Press junkets begin for Game of Thrones Season 8, and Sophie Turner reveals a costume change for Sansa!

Sansa Stark, Winterfell, Season 8

The phrase “So close, yet so far away” keeps springing to mind these days whenever we see anything about Game of Thrones Season 8 — we know the premiere is coming (April 14th), and we’re happy to see more news, but we’re still stuck with a lot of bland interviews and glimpses from cast members’ social media accounts. But did we catch something interesting? Maybe! There are possible spoilers below the cut, considering a story we reported on last week, but bear in mind this is speculation only.

There were some blink-and-you’ll-miss-them Instagram stories from Sophie Turner and Carice van Houten recently, both of which referenced press junkets — the blitz of interviews and other publicity that the cast of a film or TV show participate in as its release date nears.

Turner posted a selfie of her and castmate/partner in crime Maisie Williams with the caption “GoT press with my 1 n only,” while Van Houten posted a close-up of what looks remarkably like a dragon egg featuring an engraved House Arynn sigil (complete with their house words, “As High as Honor”) and the caption: “Press day Game of Thrones.”

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Image from iOS (1)

The latter is interesting for what it could mean for Season 8 let’s say the dragon eggs are name plaques for actors to sit behind or next during a series of interviews throughout the day, as many press junkets are, and each one has the sigil that corresponds to that actor’s character. Last week we learned that Lino Facioli, who plays Robert Arynn, will return (according to a cast listing that’s been since tellingly removed by HBO,) so maybe Facioli was around as well. Admittedly, van Houten’s post could be showing nothing more than generic Thrones-themed decor for the press table.

Elsewhere, Turner gave an interview to EW in which she divulged that Sansa will finally get her own “armor” for Season 8 — although it’s not the kind we think it is.

Sansa will be sporting a “jet-black ensemble made of thick leather or similar material,” which is obviously “the first time I’ve had armor,” Turner said.

“We [had] the idea of it being very protective and she buttons herself up,” Turner said. “I wanted her to have a bit of armor and be a bit more warrior like. She’s like the warrior of Winterfell.”

146 responses

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    1. 53 days! We got the Season 7 trailer 51 days from premiere and Season 6 trailer 48 days from premiere, so we’re entering that territory. If we don’t have the trailer by Tuesday, it’ll be the latest they’ve gone without dropping the first trailer.

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    2. @ Jack – we’ll get it when we get it. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it Sunday night if not before then. If not after Sunday, then eventually. 😀

      I suppose Sansa’s “armor” will have some fancy design on it too… you know, cuz she gotta make herself stand out ‘n’ all. She should have a full helmet with (Lady) direwolf face cover too. I’d like to listen to her mumble words through that all season! j/k 😛

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    3. Clob:
      @ Jack – we’ll get it when we get it.I’ll be keeping an eye out for it Sunday night if not before then.If not after Sunday, then eventually. 😀

      I suppose Sansa’s “armor” will have some fancy design on it too…you know, cuz she gotta make herself stand out ‘n’ all.She should have a full helmet with (Lady) direwolf face cover too.I’d like to listen to her mumble words through that all season!j/k 😛

      @Clob I don’t think we’ll get it by Sunday, but I wouldn’t mind being surprised! With the TD finale Sunday and Veep and Barry getting their trailers, hopefully GoT’s is soon! Maybe around SXSW, which starts March 8th. Did you see the new Arya pop btw?

      So Sansa is the “Warrior of Winterfell” now?

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    4. Marlana:
      Clob,

      Sansa will use “a lady’s armor” as taught by her septa, that is, courtesy.

      I hope so. I’d rather see courtesy than her old trick of asking a question and then interrupting with, “Oh I forgot. I don’t care.”

      Jack Bauer 24: Did you see the new Arya pop btw?

      I did. This week I also actually pre-ordered the new McFarlane figures of Jon, Daenerys and Arya. They’re not released until the end of April so I have to forget I ordered so it will be a surprise. 😛

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    5. Pigeon,

      My thoughts, exactly. Body armor is a reasonable change for Sansa in the given curcumsances but it won’t make her a warrior – no more than a bullet-proof vest. And although I have no problem with Sansa being a fragile girl with no proclivity to martial arts, Sophie tends to overhype her charracter in the most absurd way.

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    6. Still hard to believe Maisie and Sophie are only 1 year apart, Sophie is just so mature looking, especially when her makeup is on point!

      hope everyone get some new threads, it is the final season – last chance for some iconic outfits – right?!? at least for these characters!

      btw, Maisie is killing it in genLock. She is even sporting a great Scottish accent, probably channeling Rory as inspiration 🙂

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    7. ‘Warrior of Winterfell’ depends entirely on the context. There is more than one way to be a warrior, some don’t even require the use of weapons. She could very well be the political warrior of Winterfell because we know that will be a non-physical battlefield in the beginning of the Season. Also nothing wrong with dressing the part of ‘warrior’ even if you don’t end up doing any fighting.

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    8. mau,
      Yeah, I’d think there could be a comparison with some of what Cersei has worn. It will probably still be more dress-like than anything. I’m thinking something pretty close to what Cersei wore in the S7 premiere when she first spoke with Jaime in the map room, but probably a bit more ‘beefy’ and with a fur cloak, but similar…

      Here’s a vid of that scene for a reminder:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6x0KKghBGs

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    9. Clob,

      Well obviously if it’s about bashing Sansa, you’re certainly on it. You’re free to dislike a character but you’re overdoing it dude -_- your Sansa-Joffrey comparison is as far-fetched as its ridiculous.

      I agree with JR, of course Sansa’s not going to turn into a shieldmaiden since we’ve never seen her touch a weapon. The war against the WW is coming but Daenerys is bringing the fight for power with her and it’s a tough one. Anyway I totally look forward to see what Michele Clapton has in store for Sansa!

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    10. If you go by the boring definition of a warrior where you fight and kill people in the battlefield then sure that’s not Sansa. But warriors come in all shapes and sizes, I consider Martin Luther King to be one of the greatest warriors ever and he never hurt anyone yet fought harder than most his whole life.

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    11. Given Michele Clapton’s fashion choices for the ladies in power like Cersei, Ellaria and Daenerys where the three of them wore feminine versions of the typical male costume (Cersei wearing Tywin’s black leather dress, Daenerys embracing her Targaryeness through Viserys style and Ellaria taking a much more sensual approach to Doran’s coat) I asume Sansa will wear a feminine versión of Ned’s leader armor, which will be faboulous.

      Maybe we have an scene with Sansa and her beautiful armor dress and Daenerys (if she turns out to be pregnant) in the great hall with the people who do not fight and they talk about their experiences and life, mirroring Sansa and Cersei’s scene back in 2×09, I think that would be great.

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    12. It has always fascinated me that so many people dislike Sansa. The Starks are usually adored and seen as the best people in the series – except for Sansa who gets so much grief. Yet beside the dead ones, she seems to have suffered as much as anyone else. Of the Starks she had has the biggest change from a child to who she is at the moment.

      Yes, it makes sense that she will be wearing more protective clothing as she will remain in the north during the war. If you visit a construction site you will often be given a hard hat…not only for insurance requirements but because it gives some basic protection. This is all Sansa is doing.

      If she challenges Brienne to a duel (to show that she has been practising secretly) then we know that we are past reasonableness.

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    13. Mango:
      It has always fascinated me that so many people dislike Sansa. The Starks are usually adored and seen as the best people in the series – except for Sansa who gets so much grief. Yet beside the dead ones, she seems to have suffered as much as anyone else. Of the Starks she had has the biggest change from a child to who she is at the moment.

      Yes, it makes sense that she will be wearing more protective clothing as she will remain in the north during the war. If you visit a construction site you will often be given a hard hat…not only for insurance requirements but because it gives some basic protection. This is all Sansa is doing.

      If she challenges Brienne to a duel (to show that she has been practising secretly) then we know that we are past reasonableness.

      Because some people can’t see past her S1 character and act like she’s a threat to Arya/Jon in terms of importance or some dumb shit like that.

      They constantly fabricate bullshit to attack her with, like how she was totally going to betray Jon. Or that she was a “bitch” to Tyrion. Or how it’s her fault the Starks got completely owned post S1. Or that she only cares about power. There’s endless shit they bring up.

      When they don’t have any ammo to attack her with, they bring up the “Jonsa” bollocks to attack her, as if a tiny minority of weird fans is her fault. No other character comes close to the amount of unjust hate she gets, no other character constantly has other fans attacking them whenever something *remotely* positive is written about them. No other character constantly gets brought up where she has no business being brought up in, just because they feel like attacking her.

      They then wonder why Sansa fans are constantly on the defense, it’s because it’s tiring to constantly defend a character you really like all the time whenever they are mentioned. The only character that comes close to having this amount of dumb hate brought their way is Dany and at least much of it is based on actual shit she’s done lol and it’s still not half as bad as Sansa, since we don’t see mistakes Dany did in S1 being brought up or weirdo fans being used to attack her.

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    14. Netheb,

      “…we’ve never seen her touch a weapon. “

      She did hold Arya’s Dagger. And she kissed Joffrey’s sword.” Loved your shieldmaiden comment. IMO Sophie is prone to exaggerating Sansa’s good points, but it is reasonable that the girl wears something protective. Whilst I normally detest discussions of hair and costuming anywhere, it cannot be denied that on GoT they are not merely decorative but often personal and revealing statements by fashion-aware characters.

      Pigeon,

      “Uh…..ok there, Sophie. Now, pick up a sword/bow/corkscrew and practice.”

      Lord love you, Pigeon! You just made me spew out my tea!! In all seriousness, I was dismayed in Season 5 when all she used it for was opening a door. Gormless.

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    15. Angel:
      Pigeon,
      As long as Daenerys does the same. Because riding a dragon and saying dracarys doesn’t make you a warrior lol

      I’m hoping that the vast majority of characters will be wearing something more protective this season considering the threats they’ll be facing. You don’t have to be in the middle of the fight to be in danger. Also, they need to get the thermal underwear out for winter. 🤪

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    16. Stark Raven’ Rad:

      Pigeon,

      “Uh…..ok there, Sophie. Now, pick up a sword/bow/corkscrew and practice.”

      Lord love you, Pigeon!You just made me spew out my tea!! In all seriousness,I was dismayedin Season 5 when all she used it for was opening a door. Gormless.

      Ha! I know, I was hoping she’d at least get someone in the eye. But then, unless you were very accurate with anatomy, all it’d do would be to injure and cause more problems. Dang it.

      “Guys, the Battle of the Bastards got shelved. Ramsay got a corkscrew to the jugular, so we’re out one bastard.”

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    17. I don’t think there’s any way that Sansa will be picking up a weapon and fighting, despite what Jon said last season about all the women and children needing to join the fight. It makes perfect sense for her to protect herself with some kind of armor though. I expect Sansa will be a political warrior for Winterfell and the North.

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    18. Netheb:
      Clob,

      Well obviously if it’s about bashing Sansa, you’re certainly on it. You’re free to dislike a character but you’re overdoing it dude -_- your Sansa-Joffrey comparison is as far-fetched as its ridiculous.

      What the f*#k are you going on about? Sheezuz! I didn’t say shit that was bashing Sansa. JR’s post just made me think of Joffrey during Blackwater and I responded with such. If my comment was anything it was reference-bashing Joffrey for acting like a mighty warrior with his fancy armor and new sword he made Sansa kiss… and then didn’t do anything.

      It’s been a long time since I’ve done any Sansa-bashing, other than occasional remarks about not particularly enjoying her book storyline. I was also more likely to make comments about Sophie’s acting than the character, but that too I’ve pretty much stopped doing… and commended her SEVERAL times during S7 that many will remember me doing.

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    19. Netheb,

      I see it was my other post replied to. That wasn’t bashing either – it was a joke about the helmet. The ‘fancy design’ was serious and true… the show character likes to add a flair to her clothing she makes herself. calm down.

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    20. Anon,

      Lol aht aht. That requires skill. On the the other hand, all dany literally does is sit… and say “Dracarys”. That’s all. Nice try. 😂

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    21. Anon,

      A fighter pilot’s greatest danger are other enemy pilots in the air. Anti-aircraft fire somewhat as well, but mainly other pilots in the air.

      We have not seen dragon to dragon confrontation nor effective anti-dragon weapons until the NK entered the fray late in S7. So in S8, we may see more a competitive/balanced battle involving Daenerys. And even then it will be two dragons vs one – luckily for everyone!

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    22. Angelique Mercado:
      Anon,

      Lol aht aht. That requires skill. On the the other hand, all dany literally does is sit… and say “Dracarys”. That’s all. Nice try. 😂

      I don’t think that’s all she’s doing. She’s controlling Drogon and the fact that no one else can mount Drogon and say ‘Dracarys’, indicates that it requires skill and knowledge, and maybe some mystical magical connection, to ride a dragon. Furthermore, she is in the line of fire whenever she rides a dragon into battle, just like soldiers who ride horses are. …and, she’s acting tactically when she guides him around the battlefield and tells him what to burn.

      Of course, it’s not a fraught as hand-to-hand battle, but the danger is a matter of degree.

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    23. Mango:
      Anon,

      A fighter pilot’s greatest danger are other enemy pilots in the air. Anti-aircraft fire somewhat as well, but mainly other pilots in the air.

      We have not seen dragon to dragon confrontation nor effective anti-dragon weapons until the NK entered the fray late in S7. So in S8, we may see more a competitive/balanced battle involving Daenerys. And even then it will be two dragons vs one – luckily for everyone!

      Yeah, she’s definitely at an advantage with the advanced technology. I keep wondering if they’ll let a pregnant woman ride Drogon into an aerial battle with the NK. I’m not against it in principle, but practically, the chance she’ll fall off is great.

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    24. Anon,

      Well, I do not expect Cersei to ride Drogon and she is the only announced pregnancy so far.

      I suppose if Daenerys is going to be pregnant then she will ride first in the war and at some later point announce the pregnancy. Or Targs will have some special womb that is dragon-ride resistant. They will do what the plot needs.

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    25. Mango:
      Anon,

      Well, I do not expect Cersei to ride Drogon and she is the only announced pregnancy so far.

      I suppose if Daenerys is going to be pregnant then she will ride first in the war and at some later point announce the pregnancy. Or Targs will have some special womb that is dragon-ride resistant. They will do what the plot needs.

      Cersei’s pregnancy is announced?

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    26. Jack Bauer 24,

      Yes, she told Jaime……. and the TV audience at the same time – so announced. Then with Tyrion it is a story point. Meaning D&D informed the viewers.

      What did you think I meant? Telling the Westerosi press and public? They are not in the story…except for Hot Pie, the common man representative.

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    27. mau,

      I actually think it will be more like the boiled leather the northerners wear, but a far more fashionable take on it which is what I got from her description saying it’s nothing like the kind of armour Jamie and Brienne wear.
      Inga,

      She really does, i’m used to it now though, Sophie can be a bit of a troll like Nikolaj in character interviews so I don’t tend to take Sophie seriously anymore. I’ll always remember the S6 commentary with Kit and Sophie and Sophie was saying in a Daenerys scene where she’s saying a speech to her people that she wants Sansa to have a scene like that and Kit deadpans says “you won’t” lol

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    28. I think all the characters non-combatant or not should wear some kind of protective armour it doesn’t need to be a full suit of armour like Brienne but they should be prepared for anything, Daenerys also needs a armour something flexible though.

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    29. Anon,

      Yea her chance of dying are some to none, drogon is taking all the hits and saving her. Plus we were informed by the directors that dragons are smart and basically know what they are to do completely on their own.So like I said, she sits… and utters the word dracarys. 😂🤦🏻‍♀️

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    30. One of my favourite scenes is where Joffrey makes Sansa look at Neds head on a spike and he says something about bringing her Robbs head. ” Maybe he’ll bring me yours “. Love that bit.

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    31. Sometimes I get the feeling that Joe Jonas is on these threads incognito pretending to be random fans feeling the need to defend Sansa at every turn.

      Sansa does occasionally get unfairly maligned, but pretty much every character does at one point or another. I haven’t seen anyone bashing Sansa in this particular thread in any kind of malicious or unfair way, so I’m not sure what triggered the hypersensitivity that’s all over it. Perhaps some are getting impatient about the trailer and the long night between seasons is wearing on people? I generally like Sansa, but she’s not above criticism.

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    32. I think her armor will be defensing armour only. I know every armour is meant for defence but I meant, Arya can fight so she needs clothes that could make that happen. Sansa is not a fighter but she needs to get ready for when she gets attacked, by people or wights. She needs armor for that.

      BeardedOnion:
      If you go by the boring definition of a warrior where you fight and kill people in the battlefield then sure that’s not Sansa. But warriors come in all shapes and sizes, I consider Martin Luther King to be one of the greatest warriors ever and he never hurt anyone yet fought harder than most his whole life.

      I agree.

      Mattos The Melted:
      One of my favourite scenes is where Joffrey makes Sansa look at Neds head on a spike and he says something about bringing her Robbs head. ” Maybe he’ll bring me yours “. Love that bit.

      One of my favorite scenes of the whole show. And what is even more great about that scene is that Sansa is not somebody like Arya or Brienne that can use muscle or fighting tactics, when she tries something like that it is even more courageous and brave. (hopefully the right word). She doesn’t have the skill to defend herself and still she tries.

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    33. Jack Bauer 24:
      53 days! We got the Season 7 trailer 51 days from premiere and Season 6 trailer 48 days from premiere, so we’re entering that territory. If we don’t have the trailer by Tuesday, it’ll be the latest they’ve gone without dropping the first trailer.

      I’m fairly confident at this stage Jack that we are only getting one trailer and that isn’t such a bad thing is it given we know almost nothing about the final season. Even with only one trailer it’s hard to imagine it not dropping in the next couple of weeks though and the True Detective finale could make a great slot.

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    34. Jon Snowed: I’m fairly confident at this stage Jack that we are only getting one trailer and that isn’t such a bad thing is it given we know almost nothing about the final season.Even with only one trailer it’s hard to imagine it not dropping in the next couple of weeks though and the True Detective finale could make a great slot.

      Yeah I’m expecting one main trailer between 60-90 seconds in March and then a second trailer in April. The second trailer in think will be spliced between footage of the first and little bit of new footage somewhere between 30-60 seconds. Like a TV spot trailer. A quick one. I don’t think we’ll get it by the True Detective finale Sunday though. We’re just a week away from March, so I’m still hoping for an early March trailer. Maybe around SXSW, which starts there March 8th. They’re also doing that #BleedForTheThrone campaign around then.

      Every single social media post by the HBO or GoT pages, 99% of the comments are about the trailer lol.

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    35. Jack Bauer 24,

      I think we get the trailer when Veep have his premiere.

      But march is also possible, I think it’s possible they are still waiting for some CGI stuff for the trailer. With the busy schedule I can understand that they are more focused now on getting the first 3 episodes perfect and that maybe we get a snipped of a later episode which they aren’t ready to deliver. With the amount of CGI this season I think it’s possible that they can’t delay anything of the first episodes and that stuff for later needs to wait.

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    36. kevin1989:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      I think we get the trailer when Veep have his premiere.

      But march is also possible, I think it’s possible they are still waiting for some CGI stuff for the trailer. With the busy schedule I can understand that they are more focused now on getting the first 3 episodes perfect and that maybe we get a snipped of a later episode which they aren’t ready to deliver. With the amount of CGI this season I think it’s possible that they can’t delay anything of the first episodes and that stuff for later needs to wait.

      Veep premieres March 31st, 2 weeks before GoT. I think/hope the trailer will be before then.

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    37. One thing you have to say about Sophie…she’s consistent. Every year it’s a Sansa renaissance, and every year the show starts and she’s pouting about being overlooked. GO WIN A BATTLE! Go kill 25 (I almost lost Longclaw’s count) Boltons by yourself.

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    38. Joey:
      One thing you have to say about Sophie…she’s consistent. Every year it’s a Sansa renaissance, and every year the show starts and she’s pouting about being overlooked. GO WIN A BATTLE! Go kill 25 (I almost lost Longclaw’s count) Boltons by yourself.

      And every year she was right, she was overlooked.
      Season 6: She was the reason that they win the battle of the bastards, without her they would have lost. She won that battle, not Jon. Killing isn’t the only thing that is needed to kill battles. (Look at Tywin won the battle against Robb with only a letter, he didn’t lift one finger but it was his victory not that of Walder Frey)
      Season 7: It was made clear in season 7 that she was much better at leading than Jon. The people followed her, and even made clear that they rather want her. She organised everything for a possible white walker invasion. And it’s possible she even made sure that even before Jon got to Winterfell that the defenses are up and ready.
      And don’t forget the way she played LF in the final.

      Sansa is a very overlooked character. She is more like Cat. And don’t forget brienne’s words to cat in 2×05
      “I do not know your son, My Lady, but I could serve you if you would have me. You have courage. Not battle courage perhaps, but, I don’t know, a woman’s kind of courage.”
      Even a person that could hold her ground in a battlefield admit that what cat brought was also very important and courageous. Same counts for Sansa.

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    39. kevin1989: And every year she was right, she was overlooked.
      Season 6: She was the reason that they win the battle of the bastards, without her they would have lost. She won that battle, not Jon. Killing isn’t the only thing that is needed to kill battles. (Look at Tywin won the battle against Robb with only a letter, he didn’t lift one finger but it was his victory not that of Walder Frey)
      Season 7: It was made clear in season 7 that she was much better at leading than Jon. The people followed her, and even made clear that they rather want her. She organised everything for a possible white walker invasion. And it’s possible she even made sure that even before Jon got to Winterfell that the defenses are up and ready.
      And don’t forget the way she played LF in the final.

      Sansa is a very overlooked character. She is more like Cat. And don’t forget brienne’s words to cat in 2×05
      “I do not know your son, My Lady, but I could serve you if you would have me. You have courage. Not battle courage perhaps, but, I don’t know, a woman’s kind of courage.”
      Even a person that could hold her ground in a battlefield admit that what cat brought was also very important and courageous. Same counts for Sansa.

      Sansa is divisive, she is a lot more grey than the other Starks, which is possibly why she is disliked and loved. Myself, I like the character, but she certainly isn’t one of my favoured ones and she is my least favourite Stark.

      I find your summary of her actions/impact in both seasons quite over-simplistic and one-sided however. It seems to be that as much as Sophie hypes her character, people who are ardent Sansa supporters do the same with her character’s contribution/importance in the show.

      Season 6 – You seem to be ignoring that Sansa withheld vital information from Jon. Had she shared the enormous resource she had, it is a fact that that battle would not have unfolded the way it did. She said it herself, she doesn’t know anything about battles. Jon does. Had he known about the Vale army, he would have planned a very different strategy. This is just a fact. What is not a fact is whether that plan would have worked. As it stands, the only reason the Vale army won (and as you simplistically put it “Sansa won”) was because Jon’s meagre forces drew out Ramsay’s army in its entirety. We can’t know how Ramsay would have responded to Jon’s army being of an equal size to his own, whether he would have sent all his troops out in the manner he did on screen, but what is certainly true is that though Jon and his army’s sacrifice, it was easy pickings for Sansa’s belated Vale army to destroy as they were all massed together and unprepared for a cavalry assault. I truly never understand the “Sansa won” mindset in light of these events. Sansa’s at best-guarded or at worst-treacherous behaviour in this matter is exactly why she is disliked by a lot of people in the fandom. It is so grey compared with how Jon or Arya would behave. Got a secret army that you could call to massively sway the odds in your side’s favour? Yup. Gonna share that knowledge with your brother who is risking his life for a cause you persuaded (bullied) him into? Nope. Besides, she wasn’t overlooked in this manner – Jon even told her as much when he essentially gave her Winterfell – without her, the battle would be lost.

      Season 7 – Being a good leader is about making tough choices, sometimes even unpopular choices to ensure your people’s survival. Jon made a highly unpopular decision which paid off – he is riding north with vital weaponry to defeat their otherwise indestructible enemy and an enormously powerful ally. Had he listened to Sansa, they’d be sitting ducks (whether the wall would have fallen without the wight-hunt is a whole new can of worms) with terrible odds at defending themselves. Yes, his people hated his decision. Yes, they’re going to hate his decision to yield the north to Dany. Yes, Sansa understands their concerns far more than Jon can (or is willing), but does that make her a better leader? Whose actions are going to ensure their survival? Jon’s or Sansa’s? So which one is going to be a better leader by helping their people survive? Sansa is certainly more attuned to people, but she doesn’t understand the gravity of the stakes she’s in. She would be perfect for Winterfell were they simply hunkering down for Winter (as a peace-time leader she would win hands down), but as I have mentioned her stating previously, she doesn’t know anything about battles, she is not going to be any use to Winterfell when the AOTD arrive. And the people making it clear they’d rather follow her is neither here nor there – as she herself admits, they’re fickle and when the AOTD come knocking, I am pretty sure they are going to be grateful for the thousands of allies Jon has brought with him and the weapons he will provide them with to defend themselves. He may have made unpopular choices, but as a leader, he has been a better one (if less popular). And again, Jon hasn’t overlooked her at all, he has left her in charge of the North- would he do such a thing if he didn’t have absolute faith in her abilities? Is that not a sign of respect for her character’s journey?

      Sansa has been doing an admirable job preparing the castle for Winter, but her concerns (that we have seen) have been regarding stockpiling food and making sure troops are prepared for the cold – there is nothing that leads us to believe she has been strategically readying defences or preparing for the battle that is to come. She has no idea about what is coming – largely because she couldn’t, it’s something no one can prepare for unless they have seen the sheer enormity of the AOTD – but also because she has no experience with battle. She will not know how to effectively defend the castle or the north. And while I would love to think of her victory over LF as her effectively playing him, sadly, as revealed by Sophie and the Showrunners, she only just figured it out at the last minute – which means all of those previous episodes of her and Arya turning on each other was her being outmanoeuvred by LF – hardly a high point in her character development (we have seen her to be much more cunning and intelligent in previous series than the engineered sister drama we got in S7).

      Well this turned into a bit of an essay. Apologies for the length. I find Sansa an interesting source of debate. I like her character, but I enjoy the grey/flawed aspects of her character the most I think. I think that she gets hyped a lot more than she deserves (on merit of her actions), but also lambasted way more than she deserves too.

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    40. 1. Another word for Sansa. Just to say – I am not generally a big supporter of the Starks. They are responsible for quite a bit of havoc. I am not even particularly fond of Sansa. However, I think she plays an important part of the story and in the endgame.

      2. Sansa’s evolution has been one of the big stories in GOT. She is involved in and even triggered some big events and has grown into a player in the North on the political side of the story.

      3. On the centrality of her relationships/appearances in the story: She was engaged to Joffrey; “mentored” by Cersei; married to Tyrion; married to Ramsey; and had fling with Littlefinger.

      4. To s7, Compared to the other Starks her storyline has been very involved in the main events in political Westeros. Jon, Arya had very individual stories outside the main political events but big on the magic side.
      Sansa’s includes not only the above prominent characters but many others that played key roles. She had interactions with the Stark family, Olenna, Brienne, Shae, Margery, Theon, Loras, Lyssa, Robin, Lyanna, Davos, The Watch, Wildings, Tywin and the Hound. Compare that list with Arya’s storyline that has the Stark family, Hound, Gendry, Hot Pie, Yoren, Waif, Jaquen, Lady Crane, Freys, Trant, and Tywin. Jon’s important role/story mainly includes only the Starks, Tyrion, Wildings, the Watch, Davos, Stannis, NK and now Daenerys. She has a range and lots of interactions.

      5. On her actions/experiences that were important even in unintentional plot points: She said something random that made Ned realize Joffrey was a bastard. She told Cersei of Ned’s departure. She told Oleanna enough about Joffrey to help Olenna decide on his murder. She brought Joffrey’s poison in the wedding around her neck. Her marriage to Tyrion started the wedge between Shae and Tyrion. She triggered the murder of Lyssa.

      6. In the actions with intent: She made Theon to re-assert himself and defeat Reek. She saved LF’s life at the Vale. She insisted on fighting for Winterfell when Jon was heading south. She is the Stark with Vale/Robin connections. She saved Jon life when the Vale army arrived. (We can argue on why she did not tell him she asked for additional help. Was she sure the Vale would arrive? That LF would help? Who knew Jon was going to break ranks away? Or maybe D&D wanted a surprise rescue!? ) She killed LF. She and Jon avenged the Red Wedding. (Arya revenged the Red Wedding.) She gives Brienne her current purpose.

      7. TL/DR: Sansa Stark Lannister Bolton (just look at that name) is an important player. A grey character and so an interesting one. My view is that if she survives, she has a pretty good chance to rule some or all of Westeros.

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    41. Pigeon,

      She could be a warrior in the mold of Elizabeth I (who Sansa has been compared to). “I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but the heart and stomach of a king” sort of thing. Her followers found that very inspiring. You don’t have to take up a sword to be head of an army.

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    42. Meg: “I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but the heart and stomach of a king” sort of thing.

      I think she meant a pot belly and palpitations.

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    43. Such narrow views for what armor is for. It can also be symbolic. Every king in medieval and into modern times has worn one. Even when kings no longer fought in battles.

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    44. Che,

      Interesting and good points.

      On Season 7 note, you are correct that Sansa and the northerners do not have the full appreciation of the challenge they are facing with the AOTD. They are relying on Jon’s accounts, reports from the wildings and Bran’s vision. So they are less committed than he is and so prepared to give up less.

      Leading requires understanding the capacity of those you are leading and having them have faith in you. But you earn that faith. You see, you are only a leader when others follow you. You need to have a sense of how far they will go with you as their leader. Arrogance sometimes make people misjudge their ability to carry people along. Once they cease to follow you become a prophet savant, no longer a leader of people. Jon needs to learn that.

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    45. Angelique Mercado:
      Anon,

      Yea her chance of dying are some to none, drogon is taking all the hits and saving her. Plus we were informed by the directors that dragons are smart and basically know what they are to do completely on their own.So like I said, she sits… and utters the word dracarys. 😂🤦🏻‍♀️

      Sophie, is that you?? 🤣😂😆

      Viserion wasn’t able to burn wights and watch his back at the same time. I imagine a rider would have increased his chance of survival.

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    46. Anon,

      She meant she has courage and isn’t squeamish of what is necessary to win a war. I know you were being facetious, but I don’t like my point ruined.

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    47. Mango:
      Che,

      Interesting and good points.

      On Season 7 note, you are correct that Sansa and the northerners do not have the full appreciation of the challenge they are facing with the AOTD. They are relying on Jon’s accounts, reports from the wildings and Bran’s vision. So they are less committed than he is and so prepared to give up less.

      Leading requires understanding the capacity of those you are leading and having them have faith in you. But you earn that faith. You see, you are only a leader when others follow you. You need to have a sense of how far they will go with you as their leader. Once they cease to follow you become a prophet savant, no longer a leader of people. Jon needs to learn that.

      I agree with this – Jon has a long way to go in terms of his development as a leader. I find that one of the interesting facets of this show/story, that all leaders are flawed and what devastating events those flaws wreak on kingdoms (a poignant allegory for modern times it feels). I don’t know whether Jon’s arc will ever require him to develop this, as I wonder whether he will lead for much longer (either through his withdrawing from a leadership role at the end of season 8, or more likely, his death). I also feel that considering the urgency of his mission in season 7, his ignoring this aspect of leadership is most likely a smart move. I think he realises how his leadership will suffer through his actions, but he knows that there is no time to waste and that their survival is more important than their faith in him, which I feel fits his character arc well – he is the self-sacrificing, big-picture-seeing hero, who will lose everything to save the world. As he tells Dany in S07E03, “There’s no time for that; there’s no time for any of this. While we stand here debating […] The lords of the north put their faith in me to lead them and I will continue to do so as well as I can.” He knows there’s no time to waste and at the heart of his motivation is a desire to lead his people well – in this case, by preparing them for a threat they cannot understand to give them a better chance of survival even though it will damage their faith in him. I actually think that makes him a pretty solid leader, but I totally get that this is a very subjective issue and that his own people wouldn’t see him as such (till it’s too late and the AOTD have arrived).

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    48. Che,

      Sansa had something more important than battle knowledge. She knew the enemy. By withholding “vital information” she won the battle. As she feared, Jon fell for Ramsay’s trick. No one knew what that would be until the moment it happened.

      Sansa had arranged back-up for such an eventuality. Ramsay wasn’t stupid. He knew when to change his plans, or when to retreat. He wouldn’t have allowed his army to be surrounded if he didn’t believe that his trick had worked.

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    49. Meg:
      Che,

      Sansa had something more important than battle knowledge.She knew the enemy. By withholding “vital information” she won the battle. As she feared, Jon fell for Ramsay’s trick.No one knew what that would be until the moment it happened.

      Sansa had arranged back-up for such an eventuality. Ramsay wasn’t stupid.He knew when to change his plans, or when to retreat. He wouldn’t have allowed his army to be surrounded if he didn’t believe that his trick had worked.

      The point I am making is that Jon’s army might not have needed back up if they had known of and utilised the vale army from the outset. You’re right, Ramsay wasn’t stupid, but in battle, neither is Jon and had he known his forces were actually equal to Ramsay’s, he would have planned a different strategy. Sansa’s motivation to use the Vale army as ‘backup’ paints her character in an even greyer light. Wait for the men who pledged their lives to your cause to die and then ride over their corpses (including your brother’s) with your back up army to victory; in essence, use these men and their loyalty for your own gain.

      The whole scene in the ‘war room’ tent was so badly portrayed. Once more, it felt like engineered drama. Sansa insulted Jon, claimed only she knew what the enemy is capable of (which is true in Ramsay’s case – but was a massive affront to the horrors Jon has seen and faced – the enemies Jon has faced make Ramsay seem like a puppy by comparison) and then when he outright asked her for advice on dealing with Ramsay, she told him she couldn’t give him any – her suggestion was circular and ridiculous. I understand the angle they were going for, but it didn’t come off well and just made Sansa seem petulant, which she hasn’t been for a long time and seemed out of character in that moment.

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    50. Che,

      As for season 6 battle. I a gree half with you that she was sneaky there. But Jon would have send away the help of LF. That’s why she kept that from Jon. And also she is in dept with lf not Jon. That could help also.
      And don’t forget that Sansa warned Jon about ramsay how he manipulates people. Jon loses his shit right there, that action resulted in ramsay having a big start in that battle.
      And Sansa was the one who convinced Jon to retake wintetfell when he gave up.
      Yes Jon did a massive part in the battle but so did Sansa.

      About season 7. I have to agree with you about lf. She gets it in episode 7 and Arya much sooner. But still she never trusted lf.
      About the decisions. I think that in season 8 the decision of Jon that hard decision will be de downfall of the north. And Sansa will be the one who was right. It made sure that dany and Jaime will help the north. (unfortunate jaimea army remains with cercei) but it think they will loose more than they got. I think the north will rebel against winterfell. I think not even one house will stand with them. But that’s just my prediction about how the northern lords reacted to the news of dany.

      I think if dany would have bow to Jon the north wouldn’t have a problem.
      I even think Sansa will say at the beginning of the season that they can’t trust cercei and that Jon is a fool to trust her which followed by jaime saying Shes right.

      I think we need to wait till season 8 which of those hard decisions really benefits and which one doesn’t. Season 7 is just a set up, but I think there’s a reasoj why sansas story is as it is. And why she got her season 7 storyline.

      And wouldn’t it be nice if ygritte would be right: you know nothing Jon snow.

      And don’t worry I write a lot too. Wonderful show. Which show can we talk that much about the characters.

      Mango,

      This. Jon should have explained more. But luckily for the north and Sansa bran will explain what is needed to prepare, they even started last season. Bran knows what they need to upgrade. He is westeros Google you know.
      Sansa:Bran can you search for the best way to defend against white walkers and wights
      Bran: give me a second*white eyes* weir wood tree 569 says dragonglass combined with a pinch of wildfire does the trick best. Give me a moment I will look up the recipe.

      Che,

      I think the beauty is that every leader has some aspect that a leader should have. Combining them would lead to the best leader.
      Dany is the most bold one and will not stop till she gets her shit done. Look at the slaves. She went as far as she could too ensure their freedom. Her only problem is her emotional outburst. She’s also very cunning and into reading people which she learned.
      Sansa: diplomacy. Reading people except lf.but she can read for instance cercei. Ramsay etc. Delegate the right way. People seems to trust her at the end of season 7. Downside: trust issues. As stated she keeps information for herself.
      Jon: fighter. Knows what’s right and what’s wrong. He would not hurt anyone. Downside: sometimes to naive and too emotional.
      Even cercei: strategist. People underestimate her. She knows how to get to her goal.
      Downside her children. But they are gone which makes her even more cunning and dangerous. And entitled is a downside of hers. Like joffrey (joffrey light).

      I think they are all needed to defeat the nk.

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    51. Meg:
      Che,

      Sansa had something more important than battle knowledge.She knew the enemy. By withholding “vital information” she won the battle. As she feared, Jon fell for Ramsay’s trick.No one knew what that would be until the moment it happened.

      Sansa had arranged back-up for such an eventuality. Ramsay wasn’t stupid.He knew when to change his plans, or when to retreat. He wouldn’t have allowed his army to be surrounded if he didn’t believe that his trick had worked.

      I agree with much of what Che has said.

      And I’m not quite understanding. If Sansa didn’t know what Ramsay’s trick would be, why would she withhold crucial information? As a back-up?

      I have a lot of trouble with that. That would pose the possibility that Sansa was willing to sacrifice not only Rickon, but Jon, the Mormont army and the wildlings to reclaim Winterfell and I can’t see Sansa being okay with that. One of the things I think Sansa wants most in the world now is her family. How would she be okay with losing another brother? As Che said, Sansa telling Jon about the Vale would have changed everything. And I’m not sure what Jon could do with Rickon running for his life toward him. It was a no-win situation. If Jon lets Rickon die, he not only stands by and lets a loved one be murdered but it’s not politically smart either: that action would support the societal prejudice against bastards (and if people knew Sansa urged Jon to do so, it’d likewise sow distrust against her as well as a daughter married to a Lannister and a Bolton). On the other hand, if Jon runs for Rickon, he falls into Ramsay’s trap. Once Jon is out in the open field, what should he do? Turn his back to Ramsay and retreat? Or charge?

      You’re absolutely right that Ramsay isn’t stupid. He really did get one over on Jon and Sansa here. No matter what Jon did, it would have screwed something up for them: letting Rickon die while the whole North watched would not look good for Jon or Sansa. Being drawn out into the open resulted in Jon breaking his battle strategy. But Sansa withholding vital information from her brother just so she’d have back-up army, letting Jon and their army to ride off into battle and risk their lives? Sansa has already resigned herself to losing a brother, why would she want to sacrifice another?

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    52. Kevin1989,

      How can I forget Arya maybe because she has no downside. Or is killing everybody a downside. Hmmm
      And tyrion but being drunk all the time is maybe not that smart either.

      Meg,

      This. If she would have told. Jon would have changed his plan. Which would have failed because ramsay played him like a violin.

      Still Jon is one of my favorite of the show.

      Che,

      Weren’t the vale just coming a little bit late. I think even Sansa wanted the vale to be a day earlier.

      And I think that motive to withheld that information is not as easy as not trusting Jon. But also not trusting lf. I think deep down she though lf wouldn’t show up.

      About lecturing Jon. I agree half with you. But only thing she wanted to hear was that Jon listens to her. Because she knew he was the strategist. But she knew how ramsay was. She gave that information so he could use that. She made clear that ramsay will provoke him emotionally so he will loose his shit which he did. Sansa could learn a lot from Jon. But at the same time Jon also from Sansa.

      Remember tywins speach to tommen about a great king. A great king is a king who listens to his advisers. That doesn’t mean those advisers know everything but a king should use that information he got. Sansa gave him some information. Maybe not much but it was something and he should have use that.

      And BTW why didn’t Rickon zigzag. I really miss that little fellow. It was just 4 seasons ago (then) when he was smashing some nuts.

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    53. Adrianacandle:
      And I’m not sure what Jon could do with Rickon running for his life toward him. It was a no-win situation. If Jon lets Rickon die, he not only stands by and lets a loved one be murdered but it’s not politically smart either: that action would support the societal prejudice against bastards (and if people knew Sansa urged Jon to do so, it’d likewise sow distrust against her as well as a daughter married to a Lannister and a Bolton). On the other hand, if Jon runs for Rickon, he falls into Ramsay’s trap. Once Jon is out in the open field, what should he do? Turn his back to Ramsay and retreat? Or charge?

      I agree with this wholeheartedly and I wrote at length about this when the battle of the bastards aired and Jon’s character was crucified for his stupidity, over-emotionality and foolhardiness.

      I too feel that he could not have emerged from that scenario in any positive way. He could not have sat back and watched Rickon be slaughtered. His men would have lost all faith in him if he sat and watched Ned Stark’s last male heir (that they knew of at the time) be murdered without trying to save him. Had he sat back and watched Rickon die, would his army have fought for him, for his cause, if he wouldn’t risk all to save his brother, Ned Stark’s son? Would they have named him King in the North afterwards? Would Sansa inspire devotion in the northern lords if they knew she had already written Rickon off as collateral damage. Would they follow her if she sat and watched him be murdered?

      I found the grief Jon received for that pretty frustrating at the time!

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    54. Kevin1989,

      I agree Sansa had a big role, absolutely. And I agree Jon and Sansa need to work together more. I actually think Sansa is one of the characters who will survive because I think Winterfell will need her to rule in peacetime. However, it’s an assumption Jon would have refused the Vale army on account of Littlefinger, just as it’s an assumption Jon would have screwed up if Sansa told him about the army. Jon’s going into battle and risking his neck – to protect Sansa and save Rickon. Sansa’s info could have allowed them to come up with a better strategy, they wouldn’t have needed to rely on the pincer move. We don’t know what Jon would have done because he wasn’t privy to that information, we didn’t see that scenario play out. What we saw was Jon in a lose-lose sh*thole of a situation. Out of sheer desperation to get Rickon back and protect Sansa, the whole and only two reasons why Jon is fighting in the first place, he may have had to accept the help.

      The Vale issue aside, Sansa gave Jon the best advice she could, yes. And Jon did ask for her input in that scene. Jon listened to her about the Northern tour, he asked for her opinion about Tyrion, he named her as his regent. But in regard to the Battle for Winterfell, had Jon taken Sansa’s advice, there’d still be consequences. I can’t imagine either Jon or the North being okay with Jon not lifting a finger to save Rickon (I elaborate on why in my comment above).

      In addition to what Che said, Jon and Sansa bring different things to the table as leaders and have different experiences. I also don’t agree Sansa is overlooked or more competent as a leader but they both have different strengths and weaknesses. Jon is good at connecting with a variety of people, finding common ground, and can see the bigger picture. He understands the importance of unity. Like Dany, who has suffered in the Red Waste with her people, Jon knows first-hand of some struggles the people he’s trying to help because he’s walked a mile in their shoes. We’ve seen Sansa soothe the tensions of the fussy Northern lords, she’s astute enough to realize how fickle they are, she knows how to put on a show-face, and we’ve seen her do a good job of prepping Winterfell. Both of them also have their flaws too. Jon puts forth a lot of controversial decisions and I think they’re the right decisions, but he doesn’t exactly do cartwheels to win dissenters over. He pretty much explains once and that’s it. On Sansa’s end, she’s kept some important information to herself (transparency issues) and doesn’t yet truly understand the gravity of the threat facing them. I think both of them have a problem foreseeing the consequences of their decisions.

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    55. Che,

      Yeah, I agree! I think Jon was in a lose-lose situation the moment Ramsay brought out Rickon and by extension, so was Sansa when it came to the issue of what to do for their brother. No matter what either decided in regard to Rickon (save Rickon or don’t save Rickon), it wasn’t going end well either way.

      Like you said, had Jon not tried to save the last (known) trueborn son of Ned Stark, I doubt the North would have rallied to either him or Sansa. I don’t think either would have inspired devotion or faith had Jon or Sansa just let Rickon be murdered by Ramsay.

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    56. Che,

      I agree completely.

      Personally I see a similar scenario during Beyond the Wall, where Jon was also heavily criticized for his *stupid* actions.

      I just figured he was fighting off wights until everyone was on the dragon. After that he was met with multiple wights advancing towards him in quick succession, giving him no opportunity to safely retreat.

      In addition to this, he probably felt relatively safe with three dragons backing him up. There was absolutely no way he could have known that the White Walkers had anti-dragon defences at the ready.

      Perhaps he even saw this moment as an opportunity to take out the Night King and end the threat forever (I’d say that it was worth considering, given what’s at stake). In the light of the scene a few minutes earlier where they are discussing that exact possibility it made perfect sense to me.

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    57. Che,

      I am unclear on flow of the events so ignore if I mixed up the plot. Two points:

      1) One of the most interesting things is that Jon did not think of seeking help from Blackfish and from the Vale. Fine, he is not a Tully. But he knows they are related to Sansa. You would think he would think of it (being the battle planner) and say to Sansa….do you think your cousins (Blackfish & Robin) will help us? Well, forget Robin, what about Blackfish?

      2) Did Sansa have confirmed knowledge that the Vale would in fact come to help? Did she get an answer? Was she confident that she could believe LF even if he said he was on his way. (Ned trusted LF and we know how that turned out.) If not, even if she told Jon she requested help, Jon still would have had to make the battle plan without counting on the Vale. His battle plan would have to assume a possibility that they would not come because LF was a liar – which Sansa knew. Unless of course, the two armies could just sit down and wait indefinitely to see if more were coming to the party before starting. Either way, Ramsey would have played Jon – because Ramsey.

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    58. kevin1989:
      Season 6: She was the reason that they win the battle of the bastards, without her they would have lost. She won that battle, not Jon. Killing isn’t the only thing that is needed to kill battles. (Look at Tywin won the battle against Robb with only a letter, he didn’t lift one finger but it was his victory not that of Walder Frey)

      Littlefinger won the Battle of the Bastards. He was the one who convinced brave brave brave brave Lord Robin to lend the Vale army to fight for Sansa to fight for Jon.

      In a realistic world, Jon wouldn’t have dodged a volley of 1000 arrows or a crush of soldiers, either. And Sansa would have ended up right back with the Boltons.

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    59. Mango,

      I know this is directed at Che but if I could answer as well? You make a good point – we don’t know how much Sansa really knew (if they were really coming or not). The problem I have is Sansa wasn’t transparent with Jon, she didn’t give him all the info she had that would be pertinent to their decision making – that Littlefinger made her this offer and she wrote to him to accept it. She’s urging Jon to wait in 6×09 – but doesn’t give a reason. However, Jon needs a reason to wait (a storm is coming, a psycho has Rickon). As far as Jon knows, they’ve mustered all the men they could get. He asks Sansa, “When will we have a larger force? We’ve pleaded with every house that’ll have us. The Blackfish can’t help us. We’re lucky to have this many men,” and Sansa replies, “It’s not enough.” This was Sansa’s window to tell Jon that she wrote to Littlefinger, who offered her the Knights of the Vale. If she said something like, “Littlefinger offered me the Vale’s forces. If we could just wait a day, 20 minutes, something, to see if they come,” Sansa would have been in the free and clear. Jon would be in the know. Jon would have an opportunity to decide what to do with this information and would have a reason to delay.

      In regard to the Blackfish, Sansa herself offers up that info in 6×05 which is great! But she lies about where she got the information (from Littlefinger). When Brienne asks her about it, Sansa doesn’t have an answer. Likewise, she didn’t give a reason to Jon in 6×10 when she apologized to him for not telling him about the Knights of the Vale. If she had said she didn’t know they were coming, it was because she didn’t trust Littlefinger, etc. okay. That’d clear things up. But she didn’t.

      Sophie Turner’s explanation is,

      “Sansa didn’t tell Jon because she wanted all the credit,” [Turner] said, drolly. “And it makes for really good television.”

      But that’s all we got. And personally, it’s something I’d really rather not believe (re: Sansa’s motivation) and I hope she’s being facetious with that.

      All we can do is speculate because the answer hasn’t been provided in the show or in interviews, really.

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    60. Adrianacandle,

      Thanks!
      I suppose that Sansa did not want to disclose her alliance/relationship with LF. …Or more likely D&D wanted to raise the tension in the battle and chose to compromise the characters to get a more exciting plot. Bad TV. It worked – many people have BoB as their best episode everrrrrrrrrr!

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    61. Mango,

      I would have to agree with you here. I love the show to death, thoroughly enjoyed that episode, but I have a niggling suspicion it was for the sake of a dramatic 11th hour save 😉 (… But I did get goosebumps watching it…) Yet, for the life of me, I can’t puzzle this one out!

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    62. kevin1989,

      “Season 7: It was made clear in season 7 that she was much better at leading than Jon. The people followed her, and even made clear that they rather want her. She organised everything for a possible white walker invasion. And it’s possible she even made sure that even before Jon got to Winterfell that the defenses are up and ready. And don’t forget the way she played LF in the final.”

      It was not clear. “…much better at leading than Jon. ?!?! The lords followed Jon but disagreed with his taking the risk in going south. As Olenna said, the lords are sheep. They didn’t ask Sansa to take over, they were led by Royce and Glover, who shortly after that met alone in a small snowy courtyard with Littlefinger. That implies he was probably manipulating them (by blackmail?) to manipulate the lords to convince Sansa. Yes, she worried about grain and lined armour, but she had derelict guards and we see nobody training besides Brienne and Pod. Sansa and Arya and Bran together played Littlefinger, both leading up to and including the trial. It was a PACK thing, but only Sansa could legally kill Littlefinger.

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    63. As always the Battle of the Bastards argument ignores much of Jon’s mistakes

      Jon chose to run to Ramsey’s army after Rickon was already dead, which made his army get slaughtered
      actually Jon is the worst leader on the show because of his arrogance and thinking he knows best.
      he got himself killed by less than 10 men in the NW because he failed to communicate how dangerous the Night King was, when he should’ve took Aliser Thorne with him to make him see for himself.
      he lead his army into a trap because of his stupidity.
      he went on a mission for months without informing his people of his decisions, bending the knee without informing his lords, allying with Cersei without asking for their advice, and going on a stupid mission that ended up giving the Nk a dragon and bringing down the wall

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    64. Che,

      “Got a secret army that you could call to massively sway the odds in your side’s favour? Yup. Gonna share that knowledge with your brother who is risking his life for a cause you persuaded (bullied) him into? Nope.”

      ———
      Now that we’re back on the inexplicable KotV concealment, I’ll reiterate how I thought it could’ve gone down. Something like this:

      Sansa: “Jon, LF contacted me. He’s offered the Knights of the Vale to join our army.”
      Jon: “Do you trust him?”
      Sansa: “Only a fool would trust LF.”
      Jon: “What do you mean?”
      Sansa: “He’s a selfish pr*ck. He may show up with the Vale knights… and join with the Boltons. He might sit back and see who’s winning and then decide whose side to take. He might delay his arrival until both sides have decimated each other’s armies* and then come in and take WF for himself when there’s only a handful of exhausted soldiers who could only mount token opposition. Or he might not show up at all and lie that the raven I sent him must’ve gotten lost. Or he might extort us – including demanding that I marry his sorry ass – before he’ll commit because LF never does anything without expecting something in return. LF never does anything unless it helps LF. He’s the de facto Lord of the Vale already, and I’m sure he’d like to be the de facto Lord of WF too. He’s a megalomaniacal POS. He wants to f*ck me, literally, and would f*ck you figuratively. Dealing with one psycho is enough of a challenge. Would you want to face two in a row?”
      Jon: “No, I don’t think I would. Even though we’re outnumbered, we’re probably better off going with the army we have, and not relying on LF.”
      Sansa: “You’re the battle commander. It’s your call.”

      * Which is pretty much what happened. Only when there was a mountain of corpses did LF ride in to “save the day.”

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    65. Ten Bears,

      I agreed with everything until the last paragraph. I doubt that LF’s intent was to wait until there was a mountain of corpses. In a battle the intention is to win. And win decisively so that the enemy cannot rise again. LF waited until the Vale army could surround Ramsay’s army and destroy it completely.

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    66. Adrianacandle,

      Adrianacandle: I agree with much of what Che has said.

      And I’m not quite understanding. If Sansa didn’t know what Ramsay’s trick would be, why would she withhold crucial information? As a back-up?

      I have a lot of trouble with that. That would pose the possibility that Sansa was willing to sacrifice not only Rickon, but Jon, the Mormont army and the wildlings to reclaim Winterfell and I can’t see Sansa being okay with that. One of the things I think Sansa wants most in the world now is her family. How would she be okay with losing another brother? As Che said, Sansa telling Jon about the Vale would have changed everything. And I’m not sure what Jon could do with Rickon running for his life toward him. It was a no-win situation. If Jon lets Rickon die, he not only stands by and lets a loved one be murdered but it’s not politically smart either: that action would support the societal prejudice against bastards (and if people knew Sansa urged Jon to do so, it’d likewise sow distrust against her as well as a daughter married to a Lannister and a Bolton). On the other hand, if Jon runs for Rickon, he falls into Ramsay’s trap. Once Jon is out in the open field, what should he do? Turn his back to Ramsay and retreat? Or charge?

      You’re absolutely right that Ramsay isn’t stupid. He really did get one over on Jon and Sansa here. No matter what Jon did, it would have screwed something up for them: letting Rickon die while the whole North watched would not look good for Jon or Sansa. Being drawn out into the open resulted in Jon breaking his battle strategy. But Sansa withholding vital information from her brother just so she’d have back-up army, letting Jon and their army to ride off into battle and risk their lives? Sansa has already resigned herself to losing a brother, why would she want to sacrifice another?

      Sansa didn’t sacrifice Rickon. As she said to Jon, Ramsay couldn’t afford to let Rickon live. He was dead whatever they did. And it wasn’t about sacrificing Jon and his army either. It was about saving them from whatever Ramsay had planned.

      Jon and his army were always going to risk their lives. Knowing about the Vale army wasn’t going to change that unless they elected not to fight at all. And Sansa knew that. Not saying she was OK with it, but it was the only way to reclaim the North. Jon and his army knew that too. It’s not like they didn’t have a choice. They knew the odds and chose to fight anyway despite Sansa’s objections that they didn’t have enough men.

      Ramsay had sized Jon up at the parley. He knew that Jon would do the honourable thing and manipulated Jon accordingly. Jon wasn’t thinking when he did it. He was operating on instinct.

      This notion that if Jon had known about the Vale army then he would have been safe, or safer, doesn’t make sense. The only way he would be safe is to not fight at all. And the same goes for the Stark army. I’m sure LF wouldn’t have been fine with letting them stand aside while the Vale army did all the work.

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    67. Che: The point I am making is that Jon’s army might not have needed back up if they had known of and utilised the vale army from the outset. You’re right, Ramsay wasn’t stupid, but in battle, neither is Jon and had he known his forces were actually equal to Ramsay’s, he would have planned a different strategy. Sansa’s motivation to use the Vale army as ‘backup’ paints her character in an even greyer light. Wait for the men who pledged their lives to your cause to die and then ride over their corpses (including your brother’s) with your back up army to victory; in essence, use these men and their loyalty for your own gain.

      “In battle Jon wasn’t stupid”. Except for riding towards Rickon, which in turn caused his men to follow him. And that was the end of Jon’s battle plan. Instead of Jon surrounding Ramsay’s army, Ramsay surrounded Jon’s. I think the award for best battle strategist goes to Ramsay before it goes to Jon. But the ultimate award goes to Sansa for outwitting Ramsay.

      Sansa and Ramsay were better than Jon at this for one reason. They knew the enemy. Sansa knew Ramsay was a master manipulator and didn’t fall for tricks – he was the one who made them. And Ramsay had sized Jon up at the parley. He knew that Jon couldn’t help himself but do the honourable thing.

      I have a problem with the word “might”. You have a situation where the enemy is completely destroyed, the North united, and Winterfell reclaimed and somehow it’s not seen as the success it is because it “might” have been better if it had been done differently. But it very well might not have. If the Vale army was known by Ramsay, he could have simply settled in for a siege. He had the advantage. Winter was coming, and the Stark army didn’t have the resources to stick around for long. Everyone goes home and Winterfell stays in Bolton hands.
      If the Vale army joined the fight after it started (they hid behind a hill before that) then Ramsay abandons his plans to surround the Stark army and maintains his battle lines. Many men are killed. The outcome is uncertain, since the Vale army had given up its advantage by not waiting until the optimal moment.

      As to waiting to ride over their corpses – men die in battle. That’s just part of war. Jon knew it. His army knew it. Jon was prepared to risk their lives when the odds were against them. So why is Sansa the bad guy and Jon not? They would have been completely routed if Sansa hadn’t acted as she did and the survivors skinned alive. She gets no credit for saving the day. Maybe because she’s a woman, and Jon is a man and she should defer to him or something. I can’t work it out.

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    68. Meg,

      You’re correct in that Sansa objected they didn’t have enough men and Jon knew that too. Yet, as far as Jon knew, they had all the men they could gather but Sansa knew differently. Sansa knew about Littlefinger’s offer of the Vale forces, knew she had written to Littlefinger to accept this offer, but chose not to share this information. I can’t figure out why she wouldn’t tell Jon and I’m not sure how keeping this info under wraps helps their army, not to mention save them.

      More men = better odds so if they were fighting alongside the Vale, yeah, their chances would be better. If Sansa had told Jon about the Vale, that’d give Jon a reason to wait for a bit. Jon and their army could at least discuss it – they’re the ones risking their lives, I think they should have access to every bit of information that could help out their chances and decide accordingly.

      Jon and their army thought they knew the odds, thought this was the biggest army they could get, but they didn’t have all the info. If Sansa had told Jon, Jon & co. would truly know the odds and all their choices in that case. Even if the conversation goes down like Ten Bears speculated and they choose not to wait for the Vale and fight with the forces they have, I’d agree with you that they knew the odds and chose to fight anyway. However, they didn’t know about the information Sansa had been sitting on. They didn’t have the choice to fight with or without the Vale. They didn’t even get to discuss it.

      ‘Sacrifice’ was probably the wrong choice of words. I meant more that Sansa had resigned herself that Rickon was lost. If Sansa deliberately kept the Vale forces secret to pull out the Ace of Vale at the prime moment, while letting her brother fight a battle with only the small army of Mormonts and wildlings they could gather, well… yeah, it seems she would be risking Jon’s life in that scenario. I can’t see that as being Sansa’s motive.

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    69. Mango,

      I think we have to consider distances here. The Vale is an awfully long distance from Winterfell and Jon had no reason to believe they would come to their aid. The Vale refused a direct request through Catelyn to her own sister to get involved in the last war to help Robb, so why would Jon think they would agree to help now? I don’t think he felt there was a chance in hell and it was a very long undertaking to be turned away.

      As for the logistics of the Vale army, I don’t think it was confirmed to us on screen during the rallying campaign. What we do know is that Jon decided to act “now” when Sansa was begging him for more time because he knew at that point that no one else would help them. Had Sansa simply said there was a possibility of her getting the Vale to fight for them, that would have changed everything. If Jon had known they could have had a large army join their cause, I doubt he would shut it down point blank because it was LF offering it. He didn’t want to lose. He didn’t want all his men to sacrifice themselves in battle for nothing and for Ramsay to recapture Sansa. Of course he would have reached out and spoken to LF. I personally believe he would have accepted the help. We will never know because Sansa, for reasons unclear (except for the sake of Drama), didn’t tell him.

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    70. Meg: So why is Sansa the bad guy and Jon not?They would have been completely routed if Sansa hadn’t acted as she did and the survivors skinned alive.She gets no credit for saving the day.Maybe because she’s a woman, and Jon is a man and she should defer to him or something.I can’t work it out.

      I don’t think anybody’s saying Sansa is the bad guy. She played an important role. I just really disagree with the notion that Sansa won the whole thing while Jon did nothing but screw up. And I really don’t sexism is playing a part in this. We’re looking at the actions and choices of each character here. Sansa and Jon both had a huge role to play in that battle – and both made mistakes. If Sansa had just been totally transparent with Jon, there wouldn’t be much to quibble about. As I said above, my issue is Sansa withheld some pretty crucial information from her battle commander. It’s not because she’s a woman and Jon’s a man. I’m a woman! I spent two of my degrees in art school (lots of women’s lib and feminism studies!)! I think it’s about the choices and actions of each character rather than sexism. Of all of the characters, Sansa is the one who I related to the most in the beginning.

      Had the North known that Sansa hooked ’em up with the Vale forces via accepting Littlefinger’s offer, that’d be a yay! But if they also knew she withheld this information about the Vale from their armies and urged Jon not to try and save Rickon, I don’t think it would look good. They saw Jon charge alone, not so good. Yet, they also saw Jon risk his life to save Ned Stark’s trueborn son, his brother, and they saw him fight alongside their army. Jon was risking his life alongside their army, an army who willingly followed him and had the same amount of information he did.

      I’m not so sure the success of the battle hinged on Sansa keeping this information to herself as you are. If they had included the Vale, wouldn’t they change their battle strategy to suit a larger army vs. larger army? I’m certain Jon and Sansa, having both grown up in Winterfell, would know Ramsay would settle down for a siege and plan for that. They had Wun-Wun, who broke down the door when Ramsay retreated, right? I’d think Wun-Wun would be willing to break down the doors of Winterfell again to reach Ramsay and fight the battle.

      But…. I’m not a battle expert. I only just started playing Dungeons & Dragons and can barely get through the combat stuff without getting sleepy 😉

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    71. Nariman:
      As always the Battle of the Bastards argument ignores much of Jon’smistakes

      Jon chose to run to Ramsey’s army after Rickon was already dead, which made his army get slaughtered
      actuallyJon is the worst leader on the show because of his arrogance and thinking he knows best.
      he got himself killed by less than 10 men in the NW because he failed to communicate how dangerous the Night King was, when he should’ve took Aliser Thorne with him to make him see for himself.
      he lead his army into a trap because of his stupidity.
      he went on a mission for months without informing his people of his decisions, bending the knee without informing his lords, allying with Cersei without asking for their advice, and going on a stupid mission that ended up giving the Nk a dragon and bringing down the wall

      Another thing that frustrated me at the time. Jon had only one choice once he had charged forwards to get Ramsay and that was to move forwards. Through the miracles of TV, he managed to dodge the hundreds of arrows aimed at him, but in reality, he was unlikely to survive. So he rides back, gets shot in the back, or rides forwards and gets shot trying to bring justice for his brother. It wasn’t so much a stupid decision as the more honourable of two lose-lose decisions. He was already a gonner in his mind, why should he ride back to get shot in the back?

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    72. Ten Bears:
      Che,

      “Got a secret army that you could call to massively sway the odds in your side’s favour? Yup. Gonna share that knowledge with your brother who is risking his life for a cause you persuaded (bullied) him into? Nope.”

      ——— Now that we’re back on the inexplicable KotV concealment, I’ll reiterate how I thought it could’ve gone down. Something like this:

      Sansa: “Jon, LF contacted me. He’s offered the Knights of the Vale to join our army.”
      Jon: “Do you trust him?”
      Sansa: “Only a fool would trust LF.”
      Jon: “What do you mean?”
      Sansa: “He’s a selfish pr*ck. He may show up with the Vale knights… and join with the Boltons. He might sit back and see who’s winning and then decide whose side to take. He might delay his arrival until both sides have decimated each other’s armies* and then come in and take WF for himself when there’s only a handful of exhausted soldiers who could only mount token opposition. Or he might not show up at all and lie that the raven I sent him must’ve gotten lost. Or he might extort us – including demanding that I marry his sorry ass – before he’ll commitbecause LF never does anything without expecting something in return. LF never does anything unless it helps LF. He’s the de facto Lord of the Vale already, and I’m sure he’d like to be the de facto Lord of WF too. He’s a megalomaniacal POS. He wants to f*ck me, literally, and would f*ck you figuratively. Dealing with one psycho is enough of a challenge. Would you want to face two in a row?”
      Jon: “No, I don’t think I would. Even though we’re outnumbered, we’re probably better off going with the army we have, and not relying on LF.”
      Sansa: “You’re the battle commander. It’s your call.”

      * Which is pretty much what happened. Only when there was a mountain of corpses did LF ride in to “save the day.”

      If Jon knew about the Vale forces, LF would be sidelined. He would speak with LF yes, but he would also speak with the lords of the vale (as Sansa would surely prepare him for LF’s schemes – so going straight to Lords, like he did with the northern lords, would be first port of call). If he gets their word, they’re not going to go back on it. LF would have brought them together, but he wouldn’t be able to influence the honourable lords of the Vale to renege on their agreement to help or to simply wait for the end of the battle and then save the day.

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    73. Meg: “In battle Jon wasn’t stupid”. Except for riding towards Rickon, which in turn caused his men to follow him.And that was the end of Jon’s battle plan.Instead of Jon surrounding Ramsay’s army, Ramsay surrounded Jon’s.I think the award for best battle strategist goes to Ramsay before it goes to Jon. But the ultimate award goes to Sansa for outwitting Ramsay.

      Sansa and Ramsay were better than Jon at this for one reason.They knew the enemy.Sansa knew Ramsay was a master manipulator and didn’t fall for tricks – he was the one who made them. And Ramsay had sized Jon up at the parley. He knew that Jon couldn’t help himself but do the honourable thing.

      I have a problem with the word “might”. You have a situation where the enemy is completely destroyed, the North united, and Winterfell reclaimed and somehow it’s not seen as the success it is because it “might” have been better if it had been done differently.But it very well might not have. If the Vale army was known by Ramsay, he could have simply settled in for a siege.He had the advantage.Winter was coming, and the Stark army didn’t have the resources to stick around for long.Everyone goes home and Winterfell stays in Bolton hands.
      If the Vale army joined the fight after it started (they hid behind a hill before that) then Ramsay abandons his plans to surround the Stark army and maintains his battle lines.Many men are killed.The outcome is uncertain, since the Vale army had given up its advantage by not waiting until the optimal moment.

      As to waiting to ride over their corpses – men die in battle.That’s just part of war.Jon knew it.His army knew it.Jon was prepared to risk their lives when the odds were against them. So why is Sansa the bad guy and Jon not?They would have been completely routed if Sansa hadn’t acted as she did and the survivors skinned alive.She gets no credit for saving the day.Maybe because she’s a woman, and Jon is a man and she should defer to him or something.I can’t work it out.

      By saying that Sansa outwitted Ramsay, you are acknowledging that she purposefully withheld the Vale forces so that she could wait for Jon’s army to be defeated, surrounded by Ransay’s and then ride out and destroy them? She is therefore letting them fight a helpless battle they can’t win and counting on them being killed in order to secure her own victory. So they are in essence sacrificed to outwits Ramsay. It is this notion of sacrifice that I think you missed in my first post.

      Jon was not stupid in battle. He had no choice. He couldn’t sit and watch Rickon he murdered. I have explained in an earlier post why not. And once he had ridden out, he was as good as dead anyway, so he rode forward and not back. Not stupid either in my opinion. Ramsay is a very different strategist for Jon. He uses barbarism to exploit others. More effective, maybe, better strategy? I’m not so sure. In the long run, his tactics would leave him alienated and turned on by his people (like his father warned).

      As to your point about Jon willing to risk his life – of course he was. However, he and his men would have been safer with a larger army, I don’t see how you can state that is not the case. Yes, we don’t know what the outcome would have been had the Vale forces been involved from the outset, but no one can say that Jon’s army still wouldn’t have won.

      Isn’t it clear why Sansa is viewed as more grey in this than Jon? Sansa persuades Jon to fight for their home and for their brother (Rickon is one her bartering chips in getting Jon to commit to this anyway – the guy who’s just come back from the dead and has done nothing but fight his entire adult life – she manipulates him in using something that he can’t say no to and later reveals that actually, Rickon is as good as dead). Jon and Sansa tour the north recruiting forces – including Jon being persuaded by Sansa to ask the wildlings to fight for his cause (which he is reluctant to do because he liberated them from certain death and did not want to expect them to die for him in return). So two shady points to Sansa and Jon meanwhile is being manipulated due to his honour. Then we get to the days before battle and Sansa has several opportunities to tell Jon that she has a possible army to join their cause. At one point Jon even asks her when they will have more men and she still says absolutely nothing. Again, the reasons for her doing this are unknown, but if we take the two that seem to have come up here as possible reasons, neither has much merit. If her distrust for LF is to blame, it could have been circumvented by appealing directly to the Vale lords (who have already pledged to fight for Sansa and Jon’s side) – seems she missed a trick to outwits LF there as she knows the lords of the vale are honourable. Jon went against his own better judgement and honour by asking the wildlings to fight for them, but Sansa can’t get over her mistrust/dislike of LF? If it’s that she wanted to outwit Ramsay by waiting for her army to be decimated, then that really is a grey area for her character. I really don’t see how Jon could be viewed as Sansa has been in this situation – his crime is being too naaive and honourable and failing to see he was being used (by Sansa and LF).

      Sansa does get credit for “saving the day”. How is she not given that credit? Is it because she isn’t made queen in the north where Jon is made king instead? If it is this reason, then Jon’s actions in battle (and his legacy in general) all played in to him being named king – he risked his life to save Rickon (something that everyone decries as stupid, but the northern lords would have seen as honourable). Sansa’s actions of withholding the Vale army wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the northern lords. I am sure they would have had lots of questions about why she didn’t use this powerful weapon to help them from the outset. Sansa doesn’t come across as honourable in this instance, which may be part of why she was overlooked. But you are right, the fact that she is a woman also probably played a part in her being overlooked in favour of Jon (I wouldn’t say a large part). She still gets the credit for saving the day however.

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    74. Adrianacandle,

      Che,

      Che: By saying that Sansa outwitted Ramsay, you are acknowledging that she purposefully withheld the Vale forces so that she could wait for Jon’s army to be defeated, surrounded by Ransay’s and then ride out and destroy them? She is therefore letting them fight a helpless battle they can’t win and counting on them being killed in order to secure her own victory. So they are in essence sacrificed to outwits Ramsay. It is this notion of sacrifice that I think you missed in my first post.

      Jon was not stupid in battle. He had no choice. He couldn’t sit and watch Rickon he murdered. I have explained in an earlier post why not. And once he had ridden out, he was as good as dead anyway, so he rode forward and not back. Not stupid either in my opinion. Ramsay is a very different strategist for Jon. He uses barbarism to exploit others. More effective, maybe, better strategy? I’m not so sure. In the long run, his tactics would leave him alienated and turned on by his people (like his father warned).

      As to your point about Jon willing to risk his life – of course he was. However, he and his men would have been safer with a larger army, I don’t see how you can state that is not the case. Yes, we don’t know what the outcome would have been had the Vale forces been involved from the outset, but no one can say that Jon’s army still wouldn’t have won.

      Isn’t it clear why Sansa is viewed as more grey in this than Jon? Sansa persuades Jon to fight for their home and for their brother (Rickon is one her bartering chips in getting Jon to commit to this anyway – the guy who’s just come back from the dead and has done nothing but fight his entire adult life – she manipulates him in using something that he can’t say no to and later reveals that actually, Rickon is as good as dead). Jon and Sansa tour the north recruiting forces – including Jon being persuaded by Sansa to ask the wildlings to fight for his cause (which he is reluctant to do because he liberated them from certain death and did not want to expect them to die for him in return). So two shady points to Sansa and Jon meanwhile is being manipulated due to his honour. Then we get to the days before battle and Sansa has several opportunities to tell Jon that she has a possible army to join their cause. At one point Jon even asks her when they will have more men and she still says absolutely nothing. Again, the reasons for her doing this are unknown, but if we take the two that seem to have come up here as possible reasons, neither has much merit. If her distrust for LF is to blame, it could have been circumvented by appealing directly to the Vale lords (who have already pledged to fight for Sansa and Jon’s side) – seems she missed a trick to outwits LF there as she knows the lords of the vale are honourable. Jon went against his own better judgement and honour by asking the wildlings to fight for them, but Sansa can’t get over her mistrust/dislike of LF? If it’s that she wanted to outwit Ramsay by waiting for her army to be decimated, then that really is a grey area for her character. I really don’t see how Jon could be viewed as Sansa has been in this situation – his crime is being too naaive and honourable and failing to see he was being used (by Sansa and LF).

      Sansa does get credit for “saving the day”. How is she not given that credit? Is it because she isn’t made queen in the north where Jon is made king instead? If it is this reason, then Jon’s actions in battle (and his legacy in general) all played in to him being named king – he risked his life to save Rickon (something that everyone decries as stupid, but the northern lords would have seen as honourable). Sansa’s actions of withholding the Vale army wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the northern lords. I am sure they would have had lots of questions about why she didn’t use this powerful weapon to help them from the outset. Sansa doesn’t come across as honourable in this instance, which may be part of why she was overlooked. But you are right, the fact that she is a woman also probably played a part in her being overlooked in favour of Jon (I wouldn’t say a large part). She still gets the credit for saving the day however.

      Sansa outwitted Ramsay by allowing for the possibility that Jon would be tricked into doing something stupid. The fact that it involved not saying anything about the Vale army is immaterial. And it’s spurious to say that I’m admitting that Sansa’s intention was that she withhold the Vale so that Jon’s army could be surrounded etc. How could she have had that intention? No one knew what would happen. It all had to be decided in the moment. And do you think Sansa had the say as to when the Vale army entered the battle? That LF and the other commanders didn’t have input on which was the most opportune time?

      Sansa couldn’t have known they would “fight a senseless battle they couldn’t win.” As Jon said, “battles have been won against greater odds.” Jon might very well have won if he hadn’t stuffed up his battle plan. Sansa said she didn’t know anything about battles. You attribute to her knowledge about how such a battle would play out. The only thing Sansa knew was how Ramsay’s mind works. And that when it came to psychological games, Jon was no match for him. And she was right.

      And of course Jon had a choice whether to ride out to save Rickon or not. But instead of considering the lives of the thousands of men under his command, he chose to try to save just one. He could have warned his men not to follow but keep to the battle plan. But he didn’t. Jon wasn’t thinking. He acted on instinct. Just as Ramsay predicted.

      I think one of best things about the Battle of the Bastards was it shows how random life and death is in battle. If an arrow has your name on it, it doesn’t matter how large your army is. You’re still dead. But again, if Jon hadn’t stuffed up his battle plan, then his army may not have been in the position it was. It was this factor, more than the size of his army, that was responsible for putting them at greater risk.

      I don’t know how a sure outcome isn’t better than a “maybe”. If Ramsay hadn’t been decisively beaten, that would have been the end of all the Northern houses that fought for Jon, the wildlings, no home for Arya and Bran to return to, or a base in which to defend the North from the white walkers.

      Poor, poor Jon. He has no choice but to do what Sansa wants him to do. Give the man some credit for having a will of his own. At this stage of the story, Jon is trying to persuade others to fight (and possibly die) to fight the white walkers. But somehow it was wrong of Sansa to do essentially the same thing. Where would everyone be if Jon had persisted with his wish to not to fight anymore? Winterfell still in Bolton hands, no home for the Starks, no base to fight the white walkers, no united North to fight them and the wildlings with no place to go. Everyone can thank Sansa for helping Jon to get his mojo back.

      Sansa has learned to keep her cards close to her chest. Trusting too much has been her downfall. She at first refused LFs help. Possibly because she knew what a snake he is, couldn’t be trusted, and didn’t want to be in a position where she was beholden to him. And she was right that LF as an ally would bring a new set of problems.

      She couldn’t appeal directly to the Vale lords. Honour obliges them to fight for their overlord (Robin Arryn) who had appointed LF as his commander. They can’t fight independent battles for a house not their own.

      Sansa did not want to outwit Ramsay by having Jon’s army decimated. She probably didn’t want there to be a situation where should would need to. She didn’t know what would happen until it did happen. Do you think she had a crystal ball? An army in reserve was insurance against Jon falling for whatever trick Ramsay had planned. But once he stuffed up his own plan, the objective was to wait for the most opportune time for the reserve army to join the battle. And the timing of that, wouldn’t have been Sansa’s decision. Her contribution was in predicting that Ramsay would outplay Jon, and doing something she hated – being beholden to LF.

      I think the Northern lords understand battle and what has to be done to win them. And that means sacrificing men. A decisive win with high casualties is better than an incomplete win with fewer of them (as there will be more fighting). I doubt they’d be resentful that the Vale army joined the fight when they did, or that they didn’t know about them until they appeared. Just very grateful that they did.

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    75. Meg,

      I can’t do those fancy quote posts where people split quotes into smaller sections, so forgive the copy and pasting, but I wanted to respond to individual points and it’s far easier this way!

      “Sansa outwitted Ramsay by allowing for the possibility that Jon would be tricked into doing something stupid. The fact that it involved not saying anything about the Vale army is immaterial. And it’s spurious to say that I’m admitting that Sansa’s intention was that she withhold the Vale so that Jon’s army could be surrounded etc. How could she have had that intention? No one knew what would happen. It all had to be decided in the moment. And do you think Sansa had the say as to when the Vale army entered the battle? That LF and the other commanders didn’t have input on which was the most opportune time?”

      The term outwitted suggest that Sansa knew that Jon would fall for Ramsay’s trick and lose the battle, allowing her to come in with a greater force to defeat Ramsay’s at an opportune moment. If this wasn’t her intent, then she didn’t outwit, she just got lucky. Outwitting requires her to know what she’s doing in terms of how the battle would unfold. Sansa’s intent is never made clear – except for Sophie’s peculiar statement that Sansa wanted to save the day (which we can’t take seriously). In truth, it is likely that this was all done to make for more exciting television (as she said), to have an ‘all is lost’ moment with the Vale forces coming in at the last moment to rescue our falling heroes. It achieved that (the first time I saw the Vale arrive I was on the edge of my seat cheering), but it does make it harder for us to debate character intent and actions, as it makes their motives seem nonsensical. Trying to guess at the motivation and mindset of the Vale lords and commanders is even more difficult – but if we look at the way honour is valued in Westeros among the nobility (more so in the North, but also the Vale), it is doubtful that they planned to arrive after the battle was all but lost. Perhaps LF would have been in board with this, but while he is able to command/persuade/threaten them to go, he is not actually in charge of the armies – the lords that are Robyn’s bannermen lead their forces and from what we know of them, they absolutely would not be on board with hiding until their supposed allies have all been wiped out. It is likely that they arrived ‘just in time’ – probably due to LF and Sansa’s communication and for cinematic effect. Had Jon known of their existence and approached them to fight for them, it is very doubtful they would have held back until the battle was all but lost.

      “Sansa couldn’t have known they would “fight a senseless battle they couldn’t win.” As Jon said, “battles have been won against greater odds.” Jon might very well have won if he hadn’t stuffed up his battle plan. Sansa said she didn’t know anything about battles. You attribute to her knowledge about how such a battle would play out. The only thing Sansa knew was how Ramsay’s mind works. And that when it came to psychological games, Jon was no match for him. And she was right.”

      It was evidently clear that even Jon didn’t believe those words. They both accepted they didn’t have enough men. It was highly likely Jon was going to lose. Sansa may not have known the method that such a defeat would take (the encircling of Jon’s forces for example), but it was abundantly clear that Jon’s forces were going to lose even to Jon as he said those words. I think you are right with the psychological games and Jon had already lost on that score the moment he agreed to fight Ramsay, but with greater forces, the whole battle would have played out very differently – even with Jon falling for Ramsay’s game.

      “And of course Jon had a choice whether to ride out to save Rickon or not. But instead of considering the lives of the thousands of men under his command, he chose to try to save just one. He could have warned his men not to follow but keep to the battle plan. But he didn’t. Jon wasn’t thinking. He acted on instinct. Just as Ramsay predicted.”

      I don’t think that Jon sat an weighed up the pros and cons of riding out versus staying behind and watching his brother be killed so I agree, he acted on instinct, but he couldn’t have made a ‘right’ decision in that instance. We have covered this in previous posts, so I don’t want to rehash it again. Suffice to say we disagree on this one.

      “I think one of best things about the Battle of the Bastards was it shows how random life and death is in battle. If an arrow has your name on it, it doesn’t matter how large your army is. You’re still dead. But again, if Jon hadn’t stuffed up his battle plan, then his army may not have been in the position it was. It was this factor, more than the size of his army, that was responsible for putting them at greater risk.”

      This cannot be stated as fact, I’m sorry, but it just can’t. An army three times the size of Jon’s would have reacted very different to their commander leading out and changing the plan. With more forces, they could have still used a double envelopment after Jon and a section of their army led out Ramsay’s forces. It would have been such a drastically different battle with more men. I’m not saying Jon and his side would have definitely won, but to say that they definitely would have lost due to his “stuffing up” (poor stupid Jon right?) even with three times the numbers is just disingenuous.

      “I don’t know how a sure outcome isn’t better than a “maybe”. If Ramsay hadn’t been decisively beaten, that would have been the end of all the Northern houses that fought for Jon, the wildlings, no home for Arya and Bran to return to, or a base in which to defend the North from the white walkers.”

      I don’t actually disagree with you on this – I am merely debating the grey areas of Sansa’s character and why I don’t think she is as good a leader as Jon.

      “Poor, poor Jon. He has no choice but to do what Sansa wants him to do. Give the man some credit for having a will of his own. At this stage of the story, Jon is trying to persuade others to fight (and possibly die) to fight the white walkers. But somehow it was wrong of Sansa to do essentially the same thing. Where would everyone be if Jon had persisted with his wish to not to fight anymore? Winterfell still in Bolton hands, no home for the Starks, no base to fight the white walkers, no united North to fight them and the wildlings with no place to go. Everyone can thank Sansa for helping Jon to get his mojo back.”

      While I agree that Sansa is responsible for getting the life back into Jon, I do think you are underplaying Jon’s mindset post resurrection. He didn’t see the point in life and wanted to get as far from the wall and battles as he could. He had all but given up. This is obviously terrible for the fate of Westeros (as he is the prime champion for the battle against the AOTD) but you need to cut the guy some slack. Of course he didn’t want to wage into another war. He still had gaping wounds from being murdered. Sansa didn’t manipulate him for nefarious purposes – she wanted to oust Ramsay from their rightful seat and avenge her own and her family’s suffering (both reasonable courses of action) – but she did manipulate him. There is a big difference between Jon mobilising the north to fight for their lives and Jon joining her side to fight to win back their home. One is a matter of life and death, the other a matter of revenge/righteousness/pride etc. Jon wants people to fight with him to save humanity. Sansa wanted people to fight with her to win back a castle. Hardly the same.

      “Sansa has learned to keep her cards close to her chest. Trusting too much has been her downfall. She at first refused LFs help. Possibly because she knew what a snake he is, couldn’t be trusted, and didn’t want to be in a position where she was beholden to him. And she was right that LF as an ally would bring a new set of problems.

      She couldn’t appeal directly to the Vale lords. Honour obliges them to fight for their overlord (Robin Arryn) who had appointed LF as his commander. They can’t fight independent battles for a house not their own.”

      I agree, she has massive trust issues – well deserved trust issues of course, she’s been through a lot. However, if you have persuaded someone to risk their life to join you on a cause (albeit a noble one), it’s pretty shitty to then not trust them and give them possible life-altering information. I also disagree that they couldn’t appeal to the vale lords. What is likely is that they would set up a meeting with LF, Robyn and the lords together. They appealed directly to northern lords. Knowing how duplicitous LF is and how feeble-minded Robyn is, Sansa would have insisted the lords are present, as she knows they value honour. She could have outplayed LF and neutralised him as a threat in doing so.

      “Sansa did not want to outwit Ramsay by having Jon’s army decimated. She probably didn’t want there to be a situation where should would need to. She didn’t know what would happen until it did happen. Do you think she had a crystal ball? An army in reserve was insurance against Jon falling for whatever trick Ramsay had planned. But once he stuffed up his own plan, the objective was to wait for the most opportune time for the reserve army to join the battle. And the timing of that, wouldn’t have been Sansa’s decision. Her contribution was in predicting that Ramsay would outplay Jon, and doing something she hated – being beholden to LF.”

      I find this argument even stranger. Why ought Sansa be the one to deserve insurance? Why not just give Jon and the men fighting for them a much better chance from the outset? You keep trying to come up with more peculiar reasons to explain away a huge misstep on Sansa’s part, but each time you do, you make her seem more and more grey. Withholding vital forces as a backup army simply cannot paint Sansa in a positive light, no matter which way you look at it. Sansa made a mistake in not telling Jon about the Vale forces (as she herself admitted afterwards).

      “I think the Northern lords understand battle and what has to be done to win them. And that means sacrificing men. A decisive win with high casualties is better than an incomplete win with fewer of them (as there will be more fighting). I doubt they’d be resentful that the Vale army joined the fight when they did, or that they didn’t know about them until they appeared. Just very grateful that they did.”

      I’m sure they do understand the realities of war, but the Northern lords also value honesty and honourable actions. Withholding allies is not honourable nor honest. I think to say they wouldn’t be angry that Sansa had an army that she could have pledged from the outset but didn’t tell their commander about them for… reasons… doesn’t seem true to what we know about them as a culture.

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    76. Love the idea of lil sweetrobin growing up and actually becoming an important part of the defense of humanity, considering the obviously… shall we say… uninspiring start. I mean it’s not the kids fault he was groomed and basically abused as a child. IRL people have matured out of worse beginnings to become decent humans. Would like to see this happen here too.

      I just hope they don’t bring him back just to kill him off for fanservice like they’ve done with certain other characters.

      Nariman:
      Sansa haters being triggered by everything Sophie says, as always

      Snowflakes amirite? Well, winter is here now so makes sense…

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    77. Angel: Because riding a dragon and saying dracarys doesn’t make you a warrior lol

      Why on earth not? Dragons are the flying artillery of Westeros. Would you say a B2 bomber crew aren’t “warriors”? How about tank crew? I’d say anyone who gets into the fight and is therefore risking their own life in combat should be considered a warrior. Maybe you’d have an argument for someone piloting a drone bomber from miles away (Though even then there’s the chance of a targeted missle strike taking out the pilot). But Dany is clearly in the fray and in danger. In fact she’s target #1 for anyone she’s up against.

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    78. QueenofThrones,

      Maybe not every engagement is a really “battle”. I pointed out earlier that you only really have a serious fight if the opposing side has technology that is competitive. Often on TV you see “battles” in some countries in which unarmed children and men with only throwing stones are forced into confrontations with soldiers in high-tech armoured tanks. This is can only be loosely considered a battle – the difference in technology is so large. This is a massacre.

      Only Daeneryrs has dragons, the flying artillery. In theory, she could take an arrow if they were more powerful and not hampered by gravity and their parabolic path. In modern warfare the greatest danger to a fighter pilot is another fighter pilot on the opposing side. (Anti-craft fire is less so.) For a battle with Daenerys, the opposing side also needs dragons or something useful against dragons. Westeros is just beginning to build ballisitas and so on.

      Daenerys’ is so overpowered it is comical. She does not really go into battle, she goes into a mass killings. To make S8 worthwhile, they had to give the NK his own dragon at the end of S7. Or the war on the AOTD would be a complete joke.

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    79. Meg,

      I think we’re going on circles. I agree with what Che is saying.

      First, you’re saying Sansa outwitted Ramsay in case “Jon would be tricked into doing something stupid” by only bringing in the Vale as an army in reserve as an insurance. Yet, you also say Sansa had no way of knowing what would happen and had no say in when the Vale would arrive. Those seem to be two contradictory statements. How could Sansa plan for anything or outwit anybody if she had no say in when the Vale arrived as her army in reserve in case of the possibility she feared?

      Second, nobody is also saying Jon had no choice in riding out to save Rickon. I think what we’re saying is Jon had no good choice. You’re right, Ramsay had laid a trap for Jon, as Sansa knew he would – and whatever Jon had chosen to do, however he reacted, it was going to come with a major consequence. If Jon let Rickon die, that would look terrible for him and Sansa. I don’t think the North would have rallied to them had Jon just let Ramsay murder Rickon, a trueborn son of Ned Stark. As said above, it would feed into the worst stigmas against Jon (a bastard) and Sansa (a daughter married to enemy families) and result in a loss of faith. At the same time, if Jon runs to Rickon, as he did, Ramsay successfully draws him out into the open, trapping Jon in an open field. No good choices here.

      The fact that it involved not saying anything about the Vale army is immaterial.

      It’s not immaterial because it’s not immaterial information. This information could have drastically changed their battle plans. As I’ve said, Jon and their armies are operating on incomplete information. As the ones living and dying on the battlefield, risking their lives to take back Winterfell, they deserve all and any access to information that affects their chances in any way. Nobody is saying Sansa has a crystal ball and had total control over how the Vale army was deployed. What is being said is that Sansa had crucial information she chose not to share for inexplicable reasons. She could have told Jon about Littlefinger’s offer and that she wrote to him to accept it. Nobody is saying it would make the outcome more sure than a ‘maybe.’ What I’m saying is yes, it would very likely improve their chances because a larger army does that, for the reasons Che replied to you with.

      Poor, poor Jon. He has no choice but to do what Sansa wants him to do. Give the man some credit for having a will of his own. At this stage of the story, Jon is trying to persuade others to fight (and possibly die) to fight the white walkers. But somehow it was wrong of Sansa to do essentially the same thing. Where would everyone be if Jon had persisted with his wish to not to fight anymore? Winterfell still in Bolton hands, no home for the Starks, no base to fight the white walkers, no united North to fight them and the wildlings with no place to go. Everyone can thank Sansa for helping Jon to get his mojo back.

      It wasn’t being argued Sansa brought Jon back into the fight by convincing Jon that Ramsay had Rickon. Of course she helped bring him back in. Sansa wanting Jon to fight again is not the issue I have. It’s good she did that for obvious reasons. Jon is needed for the battle against the dead. It’s Sansa withholding information from her brother and battle commander, that’s my problem. You’re saying Sansa and Jon are doing “essentially the same thing” by persuading people to fight but Jon isn’t hiding information from the people he’s asking to fight.

      As you said, Jon has been trying to persuade people to fight to defend themselves against the white walkers to save humanity. You’re right – but then you say, “But somehow it was wrong of Sansa to do essentially the same thing.” No, not exactly. First, I’m not blaming Sansa for wanting to take back her home. That’s understandable, absolutely. My problem is, again, her withholding valuable information from Jon and their army that could very well alter their battle plans and chances. Second, Sansa’s not asking people to fight the Boltons so they can prepare to defend against the White Walkers. That was Davos (in his appeal to Lyanna) and Jon (in his appeal to the wildlings). Sansa wants to take back her home, which is a perfectly valid reason but a different goal from Jon’s when he is mobilizing an army in Season 7.

      What you’re positing is Sansa kept the information secret to prepare for Jon falling for Ramsay’s trap, yes? So she’d have “an army in reserve was insurance against Jon falling for whatever trick Ramsay had planned” in order to retake Winterfell, is that correct? I have two problems with your line of reasoning:

      I’m going to repeat what Che asked, “Why ought Sansa be the one to deserve insurance?” Another problem I have with this is we should credit Sansa with helping Jon get back into the fight, right? The place he’s needed to be because he’s needed to help unify the North in the fight against the dead, yeah? I can agree with that. However, if Sansa was using Jon and his army as a first line against Ramsay with insufficient numbers and withheld the Vale info because “once [Jon] stuffed up his own plan, the objective was to wait for the most opportune time for the reserve army to join the battle.” This doesn’t improve Jon’s odds of even making it out of that battle alive. This improves Sansa’s chances of regaining Winterfell.

      In regard to the Northern lords, there’s a difference between a soldier falling in battle and somebody withholding information about allies that affects the casualty rate of their men. It’s not like the Vale arriving was “Brand New Information!” (™ Phoebe) for Sansa as it was for Jon, Tormun, Davos, the Mormont army, and the wildlings. Sansa knew about Littlefinger’s offer. Sansa knew she had written to accept it. That’s the difference.

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    80. Che,

      True the emotion is logical, i think I would have reacted the same way. But he could have shown that emotion in another way. Show it but not falling into a trap he was worn about by his sister not longer than a day ago.

      And your assumption that the northern lords wouldnt have respect him is not based on previous moments the show has shown us about the northerners. Look at season 2. Robb was very lay back with saving his sisters and more having the logical route. First thinking than the emotion. Cat was hated that she choose to take the hard risk what was needed to safe their daughters. The northerners are an emotional folk but they respect the ones that can control those emotions. And look at how Robb was hated once he started to follow his heart.

      I have to say If Jon snowed his emotion but could keep his wits he would have even more respect then he had now. Still I would have reacted like him.and this one small fault with him is why I love his character.

      And when watching the episode of Bob again last year I had the feeling Sansa was willing to share her information but decided last moment not to because Jon didn’t listen to her. If he had shown a little bit more faith in her she wouldnt kept that from him. And you can’t blame a person who was stripped of her dignity like her to keep things for herself for her own save keeping.

      Adrianacandle,

      This. They need to work together and combine their strengths. Both has their flaws and gifts.

      And jon learned from his mistake in Bob because he listens to Sansa in season 7. He learned that about her. Same for Arya. That respect for each other season at the end of season 7 is for me one of the biggest moments of the show. Because it shows 2 different kind of people who disliked each other a lot in the beginning gaining respect for each other.

      King in the North East,

      I always interpret that as Jon having a hero complex. Not as a negative thing. He is a born hero and always put somebody else before himself.

      Stark Raven' Rad,

      True about the pack argument. But about leading part. Yes Jon was right about going south and getting the help they need. True. But what is the point of gaining people if the people you have right now are the ones you are going too lose because they don’t trust your motivations. He bend the knee to dany without thinking about the motivations. He should have explained that he wanted to bow but that it’s better to wait till the northern people trust him. That’s something dany could have agreed on and wouldn’t mind. Sansa would have gone that route. The most diplomatic way. Jon totally ignored his own people the people that crowned him king. Nobody wanted to bow to dany but he made them forced to bow to her.

      See it this way. You voted for a president. You made clear with your vote that you want that person. Than as a people you all agree on that you don’t want him to bow to another president because you don’t trust that president. (or in our world work together) you would lose your trust in that president because he didn’t do what the people wanted. Even when the people are wrong.

      Nariman,

      +1 I think Jon could be the perfect leader if he just upgrade his communication. And getting a trustworthy people which he can get advice. Luckily he has 2 sisters that can ansure that. Tyrion. Dany Davos and more. He just need to know to who he goes for which kind of problems. In the real world its the same. A president don’t make up his opinion and plan all by himself. He has a couple of people who advice him and who knows stuff more then the president himself.

      Meg,

      With lf you never know. Why sacrafice his own man which he can manipulate when of he waits he could sacrafice the people who could apose him. Still I’m going with he was just late because we didn’t got a scene in season 7 about that. And I think royce would have just March in on his own. He is a man of honor.

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    81. Adrianacandle,

      True they all had their part to play. But I think it goes this way: lf the most. Sansa next. And jon then. And I can argue that even Davos is above him without him they wouldn’t have an army. I just made an argument because Sansa is always shown as the selfish bitch who only think about herself. And I think she is more important and better leader than people think she is.

      Che,

      What I found beautiful with Jon in Bob was that he lost the will to live. It was all duty. He didn’t care if he would die. His talk with Mel made that clear. But that scene when he emerge from the dead bodies that moment he wanted to live again. His real reborn was there not in 6×03.

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    82. Kevin1989,

      Debates about who’s the better leader aside, for my part at least, I’ve never thought Sansa was just a power-hungry selfish bitch. On the contrary, I’ve always been of the opinion that now, after the hell she’s been through, what Sansa wants most in the world is her family safe at Winterfell with her. After the hell they’ve all been through, the love Sansa, Jon, Arya, and (the non-tree 10% of) Bran have for each other is that much more cherished because they are all each other has left in the world of their family. Additionally, they grew up together, they are all that they have left of each other’s childhoods and their life together at Winterfell which makes them even more precious to one another because they don’t have that with anyone else in the world now. They are the only remainders to one another of that life they once shared at Winterfell, back when Ned, Robb, Rickon, and Catelyn, and their household was still alive. I think Sansa has a lot of potential and she did a good job in season 7 as Jon’s regent while he was the getting allies and weapons they need. I think Sansa would make a good peacetime ruler.

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    83. Mango,

      I can’t agree. Soldiers involved in assymetric combatin the modern era are IMO no less warriors than people fighting them.

      Honestly to some extent it comes down to bias IMO – It’s not like people are constantly whining about Tyrion’s line “My brother has his sword and I have my mind”. Or say he’s a coward because he rarely fights. It’s self evident why Tyrion should not participate in combat – not everyone is suited to physical combat. Instead people use the weapons they have. Because you’d be an idiot not to.

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    84. QueenofThrones,

      …but, but…Tyrion goes into battle and combat and has killed people. Blackwater, with his father and the hill tribes, and when Cat was attacked. His one-handed brother also goes into battle.

      Yes. I agree that everyone should use their best necessary weapons to win. Just that the degree of danger and required courage is different when you have such an enormous sustainable advantage in weaponry.

      Daenerys does not even wear armour as far as I can tell – perhaps she does not feel any serious risk? When she rushed to Jon’s aid she wore a white furry evening dress. (I laughed aloud!!). For S8, maybe she should consider straps to the dragon of some sort in case she needs to take avoidance manoeuvres while in the air? Real armour too, since NK is so badass?

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    85. HBO just released the Barry Season 2 trailer, which premieres March 31st along with Veep. And Veep got its trailer Monday. Mostly everyone going crazy on social media asking about the GoT trailer on the Barry posts lol. Hopefully the GoT one is just a couple weeks away!

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    86. Jack Bauer 24: Mostly everyone going crazy on social media asking about the GoT trailer…l

      There are many and it’s been driving me forkin’ nuts! People have no patience for anything anymore and can’t stop bitching about everything out loud.

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    87. QueenofThrones,

      “I can’t agree. Soldiers involved in assymetric combatin the modern era are IMO no less warriors than people fighting them.”

      A good point. Modern asymmetric warfare emphasises administration, support, technology, etc, not brutal mano-a-mano combat. Many in the armed forces are safe in bunkers, behind the lines, or even in distant headquarters. I tend to reserve the word “warrior’ for those who risk their lives facing the enemy. Sailors on ships that can sink, pilots who may be shot down (like Dany), tank crews, infantry and artillery, even infiltrators and sometimes translators–these people are often in harms way. I don’t think of Sansa as a warrior, armor or not. I’m glad she’s wearing it, though. The Crypts of Winterfell teaser ends with Jon and Arya brandishing their swords, and she’s stepped back.

      Meg,

      I agree with much of what you wrote, and Sansa deserves credit for saving the day, but IMO not for winning the battle. That still belongs to Jon, especially because she hobbled him by not telling him about the Vale cavalry. much less giving him those troops in the first place. I’ll just respond to two of your points:

      “Sansa has learned to keep her cards close to her chest. Trusting too much has been her downfall. She at first refused LFs help. Possibly because she knew what a snake he is, couldn’t be trusted, and didn’t want to be in a position where she was beholden to him. And she was right that LF as an ally would bring a new set of problems. “

      She’s always done that, Rather than go to Ned to get him to let her marry Joffrey,she asked her mother. No doubt she blindsided him. Sansa didn’t defend Arya during the Nymeria incident and lied to the King. The books say she had told Ned what had really happened–he wouldn’t have asked her to testify for Arya if he knew she’d change her story. And of course book Sansa disobeyed Ned’s warning to tell nobody and took his escape plans to Cersei. Per GRRM it helped cause his death. But being secretive in KL had an upside by allowing her to survive by lies and snarky flattery. LF turned this natural tendency into a tactic for power. I don’t think trusting too much was her problem, but trusting the wrong people and not often the right ones. Even in Winterfell, she trusted her troublesome ally and not Brienne, Bran, or Arya.

      “I think the Northern lords understand battle and what has to be done to win them. And that means sacrificing men. A decisive win with high casualties is better than an incomplete win with fewer of them (as there will be more fighting). I doubt they’d be resentful that the Vale army joined the fight when they did, or that they didn’t know about them until they appeared. Just very grateful that they did.”

      But some of those sacrifices could probably have been prevented. After the initial relief, as they gather and burn the dead, they realise the cost. No doubt many of them lost relatives and friends too. Some of the lords probably looked at Sansa and knew she had control of a fresh heavy cavalry and possibly held it back, not delivering it it in time to save many of those casualties. I particularly think of Lady Lyanna, who gave her all, contributing her 62 good men. Surely, some of them were squandered. These people do not consider Sansa a leader, but Jon. Which is why they elected HIM. Furthermore, in 7.05 Royce and Glover led the call for Sansa to take over. Arya uncovered evidence that implies those two were conspiring with Littlefinger. So Sansa thought she was genuinely being acclaimed but in actuality LF was apparently pulling the strings that made their anxiety look like support.

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    88. Kevin1989,

      I don’t know that if Jon would have sat on his horse and watched Rickon be shot down without trying the northern lords would have understood nor respected that decision. They reverred Ned Stark. At the time, they believed Rickon to be Ned Stark’s last remaining male heir. It is likely that Sansa and Jon used the fact that Ramsay had Rickon held prisoner to sway their northern allies into joining their battle (amongst other reasons). Much in the same way that Sansa ripped the rug from under Jon’s feet when she said – Rickon is as good as dead and he couldn’t comprehend what she was saying as for him (and likely for many northern lords) saving Rickon was a primary goal of riding out to war with Ramsay in the first place – had Jon just sat on his horse and watched Rickon he slaughtered, without so much as lifting a finger to help, the sway he held over those northern lords would be broken and, going out on a limb, I reckon a few would have deserted him. As Jon said – will your men want to fight for you, if you won’t fight for them? Will Jon’s men want to fight for him if he won’t fight for his little brother, Ned Stark’s “last” male heir? In my mind, that is doubtful.

      I don’t feel Jon’s issue is a lack of emoting – I have found his speeches compelling about the AOtD – rather that he just needs to explain more! He gives one passing comment about how awful the threat is, but doesn’t take the time to truly explain what he has seen – every gory, visceral detail of it. But this is the restriction of mediums – seeing long, laborious explanations doesn’t play off well in punchy “speaking to a gathering of lords” type scenes.

      The whole BOTB suffered from its medium too – with characters behaving in mystifying ways (that we still debate two years later) so that they can make more of a spectacle of the battle. I still loved the episode and I enjoyed the layers of politicking going on with Sansa and her withholding – but it doesn’t marry very well with what her character development had built up over recent seasons or the characterisation that the show runners were going for – that she was deftly outplaying everyone and has finally developed into her agency. The scene where she stood silently in the war room briefing without offering her advice flew in the face of this – she is the sister of the commander, the only one with knowledge of the enemy and also The daughter of the last Warden of the North and yet she didn’t feel empowered to speak up without being invited to speak? The moan at Jon after everyone left was cringeworthy. If you have something to say, speak up – like she did before at the meeting in castle black. Everyone respected her right to speak and contribute then, so why didn’t she feel she could speak up in this instance? Oh yeah, manufactured drama.

      I’ve gone way off point 😂 and for the record, I do, on the whole, really enjoy seasons 6 and 7 and feel that D&D have done an amazing job reigning in GRRMs sprawling epic in the way they have. So much love and admiration for those two, so apologies if this comes off as a bit moany.

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    89. Meg,

      Two quick points:

      1. Whether Jon acted on impulse or not in trying to save Rickon, it was Davos who gave the order; “Follow your commander!”He (or Tormund) could’ve said, “Stay back! Stick with the battle plan!”

      After all, Jon didn’t turn around and order his army, “With me!” like at Hardhome. If he was willing to face down the charging Bolton cavalry alone and go down swinging a la Blackfish, the Northern Army didn’t have to follow him to their doom. It looks like they were all willing to sacrifice their lives – and their battle plan – to save one man. Good for them! I guess…

      2. I forgot the second quick point. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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    90. Che: The scene where she stood silently in the war room briefing without offering her advice flew in the face of this – she is the sister of the commander, the only one with knowledge of the enemy and also The daughter of the last Warden of the North and yet she didn’t feel empowered to speak up without being invited to speak? The moan at Jon after everyone left was cringeworthy. If you have something to say, speak up – like she did before at the meeting in castle black. Everyone respected her right to speak and contribute then, so why didn’t she feel she could speak up in this instance? Oh yeah, manufactured drama.

      Exactly. This specific scene ruins an otherwise fantastic episode for me. I agree completely with what you’re saying here. There’s no reason why Sansa should’ve taken offense to any of this. All she had to do was speak up. No one said she couldn’t speak. No one told her to go in the corner and sulk or something. She was free to speak, but instead of helping she thought it was more important to make it all about her and act like she was personally slighted by not being asked her opinion. No one needs to ask. You just speak up.

      Then, when Jon finally presses her for some wisdom, she comes up with the vague “I don’t know anything about battles. Just don’t do what he wants you to do.” Gee, thanks Sansa. I don’t know what Jon was thinking when he didn’t prioritize your opinion.

      Manufactured drama indeed.

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    91. QueenofThrones,

      Of course Dany’s a warrior! She’s a fighter pilot. As Tyrion cautioned her, one arrow from an archer on the ground and say goodbye to “breaking the wheel” and all of their aspirations of making a better world.

      Plus, Field of Fire 2.0 proved she doesn’t just circle high in the sky out of harm’s way and utter “Dracarys!” when she spots a target. She saw that first Scorpion bolt whiz by her, and didn’t abandon her troops. Then she got shot down, and was a split second from getting speared by the wannabe Queen- and Kingslayer.

      Finally, I’ll abide by the definition of a great warrior from my Higher Power aka ASNAWP: dragonrider “Visenya Targaryen was a great warrior. She had a Valyrian steel sword she called Dark Sister.” As Tywin observed: “She’s a heroine of yours I take it.”

      P.S. Semi-Off Topic: Even fighter pilots who get shot down, captured and tortured are war heroes – and great warriors.

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    92. Kevin1989:
      This. They need to work together and combine their strengths. Both has their flaws and gifts.

      And jon learned from his mistake in Bob because he listens to Sansa in season 7. He learned that about her. Same for Arya. That respect for each other season at the end of season 7 is for me one of the biggest moments of the show. Because it shows 2 different kind of people who disliked each other a lot in the beginning gaining respect for each other.

      I also enjoyed the developing sibling relationship between Jon and Sansa and while I could have done without the Winterfell season 7 drama between Sansa and Arya, I really liked where they ended up and look forward to where they go. I think they always loved each other but in the case of Sansa and Arya, didn’t always like each other while Jon and Sansa weren’t close growing up. They’ve had to re-learn how to be with one another: Arya is no longer just an annoying younger sister to Sansa’s exasperated big sister; Jon’s not just the protective big brother to Sansa’s ladylike younger sister; and while I think Arya will always be Jon’s beloved little sister, she’s not the same precocious Arya Underfoot he knew at Winterfell. Meanwhile, Bran’s a bot. They still are these siblings to each other (Jon and Sansa especially have fallen into bouts of very familiar “You! No you!” bickering and then there’s Sansa’s “You’re still very strange and annoying” to Arya ;D), they’re still protective of one another, but they’re more than just the sibling they had known at Winterfell, each one has merit, authority, skill, and experience in their own right – far beyond they knew one another knew and experienced as kids.

      It kind of reflects real life sibling relationships in a way. I have three younger sisters and a few male cousins who I grew up with every day, who pulled my hair, stole my stuff, locked me in my bedroom with a skipping rope (while I never did anything mean to them ever I swear! ;D), jumped off rooftops into snow banks and broke all their limbs, who accidentally lit their hair on fire during class, etc. It’s hard for me to see any of them as professionals – but they are! My instinct is to roll my eyes and go, “Ugh, Allie,” but she’s got an office in this super nice building located in a fancy part of the city! I still see her as the jerk three-year-old who wouldn’t get out of the way of the TV because she was pretending to be Lucky from 101 Dalmations.

      It’s a hurdle, getting past that image you have of your sibling, but I think Jon, Sansa, Arya are progressing that way with each other. I don’t think they’ll ever be able to totally get past it, I think the “no u” moments will still happen, but I think they’re forming a sort of “professional” respect for one another – Jon as king, Sansa as Lady of Winterfell, Arya as ASNAWP, Bran as… I don’t think any of them understand what Bran is now… (but I don’t know if I would really either…) 😉

      I agree that Jon’s decision to bend the knee after Dany committed herself to fighting the AotD is worthy of a side-eye. Come on, Jon!!! Talk about it with Sansa, Arya, Davos, Sam, etc. first! He knows, he knows how the Northern lords feel about Targaryens! He’s voiced it to Dany himself! He’s just setting himself up for problems with this! And I think this was done to manufacture drama with the Northern lords, much like Sansa withholding the Vale info. In some ways, I think bending the knee was the right decision long term (as I think it was the right decision for Sansa to reach out to Littlefinger to get the Vale), particularly in the aftermath of the war (I elaborated my thoughts on that in the ‘Michiel Huisman weighs in on Game of Thrones finale and teases Daario’s return’ comment thread) but not like that, not like this. This is going to add unnecessary tension to an already tense situation. But uh, that’s another discussion… 😉 I’m getting off the topic of Sansa here!

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    93. Che,

      +1

      What you and Mr Derp said. And I also think some of these mystifying character choices are to manufacture drama.

      I also love seasons 6 and 7, season 6 is what pulled me back into the show full-force. I couldn’t believe Dany was actually sailing back to Westeros, I couldn’t believe they had two Starks reunite, I was over the moon! And the novelty of them being together and of their reunions still hasn’t worn off! I love this show so much, despite my long groaning comments sometimes – I’ve even gotten my aunt into it just recently 😉 I can’t wait until she gets to the Red Wedding 😈

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    94. Adrianacandle,

      Adrianacandle: I don’t think anybody’s saying Sansa is the bad guy. She played an important role. I just really disagree with the notion that Sansa won the whole thing while Jon did nothing but screw up. And I really don’t sexism is playing a part in this. We’re looking at the actions and choices of each character here. Sansa and Jon both had a huge role to play in that battle – and both made mistakes. If Sansa had just been totally transparent with Jon, there wouldn’t be much to quibble about. As I said above, my issue is Sansa withheld some pretty crucial information from her battle commander. It’s not because she’s a woman and Jon’s a man. I’m a woman! I spent two of my degrees in art school (lots of women’s lib and feminism studies!)! I think it’s about the choices and actions of each character rather than sexism. Of all of the characters, Sansa is the one who I related to the most in the beginning.

      Had the North known that Sansa hooked ’em up with the Vale forces via accepting Littlefinger’s offer, that’d be a yay! But if they also knew she withheld this information about the Vale from their armies and urged Jon not to try and save Rickon, I don’t think it would look good. They saw Jon charge alone, not so good. Yet, they also saw Jon risk his life to save Ned Stark’s trueborn son, his brother, and they saw him fight alongside their army. Jon was risking his life alongside their army, an army who willingly followed him and had the same amount of information he did.

      I’m not so sure the success of the battle hinged on Sansa keeping this information to herself as you are. If they had included the Vale, wouldn’t they change their battle strategy to suit a larger army vs. larger army? I’m certain Jon and Sansa, having both grown up in Winterfell, would know Ramsay would settle down for a siege and plan for that. They had Wun-Wun, who broke down the door when Ramsay retreated, right? I’d think Wun-Wun would be willing to break down the doors of Winterfell again to reach Ramsay and fight the battle.

      But…. I’m not a battle expert. I only just started playing Dungeons & Dragons and can barely get through the combat stuff without getting sleepy 😉

      Adrianacandle,
      A lot of people say Sansa is the bad guy. Haven’t you been paying attention?

      It was Sansa’s lack of transparency that saved Jon and the Stark army. Jon wasn’t in the position he got himself in because he didn’t know about the Vale army. It was because he was outplayed by Ramsay. So what if he did know about the Vale army. Does that make him immune from falling for Ramsay’s tricks? If you can’t say yes, then I think it must be acknowledged that having insurance in the form of another army to step in if needed, could be the difference between winning and losing.

      Was Jon HER battle commander? I’m not sure what you mean by that. It implies that one or the other was in charge. But if Jon is Sansa’s subordinate, then she’s not obliged to tell him everything. If it’s the other way around, then Sansa certainly wasn’t treated as part of the team when it came to the battle. The most valuable information she had wasn’t the Vale army, but the nature of the person they were dealing with. He didn’t even consider consulting her about it.

      Trusting men with her welfare has been disastrous for Sansa. All of them have let her down. Even her father. As Sansa said, no one can protect anyone. So Sansa this time doesn’t leave it to someone else. She takes responsibility herself. She didn’t not trust Jon per se. She didn’t trust that he wouldn’t be outplayed by Ramsay and took steps to protect him if that eventuality occurred.

      Wun wun could break down the door because he had little opposition. A team of men with more powerful projectiles than arrows would have taken him down. Maybe arrows dipped in pitch and set alight would do the trick. A more fortified door, perhaps. A well aimed arrow to his eye as he approached would do it too. So much more scope for dealing with a giant if you can see him coming and prepare. All the things that could be prepared for if a siege if that’s what Ramsay decided. Which likely would have been if Jon turned up with an army much larger than expected. A siege that Jon couldn’t afford. Anymore than Stannis could. Apart from the fact that winter is coming, the Night King is marching north with his army of the dead. Time is pressing.

      Jon did a lot of things right. He inspired his men. He fought with them. He risked his life as they did. And not for personal gain. But he was no match for Ramsay, no matter how large his army was because Ramsay was better at these games of strategy than he was. However, he had someone at his back who would protect him from it.

      And yes, I’m calling sexism. Because if the positions were reversed talk would be on how women just aren’t fit to be army commanders, act on their emotions instead of thinking logically in a crisis, and ultimately need a man to rescue them. And thank heaven there was.

      I say the proof is in the pudding and the rightness (or wrongness) of what she did is in the result. The North liberated, the wildlings with a place to settle, a base to fight the white walkers established, a home for Arya and Bran to return to. Nothing of which was certain if Jon knew of the Vale army.

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    95. Adrianacandle,

      “…Second, Sansa’s not asking people to fight the Boltons so they can prepare to defend against the White Walkers. That was Davos (in his appeal to Lyanna) and Jon (in his appeal to the wildlings). Sansa wants to take back her home, which is a perfectly valid reason but a different goal from Jon’s when he is mobilizing an army in Season 7.”

      _______
      Allow me to add that Jon’s appeal to the Wildlings also included the logical rationale [not verbatim] that “the Boltons and the Umbers know you’re here. If they beat us, they’ll come after you next.”

      Jon acknowledged that fighting the Boltons wasn’t part of their deal, and that he shouldn’t have been asking them to help him. But their own survival depended on defeating the Boltons and the treasonous Umbers.

      Tormund’s pep talk to his fellow wildlings was icing on the cake, [something like] “he died for us; if we’re not willing to do the same for him, maybe we should be the last of the Free Folk.”

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    96. Meg,

      You keep repeating that had Jon had an army at his back that was larger than Ramsay’s that he still would have fucked everything up and lost – you aren’t addressing any of the actual arguments against this (I.e. that with a larger army, only a small splinter force From Jon’s side might have followed him drawing out Ramsa: army like the original plan while his cavalries surrounded them from the side – you assume all of them would simply pile on in behind him – with experienced commanders from the Vale forces, they simply wouldn’t – to name but one of the arguments we have suggested that you haven’t addressed). If Jon had a larger army that was an equal to Ramsay’s that would have changed everything. That cannot be denied. Jon would still have charged out as he did – but its exceedingly unlikely that with a much larger army manned by experienced commanders, that his mistake would have jeapordised his whole army.

      And with a potential siege – you speak with such certainty it would fail. Ramsay wouldn’t have prepared for a giant – he didn’t know a giant was about to rock up – and Jon’s forces could have stormed the walls keeping a large number of Ramsay’s men busy while Wun Wun tore down the doors. Too many factors to take into consideration. It seems like you speak in such certainties – Jon still would have messed up and lost even with a vastly superior army and a siege would definitely fail – as ways of justifying what is a character misstep for Sansa (one that she admits herself).

      Sansa doesn’t need an invitation to speak up. She did so before – she chose not to on this occasion. Why wasn’t she offering her advice? Why was she withholding it until later when she used it to insult and rollick her brother who was trying his best without all the information? Why make her a strong minded female leader-in-making if she is too scared to speak up in war rooms? It doesn’t fit with what they want us to think of her character because it was a device to generate animosity between them and make it seem like Sansa was outsmarting everyone with her blatantly obvious, empty advice that didn’t actually help Jon in the slightest.

      I am sure to the families of those thousands of men killed the result was not all that mattered – not when they may not have died had Sansa been open and transparent about resources she could have provided. Not just the personal cost, but fewer fighters in humanity’s army against the AOtD is going to weigh on Jon’s mind. Did they need to die in such great numbers? I’m not just raiding this for argument’s sake – but as this debate arose from discussion of Sansa’s leadership qualities, it is important to acknowledge the cost to her people. She let them down.

      In the end, Sansa began this campaign to liberate Winterfell (for very valid reasons and I fully back her on them). She is the one who started the fight, but after she had done so, she concealed a vital resource that her side desperately needed for what appears to be her own gain.

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    97. Meg,

      Ten Bears,

      Ten Bears:
      Meg,

      Two quick points:

      1. Whether Jon acted on impulse or not in trying to save Rickon, it was Davos who gave the order; “Follow your commander!”He (or Tormund) could’ve said, “Stay back! Stick with the battle plan!”

      After all, Jon didn’t turn around and order his army, “With me!” like at Hardhome. If he was willing to face down the charging Bolton cavalry alone and go down swinging a la Blackfish, the Northern Army didn’t have to follow him to their doom. It looks like they were all willing to sacrifice their lives – and their battle plan – to save one man. Good for them! I guess…

      2. I forgot the second quick point. 🤦🏻‍♂️

      He could have, but aren’t soldiers trained to do as commanded no matter how suicidal it may be? In this case, the rule is to follow their commander. Jon left no orders that if he took off unexpectedly they weren’t to follow and to stick to the plan. If a subordinate takes over and overrides his commander, it’s akin to mutiny.

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    98. Adrianacandle,

      You’re not off topic, and I share your thoughts about how real siblings behave. Even when they become adults, their “inner children” don’t disappear. That’s how I am with my brothers and sisters. Parts of us are still, and will always be, the little kids with the same idiosyncrasies we had growing up.

      It’s why one of my top five moments of S7 was the exchange between Arya and Sansa that you mentioned:

      Sansa: “… You would have. You’re the strongest person I know.”
      Arya: “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
      Sansa: “Well, don’t get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying.”

      I just loved that. A reconciliation and mutual expression of love – with a little helping of snark on the side so it didn’t get too corny. I just wish there had been more scenes of supportive big sister Sansa, instead of just a few snippets in Episode 7.

      To be honest, I would’ve preferred an entire episode devoted to Sansa, Arya and Bran setting up LF’s surprise party (i.e., his trial by ambush) instead of the “Gotcha!” moment in Episode 7.

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    99. Meg: It was Sansa’s lack of transparency that saved Jon and the Stark army. Jon wasn’t in the position he got himself in because he didn’t know about the Vale army. It was because he was outplayed by Ramsay.

      If only he took Sansa’s incredible wisdom to heart, “I don’t know anything about battles. Just don’t do what he wants you to do”. Jon would’ve won easily! If only he listened and didn’t hate women!

      Meg: Was Jon HER battle commander? I’m not sure what you mean by that. It implies that one or the other was in charge.

      Everyone totally should’ve put Sansa in charge. Especially with her extensive background in battle tactics! What was Jon thinking!?! He must hate women! That’s the only possible explanation.

      Meg: Sansa certainly wasn’t treated as part of the team when it came to the battle. The most valuable information she had wasn’t the Vale army, but the nature of the person they were dealing with. He didn’t even consider consulting her about it.

      Sansa has a history of speaking up when she has an opinion without being prompted (i.e. Castle Black, and after they took back Winterfell). However, during this one particular scene, she apparently goes mute and needs prompting in order to speak up? Man, if only Jon didn’t hate women!

      She made herself look like a victim when it simply wasn’t the case. It’s the very definition of manufactured drama.

      Meg: Trusting men with her welfare has been disastrous for Sansa. All of them have let her down. Even her father. As Sansa said, no one can protect anyone. So Sansa this time doesn’t leave it to someone else. She takes responsibility herself. She didn’t not trust Jon per se. She didn’t trust that he wouldn’t be outplayed by Ramsay and took steps to protect him if that eventuality occurred.

      Sansa’s very fortunate that Littlefinger had a crush on her, otherwise the Vale army never would’ve shown up and her role would’ve been meaningless. If she’s expecting Jon to risk his life for her, then she needs to be completely transparent with him. Don’t forget, she influenced him to join the fight and he went all in, 100% for her. She should do the same for him. You would expect Jon to be completely transparent with Sansa if the roles were reversed, yes?

      Meg: Wun wun could break down the door because he had little opposition.

      Wun Wun broke down the door because that’s what the writers wanted. You can do mental gymnastics to argue strategy all you want, but at the end of the day, this is a work of fiction and doesn’t hold up to the scrutiny of reality.

      Meg: And yes, I’m calling sexism. Because if the positions were reversed talk would be on how women just aren’t fit to be army commanders, act on their emotions instead of thinking logically in a crisis, and ultimately need a man to rescue them. And thank heaven there was.

      This is nothing more than your own assumption and is not based on anything that we saw unfold on screen.

      Cersei is in charge of KL and I havent heard anyone question her ability to lead because of her gender. have you?

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    100. Che,

      Che,

      Che:
      Meg,

      You keep repeating that had Jon had an army at his back that was larger than Ramsay’s that he still would have fucked everything up and lost – you aren’t addressing any of the actual arguments against this (I.e. that with a larger army, only a small splinter force From Jon’s side might have followed him drawing out Ramsa: army like the original plan while his cavalries surrounded them from the side – you assume all of them would simply pile on in behind him – with experienced commanders from the Vale forces, they simply wouldn’t – to name but one of the arguments we have suggested that you haven’t addressed). If Jon had a larger army that was an equal to Ramsay’s that would have changed everything. That cannot be denied. Jon would still have charged out as he did – but its exceedingly unlikely that with a much larger army manned by experienced commanders, that his mistake would have jeapordised his whole army.

      And with a potential siege – you speak with such certainty it would fail. Ramsay wouldn’t have prepared for a giant – he didn’t know a giant was about to rock up – and Jon’s forces could have stormed the walls keeping a large number of Ramsay’s men busy while Wun Wun tore down the doors. Too many factors to take into consideration. It seems like you speak in such certainties – Jon still would have messed up and lost even with a vastly superior army and a siege would definitely fail – as ways of justifying what is a character misstep for Sansa (one that she admits herself).

      Sansa doesn’t need an invitation to speak up. She did so before – she chose not to on this occasion. Why wasn’t she offering her advice? Why was she withholding it until later when she used it to insult and rollick her brother who was trying his best without all the information? Why make her a strong minded female leader-in-making if she is too scared to speak up in war rooms? It doesn’t fit with what they want us to think of her character because it was a device to generate animosity between them and make it seem like Sansa was outsmarting everyone with her blatantly obvious, empty advice that didn’t actually help Jon in the slightest.

      I am sure to the families of those thousands of men killed the result was not all that mattered – not when they may not have died had Sansa been open and transparent about resources she could have provided. Not just the personal cost, but fewer fighters in humanity’s army against the AOtD is going to weigh on Jon’s mind. Did they need to die in such great numbers?

      In the end, Sansa began this campaign to liberate Winterfell (for very valid reasons and I fully back her on them). She is the one who started the fight, but after she had done so, she concealed a vital resource that her side desperately needed for what appears to be her own gain.

      And you haven’t addressed that with a larger army that Ramsay wouldn’t have altered his battle plan. You assume that Ramsay would done exactly as he did anyway. They had a decisive win because Ramsay thought he had the advantage and allowed his army to be in a situation where they could be surrounded. They needed to absolutely destroy any chance of Ramsay re-grouping to fight another day. Otherwise the fighting would continue, with possibly Ramsay settling in for a siege.

      And yes, I am sure that a siege wouldn’t have worked for Jon. Ramsay had the resources to withstand one. Jon didn’t. It’s the reason why Stannis didn’t take that option.

      Sansa did speak up. But she had the grace to wait until the others had left so as not to undermine him. Something he would complain about later, when she did speak up to voice her opposing opinions in the presence of others. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, it seems. It wasn’t “empty” advice she gave him. She essentially told him to stop and think before he acted on anything Ramsay did ie. don’t do what he wants you to do. She can’t tell him “don’t rush out to try to save Rickon” when she doesn’t know what Ramsay has planned. And, as she also warned him, Ramsay wasn’t going to allow Rickon to live.

      As for them not being prepared for a giant if a siege should eventuate – you can see a giant coming from a long way. With a siege they have barrels of boiling oil (eg. Jaime’s precaution when Dany’s army turned up), extra fortifications (including stronger doors), men on the battlements with various projectiles. It doesn’t take much imagination. An arrow to the eye is all that would take to bring Wun Wun down.

      How can you be sure the death toll would have been lower if two large armies faced each other, instead of one larger, one smaller, and another joining the fray at a vital moment? It’s no different that a section of the army waiting in the wings until an opportune time should present itself. That’s a common strategy. You don’t put all your men out at once. You might recall that Ramsay didn’t do that. He sent out a part of his army, waited until all the Stark army was engaged in the fight, and then sent out the rest of it to encircle the lot of them. That’s essentially what the Vale army was – the men who formed the second wave of attack. The only difference between them, is that the soldiers kept waiting in the wings (the Vale army) wasn’t known to those who entered the battle first. And because they were out of sight, Ramsay let all his men enter the battle, thus falling into the same trap he planned for Jon.

      What’s that about Sansa’s own gain? So no one else benefited? That’s not true. Because she’s now Lady of Winterfell? When she willingly gave up the top job to Jon and only (temporarily) took it on because he nominated her for the position?

      She didn’t conceal a vital resource and then didn’t use it. She may not even have known she had it until the day of the battle. At the end of the day, it wasn’t Sansa’s army. It was LFs. A man that can’t be trusted. A man whose conditions may have been to keep it under wraps. A man who works to his own advantage and is only cooperative if it suits him. Why is assumed that all that needed to be done was for Sansa to tell Jon about the Vale army as if that’s all there was to it?

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    101. I have always wondered how Jon would have decided if the person that Ramsey sent running toward him was the child of Lord Glover or Lord Manderley or any other northern child? What would have been the decision?

      And Jon should have instructed the guys not to follow him but to stick to the plan. Instead he abandoned the battle plan without a word to the people he leads.

      Ten Bears,
      In that comment notice Arya specifically links the warrior compliment to a sword. Does Daenerys carry a sword?

      Yes, warriors can also be aerial but your engagements are not the same if the other side have no aerial weapons? Why do you think Daenerys does not wear armour if she considers arrows a serious risk? (I hope she does in S8.) If/When Daenerys dies it will probably be NK has aerial weapons (dragon and javelin) and also carries a sword.

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    102. Meg,

      It was Sansa’s lack of transparency that saved Jon and the Stark army. Jon wasn’t in the position he got himself in because he didn’t know about the Vale army. It was because he was outplayed by Ramsay. So what if he did know about the Vale army. Does that make him immune from falling for Ramsay’s tricks? If you can’t say yes, then I think it must be acknowledged that having insurance in the form of another army to step in if needed, could be the difference between winning and losing.

      No, I can’t agree at all that Sansa’s lack of transparency saved Jon and their army. Sansa and Jon knew they needed more men and Littlefinger’s offer was an opportunity for more men. If Jon had known about the Vale, they wouldn’t have to rely on a pincer move. If they chose to wait for the Vale, to fight alongside the Vale, they could have developed a different strategy, a better strategy, one that didn’t rely on Ramsay falling into Jon’s trap of the pincer move to make up for the Stark side’s insufficient numbers. That could have been insurance for the Stark army, they’d have a better chance of fighting Ramsay’s forces, no matter what trap Ramsay laid for Jon.

      You seem to be basing the rightness on Sansa’s actions of withholding the Vale info entirely on the outcome (“The North liberated, the wildlings with a place to settle, a base to fight the white walkers established, a home for Arya and Bran to return to. Nothing of which was certain if Jon knew of the Vale army”). Yet you also say (and I agree with) Sansa doesn’t have a crystal ball, Sansa couldn’t have known exactly what would happen or when the Vale would arrive.

      Sansa (and Jon) got lucky it worked out the way it did: Jon managed to survive, the North rallied to them, and the wildlings are on their side via Jon. Had Jon died, had Jon just let Rickon be murdered, what would happen then? Would there be a bridge between the North and the wildlings via Jon? Would Tormund be willing to defend the Wall or help out the North if Sansa or anyone else asked them to? If the North watches Jon sit back and let Ramsay murder Rickon, would they rally to Jon and Sansa?

      You credited Sansa earlier for Jon being alive to help unify the North in preparation for the war against the dead and yeah, Jon is absolutely needed in the fight against the dead. However, Jon was almost killed before the Vale arrived. And as I said, a lot of the success of their outcome was based on luck. Lucky for Jon that he managed to dodge all those swords and arrows. Lucky for Sansa that Jon managed to survive without compromising himself in front of the North. Lucky for Sansa and Jon that the Vale arrived before everyone, including Jon, was killed. Jon holds responsibility for his near-death, their pincer move strategy was gonzo when Davos commanded the army follow their commander. But (as Ten Bears mentions above) Jon didn’t force anyone to follow him. And if the Stark army had more numbers, they’d have a better chance at this point of overcoming an obstacle like this instead of having to rely entirely on a pincer move due to their low numbers. With the Vale’s help and numbers, Jon and co. could have come up with alternative strategies, they would have had more choices, they’d have insurance against a move like the pincer failing. They could plan for a seige (see below).

      Was Jon HER battle commander? I’m not sure what you mean by that. It implies that one or the other was in charge. But if Jon is Sansa’s subordinate, then she’s not obliged to tell him everything. If it’s the other way around, then Sansa certainly wasn’t treated as part of the team when it came to the battle. The most valuable information she had wasn’t the Vale army, but the nature of the person they were dealing with. He didn’t even consider consulting her about it.

      Sansa had information that directly affected Jon and the men fighting for her. Sansa’s not obligated to share that with them, really? Seriously? Wouldn’t that make them just fodder if they aren’t privvy to information that directly impacts them, if they have no say about what to do with that information? I call Jon Sansa’s battle commander because Jon is planning the battle Sansa convinced him to take part in. I don’t mean to say that one is subordinate to the other but even if Jon was Sansa’s subordinate, Sansa can just use Jon and their army like puppets? Pawns? To get what she wants? I really disagree with that. Yikes. He needs the information Sansa has to plan the battle because he’s… planning the battle.

      Sansa was included in the planning sessions, she was present in the tent. Tormund, Davos, Jon – they were speaking freely about strategies. Why didn’t Sansa speak up then? Sansa had no problem participating in the planning session that took place in 605. Does Sansa need an engraved invitation from Jon to speak now?

      Jon outright asked Sansa for her input. After Sansa told Jon he doesn’t know Ramsay and was angry with him for not seeking her insight, Jon replies, “You’re right.” He asks her what he should do twice – first, in regard to Rickon (“What should we do? How do we get Rickon back?”) and Sansa hits him with the news they’ll never get Rickon back – the whole reason Jon was convinced to fight in the first place – and tells Jon that Ramsay wants him to make a mistake. Like every opponent wants their enemy to make a mistake. Jon also asks her, “What should I do differently?” Sansa replies she doesn’t know, she doesn’t know anything about battles, and urges Jon not to do what Ramsay wants him to do.

      As you said before, Sansa doesn’t have a crystal ball. Sansa doesn’t know exactly what Ramsay was going to do. This was the best Sansa could offer Jon – but it’s vague. Every opponent is looking to trap their enemy. Every opponent wants their enemy to make a mistake. If Sansa had more detailed information, she could have shared that with the group and with Jon. “He lays traps”/”he plays with people”/”he wants you to make a mistake”/”and don’t do what he wants you do to” are pieces of pretty vague advice. And as explained above, Jon had no good choice in regard to Rickon. That’s not Sansa’s fault, Sansa isn’t responsible for Ramsay using Rickon. But Sansa’s advice comes with massive consequences as well.

      Trusting men with her welfare has been disastrous for Sansa. All of them have let her down. Even her father. As Sansa said, no one can protect anyone. So Sansa this time doesn’t leave it to someone else. She takes responsibility herself. She didn’t not trust Jon per se. She didn’t trust that he wouldn’t be outplayed by Ramsay and took steps to protect him if that eventuality occurred.

      Sure, I don’t blame Sansa for having extreme trust issues. However, it’s not an excuse to withhold information that directly impacts the fate of her brother and then men fighting for them. This doesn’t only impact Sansa. I mean, Jon has trust issues too. Jon was betrayed and murdered by his own men. He was resurrected to find out, “Hey, no afterlife! F*ck! I got murdered trying to do the right thing! Bullshirt!” That’s some screwed up crap right there too. Had Jon hid information from Sansa that directly impacted her, trust issues wouldn’t be a viable excuse for him either.

      Wun wun could break down the door because he had little opposition. A team of men with more powerful projectiles than arrows would have taken him down. Maybe arrows dipped in pitch and set alight would do the trick. A more fortified door, perhaps. A well aimed arrow to his eye as he approached would do it too. So much more scope for dealing with a giant if you can see him coming and prepare. All the things that could be prepared for if a siege if that’s what Ramsay decided. Which likely would have been if Jon turned up with an army much larger than expected. A siege that Jon couldn’t afford. Anymore than Stannis could. Apart from the fact that winter is coming, the Night King is marching north with his army of the dead. Time is pressing.

      They could have still planned for the event of a siege. Jon and Sansa knew they needed more men. If they thought tricking Ramsay into thinking they have a small army was the only way to go to prevent Ramsay from hunkering down, why didn’t Sansa plan this with Jon and their army? “Hey Jon, Vale might come! So here’s my plan: I’m thinking we fool Ramsay into believing we have a much smaller army than we have to stop him from barricading himself in Winterfell and then pull out the Vale numbers when the time is right.” That way, Sansa would have been totally transparent with Jon, Jon and the battle planners would have a choice in the risks they were willing to take with all of the information, and they could have outwitted Ramsay together – all of them. The outcome of this battle not only affects Sansa, it affects them all. The info of the Vale directly impacts them all.

      And yes, I’m calling sexism. Because if the positions were reversed talk would be on how women just aren’t fit to be army commanders and ultimately need a man to rescue them.

      Sansa herself says, “I don’t know! I don’t know anything about battles!” Sansa isn’t a battle commander. She’s a diplomat, she’s a budding politician, but she’s no more a battle commander than Sam is, who’s a guy.

      This isn’t about Sansa’s gender, it’s about her character. Daenerys is included in her war-planning sessions, Ygritte was a warrior, Melisandre and Brienne were included in battle planning sessions, Sansa was present in the 609 session but chose not to speak up. Daenerys, Arya, Ygritte, Melisandre, Brienne, Olenna, Margaery, Cersei, Missandei don’t need men to save them.

      Jon was taught by Ygritte, consulted Melisandre, he gives Arya her first sword, he asks Sansa for her input in 609. He goes along with her Northern tour idea, he gives her credit for the Vale saving the day, he asks for her opinion about Tyrion in 702, he places the North in her charge in 702. If Jon hid information from Sansa that directly impacted her, that wouldn’t be okay either.

      A lot of people say Sansa is the bad guy. Haven’t you been paying attention?

      I don’t see anybody calling Sansa the bad guy in this thread. I’m certainly not calling her the bad guy, and it doesn’t look like other commenters in this thread are either.

      And oh dear God, this was a long comment. I’m sorry for the length!

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    103. Ten Bears,

      Yes, you’re right, I had forgotten that before I read your comment! Jon knows the wildlings have no obligation to fight for them and it’s not his place to ask but yes, their survival depends on the North being amenable to allowing wildlings to settle in the Northern lands south of the Wall (ie. not the Bolton-run North). Because Tormund uses Jon’s actions to save them as the reason for them to fight for the North, I think, in this case, Jon is kind of the bridge between the wildlings and the North (as the guy who died to save the wildlings, as one of the handful of Westerosi who has even seen the Night King, and as a Northerner raised as the son of Ned Stark). As such, he’s kind of a key part of the glue holding this alliance together.

      You’re not off topic, and I share your thoughts about how real siblings behave. Even when they become adults, their “inner children” don’t disappear. That’s how I am with my brothers and sisters. Parts of us are still, and will always be, the little kids with the same idiosyncrasies we had growing up.

      It’s why one of my top five moments of S7 was the exchange between Arya and Sansa that you mentioned:

      Sansa: “… You would have. You’re the strongest person I know.”
      Arya: “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
      Sansa: “Well, don’t get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying.”

      I just loved that. A reconciliation and mutual expression of love – with a little helping of snark on the side so it didn’t get too corny. I just wish there had been more scenes of supportive big sister Sansa, instead of just a few snippets in Episode 7.

      To be honest, I would’ve preferred an entire episode devoted to Sansa, Arya and Bran setting up LF’s surprise party (i.e., his trial by ambush) instead of the “Gotcha!” moment in Episode 7.

      Definitely! It’s so relatable. It’s not sickly sweet with honey dripping from every word, it’s a genuine, loving expression with a bite! 😉 Especially because two of my relationships with my sisters mirror the one Sansa and Arya have, if one of them ever gave me a compliment that seemed too nice, I’d be wondering what the catch was 😉 The “Don’t get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying” adds the right bit of levity and snark that makes the sincerity of the compliment even more 🙂

      I also would have loved to see more of Sansa and Arya supporting each other in that way. Sure, they’ll have problems – it’d be weird if they didn’t because sisters like Sansa and Arya bicker! They’ll never stop, as we’ve both experienced ourselves 🙂 But I would have liked to have seen more of the supportive sister stuff too, especially after all they’ve been through and learning of everything each other has been through.

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    104. Meg,

      “Wun wun could break down the door because he had little opposition. A team of men with more powerful projectiles than arrows would have taken him down. Maybe arrows dipped in pitch and set alight would do the trick. A more fortified door, perhaps. A well aimed arrow to his eye as he approached would do it too. So much more scope for dealing with a giant if you can see him coming and prepare. All the things that could be prepared for if a siege if that’s what Ramsay decided.”

      ——-
      There’s no indication Ramsay knew Jon’s Army had a giant – particularly a Gatecrasher Extraordinaire like Wun Wun. (Just ask A. Thorne about surprise gate-crashes by the Big Fella. A loud crunch! and Edd and the Wildlings were inside Castle Black in two seconds.

      Let’s say Ramsay sees the combined Northern & Vale forces and decides to hole up inside WF. As soon as the sun goes down, Northern soldiers launch a raucous decoy attack – or maybe even make believe they’re coming with ladders – from one direction, while Shaq – I mean Wun Wun – in dark camouflage (and protected by a shield or canopy) strolls up to the gate from the other direction, kicks it down, and lets the good guys come pouring in. No need for “siege engines”, towers or battering rams.

      Like Stannis’s lieutenant had to report to Stannis, SmallJohnson Umber would have to inform Ramsay: “There isn’t going to be a siege.”

      P.S. Thank you to all of the commenters above who pointed out that Wun Wun’s presence dispels the notion that if Ramsay saw a larger, combined contingency of enemy forces he’d be able to force a siege that would doom Jon’s team.

      Well, it’s probably nonsensical to pose “What if?” hypotheticals. Still, if anything makes logical sense under any scenario, it’s that Sansa should’ve told Jon about LF’s offer and her decision to take him up on it. Let the actual fighters – those who are going to bleed and die – decide what to do with that intel.

      To me, it was a simple matter of the narrative awkwardness entailed in realigning Show! Sansa with Book! Sansa, temporally and geographically: I’d bet that in TWOW, GRRM intends to have Sansa first arrive in the North from the Vale with the Vale knights just in time to help turn the tide during the battle for WF. Show! Sansa’s premature presence in WF thanks to the Jeyne Poole marriage mashup required some wonky, inexplicable behavior on her character’s part to get her back in the same place as in the books! timeline, i.e., triumphantly riding up on horseback leading a Vale army to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat for Jon’s coalition.

      (We’ll probably never know. I’m NOT George-bashing. I’m just speculating that in a few months, when S8 has concluded, he will have zero impetus to finish the books.)

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    105. Che,

      You replied to Meg at 4:28 pm:

      “…with a potential siege – you speak with such certainty it would fail. Ramsay wouldn’t have prepared for a giant – he didn’t know a giant was about to rock up – and Jon’s forces could have stormed the walls keeping a large number of Ramsay’s men busy while Wun Wun tore down the door.”

      _______
      I hadn’t read what you wrote at 4:28 pm when I said pretty much the same thing at 6:44 pm. Didn’t want you to think I was plagiarizing you.

      I prefer to assume that if we both reached the same conclusion independently, we must be right. 😇

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    106. I’m confused.

      I don’t see why the responsibility lies with Sansa to offer up every last piece of information/insight unprompted all the time. Especially after having had her input shot down on previous occasions.

      But, newsflash, she did so anyway in that tent scene. That was her speaking up. She just took the opportunity to question why Jon hadn’t asked for her insight at the same time. And what was Jon’s response?

      “You’re right.”

      But I guess Jon acknowledging her right to be frustrated doesn’t matter, for some reason.

      As for her supposedly useless advice, she offered the most important advice necessary when dealing with someone like Ramsay: “don’t do what he wants you to do”. Advice that Jon dismissed as “a bit obvious”, only to find himself facing down a regiment of cavalry single-handed, his battle plans in tatters, having done exactly what Ramsay wanted him to do.

      Now, you can argue about the rationality and merit of Jon’s decision to try to rescue Rickon at the risk of his only hopes of winning the battle. But what you can’t argue about is the obvious merit behind Sansa’s advice!

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    107. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      Some of the lords probably looked at Sansa and knew she had control of a fresh heavy cavalry and possibly held it back, not delivering it it in time to save many of those casualties.I particularly think of Lady Lyanna, who gave her all, contributing her 62 good men.Surely, some of them were squandered.These people do not consider Sansa a leader, but Jon.Which is why they elected HIM.Furthermore, in 7.05 Royce and Glover led the call for Sansa to take over.Arya uncovered evidence that implies those two were conspiring with Littlefinger.So Sansa thought she was genuinely being acclaimed but in actuality LF was apparently pulling the strings that made their anxiety look like support.

      Per the script pages for that episode, Littlefinger was not behind Royce and Glover speaking. Though the show never revisits that brief bit at all, and the next time we see Royce he’s happily helping Littlefinger be executed, so I don’t expect that will ever be made explicit either way.

      I don’t think the stuff with the Vale knights had anything to do with Sansa not being acclaimed ruler at the time — if there was supposed to be a sense that Sansa was mistrusted because of that, that would surely have been brought up in Season 7 when Arya was on her “trust no one [named Sansa]” tear.

      Conversely, the defenses for why it totally made sense for Sansa to withhold the information about the Vale knights are also groundless, in my view. Not even Sansa herself claims she was doing it as some kind of big strategic calculation. Heck, Sophie’s (joking, I think) claim that Sansa withheld it because she wanted credit doesn’t even work as a more selfish motivation, because there’s no reason why not telling Jon about it would lead to her getting more credit, nor do we ever see her making an effort to publicize or promote her own role in it (except in one scene where she blows up at Arya in private, but that’s in response to being called a traitor). If she’s a Machiavel engaged in diabolical schemes to further her own standing, she’s not very good at it.

      But then, basically nothing about the whole Northern succession in Seasons 6 and 7 makes much sense. No explanation is ever offered for why Sansa is passed over — indeed, it’s barely acknowledged in-universe that she was passed over, until midway through Season 7 when Royce and Glover suddenly remember that heredity is the foundation of their whole civilization, and which is just as easily forgotten afterward. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like anybody on Team Stark had given any thought at all to who was going to be the ruler until Lyanna Mormont spontaneously decided to elect Jon king, even though that was an obvious question that would have been raised and hashed out well beforehand. And if we’re supposed to think that sexism was a big issue in Sansa being passed over, it makes no sense to have Lyanna, otherwise a vehicle for 90s-style grrl power sentiments, as the one instigating the whole thing. But we’re never given much sense of what Jon did to earn Lyanna’s loyalty either, since in-universe he was a colossal screwup at the Battle of the Bastards, the narrative itself frames it as such by having him fall for Ramsay’s trap, and then afterward nobody cares and we’re all meant to celebrate him as a great victor.

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    108. Che,

      Drama certainly seems to be the main reason for the none disclosure.

      As for the distance – if the Vale could make it (as they did) then it was close enough for Jon to ask. If he was rational in thinking it was impossible due to distance then perhaps Sansa would also be too doubtful/distrustful to believe the Vale would actually appear to specifically have mentioned it.

      Anyway, Sansa should have been much more forthcoming given how short they were of fighting men.

      And Jon also failed some basic tests of a battlefield commander – that sudden breaking of formation before the battle even started was a betrayal of his men. Understandable in the circumstances but he needed at least give specific instructions to them to stick to the plan as he rode off to risk his own life for Rickon’s. That would have saved many lives. Without that he put them in a awkward position of having to try to save him and so rush into the trap.

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    109. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      I don’t see why the responsibility lies with Sansa to offer up every last piece of information/insight unprompted all the time. Especially after having had her input shot down on previous occasions.

      Because it’s an open council session where everybody is free to speak. If she has something to contribute, everyone is invited to do so. And Sansa was fine with speaking at earlier council sessions — where she was ignored, but none of her advice was any good, so there’s a good reason for that.

      But that is, again, the result of inconsistent writing, because from D&D et al.’s comments they considered Sansa’s complaint about being overlooked to be justified.

      As for her supposedly useless advice, she offered the most important advice necessary when dealing with someone like Ramsay: “don’t do what he wants you to do”. Advice that Jon dismissed as “a bit obvious”, only to find himself facing down a regiment of cavalry single-handed, his battle plans in tatters, having done exactly what Ramsay wanted him to do.

      Now, you can argue about the rationality and merit of Jon’s decision to try to rescue Rickon at the risk of his only hopes of winning the battle. But what you can’t argue about is the obvious merit behind Sansa’s advice!

      It is useless advice, because it’s obvious to anybody (this is actually the case with all the rest of Sansa’s political advice during the Northern campaign that isn’t outright wrong). That Jon subsequently acts like an idiot doesn’t make her advice good, it just makes him dumb. It’s a plainly obvious trap that requires absolutely no special insight into Ramsay.

      This is a problem because the writers want us to think that Sansa has special insight into Ramsay, but they couldn’t come up with anything that actually fit that definition.

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    110. I do so love a good GOT debate; thanks everyone for the enjoyable discussion. It’s late, so I’m off, but I’ll check in in the morning to see if it’s still going strong!

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    111. Mango,

      Understandable in the circumstances but he needed at least give specific instructions to them to stick to the plan as he rode off to risk his own life for Rickon’s. That would have saved many lives. Without that he forced them to try to save him.

      You’ve got a good point here. Had Jon had the presence of mind and his Big Brother Instinct not taken over, it would have been hugely beneficial for Jon to tell Davos something like, “Whatever happens, stick to the plan.”

      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I think you can argue the merit of Sansa’s advice because only hindsight is 20/20. Regarding Ramsay, Sansa offered the best advice she could. Still, she doesn’t have a crystal ball. She can’t predict specifics or exactly what Ramsay is going to do.

      I said above, “Every opponent is looking to trap their enemy. Every opponent wants their enemy to make a mistake. If Sansa had more detailed information, she could have shared that with the group and with Jon. “He lays traps”/”he plays with people”/”he wants you to make a mistake”/”and don’t do what he wants you do to” are pieces of pretty vague advice.” Sansa couldn’t have predicted what Ramsay was going to do with Rickon and as detailed above, Jon didn’t have a good option when it came to Rickon. Sansa urging Jon to let go of Rickon came with its own set of consequences.

      Sansa’s not wrong in her advice, but it’s not super helpful either because she can’t predict the future. She can’t know exactly what Ramsay’s going to do.

      I don’t see why the responsibility lies with Sansa to offer up every last piece of information/insight unprompted all the time. Especially after having had her input shot down on previous occasions.

      But, newsflash, she did so anyway in that tent scene. That was her speaking up. She just took the opportunity to question why Jon hadn’t asked for her insight at the same time. And what was Jon’s response?

      “You’re right.”

      But I guess Jon acknowledging her right to be frustrated doesn’t matter, for some reason.

      It’s up to Sansa to speak unprompted because Sansa has information she wants to be considered in their battle plans. Nobody else needed to be prompted for their opinion. Sansa had no problem berating Jon after everyone left. Why didn’t she speak up when everybody was present and they were making their battle strategies so it could be considered? She was angry they drew up their battle strategies without consulting her – but she was in the room, able to talk, while they were doing so. Jon, Tormund, Davos – no, they don’t know Ramsay. Sansa does and it’s up to her to tell them what she can while they’re busy trying to figure out how to defeat Ramsay with a smaller force and how to survive another day.

      As for “having had her input shot down on previous occasions” before 609, I think you referring to Jon not wanting to go back and plead with House Cerwyn as Sansa wanted, is that right? Jon could have been more open and less gruff/cranky with Sansa in his refusal, yep. Sansa’s only trying to help. At the same time, Jon doesn’t have to do everything Sansa tells him to do. He went on that Northern tour per Sansa’s suggestion, he’s fighting for Winterfell to save Rickon, just as Sansa convinced him. Jon gave Sansa a reason for his refusal to go back to House Cerwyn (there’s no time, a storm’s coming, a storm that wiped out Stannis and ruined his battle against the Boltons). In turn, why can’t Sansa give Jon a reason to wait? (Littlefinger’s offer)

      I say “go back to House Cerwyn” because, apparently, Jon and Sansa visited House Cerwyn as Lyanna shames House Cerwyn for refusing their call (“And you, Lord Cerwyn, your father was skinned alive by Ramsay Bolton. Still you refused the call.”).

      Meg,

      What’s that about Sansa’s own gain? So no one else benefited? That’s not true. Because she’s now Lady of Winterfell? When she willingly gave up the top job to Jon and only (temporarily) took it on because he nominated her for the position?

      Sansa was asking men to risk their lives and fight for her to regain Winterfell. Sansa allowed Jon and their army to operate with incomplete information. If Sansa’s asking these men to fight and die for her, Sansa needs to be transparent.

      Sansa isn’t wrong to ask men to fight for her home. She’s wrong to withhold battle information that affects and impacts the men fighting for her.

      Sansa did speak up. But she had the grace to wait until the others had left so as not to undermine him. Something he would complain about later, when she did speak up to voice her opposing opinions in the presence of others. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, it seems. It wasn’t “empty” advice she gave him.

      The small-group planning sessions we saw in 605 and 609 are different from the address and presentation we saw in 701 in front of the Northern lords and ladies. The first two were small-group collaborative processes by battle planners and strategists in the privacy of a tent. The third was an announcement and address by a brand new king to the whole of the Northern nobility, all the while holding together a tenuous alliance with the wildlings and planning for a mythological threat all but two people in that room have seen.

      In regard to 609, Sansa spoke up after everyone left. Sansa’s angry that Jon didn’t seek her advice before they drew up their battle plans but Sansa was in the room with them while they were drawing up their battle plans. Sansa could have spoken up anytime during that collaborative strategy planning process. She had no problem participating in 605, she had no trouble berating Jon after everyone left. In this collaborative small-group session that wasn’t taking place in front of the entire Northern nobility and heads of houses, Sansa wouldn’t be undermining Jon by saying, “Hold up guys, I lived with Ramsay! He likes to lay traps! How do we plan for that?”

      As I said above, hindsight is 20/20. Sansa offered what she could but as you say right here…

      She can’t tell him “don’t rush out to try to save Rickon” when she doesn’t know what Ramsay has planned. And, as she also warned him, Ramsay wasn’t going to allow Rickon to live.

      Sansa couldn’t give him specific, valuable information regarding Ramsay. And I’ve gone over the Rickon thing quite enough 😉

      And you haven’t addressed that with a larger army that Ramsay wouldn’t have altered his battle plan. You assume that Ramsay would done exactly as he did anyway. They had a decisive win because Ramsay thought he had the advantage and allowed his army to be in a situation where they could be surrounded. They needed to absolutely destroy any chance of Ramsay re-grouping to fight another day. Otherwise the fighting would continue, with possibly Ramsay settling in for a siege.

      And yes, I am sure that a siege wouldn’t have worked for Jon. Ramsay had the resources to withstand one. Jon didn’t. It’s the reason why Stannis didn’t take that option.

      Several people, including myself, have commented on this in above comments and how Jon and their army could have strategized together with a larger army, how they could plan for the possibility of Ramsay hunkering down for a siege. Would they be screwed if Sansa and Jon had succeeded in getting more men via their Northern tour? If the Blackfish agreed and came to their aid? Is it a good thing they failed in getting a larger army themselves?

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    112. Sean C.,

      Except she didn’t complain about not being free to speak at their councils. She questioned why Jon hadn’t specifically sought her advice given her personal knowledge of the enemy he was facing.

      Jon was even making judgments on Ramsay’s character apparently without having consulted her. Talking about making him angry when, as we know and Sansa would have, that’s not how Ramsay operates.

      The only point I’m questioning is why people are placing the responsibility to communicate solely on Sansa. As she later confesses, she has nothing to contribute to the battle formations etc, but she could have offered some insight into Ramsay’s character.

      But Jon has no responsibility to seek such input aside from hoping that she independently proffers it at some point? I don’t buy it.

      And no, advice doesn’t automatically become worthless simply by virtue of someone failing to heed it. If anything, when they fail to heed that advice and suffer for it, it makes the advice all the more pertinent.

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    113. Che: Season 6 – You seem to be ignoring that Sansa withheld vital information from Jon. Had she shared the enormous resource she had, it is a fact that that battle would not have unfolded the way it did. She said it herself, she doesn’t know anything about battles. Jon does. Had he known about the Vale army, he would have planned a very different strategy. This is just a fact. What is not a fact is whether that plan would have worked. As it stands, the only reason the Vale army won (and as you simplistically put it “Sansa won”) was because Jon’s meagre forces drew out Ramsay’s army in its entirety.

      The only info she could really share was she sent a raven, and she sent that weeks after LF left Molestown and they left Castle Black.
      What answers could she actually give Jon?
      How many ? she wouldn’t know
      When will they get here ? again how can she know.
      Did you here from LF ? This she could answer NO, there is no indication that LF replied at all ( his plan was to arrive at the last second and defeat the victor ).
      Jon’s whole plan was to draw Ramsey out by waiting for him to loose patience and attack, but as Sansa stated she doesn’t know battle tactics but Ramsey will take you out of your plan, and she was correct. Ramsey had the one thing Jon and Sansa did not have; RICKON ! end of Jon’s plan .
      Jon also had no siege weapons and the Vale only brought cavalry, and Ramsey still had more men left that did not go into the main battle.

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    114. Grail King: The only info she could really share was she sent a raven, and she sent that weeks after LF left Molestown and they left Castle Black.
      What answers could she actually give Jon?
      How many ? she wouldn’t know
      When will they get here ? again how can she know.
      Did you here from LF ?This she could answer NO, there is no indication that LF replied at all ( his plan was to arrive at the last second and defeat the victor ).
      Jon’s whole plan was to draw Ramsey out by waiting for him to loose patience and attack, but as Sansa stated she doesn’t know battle tactics but Ramsey will take you out of your plan, and she was correct. Ramsey had the one thing Jon and Sansa did not have; RICKON ! end of Jon’s plan .
      Jon also had no siege weapons and the Vale only brought cavalry, and Ramsey still had more men left that did not go into the main battle.

      You suppose that’s Sansa’s only opportunity to tell Jon about the Vale was on the eve of battle? What about all the opportunities before, which would have allowed team recruitment drive to approach LF, Robyn and the Vale lords (like they did with the northern lords) and to then incorporate them into their battle strategy. No one is suggesting Sansa tell him at the last minute that an enormous cavalry might or might not show up. She had opportunities from the offset to tell Jon what she knew – one of them was a drama-inducing moment where she was pleading with him to wait and he told her there was no point. They had pleaded with everyone. How could they get more men? Queue everyone screaming at their screens, “TELL HIM!”. And yet she didn’t. Has she told him then, he wouldn’t have rushed to battle, together they could have come up with a way to secure the Vale army outsmarting LF and his unknown motives as well. If Sansa was so scheming and pokitically savvy, how come she didn’t even try to circumvent LF and go straight to Robyn and the Vale lords – who has already pledged themselves to her cause (which she didn’t know – but one small conversation would have shown).

      Are you suggesting a siege would be unsuccessful? Wun Wun tore into Castle Black and into Winterfell easily. What siege weapons would be required?

      And Ramsay’s forced left manning Winterfell were minimal – less than a minute of arrow fire exchanged and they were dead.

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    115. Mango:
      Che,

      Drama certainly seems to be the main reason for the none disclosure.

      As for the distance – if the Vale could make it (as they did) then it was close enough for Jon to ask. If he was rational in thinking it was impossible due to distance then perhaps Sansa would also be too doubtful/distrustful to believe the Vale would actually appear to specifically have mentioned it.

      Anyway, Sansa should have been much more forthcoming given how short they were of fighting men.

      And Jon also failed some basic tests of a battlefield commander – that sudden breaking of formation before the battle even started was a betrayal of his men.Understandable in the circumstances but he needed at least give specific instructions to them to stick to the plan as he rode off to risk his own life for Rickon’s. That would have saved many lives. Without that he put them in a awkward position of having to try to save him and so rush into the trap.

      The Vale army had already made their way west by the time Sansa requested their help. LF had already got Robyn to agree to help his cousin and they had marched north, so were already in the area, which was why they could show up at short notice. The Eeyrie is actually incredibly far from Winterfell and large parts of the north and the journey is treacherous with hill tribes attacks. Jon also would know that they refused to help Robb fight for his sisters and revenge for Ned Stark even after a direct appeal by Catelyn Stark (a much bigger draw than he, a bastard Stark – that Cat despised – even if he does have Sansa with him). It would be a very long and in their minds, based on evidence they have, futile venture.

      I do agree that realistically, Jon and co should have heeded Sansa’s very loose advice and they should have had a back up plan that allowed the army to hold ranks and accept that Jon might fall for a trap and perish. He clearly still has a lot to learn as a leader and battle commander too.

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    116. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      I’m confused.

      I don’t see why the responsibility lies with Sansa to offer up every last piece of information/insight unprompted all the time. Especially after having had her input shot down on previous occasions.

      But, newsflash, she did so anyway in that tent scene. That was her speaking up. She just took the opportunity to question why Jon hadn’t asked for her insight at the same time. And what was Jon’s response?

      “You’re right.”

      But I guess Jon acknowledging her right to be frustrated doesn’t matter, for some reason.

      As for her supposedly useless advice, she offered the most important advice necessary when dealing with someone like Ramsay: “don’t do what he wants you to do”. Advice that Jon dismissed as “a bit obvious”, only to find himself facing down a regiment of cavalry single-handed, his battle plans in tatters, having done exactly what Ramsay wanted him to do.

      Now, you can argue about the rationality and merit of Jon’s decision to try to rescue Rickon at the risk of his only hopes of winning the battle. But what you can’t argue about is the obvious merit behind Sansa’s advice!

      She’s not offering every scrap of advice or knowledge that she has – she is in the belief that she holds vital information about the enemy (which she does, as the only person who knows him). Waiting for an invitation to share what she knows is at odds with her usually confident, intelligent character and it is at odds with her previous behaviour where she freely contributed to discussions. Jon is planning a battle using his skill set – he is too hindered by his honesty and naivety to conceive of how treacherous Ramsay is and is going off what he knows of battle. He didn’t fail to ask Sansa to contribute because he didn’t value her input; he didn’t ask her detailed information about the enemy because he is too straight-laced to worry about how one man’s evil character could affect a whole battle. Sansa, instead of sulking, should have spoken out from the start of the meeting.

      “Before you get started, you need to know about the enemy you are facing. I don’t know about battle plans, but I do know Ramsay and I have seen him do some messed up stuff. I also heard he fed his baby brother and his mother to his dogs hours after being born. This is the man you are dealing with. He will do everything in his power to manipulate you into breaking your plan and as he has our little brother, we need to prepare for the worst, that he might use Rickon to get you to make a mistake [this wouldn’t require a crystal ball – not if Sansa was as smart and in tune with Ramsay as she claims – I can’t have been the only one knowing that’s Rickon would be used in some sick twisted Ramsay ploy in that battle – and I know Ramsay only a fraction of how well Sansa knows him]. Let me help you think of ways Ramsay could manipulate you as you plan the battle side of things.”

      Job done. Hardly a difficult thing to suggest and Jon would have been a fool to ignore her.

      But she didn’t do that. She brooded and pouted in the corner and waited for the battle plans to be complete and the important figures in the army (who could have benefited from her advice too surely?) to leave before she petulantly sulked to Jon about being left out. And it was petulant, there is no denying her tone and the way she insulted her brother. When he says “you’re right”, I saw that as him appeasing her. He was clearly feeling frustrated with her in return.

      And Sansa’s advice, if developed in the way I suggested earlier on in this post, would have been helpful. As it stands – she told him something everyone going into battle surely knows – don’t do what your enemy wants you to do. Jon is right – that is obvious.

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    117. Che,

      Dude, what are you talking about? Brooding, pouting, sulking, petulant…

      We had like 5 scenes of them gathering their army and making their battle plans and in the last of them Jon was shown making his plans without directly interacting with Sansa and by the end of the scene she had expressed frustration at that lack of communication.

      It’s not a big deal.

      And now you’re drafting entire speeches that she could’ve given to Jon? What does that prove?

      I mean, we can all play that game. Why didn’t Jon just say, “Hey Sansa, I’m about to go into battle with this guy you were married to. He sounds pretty unhinged. I know you don’t know anything about battle tactics. Davos and Tormund can help me out on that front. But is there any further insight into his character that you could offer”?

      And he could’ve done that at any time before or after they actually parleyed with said enemy face to face. But obviously Jon was just too arrogant, proud, superior, etc etc etc. Right? Or does this only work one way, for some reason?

      We all know that the character could’ve theoretically spoken up at some point. We all know that entire conversations must take place off-screen. But that’s not what we’re shown on-screen.

      It’s just a bit of interpersonal drama, meant to heighten tensions before the main event. Jon failed to personally consult her on her personal knowledge of the man he was about to fight. She felt slighted and told him so. That’s what was conveyed on screen.

      I don’t understand the endless determination to place the responsibility for this simple piece of drama over a lack of communication on Sansa’s shoulders alone.

      The same goes for her advice being deemed sooooo obvious and sooooo worthless… yet Jon ignored it all and got his army crushed as a result. So clearly the advice had some merit and Jon should’ve taken it on-board if he actually wanted to win the battle.

      To paraphrase Robert Baratheon: “Siblings fight. It’s over”.

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    118. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Dude, what are you talking about? Brooding, pouting, sulking, petulant…

      I think what’s being referred to is Sansa’s expression in the tent. At the very least, she doesn’t look happy.

      We had like 5 scenes of them gathering their army and making their battle plans and in the last of them Jon was shown making his plans without directly interacting with Sansa and by the end of the scene she had expressed frustration at that lack of communication.

      Well, Sansa was freely participating in the 605 discussion – her and Davos seemed to be leading it. And Sansa and Jon were both speaking in the 607 rounds when making their appeals.

      I think the responsibility to speak up lies on Sansa’s shoulders in 609 because she’s the one getting pissed for not be asked about her opinion when there’s no reason why she couldn’t have spoken up herself. She did in episodes 605 and 607. Sansa has a huge stake in the outcome of this battle, Sansa has every reason to speak up instead of waiting to be asked. My question is: why does she need to be asked this time?

      It reminds me of an old commercial when I was little. These commercials were showing this guy rushing around, looking for his suitcase, he can’t find it – until he sees it by this kid’s chair. He’s like, “WTF, why didn’t you say something,” and the kid’s like, “Nobody asked me.”

      Sansa has this information, Sansa wants her information to be considered in drawing up the battle plans. Why didn’t Sansa say something? Why does she need Jon to outright ask her when Sansa’s never needed to be asked before in the presence of Jon, Tormund, and Davos? Would Tormund need to be asked for his opinion, would Davos? Again, Sansa had no problem speaking up in front of these guys in 604, 605, or 607. She also has no problem giving Jon a piece of her mind either.

      If Jon or any other character, regardless of gender, had something they wanted to say when they were with a group of people and chose not to, getting pissed about not being asked later, I’d have the same questions.

      Maybe Jon should have directly consulted her – but Jon’s not the one getting pissed at Sansa for not saying anything. Sansa’s getting pissed at Jon for not asking her to say anything – when she had the opportunity to say something.

      The same goes for her advice being deemed sooooo obvious and sooooo worthless… yet Jon ignored it all and got his army crushed as a result. So clearly the advice had some merit and Jon should’ve taken it on-board if he actually wanted to win the battle.

      Hindsight’s 20/20. It’s easy to say, “Oh, Sansa was right, Ramsay did trap Jon and Rickon was a goner,” but Sansa doesn’t have a crystal ball, Sansa doesn’t know what Ramsay’s going to do or how Ramsay’s going to trap Jon. Sansa isn’t season 7 Bran or even Melisandre with her hazy visions. What opponent doesn’t want to trap their enemy? What opponent doesn’t want their enemy to do what they want them to do in order to win? What’s specific about this advice? Ramsay likes to play with people – but Sansa doesn’t know how Ramsay’s going to screw with Jon and Jon has no good choices when it came to Rickon. What’s Jon supposed to do that will follow the spirit of Sansa’s advice and not make him look like a heartless bastard letting their trueborn sibling be murdered in front of the entire North while trying to win back Winterfell?

      To paraphrase Robert Baratheon: “Siblings fight. It’s over”.

      Yeah, I have to agree with this.

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    119. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      As mentioned by Adrianacandle (in a post I wholeheartedly agree with), her brooding and pouting was her expression in the tent during the battle planning prior to the BOTB. Facial expressions are subjective I guess, if you don’t think she looked like she was glaring at Jon the whole time then you can. There’s no right or wrong answer on that.

      I’m not going to rehash what Arianacandle has eloquently expressed, but I guess we’ll have to disagree that Sansa needed to wait for Jon’s invitation to speak in 609 but did not need that invitation throughout the rest of the season. I think I’m with Jon though on feeling perplexed as to the source of her anger when he hadn’t ever needed to invite her to speak before.

      In the end, it doesn’t matter, as as you said and we all agree, this was all manufactured to create drama. And as I have mentioned previously, the problem with doing that is that characters behave in ways they wouldn’t usually and their motivations become really confusing, which is what leads to all this debate years later.

      In the end, it’s all said and done and they’ve all made it out the other side. In my view it wasn’t the tightest storytelling, but a few minor plotting issues is nothing on what has been a consistently wondrous bulk of work.

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    120. Adrianacandle,

      I understand what’s being referred to, I just find the language over the top and revealing. I mean, Jon was seen rolling his eyes and sighing in response to Sansa’s input and actions at various points, yet I rarely see similarly critical assessments of his contribution to the tension and communication issues between them.

      Once again, I don’t buy this notion that Jon has no responsibility to seek her input. So Sansa’s very frustration with not being asked her opinion effectively invalidates her right to be frustrated? Hmm…

      And remember, she did speak up. That’s what she ultimately does. But by that point the plans are finalised. They’ve been concluded without Jon having expressly asked her opinion. He’s ready to go to war knowing that she has contributed nothing to his strategy and assessment of the situation. At that stage you’re kind of past the point where he can claim to have reasonably considered her opinion.

      And the suitcase advert analogy doesn’t quite align, since there’s no reasonable presumption on the adult’s part that the kid would have any particular insight into the whereabouts of the suitcase. There’s no reason why they should seek the kid’s input anymore than anybody else. If they knew the kid might know where it is, wouldn’t it be reasonable to question why they didn’t ask them directly?

      And in that analogy it is the adult who spots the suitcase and questions why the kid didn’t say anything. Which would be like Jon suddenly dawning on the possibility of Sansa having some insight and asking, “why didn’t you say something?”. As opposed to how things actually played out between Jon and Sansa in which Sansa, whom Jon knows is more familiar with Ramsay (the suitcase) than he is, watches Jon rushing around looking for his suitcase then, just before he walks out of the door without it, says “oi, numbnuts. Here’s your suitcase. Next time, try asking”.

      The hindsight argument doesn’t fly either. You don’t invalidate reasonable advice on an ex post facto basis.

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    121. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I understand what’s being referred to, I just find the language over the top and revealing. I mean, Jon was seen rolling his eyes and sighing in response to Sansa’s input and actions at various points, yet I rarely see similarly critical assessments of his contribution to the tension and communication issues between them.

      Okay, but where was Jon rolling his eyes and sighing in response to Sansa? Like Che said, facial expressions can be subjective and I agree with Che that there’s no correct answer on this. I think this is going both ways here. We’re perceiving Sansa to be reacting in a certain way to Jon and you’re perceiving Jon to be reacting in a certain way to Sansa.

      Once again, I don’t buy this notion that Jon has no responsibility to seek her input. So Sansa’s very frustration with not being asked her opinion effectively invalidates her right to be frustrated? Hmm…

      Okay, but what is Sansa doing there in the tent then? Just watching these guys while she gets angry over not being asked her opinion without doing anything herself? She’s angry that she’s not being consulted – but she does nothing to remedy the situation herself when she has every opportunity to participate as she did before. Yes, I think her right to be frustrated is compromised in that instance because she could have done something about it.

      If Sansa was barred from that meeting and had no opportunity to speak up, yeah, she’d have a right to be frustrated. I’d be pretty damn frustrated if I was her too. But that’s not how it went down. She was there with Jon, Davos, and Tormund. She could have said something, everybody else was saying stuff, she had spoken up all those other times before. What makes this time different?

      It would have been smart for Jon to seek her out, yeah, but Jon mistakenly thinks he knows how to fight a guy like Ramsay. Jon does have a breadth of experience in dealing with foes, he’s fought monsters, psychos, and assholes before – but Jon doesn’t know the special breed of monster psycho Ramsay is. Sansa does, as Sansa says herself. If Sansa sees Jon is not assessing the situation correctly, Sansa needs to step in.

      And remember, she did speak up. That’s what she ultimately does. But by that point the plans are finalised. They’ve been concluded without Jon having expressly asked her opinion. He’s ready to go to war knowing that she has contributed nothing to his strategy and assessment of the situation. At that stage you’re kind of past the point where he can claim to have reasonably considered her opinion.

      Sansa speaks up after everyone but Jon has left. She speaks up after the battle plans are drawn. She’s angry her input wasn’t included in the battle plans but again, she was right there with them. Sitting in the tent, staying silent.

      In the scene Sansa confronts him, Jon outright asks her twice what to do outright (“What should we do? How do we get Rickon back?” and “What should I do differently?”) Sansa’s response to the first question is they’ll never get Rickon back – the whole reason Jon is fighting in the first place. Her response to the second question is, “I don’t know. I don’t know anything about battles. Just don’t do what he wants you to do.”

      That’s not exactly specific advice. She tells Jon there’s no way they can get Rickon back after convincing Jon that Ramsay really does have Rickon just episodes earlier, which convinces Jon to fight. Then she responds with, “I don’t know. Just don’t do what he wants you to do.”

      Sansa is the one who has the issue with Jon for not seeking her opinion, Sansa is the one who wants her information considered, Sansa is the one who never had a problem speaking before this point but now, in 609, she’s sitting silently in the back of a tent for… reasons? Because of all of this, the onus is on Sansa to speak up if she sees things are taking a turn south and she can do something to maybe change that. Jon, Tormund, Davos can’t read her mind.

      And the suitcase advert analogy doesn’t quite align, since there’s no reasonable presumption on the adult’s part that the kid would have any particular insight into the whereabouts of the suitcase. There’s no reason why they should seek the kid’s input anymore than anybody else. If they knew the kid might know where it is, wouldn’t it be reasonable to question why they didn’t ask them directly?

      I didn’t explain the commercial all that well, I’m sorry. It’s from a hazy memory. The adult is the dad and the kid is the aprox 10-year old son. The kid is sitting at the table, watching the dad rush around, knowing he’s looking for his suitcase, while one foot is rocking the suitcase under his chair. The kid knows the dad needs to find his suitcase and is rushing around in a panic trying to find it. So yeah, the kid had an opportunity to help the dad out when he saw the dad needed help and the kid should have spoken up.

      And in that analogy it is the adult who spots the suitcase and questions why the kid didn’t say anything. Which would be like Jon suddenly dawning on the possibility of Sansa having some insight and asking, “why didn’t you say something?”.

      And if Jon asked Sansa this question and had a problem with her not saying anything, I would wonder why Jon didn’t seek out Sansa’s advice.

      The hindsight argument doesn’t fly either. You don’t invalidate reasonable advice on an ex post facto basis.

      I don’t see how it doesn’t fly. Sansa’s advice wasn’t specific and in all fairness to Sansa, there’s no way it could be specific. It’s not like she could show Jon her memories ala Black Mirror via a Grain implant and even if she could, there’s no way they could predict what would happen and how it would happen the way it did. Sansa’s advice could relate to just about any enemy. People base the rightness of Sansa’s advice on how the situation ended up unfolding, which fits perfectly with the “hindsight is 20/20” (“It’s easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened, but it’s hard to predict the future.”)

      However, Sansa could only give non-specific advice. Sansa didn’t say, “Ramsay is going to use Rickon to draw you into a trap, you need to plan for that.” Sansa didn’t say, “Ramsay is going to lure you into an open field by using Rickon, you need to prepare for that.”

      And again, I ask, what was Jon supposed to do that will follow the spirit of Sansa’s advice and not make him look like a heartless bastard letting their trueborn sibling be murdered in front of the entire North while trying to win back Winterfell?

      I think Che has the right idea. I don’t think we’re going to agree on this. I think we’re going around in circles at this point. But thanks for responding, Ramsay’s 20th Good Man. When you replied, somebody was telling me a story about a cat-sized spider they saw in their hotel room in South America and I was willing myself not to Google it but I did and…

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    122. Che: Season 6 – You seem to be ignoring that Sansa withheld vital information from Jon. Had she shared the enormous resource she had, it is a fact that that battle would not have unfolded the way it did.

      Ughh I can’t believe people are still arguing about Sansa’s behaviour before the BoB..

      What kind of ‘enormous resource’ was that anyway? What kind of useful info could she have given then?
      Sansa: “Okay Jon, actually we haven’t contacted every house yet. I’m going to plead with the man who claimed would protect me but sold me to our enemies. Btw I also sent him away telling him I never wanted to see his face again and I really don’t want to rely on him but he’s kind of our only hope?”

      I’d worry about Jon and Sansa’s sanity if they were convinced of LF’s trustworthiness…

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    123. Netheb,

      Yes, that is useful information. And frankly, there isn’t any indication that Sansa is uncertain whether Littlefinger will come. But even if she was, the mere possibility of receiving a huge reinforcement of heavy cavalry drastically changes the strategic situation.

      Not to mention, if you operate on the assumption that Sansa is uncertain about what Littlefinger is going to do, that means there’s a large army present in the North that neither Jon nor Ramsay know about, and whose behaviour is unpredictable. Obviously Jon needs to know about that too.

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    124. Sean C.: Yes, that is useful information. And frankly, there isn’t any indication that Sansa is uncertain whether Littlefinger will come. But even if she was, the mere possibility of receiving a huge reinforcement of heavy cavalry drastically changes the strategic situation.

      It’s not really that Sansa was uncertain that LF would come (even though she’s basically threatening his life in s6e5 and s7ep7 proved she wasn’t joking), but rather that she didn’t want to rely on him again: explain to me how can anyone trust someone who’s been deceiving you?
      LF wasn’t a vassal, not sworn to the Starks: by asking for his help, Sansa was simply leaving herself at his mercy again. Anyone’s help comes at a price, and it was dangerous for Sansa to be indebted to him (it’d be all too easy for him to claim her then).
      That’s why it’s obvious to me why she wasn’t crazy about the ‘LF option’ and didn’t tell Jon. I’m not sure that Jon would’ve been fond of the idea, but he unknowingly forced her hand anyway.

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    125. Netheb,

      By the point Sansa had written to accept Littlefinger’s offer of the Vale forces at the end of 607, she is relying on Littlefinger from that point on if she’s (at the very least) waiting on his response. In 609, she was urging Jon to wait, but she wouldn’t say why. As far as Jon knew, they had all the men they could gather and exhausted every possibility but Sansa knew (again, at the very least) the Vale as a possibility as Littlefinger had offered it and she had already written to him to accept his offer.

      I don’t think people are questioning Sansa’s behavior because they think she should believe or rely on Littlefinger. People are questioning her behavior because she had written to accept Littlefinger’s offer, was telling Jon they need more men, but she still didn’t tell him or the people who’d be actually fighting the battle about the Vale or that she had even written to accept LF’s offer. There’s no canon reason or explanation for why she withheld this information. As Sean C. said, just “the mere possibility of receiving a huge reinforcement of heavy cavalry drastically changes the strategic situation.”

      The Vale info doesn’t just affect Sansa. This affects Jon, Davos, Tormund, their entire army – the ones fighting and dying on the battlefield.

      And if she didn’t want to rely on Littlefinger (which is understandable), I’m wondering why Sansa didn’t do as Che suggested above and circumvent Littlefinger by contacting her cousin directly. In 604, Robin agrees to help Sansa and he, as the Lord of the Vale, is ultimately the final say. Sansa would know this – why wouldn’t she contact Robin directly?

      Not wanting to trust Littlefinger still doesn’t answer the question of why Sansa didn’t tell Jon about the Vale. Jon may not be fond of the idea but, as the battle commander, he especially should have the opportunity to discuss what to do with it since this affects him as well.

      I’m not sure that Jon would’ve been fond of the idea, but he unknowingly forced her hand anyway.

      Can you explain what you mean? I’m not sure how Jon forced Sansa’s hand. Sansa wrote to Littlefinger at the end of 607, before any of the events of 609. If you’re referring to House Cerwyn, it seems they refused Jon and Sansa’s plea as well. Per Lyanna in 610:

      Lyanna: And you, Lord Cerwyn, your father was skinned alive by Ramsay Bolton. Still, you refused the call.

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