Sansa Stark is arguably the most maligned character on Game of Thrones. In a series full of characters with awful lives, Sansa easily wins the contest no one wants to win. It’s not just in the world of Game of Thrones either that Sansa has come up against opposition. The fandom was even against Sansa for the majority of her arc but that’s all starting to change. Sansa, who was previously one of the weakest players in the game for the Iron Throne has now become one of, if not the person who deserves it most.
Hardened Through Oppression
To borrow and an over-used metaphor, Sansa is the diamond of Game of Thrones characters. She started the series off as a lump of coal, an annoying, whiny and idealistic lump of coal. Hardship and pressure (AKA never-ending torture of the physical and mental kind) all the naivety and foolishness of Sansa has been burned away leaving a white hot diamond of politic savvy. Sansa has become such a great player because she has directly experienced how wrong things can go if one is foolish, headstrong or otherwise an idiot.
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More than that though everything that Sansa has suffered as lit a fire in her belly. When Game of Thrones began Sansa had a very idealistic view of the world. Sansa saw the world as a fairy tale. She would be whisked off by her handsome prince, be loved by the people and her betrothed and live happily ever after as the beautiful queen. Instead Sansa was engaged to a tiny sociopath born out of incest and then later shipped off to be married to a taller sociopath with even more violent tendencies. Rather than discourage her, Sansa’s hardships has made her want to fight back and know exactly how to get what she wants.
Though there were probably countless other ways to do it, Game of Thrones did achieve one thing by having Sansa be shipped off to Ramsay by Littlefinger. Sansa has now wisely learned that no one can be trusted. After fleeing King’s Landing, Sansa did put a lot of faith in Littlefinger because she had no one else. The one and only good thing than can be said of Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay is that she gained independence. Sansa isn’t playing anyone else’s game anymore she is playing her own. It might not sound like much but Daenerys has proved for 6 seasons how important being ruthless and fed up can be for conquering.
The Most Experienced and Most Ready to Rule
To go back to Daenerys, Sansa has something that that Dany will never be able to gain no matter how many armies she conquers. Sansa has first-hand experience of growing up in Westeros and living in King’s Landing. Dany might have Tyrion has her de-facto Hand of the Queen but it is a big difference of having a trusted adviser and knowing it for yourself. Sansa has spent a long time in King’s Landing and has seen all the ugly sides and weaknesses. She knows exactly where to strike.
Not to mention, Game of Thrones has strongly established that Sansa has the support her people. “The North Remembers,” is one of the constant refrains of Game of Thrones. The North supports and loves the Starks probably more than the people in any other region in Westeros. We’ve been told that the people want the Targaryens to come back to Westeros but we haven’t seen it. That information is coming mainly from biased sources like Varys and Viserys, people who have an invested interest in the Targaryens ruling again.
Game of Thrones has shown evidence of the North remembering and loving the Starks countless times. As the oldest surviving child of Ned Stark, Sansa should have quite the army waiting for her once she reclaims her home.
A Kind and Wise Ruler
The number one reason Sansa deserves the Iron Throne is that she is genuinely good person. It’s true that Dany is trying to stop slavery and oppression in Essos, which makes her a “good” person. It’s also true that Dany has killed a huge number of people. Dany is a tyrant but because we agree with her morality, it is easy to excuse the fact that Dany gains power by slaughtering by the thousands. In actuality there is not much that separates Dany from her father the Mad King besides the fact that she appears sane (for now). Dany really is fire personified, she might burn with reason and purpose but the flames can easily stretch.
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Sansa, on the other hand, has very directed goals. She doesn’t trust Littlefinger and banishes him from ever helping her again. She wants to take back her home and kill Ramsay. If Sansa ever turned her gaze towards King’s Landing, she would also probably have another very directed goal of taking out the Lannisters, the family that tortured her for years.
There is a big difference between Sansa and Dany’s pursuits for vengeance. Sansa is personally offended and is determined to take out the enemies of those who mean herself and her family harm. Dany is taking out anyone who disagrees with her on just an ideological basis. It’s very easy to imagine that if Dany takes the Iron Throne that things could turn quickly to violence and blood. With Sansa, once her enemies are defeated the people would live in relative peace.
Dany might see herself as a wise and kind ruler but her actions speak otherwise. She has upended the economy of the city she rules. She has sparked a deadly civil war and has 3 dragons, flying beasts of death and destruction, who she has no idea how to control. Sansa would be the type of leader that Dany desires to be in Westeros and she wouldn’t even have to wrestle a dragon to do it. Sansa is the exact person who needs to be ruling Westeros which means it probably will never happen. This is Game of Thrones, the happiest outcome never happens.
But what do you think? Is Sansa the perfect ruler on Game of Thrones? Who is the better hypothetical rule, Sansa or Dany? Who do you want to see sit the Iron Throne?
Game of Thrones season 6 airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.
(Images courtesy of HBO)