and that Jaqen was being snookered by a con artist. I absolutely love Arya as a character, but that’s DESPITE her actions, not because of them.”

      I don’t think it was her ego so much as her identity and humanity, which she hid like she had hidden Needle. Arya is indeed a bit of a con artist, but she’s lived rough for years and been so taken advantage of…it’s really been a matter of survival. I like this in her. Jaqen knew this aspect of her: when she ‘named’ him, he griped “A Girl has no honour”. She shrugged and insisted he help them escape. It didn’t stop him from inviting her next episode to come to Braavos to *take names off* her List. He knew all along that’s why she came and apparently didn’t mind her leaving, now that she was trained and ready.

      Ten Bears:

      “She saw through the “gift” mumbo jumbo and realized the FM were just hitmen for hire, with a euthanasia-funeral home storefront hiding a body parts harvesting operation in the back. “

      LOL! If WotW had an annual award for the best quip about an aspect of GoT, this would be my nominee.

      Gwidhiel,

      Glad to see you posting. I hope you continue. IMO, Arya was neither stupid nor malevolent, quite the opposite. By hugging Sansa in front of Ned’s statue, Arya had signaled her acceptance of her. Bran wouldn’t have given Arya the dagger meant to kill him if he thought she might hurt Sansa. Once Arya knew Littlefinger was there and trying to bribe Bran, she *protected* him and Sansa. She ran a Faceless Man-style ruse where she and Littlefinger each tried to get Sansa to eliminate the other. Since Arya did not have Sansa’s ear and LF did, she had to work indirectly. So she play-acted hostility towards Sansa so LF would become frightened for himself and commit a crime. When Arya told Sansa her Faceless Men secret, she also gave her the dagger as a signal AND showed how to play the lie-detection game. Sure enough, Sansa told LF Arya was a Faceless Men, he used a mind-game to get her to kill Arya ASAP. This time Sansa knew how to detect his lies. Sansa called Arya “the strongest person I know” when they talked on the battlements.

        Quote  Reply

    153. Ten Bears:
      She saw through the “gift” mumbo jumbo and realized the FM were just hitmen for hire, with a euthanasia-funeral home storefront hiding a body parts harvesting operation in the back.

      Brilliant!

        Quote  Reply

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