Game of Thrones: The Evolution of Sansa Stark
Warning: spoilers ahead!
Warning: spoilers ahead!
Text: Veronica Radyuk
Over the course of six seasons of Game of Thrones, we've been through a lot with the series' many storied heroes and heroines. The hair changes. The rises and falls to power. The deaths. The betrayals. The (literal) walks of shame. But of all of the character growth we've seen throughout the Seven Kingdoms, one heroine's stands out: that of Lady Sansa Stark.
After yesterday's major episode "Battle of the Bastards," everything we thought we knew or felt about Sansa changed (especially with that epic moment at the end when Ramsay's ravenous dogs feasted on him and Sansa just walked away smirking at the violence). She has officially become one of the most badass ladies of the show. Here's how it happened:
It's no surprise that many people found Sansa to be somewhat entitled at the start of the show; she spent the first few seasons mostly complaining about everything happening to her family. We'll admit it—we were annoyed too.
When Sansa had her brothers to lean on in the beginning, she wasn't afraid to flaunt their strength and the prestige of her family name in other people's faces (back then, being a Stark was basically equivalent to a Kennedy in the Game of Thrones realm). Unfortunately, even her confidence was annoying.
Yes you were, Sansa. But due to unfortunate circumstances, she ended up getting betrothed to the evil little boy that was King Joffrey. Although the lavish lifestyle satisfied her at first, she soon realized how big of a mistake it all was when moving to King's Landing.
Things escalated rather quickly and she was not afraid to admit that she had been naive, and that Joffrey was pretty much the worst person in Westeros (he did sentence her father to be executed and made her watch it). It was around this time that our sympathy began to take root.
After what felt like forever, she finally mustered up the confidence to go off on Joffrey, leaving him speechless. Unfortunately, the bastard king didn't take kindly to her backtalk. It was here that we saw our first taste of sass from our lady Stark, and our interest began to peak. After all, the enemy of my enemy...
When she escaped King's Landing with Littlefinger, a whole new Sansa was born (with a whole new look, complete with a dye job that did not go under appreciated). For the first time, we felt like we might actually be beginning to—dare we say it—admire Sansa.
From the minute we met Robin Arryn, we wanted to smack him. When Sansa finally did, our admiration became respect.
And then came Ramsay, who made Joffrey look like a sweet old lady. Sansa's strength in the face of his unimaginable abuse had us rooting for the rightful heir to Winterfell, and respecting her resolve in finding a way out of her horrific circumstances.
You've got to give it to her: she was brave enough to bolt, even if that meant potential death.
When she finally reunited with her brother Jon, even he noticed her emotional growth. She tried to warn him of the flaws in his battle tactics, but he wouldn't listen, only offering her protection—to which she responded with the only lesson life has taught her: "No one can protect you." Here, Sansa's story arch reaches its climax; she realizes that Jon will lose, and so she takes matters into her own hands, having reached out a few episodes earlier for reinforcements from Littlefinger. Just when it looked like Jon and his army were about to fall, she arrived with the Veil's army in tow, a herald of victory.
The episode ends with Sansa finally getting her revenge on Ramsay. As his bruised and bloodied body sits in a cage Sansa releases his demonic hounds (that he had not fed for seven days, mind you). She stares and watches as they tear his flesh apart and eat him alive, as she says "Your words will disappear." She then walks away and smiles to herself, making for the biggest mic drop of the show. Sansa's back at it in Winterfell, better than ever.