The Evolution of Sansa Stark

By Alexandra Mitchell on Aug 12, 2014 to Game of Thrones

If you ask people who their favorite female Stark is, most people will probably say Arya. She’s pretty cool. I mean, she runs around stabbing people and being a baby assassin. However, Sansa gets overlooked, consistently. From the beginning, she’s portrayed as the typical girly sister while Arya is the patriarchy-bucking sister. However while Arya is basically a missing child turned killer, Sansa’s character is evolving interestingly.









In the beginning, Sansa was the stereotypical female character. She thought only of her place among the court and her future with Joffrey as his betrothed and future mother of his children. She pined to be part of royalty and be noticed and loved and adored. She would do anything for her future king. Her mind stayed firmly in the patriarchal ideology of what a girl should be and want to be. Things turn sour and before Sansa can even blink, her father is dead and she’s now being held captive in King’s Landing. Joffrey and Cersei are using her, and in Joff’s case abusing her too. Sansa is stuck in the capital where she can’t say a bad word about the king and teaches herself to regurgitate how much she loves her king. Not that anyone is buying it.

Meanwhile, the Lannisters are still trying to use her politically and decide to wed her to Tyrion instead of Joffrey. While she’s certainly not keen on it, she also would rather not have a husband who beats her. But even then, there is a threat over her head that Joff will do whatever and whomever he wants because he’s king. So she’s still not rid of the little monster…but then she is! Because Joff is wonderfully axed off. Sorry for my glee, I really wanted that little twerp dead.

Anyway, in the aftermath of the murder she and Tyrion are the prime suspects. Sansa is able to get away with the help of a drunk fool who is actually being orchestrated by Littlefinger. She flees to the Vale, where she can at least be a little more herself, but still hiding under an alias. She’s then nearly killed by her aunt, but saved at the last minute by Littlefinger who kills her aunt instead. Sansa then has to lie to protect Littlefinger.

A lot of people criticize Sansa’s character. They call her weak, naïve, stupid, and a plethora of other nasty terms. Poor Sophie Turner has had people come up to her just to say they don’t like Sansa. However, there are people who like Sansa and think she’s a character grown out of learning to survive. I don’t think I’m the only who thinks she’s actually learning to play the Game of Thrones properly…

Compared to the other members of her family, her political prowess is staggeringly better. Ned admits his own plans, Catelyn kidnaps Tyrion, Robb marries a girl because he can’t keep his hands off her… political maneuvers are not the forte of the Stark family. Except Sansa. She learns in King’s Landing when to speak, what to say, and when to shut up. She begins to learn who she can trust, but the trust is thin in the first place.

Now with her under the tutelage of Littlefinger, my baby girl Sansa is about to become a woman, a woman with political know-how no less! She knows the situation she’s in and what she has to do. This isn’t the naïve girl who first came to King’s Landing. This is a woman who knows who she is and her political position. With Littlefinger by her side, who knows…maybe we’ll have a Queen of the North.  She’s got the swag.

  • ru4real

    I agree. Sansa isn’t stupid, she’s only ignorant due to her naiveté. She was raised to be a great lady. She had no guidance for the harsh world around her. Ms. Turner’s performance in The Mockingbird was stellar. The most interesting thing to note is with the exception of the circumstances at the moon door, Sansa told the entire truth. Epic!

  • Dee

    I can’t decide whether people’s hatred of Sansa is a good thing b/c they are rejecting the submissive role she’s assigned in Westeros, or whether this hatred is a bad thing b/c it’s a rejection of girlishness.
    In the books, Sansa is a child (she’s 14?). She buys into the notions of chivalry she’s been fed her whole life. I love Arya, but I have a great deal of sympathy for the tragedy of Sansa’s life. She’s not malicious. She’s not mean. She’s not selfish. She’s just scared and naïve. That’s not hate-worthy.


    • Alexandra Mitchell

      I’m totally with you! I talked to a friend a while ago who said he couldn’t stand her because of her naivity. I had to remind him she’s supposed to be 14…what 14 year old isn’t naive?! A lot of Sansa’s story is stuff that happens to her, and she deals with it. Whereas Arya goes around making things happen. Perhaps it’s the passivity of her character people don’t like. But I still don’t get the Sansa hate.

      • Angelica Pling Esping

        Actually, in the first book she is 12.
        I really love Sansa as a character and always has.
        She is actually one of my favorite characters in the books (I too was once that young naïve) and she becomes so strong.
        And I think Sophie does a wonderful job in portraying her.

        • Rhiannon Kavity

          I agree 100%. I think part of the reason Sansa is so relatable is because she’s very realistic. What teenage girl isn’t lost and selfish and unsure of herself?

    • qe

      In the book she’s actually 11 (thirteen by book 4/5) which I think people do forget an awful lot of the time. They judge her as they would an adult whereas Arya gets more deference being judged by the standard of a child.

Find an HBO Series

More HBO

Subscribe to HBO
Countries HBO Is In
Watch Game of Thrones Online
Watch The Leftovers Online
Watch Silicon Valley Online
HBO Premiere & Air Dates
True Detective Streaming
Other Streaming Television
HBO Boxing Live Stream
Game of Thrones on DVD & Blu-Ray
Watch Cinemax Online