As Game of Thrones season 7 begins the Starks are riding high on their biggest victory ever. Winterfell is reclaimed and Jon is the new King of the North with a huge amount of support. Still, all is not well for the family and that is mainly because the only two living members who are working together are fighting. While there was tension between Jon and Sansa in season 6, the season 7 premiere “Dragonstone” made it clear that things will get a lot worse before they get better, if at all, between them. While Jon and Sansa deserve some happiness and “sibling” harmony, their bickering and misery is really only the audience’s gain.

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Fire and Ice … Again

As a very stoic and self-serious character, Jon rarely pops off the screen when he is by himself. Jon has had his moments, most of them on the battlefield, but he can be a bit boring when he is not swinging a sword around. A season full of Jon leading the army in the North without any big obstacles, besides the White Walkers, would be rather drab. 

Jon is not meant to be a barrel of laughs but he really does lack the charisma and charm that Robb had as a king. Game of Thrones can’t do the same thing with Jon as King in the North as they did with Robb and not just because Robb got his head chopped off at the end of his reign. Jon is at his best when he is playing off a more dynamic or strong-willed character. It is perfect that in season 7 Sansa is set to be Jon’s most frequent scene partner and biggest obstacle. 

The dynamic between Jon and Sansa gets to the heart of both characters and their flaws. Jon has always been a character who is most concerned with the most immediate threats while Sansa, even frustrating so, plays the long game. Jon is too concerned about the White Walkers and Sansa is too consumed by the political threats plaguing them. Sansa and Jon need both perspectives to rule effectively but in the beautiful tragedy that is Game of Thrones, both are too stubborn to really listen to each other. 

Much like Jon is at his best when interacting with other characters, Game of Thrones is at its best when it comes to interpersonal conflict. Jon and Sansa’s entire arcs on the show have been building up to their current position. Jon believes that the White Walkers are the biggest threat to himself and his family and Sansa feels the same way about Cersei and the rest. Neither of them are wrong and that is the reason that the conflict works so well. Littlefinger is a snake in the grass trying to facilitate a problem between Sansa and Jon over the fact that he is the King and she is not the Queen. While that is an element of Jon and Sansa’s conflict, the heart of the matter is nowhere near as petty. They both want to be in power not to just have the power but because they both think they know best. This stalemate of morality is the perfect breeding ground for conflict and good stories.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If Game of Thrones ever reaches a point where Littlefinger becomes a less subtle Iago from Othello, there will be a problem with the Jon and Sansa storyline. For now, though Game of Thrones is playing things supremely well. The conflict between them doesn’t make either Sansa and Jon look like an idiot or as if they are ruling with emotions and not logic. They are simply too people with wildly different views who want the best for each other. Their affection for each other is only making their argument more intense. 

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Sansa and Jon are really the perfect microcosm of Game of Thrones. They are equally torn between the two big poles of the series. One wants to fight the supernatural war against the forces of darkness while the other is more concerned about the more grounded war for the Iron Throne. 

It’s for this reason that as Game of Thrones reaches its endgame, Sansa and Jon could be the most compelling dynamic on the show. They really represent the fans in most respects. They are those viewers that want to see more White Walkers and those who want to see more castle invasions and political scheming. If Game of Thrones took just one route the show would be boring and repetitive. It is the mixture of the two, just like Sansa and Jon’s arguments, that spices things up and makes the show special. 

But what do you think of Sansa and Jon’s power struggle? Are you intrigued or are they both being too stubborn? How do you think Littlefinger will factor into the fighting? Whose side are you on? Will they ever be able to see eye to eye?

Game of Thrones season 7 airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Want more news? Like our Game of Thrones Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of HBO)