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In Defense of Sansa Stark

Updated on October 25, 2012
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark

I’m a fan of the Game of Thrones television series, haven’t read the book yet , but hoping to get to that in the future. Anyway, I’ve noticed that some people of the book and television fandom hate Sansa Stark. I can’t defend what she has done in the book, but I don’t think her character in the television series deserves to be hated so much for such petty reasons.

Sansa picked Joffrey over her sister.

In season one Sansa lies to King Robert, and her father about Joffrey attacking Arya and her friend. I remember watching this part and yelling to the screen “OH NO YOU DIDN’T! YOU LITTLE BITCH! HOW DARE YOU LIE TO PROTECT THE UGLY VERSION OF DRACO MALFOY!” Sansa did get her comeuppance when Ned had to execute her wolf a few minutes later, so I thought the score was pretty even.

To other people what Sansa did was unforgivable. I would agree that protecting Joffrey was stupid, but at that point Joffrey didn’t kill her dad, and wasn’t publicly humiliating her yet. Sansa believed that Joffrey would be her Prince, and that they would have a loving relationship, just like her parents. She’s very much like the delusional Twilight fangirls, with exceedingly high expectations. She was protecting what she thought would be her new family. You can’t blame her for that.

Later on she has to endure the abuse from Joffrey and her eyes are open to the truth, and she learns not be so naïve.

Sansa is shallow, and too girly.

She’s about 12-14 in the television series. I personally don’t know many pleasant teenage girls. She doesn't know how to fight because she was never expected to do so; she was molded to be this princess, and perfect wife for somebody. Therefore she behaves like any normal girl of her position would behave.

Sansa doesn’t do anything.

I’ve heard the argument that Sansa should just kill Joffrey even if that means sacrificing her own life, because that’s better than whining and crying in King’s Landing. Let me allow that to sink in for a bit.

What do you expect her to do? She was never trained in physical combat, she doesn't have power over anybody in King's Landing either, so how is she going to go about killing Joffrey Killing herself in the process isn't going to help her either; she has a brother out there killing armies’ of men to get her back home, and a mother who will probably go insane if she died. It’s very important that Sansa doesn't put herself in danger.

Sansa realizes that she’s walking on egg shells the entire time she’s in King’s Landing, she can’t fight with weapons, but she can use words that go over the top of Joffrey s head. She also pretends to love him so that they have a reason to keep her alive. She knows how to play the game, and is surviving the only way she knows how. Let’s give her some credit for that.

Sansa Stark is far from being my favorite character of the series, but I don’t think she’s a horrible person. Not everybody can be as bad-ass as Daenerys or as strong or manipulative as Cersei I really love the diverse nature of the characters in Game of Thrones, it’s what makes them more real. Sansa behaves like a stupid teenager because she is a stupid teenager. She grows as a character, and I feel very sympathetic towards her.


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      Tyrell/Martell ftw! 3 years ago

      I think Sansa is a realistic character. And guys please remember that she didn't know about things like betrayals and lies.

      Also, she was blinded by love, and that leads you to Do stupid stuff. I know, because i have been in love and done stupid things.

      And if you think about it, Sansa has survived for a Long time. Whilst other more badass characters have died. So she is getting smarter at least.

    • pinkhub profile image

      pinkhub 5 years ago

      Sansa's intention wasn't to have Ned killed, she thought Joffrey would let her dad go but when Joffrey beheaded Ned then that's when she realized that her Prince wasn't like anything from the Stories.

      I fixed the names, sorry about that.

      Dang, I really need to start reading the book.

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      Tim 5 years ago

      In the show, Sansa's true annoying pettiness doesn't quite show through as well.

      Losing Nymeria isn't a punishment, its the symbolic representation of her actions. She's betrayed her family, and just as importantly the values her family tried to teach her. Her family places loyalty and honor above everything else and in her first real test, Sansa discards both.

      Later on, she's unrepentant, blaming Arya for her losing Nymeria, failing to realize it was her own actions that lead to that. She continues to back Joffery over her own family, even after seeing him be cruel to other people and continues to do little other than complain.

      Even later as mentioned, its her direct actions that lead to Ned's beheading. Its not until she sees the very embodiment of her families values killed that she starts to realize how far she's deviated from her upbringing.

      But that's not the reason she continues to be hated. The reason I, and I imagine most people don't like her, is that she does nothing. And not in the sense that she does nothing, its that she doesn't even begin to plan on how to make a move, let along try to make one. She never makes any real attempt to plan an escape, instead dreaming of a knight in shining armor to rescue her. She never makes any attempt to better her situation by making allies (outside of Shae, who really is the one who takes the initiative, not Sansa), nor makes any attempt to better herself either by study or conversation. Even her improvements in court behavior and subterfuge are forced upon her by Cersei and Littlefinger, not something she actively works for. This wouldn't be too bad, after she is just a 14 year old girl, except she's the only one to behave like this. Ever other child character, Bran, Arya, Gendry, Jojen, Meera, even Jon, Robb and Samwell all make attempts to better themselves or their situation, despite often being in worse circumstances. The only other character as passive as Sansa is Rickon, a 5 year old, and even Rickon is happy to put up a fight when he needs too(mostly though encouraging Shaggy Dog, but still).

      This is why Sansa is disliked. Shes not a character. She's not a participant. She's a tool and a prize. Something to be bandied about while whining about her situation. Yes, she's become bearable in the later books, but this is more because she's stopped complaining and now simply serves as a set of eyes for the behind the scenes machinations of the more powerful characters.

    • kanizm profile image

      kanizm 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Love for the stupid teenage girl, I hear you.

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      Ian 5 years ago

      Don't worry, Rickon's post is pure BS. Read the books and you'll know why people don't like Sansa (I'm in that camp). In the beginning, she was placing more value in outsiders than in her family, which given the setting seems incredibly stupid and unrealistic. Compared to Jon or Robb or even Arya, it's telling how un-Stark like she really can be sometimes.

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      Anon 5 years ago

      To Rickon:

      How is that relevant to the article? People who haven't read as far in the books as you have now had it spoiled.

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      Rachel 5 years ago

      "Not everybody can be as bad-ass as Daenerys or as strong or manipulative as Ceresi. "

      I'd disagree with you on both of these counts, but I get what you are trying too say. You should definitely read the books!

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      Rachel 5 years ago

      I think that once you read her chapters in the book, you may not agree with her critics, but you can at least see where they are coming from. As others have already pointed out, I still haven't forgiven her for telling Queen Cersei about Ned, which promptly led to his death. She definitely has a chance to redeem herself, and since she is a Stark, I hope she does. However, I am not holding my breath.

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      whitewolf 5 years ago

      I agree on certain points, but I didn't like her that much either in the beginning... as the series goes on I liked her more and more and in the books you also get a better insight into her thinking and feelings. but PLEASE: it's Joffrey, not Jofferey, and Cersei, not Ceresi ;)

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      Steven 5 years ago

      You're forgetting that Ned died due to Sansa revealing his plan to leave King's Landing to Cersei.

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      Will 5 years ago

      In the book Sansa actually tells Queen Cersei about Ned Starks plans pertaining to moving Sansa and Arya out of the city essentially screwing over her own father and giving Cersei a lead that led to Ned's death. It is my right to hate Sansa, not in a sexist way, but in the same way one might hate Pippin in the first Lord of the Rings for screwing over the best characters due to negligence.

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      Jake 5 years ago

      Nice thoughts and analysis. Hopefully she can "redeem" herself in the future!

    • pinkhub profile image

      pinkhub 5 years ago

      Amen to that RachaelLefler.

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 5 years ago from Illinois

      I agree. Sansa is merely acting like a normal girl, confused and scared and alone in a strange new place. The world she lives in is not nice to women at all, or a good place for children, either, but why should that mean she isn't allowed to act feminine or like the teenager she is?