Warning: Contains Spoilers
While everyone else let their eyes adjust to the harsh light of day after the intense, and literal, darkness of The Long Night, Daenerys Targaryen had hers set on King’s Landing.
Warning: spoilers below…
All eight seasons of Game of Thrones have, so far, been leading us to believe Daenerys will eventually sit on the Iron Throne. After all, she walked into a fire with three stones and came out with three dragons. It is, she believes, her destiny to rid the world of tyrants – something she can only do by usurping Cersei from the Iron Throne.
However, Dany isn’t the only woman in the series to have gone through a hell of character arc and come out stronger on the other side (shout out to Brienne and Missandei). And while Arya stole the show in the previous episode, in the recent The Last of the Starks, she made it clear (especially to Gendry), that she has no desire to be the head of any household.
Episode four also gave us the first hint that Dany may be losing her grip on things. This could either be a reference to her father – the ‘Mad King’ Aerys Targaryen, who succumbed to madness due to his incestuous lineage. Or, after such heavy losses, both to her personally and to her armies, coupled with her new knowledge of Jon’s rightful claim to the throne, Dany is losing control and making mistakes – resulting in two significant deaths in the latest episode.
Because of this, and because of her level-headedness, many viewers are turning to Sansa to win the game of thrones, especially as The Last of the Starks may as well have ended with her turning to Dany and saying: ‘I told you so.’
moral of the story: listen to sansa you mfs
and it's not only for dany, applies to jon too pic.twitter.com/lVb88o4AVe
— nay ⎊ (@marvelskywaIker) May 6, 2019
It’s certainly a compelling thought – Cersei has to go (we hope), Jon doesn’t want the throne, while Dany wants it so much she could lose everything in the process. Which pretty much leaves Sansa.
Game of Thrones is perfectly set up for Sansa to win it all. She's the most level-headed individual left and has always been the most underestimated character. Cersei's gonna die. Jon Snow doesn't want it. Dany isn't going to get it. Sansa Stark ladies and gents. pic.twitter.com/F28j9INUX8
— Matthew Peters (@MatthewPeters09) May 6, 2019
Dany is a TERRIBLE strategist lol. Sansa literally tried to tell them. I can’t believe Sansa actually been smart as shit recently. That is beyond me
— GP (@requestGranted) May 6, 2019
And though it may be a bit of a dick move to tell Tyrion about Jon’s true parentage, right after Jon swore her to secrecy, it’s not really surprising, is it. Sansa definitely picked up a certain manipulative ruthlessness from her time with Cersei and Littlefinger, and she’ll be very aware that telling Tyrion means Varys will find out and the two of them will start plotting.
everyone say thank you to cersei, shae, margaery and littlefinger for shaping sansa to the political genius she is today. pic.twitter.com/BOoHxAapI6
— lady of winterfell (@deludedbravery) May 6, 2019
On the other hand, some people have made their reservations about Sansa in the latest episode clear – particularly because of her conversation with Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane.
While talking with Sansa after the battle, Clegane says ‘You’ve changed, Little Bird’, using Cersei’s old nickname for her. He adds: ‘None of it would’ve happened if you’d left King’s Landing with me. No Littlefinger. No Ramsay. None of it.’
Sansa replies: ‘Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life.’
Sansa's scene with Tyrion reminded me of this.
— DUMB STUPID SHIT (@alvinnaeg) May 6, 2019
Some viewers, however, have called it ‘sick’ and ‘disappointing’ that the GoT writers gave Sansa the line, which implies that if she hadn’t suffered years of abuse at the hands of Joffrey, Littlefinger and Ramsay Bolton, she wouldn’t have grown into the powerful character she is today.
It is sick and disappointing that a GoT man wrote "Actually, it's good I got raped and abused bc now I'm a strong, empowered woman"
— Erin Strecker (@ErinStrecker) May 6, 2019
dan & david making sansa say that she needed to be abused in order to grow up is such bullshit,, a woman doesnt have to experience rape to develop as a character get out of here with your pathetic attempts to excuse your unnecessary violence against women
— lauren (@sansastcrk) May 6, 2019
hate what the writers did to sansa last night. by making her “thankful” for her past abuse they’ve insinuated that the only way a woman could grow to be a strong, smart, character is if she endures brutality and trauma.
— ashleigh deCarr (@ashdecarr) May 6, 2019
It’s several hours later and I’m still so fucking mad that D&D made Sansa say that repeated sexual trauma was the only thing that made her strong. Sansa was always strong. Trauma made her practical – and cynical. And these men are so bad at writing women. #GameofThrones
— kaye toal (@ohkayewhatever) May 6, 2019
While others, however, thought Sansa’s comment was understandable:
Nope. From a rape survivor, some of us accept what we cannot change, while loving who we are despite and after such trauma. I felt what was meant here, and it ain't appreciation for Ramsay or anyone else.
— Queen Checkbox Gets Rowdy (@vote_checkbox) May 6, 2019
What’s important to me, was the subtext that he is sorry for all the shit she went through on his watch and she’s telling him that it’s okay. She knows he tried and it all (including his harshness and failure to save her) made her stronger.#GameofThronesSpoilers pic.twitter.com/SY6pPGgk9N
— Fangirl Jeanne (@fangirlJeanne) May 6, 2019
With only two episodes to go, it seems Sansa may have just taken the lead in the race to the Iron Throne.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.