- "I did what I had to do to survive, my lady. But I am a Stark, I will always be a Stark."
- ―Sansa to Lyanna Mormont
Sansa Stark is the eldest daughter and second child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North. Sansa was born and raised at Winterfell. She has an older brother, Robb, two younger brothers, Bran and Rickon, a younger sister, Arya, and a "bastard half-brother" Jon Snow, with whom she had a distant relationship due to her mother's influence (which, like her mother, Sansa later regretted). Sansa enjoys proper "lady-like" pursuits and is good at sewing, embroidering, poetry, singing, dancing, literature, etiquette, history, and music. When she was young she dreamed of being a queen like Cersei Lannister, and that just like in the epic songs she would meet her knight in shining armor. She has inherited her mother's Tully coloring, and Lady Catelyn thought Sansa will be even more beautiful than she was when she was younger. She is often seen in contrast with her sister Arya, who has neither her looks nor her accomplishments in feminine activities and comportment.
When her brothers find an orphaned litter of direwolf pups, Sansa adopts the gentlest one and names her Lady. King Robert Baratheon visits Winterfell to offer Sansa's father the position of Hand of the King. Robert also offers to betroth his son Joffrey to Sansa. Sansa, who is very taken with the handsome young prince, thinks this is a splendid notion. She longs for the excitement of the capital and begs her parents to agree to the match until they do so. Eddard takes the office of Hand and decides to take his daughters with him to the capital.
At the Inn at the Crossroads beside the Kingsroad, Joffrey offers to walk Sansa along the riverbank after the disquieting experience of meeting Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's headsman. They find Arya practicing her swordsmanship with Mycah, a butcher's son, and Joffrey starts to hurt him for acting above his station and striking a girl of noble blood. Arya strikes Joffrey, and when the prince threatens her with his sword, Arya's direwolf, Nymeria, intervenes and bites Joffrey's arm. Arya and Mycah flee and Joffrey cries before snapping at Sansa to get him help. Sansa is taken before Robert and his retainers and asked to corroborate Joffrey's claim, that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack. Arya tells her to tell the truth, but to Arya's fury, Sansa is worried about upsetting her betrothal with Joffrey, so she says that it happened too fast for her to know. Cersei orders that Arya's direwolf be executed for harming Joffrey, but when the direwolf cannot be found, she suggests that Sansa's own direwolf Lady be substituted for Nymeria. Sansa and Arya are horrified Lady will be killed and protest. Eddard, furious with Robert for agreeing to this, carries out the execution himself, to Sansa's anguish.
Arriving in King's Landing, Sansa's enmity towards Arya and her father continues. Eddard fails to mollify Sansa by buying her a doll as she hasn't played with dolls for years. Eddard explains to Arya that Sansa could not defy Joffrey or go against his version of events if Sansa wished to maintain his goodwill in marriage.
Septa Mordane shows Sansa the throne room of the Red Keep as part of a history lesson, Sansa realizes that her grandfather and uncle were killed there by the Mad King. Sansa is fearful that she will not be able to give Joffrey sons, only daughters like her friend Jeyne Poole's mother, but Mordane doesn't think this likely. At the Hand's tournament, Sansa witnesses the Mountain killing Ser Hugh of the Vale during a joust. Littlefinger tells Sansa about how Gregor burned the face of his brother, the Hound, when they were very young. Sandor is Joffrey's bodyguard and Littlefinger advises against repeating the story to Sandor.Sansa is given a flower by Ser Loras Tyrell, the famous Knight of the Flowers, before his tilt with Ser Gregor Clegane. He gives the flower to Sansa, but he is looking at Renly who is sitting behind her. She witnesses him defeating Gregor, and Gregor's subsequent furious attack on him, which is halted only by the intervention of Sandor. She joins the smallfolk in applauding Sandor's actions.
Sansa and Septa Mordane are embroidering, and Sansa speaks very rudely to her. Joffrey visits Sansa and gives her a present, a pendant identical to that of Cersei. He also apologizes for the incident on the Kingsroad and kisses her, winning back her favor, as well as expressing his fondness towards their marriage and Sansa's future as Queen. Unbeknownst to Sansa, this was done at the suggestion of Cersei, who had recently informed Joffrey that the North must be kept under their control through his marriage to Sansa. Sansa is later told by her father that he is sending her and Arya back to Winterfell, and her betrothal to Joffrey is to be broken. Sansa refuses to accept this. She tells them that she loves Joffrey, she will be his queen and give him beautiful blonde-haired children. Sansa says Joffrey will be a great king and a golden lion. When Arya points out that Joffrey isn't a lion, but a stag like his father, Sansa angrily says Joffrey is nothing like Robert. This inadvertently leads Eddard to realize that Joffrey and his siblings are not Robert's true children. Eddard tells Sansa and Arya that they are returning to Winterfell, over Sansa's furious protests.
King Robert dies following a hunting accident, and Eddard attempts to reveal the truth about Joffrey to prevent him from taking the throne. Eddard is betrayed by Littlefinger, his guards are killed and he is arrested. Eddard's retinue at the Red Keep is slaughtered by Lannister guardsmen led by Sandor. Mordane moves to confront the Lannister soldiers while telling Sansa to lock herself in their rooms. Sansa is taken into custody by Sandor and brought to Cersei.She pleads for her father's cause, insisting that a mistake has been made, and proclaims her own loyalty. Cersei says that she will believe Sansa is loyal on the condition that Sansa writes to Robb, asking him to bend the knee and swear fealty to Joffrey. The letter is unsuccessful and instead, Robb raises an army and marches south to relieve the Riverlands from the Lannister armies. Sansa again pleads for mercy and for her father's life, this time in front of the entire court, and Joffrey agrees to give Eddard mercy if he admits his wrongdoing and acknowledges Joffrey as the true king. Sansa says that she is sure he will.
At his trial, Eddard Stark acknowledges his "crimes" and swears loyalty to King Joffrey. To Sansa's utter shock and horror, Joffrey nevertheless orders to execute her father. Distraught, Sansa is screaming and forcibly restrained. Despite her increasingly hysterical pleas for mercy for her father, Ser Ilyn Payne nonetheless carries out the execution with the Starks' own family greatsword, Ice, prompting Sansa to faint in horror.
Days later, Sansa is in court and watches as Joffrey orders the removal of the tongue of the singer Marillion, who has written a song unfavorable to the royal family. Joffrey then takes Sansa to the traitor's walkway, where the severed heads of executed criminals are mounted on spikes along the castle walls. He draws Sansa's attention to the severed heads of her father and Septa Mordane and forces her to look at them.
Sansa refuses to give Joffrey the satisfaction of seeing her upset and shows no emotional response. Joffrey tells her that executing Eddard was showing mercy, as he gave him a quick death, and he suggests that he will mount her brother Robb's head on the wall after defeating him. Sansa retorts that maybe Robb will take Joffrey's head instead. Furious, Joffrey has Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard strike her. Joffrey tells Sansa that they are still to be married. Sansa contemplates pushing Joffrey off the walkway but is discreetly stopped by Sandor. After Joffrey and Meryn leave, Sandor gives her a cloth to attend to her cut lip and tells her that she will be needing it again.
Sansa remains a captive of Queen Regent Cersei in King's Landing. She has learned to feign loyalty to Joffrey to avoid further abuse from him. She attends Joffrey's name day tournament and convinces him to spare Ser Dontos Hollard when he attends drunk.
Sansa is forced to sit through the Lannisters discussing killing her brother Robb over dinner. She vents her frustration on her new handmaid Shae. When Robb wins a crushing victory at the Battle of Oxcross, Joffrey responds by having Sansa stripped and beaten in front of the court. Tyrion intervenes and offers to end her engagement to Joffrey, but she retains her facade of loyalty, impressing the Imp.
Sansa attends the departure of Princess Myrcella Baratheon for Dorne. She stands up to Joffrey when he mocks his brother Tommen for crying. As the royal party returns to the Red Keep, Joffrey is struck by excrement thrown by the angry crowd. Joffrey causes a citywide riot by demanding that his guards kill all of the smallfolk present. In the chaos, Sansa is separated from the rest of the group and as she tries to flee to safety, she is pursued by a group of men who nearly rape her. She is rescued by the Hound, just as Tyrion is in the process of browbeating Joffrey for losing her in the first place. Shae treats her injuries and Sansa confides she thought the rioters were going to kill her, observing how they hated her and wonders why they would hate a stranger so much. Shae replies it is because Sansa has more than they will ever have, that her horse eats better than their children. Sansa says she would have given them food if she had it and she too hates Joffrey more than anyone. Shae warns her not to say such things and to trust no-one.Sansa has a nightmare that she is being stabbed by her attackers from the riots. She wakes up to find her mattress bloodied by the onset of her first period. Shae tries to help Sansa conceal the evidence as it means she is ready to bear Joffrey's children. The Hound catches them and (reluctantly) informs the Queen. Cersei gives Sansa advice on motherhood, reassuring her that even if she never loves Joffrey, she will love her children with him. However, Cersei tells Sansa not to love anybody except for her children, "The more people you love, the weaker you are."
Stannis Baratheon sails his fleet into the bay outside King's Landing, triggering the Battle of the Blackwater. Sansa is summoned to the throne room to say goodbye to Joffrey. He forces her to kiss his new sword and she subtly undermines his bravado. She then takes refuge in Maegor's Holdfast with Shae where Cersei is hosting the women of the court there. Cersei mocks Sansa's faith and reveals Ilyn Payne is present to kill them all if the walls are breached. She drunkenly advises Sansa to use her sexuality as a weapon. Eventually, Cersei storms out, believing the battle lost. Sansa attempts to keep the morale of the women up with prayers and singing.
Later, Shae tells Sansa to return to her chambers and bar her door to keep her safe should Stannis breach the keep. Sansa finds Sandor waiting for her inside. He tells her that he is going north and offers to take her with him. She is reluctant to leave the potential safety of being rescued by Stannis but he warns her that all men are killers. Stannis's force is ultimately defeated by a host of House Lannister and House Tyrell reinforcements led by Tywin Lannister.
Sansa attends court as Joffrey doles out rewards. Tywin is named Savior of the City and Hand of the King, Petyr Baelish is made Lord of Harrenhal and Loras Tyrell is allowed to name a favor from the king. He asks Joffrey to marry his sister Margaery. Joffrey asks Margaery if this is what she wants while Cersei looks at Sansa deviously.
Joffrey says that he would be honored to return Margaery's love, but regrets that he is promised to Sansa. Cersei suggests Joffrey set Sansa aside because of her family's treachery. Joffrey accepts the betrothal. Joffrey states that he will adore her from this until his last day - the same endearment he once offered Sansa. Sansa turns away, feigning sadness but allowing herself laughter once she has privacy.
Sansa's revelry is halted by Petyr consoling her; she pretends to be upset. Petyr crushes her hopes of freedom and warns her that her situation has worsened, as she will no longer have the token protection of becoming Joffrey's queen but will remain his captive. Petyr tells her that she reminds him of her mother and vows to help her return home. Sansa is reluctant to trust him and maintains her facade.
Sansa and Shae sit on the docks watching ships arrive and depart. Sansa wants to play a game making up stories about where the ships are headed, but Shae, in typical fashion, is uninterested. Sansa tells Shae that she enjoys the game because the truth is either "terrible or boring." Baelish arrives and tells Sansa of a new role that he has taken which will allow him to leave King's Landing, and offers to smuggle her out of the city. She is hesitant about the idea.Sansa discusses the possibility of Littlefinger being in love with her, but Shae warns her that Baelish is manipulative and men usually want "one thing" from young ladies. Margaery and her grandmother Olenna Tyrell invite her to lunch in the gardens, where they ask her about Joffrey, after being escorted by her chambers by Loras. Sansa is initially too fearful to speak the truth, but eventually breaks down, her eyes blazing, and angrily recounts how Joffrey had said he would show her father mercy, only to behead him in front of her, and how he then took her up to the wall and forced her to look at her father's head on a spike. Sansa nervously attempts to backtrack, but Olenna tells her that they will never betray her confidence. Sansa admits that Joffrey is a "monster".
While the daughter and sister of traitors, Sansa is a very valuable hostage. If Robb Stark dies, she becomes "the key to the North" as the Lady of Winterfell, greatly increasing the power of whichever house she marries into. To prevent Littlefinger from gaining power, Varys suggests to Olenna that a Tyrell marry Sansa.
While she prays at the Red Keeps's godswood under guard, Margaery comes and talks to her, telling her that they should see Highgarden, the Tyrell home, together. Sansa replies that Cersei would never allow her to leave King's Landing. Margaery tells her that she could be wife to her brother, and this idea pleases Sansa.
In the castle gardens, Sansa and Margaery watch Loras spar with his squire. Sansa confidently remarks on his fighting ability, and inquires when she and Loras will wed, as per the Tyrell plot to keep her out of the hands of Baelish and/or the Lannisters. Margaery replies that she will "plant the seed" of the idea after she and Joffrey are married. Sansa is skeptical Joffrey will let her go but Margaery is confident he will do it to please her, once she is his wife. However, Loras begins a sexual relationship with his squire, whom he tells of his engagement. Olyvar then passes that information on to his employer: Littlefinger. A short time later, Littlefinger meets with Sansa, offering her a place on his ship that will take him from the capital to the Vale of Arryn. Sansa practices lying for a change, and tells him that they should wait until after Joffrey's wedding, primarily because she fears for his safety if the plan fails. A master manipulator, Littlefinger is clearly suspicious of her motives, but doesn't press the matter for the moment. Instead, he says he is touched by her concern for his safety, and insists that she call him "Petyr."
The plan to wed Sansa to Loras fails when Cersei grows increasingly suspicious of the Tyrells and learns of the proposed marriage between Loras and Sansa through Petyr Baelish. This news prompts Tywin to arrange for Cersei to marry Loras and Tyrion to marry Sansa in order to curb the ambitions of House Tyrell and to bind two of the other great houses of the Seven Kingdoms closer to the Lannisters.
Still unaware of this plan, Loras and Sansa spend more time together in the following weeks, though Sansa is far more enthusiastic about their impending marriage than he is. Loras admits he's always wanted a big wedding with many guests, fancy food, and a good tournament, though he only seems to remember that there will be a bride when Sansa gives him an expectant look. One subject where they do find common ground is their shared hatred of King's Landing, with Loras declaring the capital to be "the most terrible place there is."
Tyrion decides he might as well dash Sansa's hopes sooner rather than later. He goes to Sansa's chamber and asks for a private word, but Sansa declines to dismiss Shae. Tyrion gives Shae a carefully coded apology for not telling her in private before breaking the news to Sansa. As she watches Littlefinger's ship depart for the Vale of Arryn, Sansa is devastated to realize that both of her chances to leave King's Landing have gone, and she has no choice but to marry into the family that killed her father and is keeping her hostage.
Margaery consoles her that Tyrion might be able to make her happy, given his skill as a lover. She concedes that there are worse Lannisters she could be wed to. Margaery informs Sansa of the variety of a woman's sexual interests, which baffles Sansa, asking if her mother taught her these things. Playing on Sansa's innocence, Margaery replies "Yes, sweet girl, my mother taught me".
Tyrion speaks with Sansa before their wedding at the Great Sept of Baelor; though he knows the girl is not thrilled at the prospect of marrying him. Tyrion promises Sansa that he will not mistreat her, and Sansa agrees there are worse Lannisters she could be wed to.
The ceremony is a grim affair; Joffrey smugly escorts Sansa to the altar in place of her father and petulantly removes the stool upon which Tyrion was to stand on to cloak Sansa in Lannister colors as part of the ceremony, eliciting snickers from the congregation (though the scowl of Lord Tywin quickly silences them). Tyrion in the face of humiliation asks Sansa to kneel and he places the cloak around her shoulders. The new High Septon begins the ceremony. Later as man and wife they have their reception dinner, which also proves a grim and miserable affair.
Tyrion then spends the wedding feast becoming steadily drunker, annoying Sansa, who asks if he will pardon her from their table, which he does. Against Cersei's ineffectual protests, Joffrey follows Sansa and taunts her that she finally found a way to marry a Lannister and soon she will have a Lannister baby. Joffrey ponders that it doesn't really matter which Lannister gets her pregnant and asks if she would like it if he would pay her a visit later when his uncle passes out. Although Sansa doesn't answer him, Joffrey sees that she is not enthused by the prospect but he brushes it off and says Meryn Trant and Boros Blount will hold her down.
Joffrey then claps his hands and declares it is time for the bedding ceremony, which visibly horrifies Sansa. Tyrion says there will be no bedding ceremony but Joffrey brushes him off, prompting Tyrion to loudly slam a dagger into a table and threaten his nephew with castration if he doesn't stop. Joffrey seethes with outrage but Tywin defuses the situation by telling Joffrey that his uncle is clearly quite drunk. Taking the hint, Tyrion plays along and takes a visibly relieved Sansa out of the room before Joffrey can take it any further.
Tyrion realizes how unhappy Sansa is with him and their marriage, and reassures her that they will not consummate it unless she wants to, even if that means never. The morning after the wedding, Shae is pleased to see that Sansa's bedsheets are unstained as it means that Sansa remains a virgin. Sansa and her new husband find themselves getting along rather well, sharing jokes and a common enemy in Joffrey. However, their cordial relationship suffers a crushing blow when Sansa receives news of the deaths of her mother and brother at the Red Wedding, an event orchestrated by Tyrion's father.river. Sansa excuses herself from the table, saying she is going to the godswood. When Tyrion offers that prayer can be helpful, Sansa reveals that she no longer prays - the godswood is the only place she can go where nobody talks to her. While in the godswood, Sansa is watched by Jaime and Brienne, and later finds herself being followed by someone. Her pursuer corners her, revealing himself to be Dontos Hollard, whose life she had saved earlier. Dontos expresses his gratitude to Sansa for speaking on his behalf while no one else would and offers her a necklace that had once belonged to his mother, saying it is the last heirloom of House Hollard. Sansa turns it down at first, not wanting to take something with such sentimental value but after urging from Dontos says she will wear it with pride.
Sansa attends a breakfast held before the wedding of Joffrey and Margaery. There, Joffrey is presented with a gift from Tywin: the second sword re-forged from Ice, the recently-destroyed ancestral sword of House Stark and which had been used spitefully to kill her father. Sansa shoots the sword a grim look of understanding when this occurs, and is shocked when the sword is turned on Tyrion's gift to Joffrey, a copy of The Lives of Four Kings. Joffrey names his new weapon Widow's Wail, commenting that he will be reminded of Ned Stark's beheading each time he uses it. Sansa looks on in obvious grief.
At the end of the wedding itself, Sansa comments bitterly that "we have a new queen". Tyrion encourages her to look on the bright side: at least she isn't Queen. Later, at the wedding feast, Olenna walks up to Sansa to offer her condolences over the Red Wedding and invites her to visit Highgarden sometime when things settle down. During the exchange, Olenna toys with Sansa's hair and Hollard's necklace in a grandmotherly fashion.
Meanwhile, Joffrey amuses himself with a farcical "reenactment" of the War of the Five Kings, with each king being played by a dwarf. The dwarf playing Robb wears a wolf's head that is eventually knocked off by the dwarf playing Joffrey. Sansa again looks on in grief. When Tyrion makes a veiled reference to his nephew's cowardice during the Battle of Blackwater, a furious Joffrey pours wine over his uncle's head and orders him to be his cupbearer to humiliate him further. Joffrey drops his goblet on purpose and then kicks it under the table when Tyrion tries to pick it up. Sansa, seemingly feeling pity for Tyrion, picks up the goblet and hands it to him.
At Sansa's behest, she and Tyrion try to leave, but Joffrey calls them back and demands Tyrion bring him the cup again. Tyrion grudgingly obliges but unbeknownst to everyone, Olenna had slipped some poison into Joffrey's cup. The poison had come from one of the stones on an unaware Sansa's necklace, which Dontos had given her and Olenna fiddled with earlier, allowing Olenna to retrieve the poison. Later, as Joffrey lies dying from being poisoned, Dontos Hollard approaches Sansa and encourages her to leave in order to save her life, a suggestion Sansa takes to heart.
After the events of the Purple wedding, Sansa and Dontos make a quick escape and get on a boat, leaving the city. Dontos takes Sansa to a ship which turns out to belong to Petyr Baelish. Baelish has Dontos killed to guarantee his silence and destroys the necklace Sansa was wearing. Sansa screams and asks why he killed Dontos. Baelish simply states that Dontos was working solely for money and that now, she is safe.
Petyr visits Sansa in her cabin and Sansa deduces that he was involved in Joffrey's death. After he tries to deny it, he simply ends up telling her everything about the wedding. Sansa is confused because of everything that the Lannisters have done for him and tells him that she doesn't believe that he would risk his life just to confuse the Lannisters. In response, Baelish states that he would risk anything to get what he wants. She asks him what he wants and he vaguely says "everything".
Sansa and Petyr are walking towards the Bloody Gate and Petyr educates Sansa on the Eyrie and its defenses. Sansa uses the disguise as Petyr's niece so no one knows who she is. When they enter the main hall, Sansa greets her aunt Lysa as Alayne, but Lysa interrupts her saying that she already knows who she is. However, Sansa cannot call Lysa 'Aunt' in front of anyone apart from Lysa, Petyr, and Sansa's cousin Robin, Lysa's son. Despite this, a joyful Robin offers Sansa a tour of the rest of the Eyrie.
Later that night, an annoyed Sansa can't sleep due to Lysa's constant screaming from consummating her marriage to Petyr. The next day, Lysa brings Sansa lemon cakes and tells her that Petyr brought three crates from the capital for Sansa. She tells Sansa a story about Catelyn when she was young, getting fat off how much sweet food she had, which makes Sansa feel self-conscious. She stops, but Lysa tells her to carry on. Lysa abruptly turns antagonistic, accusing her of having sex with Petyr. Sansa panics and tries to assure Lysa that she is a virgin. Lysa disregards this, grabbing her hand and squeezing hard. Sansa starts crying while saying that all Petyr says that she is a stupid little girl, with stupid dreams, who never learns and is a terrible liar. Lysa puts on a polite face again and assures her that it is all alright and after Tyrion is executed she can marry her cousin Robin. Sansa is not sure what to make of this.
After settling into the Eyrie, albeit with discomfort, Sansa wanders into the courtyards alone, as the snow falls around the Vale. The snow, reminding her of home, prompts her to build a snow castle resembling Winterfell. She has a short-lived friendly conversation with Robin before she snaps at him for ruining her snow castle. This results in a heated confrontation between the cousins, which ends in Robin running back inside, crying after Sansa slaps him. Petyr presents himself shortly afterward, and Sansa questions him as to why he really had Joffrey killed. She allows herself to smile slightly when he claims that he did it for Catelyn, the only woman he ever loved. Sansa is shocked when he kisses her on the lips, which Lysa witnesses. She summons Sansa to the High Hall, where she sits over the open Moon Door. Sansa begins to grow concerned when Lysa comments on how far the drop is to the ground. Lysa, enraged over Petyr's interest in Sansa, threatens to have her killed and nearly manages to push her out of the Moon Door to her death before Petyr intervenes. Sansa watches as he tells Lysa that he only ever loved Catelyn, before pushing her to her death.
Sansa, as "Alayne", is called to testify before Lord Yohn Royce, Lady Anya Waynwood, and Ser Vance Corbray before Baelish can get to her, much to his chagrin. Sansa quickly reveals her true identity and relates the tale of her captivity and flight from King's Landing. She then proceeds to truthfully tell of Lysa's mental instability, jealousy, and death, changing only a few small details (she kissed Littlefinger on the cheek and Lysa threw herself through the Moon Door). Sansa breaks down in tears and the lords are convinced, but while none of them are looking, she gives Littlefinger a stony, almost triumphant gaze; this indicates she is finally playing the ruthless game of thrones.Later, Baelish visits Sansa and asks why she lied on his behalf. Sansa explains that she has no idea what Royce and Waynwood would want from her if Littlefinger were eliminated, but she knows exactly what he wants. Later on, as Littlefinger and Robin prepare to depart on a tour of the Vale, Sansa accompanies them, appearing with noticeably darker reddish-brown hair and garbed in a feathered black dress with a plunging neckline. Runestone, along with Littlefinger and Yohn Royce, visibly unimpressed with Robin's sub-par skills at swordsmanship. Sansa notices that Littlefinger receives a raven message. Soon after, they leave Robin in the care of Lord Royce, for further training. On the carriage ride, Sansa questions Petyr as to why they are heading west when Lord Royce was told they would be traveling to the Fingers, unsure of his source of distrust. Petyr promises her that they are going somewhere far away, where Sansa will be safe from Queen Cersei.
On their journey, Sansa and Baelish stop for lunch at an inn, where she tries ale for the first time. Sansa can't see what all the fuss is about, although the entire episode is designed to catch Littlefinger off-guard so she can ask about the raven-message he received back at Runestone. Baelish doesn't answer the question beyond indicating that the old saying "dark wings, dark words" doesn't apply in this instance. Shortly thereafter, Brienne appears unexpectedly and declares herself for Sansa. Baelish doubts that Sansa would want a sworn shield who let both of her previous masters die, even when Brienne reveals the true, somewhat unbelievable circumstances of Renly's death. Sansa seems inclined to agree with Littlefinger, pointing out that Brienne was present at Joffrey's wedding, to which the warrior replies that neither of them wanted to be there. Sansa rejects Brienne's offer of service and watches as she quickly defeats the guards and escapes.
Sansa and Baelish eventually arrive at the ruins of Moat Cailin, where Sansa learns that they are actually returning to Winterfell and Baelish's plan is to have her marry Ramsay Bolton, the recently legitimized son of Roose Bolton, the current Warden of the North. Sansa is initially reluctant to marry into yet another family that betrayed hers, but Baelish pacifies her by claiming it will be an opportunity for her to avenge her family.
They arrive at Winterfell, where Baelish introduces Sansa to the Boltons. Roose and Ramsay greet Sansa politely, and after a tense moment during which she is repulsed merely by looking at Roose, Sansa greets them with courtesy, while Myranda, Ramsay's secret mistress, eyes Sansa with jealousy. She is later brought back to her old room by a servant, who welcomes her home and tells her that "the North remembers." While walking through Winterfell's courtyard, Sansa unknowingly passes Theon Greyjoy, who had been her father's ward she and her siblings grew up with at Winterfell. Theon hides his face from her as she passes.
Settling into life at Winterfell, Sansa visits the Stark family crypts, re-lighting the votive candles and cleaning up the offerings left by visitors prior to Winterfell's fall. Littlefinger finds her regarding the statue of her long-dead aunt Lyanna Stark. Littlefinger, with minimal commentary, tells Sansa of the events at the tourney at Harrenhal, where Rhaegar unhorsed Ser Barristan Selmy, passed by his wife, and gave Lyanna a crown of flowers blue as frost, all to the shock of the crowd. He then tells Sansa that he's been recalled to King's Landing and that keeping Cersei waiting much longer would be unwise. Littlefinger explains parts of his master plan to Sansa: Stannis will inevitably take the North, and when he does, he will need a Stark at Winterfell. Littlefinger is certain Stannis will declare Sansa the Wardeness of the North. Even if Stannis fails, Ramsay is already betrothed to Sansa, and thus Sansa, who has learned to manipulate from the very best, can take control of House Bolton from within.
Sansa's maid brings a message to her. Consoling Sansa that she still has allies in the North, she tells Sansa to light a candle in the highest window of the Broken Tower if she's ever in trouble. As Sansa wanders around the castle, she runs into Myranda. Myranda puts on a friendly façade, talking to Sansa about her mother's demise. To help Sansa "remember" how things used to be while her family was still living in Winterfell, Myranda leads Sansa down to the kennels. In the kennels, Sansa finds "Reek" asleep in one of the cages. Awoken by Sansa's arrival, he just shakes his head when Sansa calls him Theon. He warns her that she shouldn't be down there. Seeing Reek in such a pitiable condition, Sansa angrily storms away.
At dinner, Ramsay is initially well-behaved, toasting his wedding to Sansa, but is soon back to his old self as he forces Reek to apologize to Sansa for murdering Bran and Rickon. With much difficulty, Reek finally mutters an apology. Ramsay suggests that Reek be the one to give Sansa away at the wedding since he is the closest thing Sansa has to kin; Roose accepts this suggestion. Roose and Walda announce Walda's pregnancy, upsetting Ramsay, which in turn delights Sansa.
On the night of her wedding, Myranda draws a bath for Sansa, during which she advises Sansa not to bore Ramsay, and tells her about the fates of Violet, Tansy, and a third unseen girl named Kyra, examples of girls who Ramsay murdered for sport. When Myranda mentions that both she and Ramsay killed Tansy by hunting her, Sansa becomes angry, asking Myranda how long she has been in love with Ramsay and if she really expected Ramsay to marry her. She coolly tells Myranda that she is a Stark of Winterfell and will not be intimidated so easily by her, and dismisses her to finish her bath herself, though she is visibly shaken by Myranda's story.
Later, when Theon comes to fetch Sansa for the wedding, she refuses to hold Theon's arm. Theon pleads for her to do so, revealing that Ramsay will punish him if she doesn't. Sansa coldly asks if he thinks she cares what Ramsay does to him, and strides past him. Reek then gives Sansa away to Ramsay, and they wed in front of the Godswood, in a ceremony officiated by Roose and attended by many Northern lords. Sansa hesitantly takes Ramsay as her husband, her eyes down, unable to look him in the eye.
After returning to the bedroom, Ramsay first interrogates Sansa about her virginity and her marriage to Tyrion, then orders her to take her clothes off. Reek turns to leave but Ramsay tells him he must stay, taunting him “you grew up with her as a girl, now watch her become a woman." Annoyed by Sansa's hesitancy, Ramsay angrily rips open the back of her dress and pushes her face-down over the side of the bed. As he unbuckles his clothes, Sansa obediently remains still but begins crying softly. Reek is visibly distraught and begins silently crying himself, as Ramsay proceeds to rape her, and forcibly consummate their marriage.
Over the next few days, Ramsay continues to rape Sansa every night, leaving bruises on her arms and body. She effectively becomes a prisoner of the Boltons, who keep her locked in her bedchamber. Reek brings her breakfast, and when she realizes he is there, she tries to talk to him and get him to help her. However, Reek reminds Sansa that she is Ramsay's wife now and merely tells her to do what he says or else he will hurt her. Sansa protests that Ramsay hurts her every night and finds it hard to believe that it could possibly get any worse but Reek warns her that it can. Sansa asks Reek what Ramsay did to break him to such an extent but when he tries to flee, Sansa grabs him by the wrist and angrily reminds him that he betrayed her family, making him apologize profusely. She tells Reek that he can still redeem himself by lighting a candle in the broken tower in order to signal the Starks' allies she was told about. Though Sansa addresses him as Theon throughout this conversation, Reek keeps repeating his name is Reek, forcing Sansa to grab him by the face and look him directly in the eye. She insists that his name is Theon Greyjoy, the only surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, and this initially seems to get through to Theon for a time.
During a walk on the battlements, Ramsay gloats that one day he will be the Warden of the North, with Sansa as his Wardeness. Sansa counters by telling him his position is still threatened by Roose and Walda's unborn son since this child will be trueborn while Ramsay is not, as Ramsay is bastard-born and was legitimized by King Tommen Baratheon, who Sansa asserts is another bastard.
Sansa learns that her half-brother Jon has recently been elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch when Ramsay tells her that even bastards can rise high in the world, citing Jon's rise in the Night's Watch to Lord Commander. As they descend into the courtyard, Sansa pockets a corkscrew while Ramsay reveals that Reek reported the candle to him, and Ramsay responded by flaying Sansa's elderly maid. He forces Sansa to view her maid's corpse. She is then ordered back to her chambers.
Sansa remains angry at Theon for his betrayal, as well his role in Bran and Rickon's murder. When Theon enters her chambers again to bring her latest meal, she demands an answer for his latest betrayal and coldly expresses approval when he tells her about the torture Ramsay put him through. Theon shamefully admits he deserved it as he did terrible things, specifically killing "those boys". Enraged by his reference seemingly to her brothers as "those boys" rather than Bran and Rickon, Sansa vehemently demands to know why they should be dead while he still breathes the air, forcing Theon to finally admit that they were not Bran and Rickon but two farm boys. Stunned by this admission, her anger towards Theon cools. However, when she asks if he knows where they might have gone to, he breaks down and leaves the room, fearful of what Ramsay will do if and when he finds out what he just told her. However, Sansa appears to be left with a sense of renewed hope by the revelation that she has more surviving family left.
Sansa attempts to escape during the battle between the Boltons and Stannis Baratheon by picking the lock on her door with the corkscrew and lighting the candle in the tower. However, Brienne and Podrick don't see the candle due to being distracted by Stannis's army. In the process of trying to escape, Sansa runs into Myranda and Theon, with the former aiming a bow at her. Myranda says that she has come to escort Sansa back to her chambers, and Theon initially begs Sansa to go with her. Though Sansa is visibly frightened, she stands her ground and refuses to go with Myranda, saying, "If I'm going to die, let it happen while there's still some of me left."A bemused Myranda briefly lowers her arrow and admits Ramsay needs her alive in order to secure his hold on the North. But Myranda adds Ramsay doesn't need Sansa in one piece to do that, just the "parts" that he needs to produce his heir. Myranda maliciously nocks her arrow again and prepares to at least maim Sansa with it. Before she can release it, however, Theon grabs Myranda, making her fire and miss, and throws her off the battlement, killing her instantly on impact. Theon and Sansa then escape Winterfell by jumping off the side of Winterfell's walls, hoping to survive the long fall by landing in the deep snow.
After escaping from Winterfell, Sansa and Theon flee into the Wolfswood, with the Bolton forces in hot pursuit. They cross a stream and briefly take shelter under an uprooted tree, where Theon hugs Sansa to keep her warm. Shortly after, however, they are found by the Bolton men and hounds. Theon urges Sansa to flee to the safety of her half-brother Jon at Castle Black. but Sansa refuses to leave Theon behind to the Boltons. Brienne and Podrick appear just in time and fight off the soldiers, killing them all. Brienne once again offers her service to Sansa, who this time readily accepts, reciting her vows.
On the way to Castle Black, Brienne reveals to Sansa how she briefly met Arya near the Bloody Gate. Sansa is delighted to hear that her sister is still alive and well. Theon decides to part with the group and head to the Iron Islands. Sansa implores Theon to come with them as Jon will protect them from Ramsay but Theon refuses, fearing Jon will have him executed as Theon betrayed Robb, beheaded their master-at-arms Ser Rodrik, and killed those two boys. Sansa promises Theon she will tell Jon the truth about Bran and Rickon being alive, that Theon didn't kill them, and wants him to join the Night's Watch so all his crimes can be forgiven. Theon responds he still killed two farm boys and reminds Sansa of his crimes against House Stark, for which Jon will never forgive him. He reveals he does not want to be forgiven as he can never make up for his crimes against Sansa and Jon's family. When Sansa realizes that Theon cannot be convinced to come with them, she bids him farewell, and the two share a tender hug.
Sansa, Brienne, and Podrick arrive soon at Castle Black where they find Jon. At first, both "siblings" are too stunned to even speak when they see each other, but quickly share a loving embrace after their long and tragic separation. As Jon offers Sansa food, they reminisce about their happy childhood and how they both regret ever leaving Winterfell. Sansa apologizes to Jon for her dismissive treatment of him while growing up, to which Jon responds that there is nothing to apologise for. When they resolve to stick together, Sansa says the only place they can go now is home. She then asks him to help her reclaim their home from the Boltons. However, Jon tells her that he is tired of fighting, that he had done nothing but fight since he left home, and that he was killed for it. Although Sansa appears to accept his choice, she tells him that she will reclaim Winterfell and the North, with or without his help.
As Sansa and Jon share a meal with Eddison Tollett, Tormund Giantsbane, Podrick, and Brienne, a messenger arrives from Winterfell with a letter from Ramsay. In the letter, Ramsay states that he has Rickon prisoner at Winterfell and if Sansa is not returned, he will slaughter every wildling under Jon's protection, let his men rape Sansa, and feed Jon and Rickon to his dogs. Ramsay signs the letter 'Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North,' prompting Sansa to reveal Ramsay killed his father.
When Tormund asks Sansa how many Ramsay has in his army and Sansa recalls 5,000, Jon asks Tormund how many he has who are able to fight. Tormund replies that they have only 2,000 men and women in shape to fight, not enough to match Ramsay's five thousand. Sansa tells Jon that the houses of the North will unite behind him as the son of the last true Warden of the North and they need to go back to Winterfell to save it and their brother. Jon agrees to take Ramsay down so they save Rickon and take back their home.
Later, Sansa receives a letter from Petyr asking to meet in Mole's Town. Accompanied by Brienne, they meet in a ruined house, and Sansa angrily tells Baelish the details of her wedding night, asking if he knew the truth about Ramsay all along. Instead, Baelish changes the subject, informing Sansa he has rallied the Knights of the Vale to help her, along with news that her great-uncle Brynden has recaptured Riverrun. Sansa takes an alliance with the Blackfish into consideration, but refuses help from Baelish, warning him never to speak to her again. She says she has an army. Petyr responds it's her brother's army and adds, "Half-brother."
At a war meeting at Castle Black, Sansa and Jon discuss which of the Northern houses they can rely on to support them. As the Karstarks and Umbers have already sided with House Bolton, Ser Davos suggests asking House Manderly. When Jon decides to rally the two dozen houses still loyal to the Starks, Sansa informs him they can add House Tully to the list, but lies about how she acquired the information. After the meeting, Sansa plans to send Brienne to Riverrun, as the Boltons could intercept any raven sent there. Brienne is worried about leaving her and while Brienne feels Jon is trustworthy, she is dubious about the other men. Sansa assures Brienne that Jon will keep her safe, he is her brother and she trusts him. Brienne counters by asking Sansa why she lied to Jon about meeting with Baelish. Before riding south, Sansa gives Jon a new cloak she had made for him styled after their father's.
Sansa and Jon arrive at Bear Island and are summoned before Lyanna Mormont. Jon asks for the assistance of House Mormont in the upcoming battle for Winterfell to help them save their brother, as House Mormont has pledged themselves to House Stark. However, Lyanna tells him that he is a Snow and Sansa is a Bolton. Sansa says that she did what she had to do, but she didn't want it. When Sansa attempts to flatter Lyanna and Jon explains how he served under Lyanna's uncle Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, Lyanna wants them to get to the point. Ser Davos steps in and manages to convince Lyanna to pledge her allegiance, telling of the coming threat of the White Walkers, however, a mere sixty-two men are contributed.
Sansa and Jon later travel to Deepwood Motte, to ask for the assistance of House Glover. They receive a frosty reception from Robett Glover, who has just reclaimed Deepwood Motte from the ironborn. When Jon fails to bring him around. Sansa tells Robett that the Glovers are pledged to House Stark, and sworn to fight when called upon. Robett responds he pledged to House Stark and fought for Robb Stark but it cost the Glovers their home and many lives, due to Robb's lack of stability following his marriage to Talisa. Sansa and Jon are only able to recruit a few Northern houses and only gain a few hundred men. Jon says they should strike Winterfell immediately before the coming storm and before Ramsay can gather more men. Sansa says they don't have enough men and wants to go to Castle Cerwyn to try and persuade Lord Cerwyn, however, Jon reflects on their lack of time. When Jon refuses to change his mind, Sansa writes a letter to an unknown party (but does not tell Jon) for reinforcements.
Sansa and Jon meet with Ramsay on the day before battle. Ramsay tries to taunt Sansa, but she remains stoic. She asks Ramsay how do they know if he truly has their younger brother Rickon. Smalljon answers her question by throwing the decapitated head of Rickon's direwolf Shaggydog into their view. As Ramsay proceeds to tell the Starks what to do if they want to save Rickon, Sansa cuts him off by telling him that he is going to die the next day and rides off.
After a meeting where Jon discusses battle plans with Tormund and Davos, Sansa admonishes Jon for attacking with too few men, saying that they need a larger force. Jon agrees they don't have enough men but responds this is the largest army they could possibly gather, saying they have pleaded with every house who would have them and the Blackfish can't help. Sansa warns Jon that Ramsay won't fall into Jon's trap, Ramsay is the one who lays traps, and Ramsay has been playing with people all his life. Jon responds he has faced worse than Ramsay Bolton, to which she replies, "You don't know him!" When Jon asks how do they get Rickon back, Sansa tells him will never get him back alive. Jon refuses to give up on their brother and Sansa tells Jon that Ramsay wants him to make a mistake. Jon asks Sansa what he should do differently but Sansa responds she doesn't know about battles and implores her brother not to do what Ramsay wants him to do. When they finish arguing, Sansa tells Jon that if Ramsay wins, she will die before she goes back to him. Jon vows to protect Sansa, to which she cynically replies that no one can keep anyone safe.
Sansa is not present during the premise of the "Battle of the Bastards", in which Rickon is killed by Ramsay. As the battle is nearing an end and all hope seems lost, a distant horn is heard sounding in the distance. Sansa and Petyr Baelish (to whom Sansa had sent the raven) arrive with the Knights of the Vale to help Jon and his army reclaim Winterfell. The Vale forces run down the advancing Bolton forces.
After Winterfell is breached, Sansa enters the Winterfell courtyard and witnesses Jon defeat Ramsay in single combat, though Jon momentarily goes into a wild frenzy and begins to pummel Ramsay, he spares Ramsay out of respect for Sansa. With the Stark banners hanging in Winterfell once more, Sansa sees Rickon's dead body, concluding to ask Jon where Ramsay is. Sansa confronts a bloodied and bound Ramsay in the kennels. He tries to goad her by telling her how she will never be rid of him because he is "part of [her] now". Although Sansa does not deny his implication that she herself will always remember him, she calmly retorts that his house is about to become extinct and that all memory of Ramsay to the rest of the world will soon disappear, just before an ominous growl from one of his hounds reveals his impending doom. Ramsay responds that his dogs are loyal to him, but Sansa reminds her husband that he revealed he had been starving his dogs for seven days. The dogs approach Ramsay and he desperately attempts to order them to heel but after a brief moment of hesitation, one of the hounds bites him. As they begin to tear Ramsay apart while he screams, Sansa walks away with a small smile.
With Winterfell firmly under Stark control, Sansa joins Jon on the ramparts as he watches an exiled Melisandre heading south. He tells her that he is having the Lord's chambers prepared for her. Although she protests that he should have it, Jon refuses, telling his sister he is not a Stark. Sansa tells Jon that he is a Stark to her, but he still refuses, telling Sansa that she deserves it as the Lady of Winterfell and because the Knights of the Vale came because of her, resulting in their victory. Jon asks her about Littlefinger and whether they can trust him, to which she insists that they cannot. Sansa apologizes for not telling him about the Knights of the Vale. While he understands why she didn't tell him about Baelish, Jon insists that they have to trust each other completely now that they have so many enemies. He kisses her on the forehead and when he turns to leave, Sansa calls him back. She smiles as she tells Jon that a white raven arrived from the Citadel, announcing the arrival of winter as their father had always predicted. Jon returns her smile.
Sansa is later found by Littlefinger in the Godswood. She tells him about how she had prayed in it every day as a little girl, always dreaming of being somewhere else. She then asks what he truly wants, and he tells her what his ultimate ambition is: himself sitting on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side. He tries to kiss her but she rebukes him. As she walks away, he tells her that although he had officially aligned House Arryn with House Stark, reprisals would come from King's Landing. Sansa reminds Littlefinger he's declared for other houses before and this did not stop him from switching sides to ensure his own interests. Before she leaves, Littlefinger once again reminds her of Jon's illegitimate birth.
With the Stark victory, the remaining Northern lords joined by the Vale Lords arrive at Winterfell to discuss the new situation in the North. Some, such as Lord Yohn Royce, object to the wildlings' presence, but Tormund responds they were invited. The lords of both the North and the Vale claim that they need to return to their homes before the winter hits but Jon warns them that the war is not over - the true enemy "won't wait out the storm. He brings the storm." At this point, Lyanna Mormont stands up and chastises the assembled Northmen for refusing House Stark's call in their greatest hour of need.
Lyanna proclaims House Mormont remembers and says, "The North remembers. We know no king but the King in the North whose name is Stark." She says that she doesn't care if Jon is a bastard son because he has Ned Stark's blood in his veins. With that, she acclaims Jon as the King in the North, as his "brother" Robb had been before him. Lyanna's speech is followed by a similar declaration from both Lord Wyman Manderly of the White Harbor and Lord Glover of Deepwood Motte. The assembled Lords of the North and the Vale acclaim Jon as the King in the North. Jon looks at Sansa, and she smiles back at him, but her smile fades when she glances at Littlefinger (the only other person not cheering), who gives her an unimpressed and knowing look.Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and Tormund agrees. When the issue of the lands and strongholds belonging to the Umbers and Karstarks arises, Sansa says these castles and lands should be given to new families who fought with House Stark against the Boltons. Jon disagrees, stating that the children of Houses Umber and Karstark cannot be held accountable for the past mistakes of their fathers and elder siblings and the children of these houses will retain their family lands and castles. Sansa disputes Jon's decision in front of Jon's bannermen. Ned Umber and Alys Karstark pledge fealty to House Stark.
In private, Jon tells Sansa that though she is his sister and can question his decisions, her publicly doing so in front of the Northern lords and ladies undermines his authority with them. Sansa tells Jon he is a good ruler but implores him not to repeat the past mistakes of Ned and Robb. After receiving a message from Cersei demanding that Jon bend the knee, Sansa warns Jon not to underestimate the new queen and recommends dealing with her before confronting the Night King. Sansa also remarks that she learned a lot from Cersei during her time at King's Landing.
She is later approached by Littlefinger to see if she is truly "safe" and "happy". Sansa confirms her safety in Winterfell, but Baelish continues to question her in regard to her happiness. Just as he is about to speak again, Sansa dismisses him. Brienne arrives and asks her why Petyr is still at Winterfell. Sansa explains that without his help, Winterfell would still be under Bolton control, and assures Brienne that she already knows what Littlefinger really wants.
Sansa, Jon, and Davos review a message from Tyrion, in which Tyrion asks for Jon to meet with Daenerys Targaryen on Dragonstone. Sansa questions the letter's legitimacy, worried that it was forged to lure Jon into a trap. Fortunately, he confirms the letter is genuine after reading a familiar line from his first meeting with Tyrion. Jon asks Sansa for her opinion. Sansa responds that Tyrion was not like the other Lannisters and he was kind to her. She still affirms that leaving for Dragonstone could possibly put her half-brother in danger, despite Tyrion's letter saying that Daenerys's faction only wishes to forge an alliance against Cersei, albeit also detailing the military forces that Daenerys has at her disposal. After examining the letter for himself, Davos says that three dragons would prove indispensable in their battle against the White Walkers.
At the following meeting with Jon's bannermen, despite Samwell Tarly's letter confirming a large supply of dragonglass on Dragonstone, Sansa maintains her opposition to Daenerys's request after hearing Jon's intent of accepting the invite to the island. She reminds Jon that their grandfather was also invited to see the Mad King at the cost of his own life. Sansa says Daenerys is in Westeros to reclaim the Seven Kingdoms and believes this mission is too great a risk for her brother to take. Jon considers Sansa's suspicions a possibility and knows it is a risk but believes Tyrion is a good man.
He asserts that forging a treaty with Daenerys is an opportunity they can't afford to miss due to the threat of the Walkers, and therefore a risk that he, as King, must take for the sake of saving the North as they need the dragonglass, dragonfire, and weapons to defend themselves against the White Walkers. Sansa, as well as Jon's bannermen, disagree with his decision. Sansa tries to convince Jon to stay by telling him to send an emissary to Dragonstone in his place, but Jon insists that he meet Daenerys monarch-to-monarch. He does not want to leave the North but is the only one there who has experienced the army of the dead, knows how bad their odds are, and he will never stop fighting for the North's survival. Jon gives Sansa control of the North while he is gone and Sansa accepts the responsibility. As Jon leaves, they bid each other farewell.
With Jon at Dragonstone, Sansa and Petyr Baelish learn from Maester Wolkan that they have about 4,000 bushels of wheat. Sansa realizes that they don't have enough food for the coming winter. She advocates building granaries to stockpile for a famine. Sansa orders Yohn Royce to see that the armor made for their armies are outfitted with leather to keep warm. While walking, Baelish and Sansa talk about the threat of Cersei. Petyr urges her to fight every battle and to look for threats in every corner.
They are interrupted by a guard who tells Sansa that she has received a visitor, who turns out to be her younger brother Bran, accompanied by Meera Reed. Following a tearful reunion, the two siblings retreat to the Godswood where Sansa tells Bran how she wishes Jon was there with them at Winterfell. Bran agrees, noting that he needs to speak to Jon. When Sansa points out that Bran is the rightful Lord of Winterfell since he is the last remaining trueborn son of Ned Stark, Bran refuses the position, stating that he is the three-eyed raven and thus can't be any sort of lord. Sansa remains as the Lady of Winterfell. Sansa is utterly confused with this prospect, leading Bran reveals he has visions, trying to explain the previous three-eyed raven's teachings, although this just makes Sansa even more baffled at Bran. Almost eerily and without emotion, Bran demonstrates his newly-acquired power to a skeptical Sansa by describing the night of her horrific marriage to Ramsay. This startles Sansa, who quickly excuses herself and she walks away in shock and tears.
Two guards inform Sansa that someone claiming to be her sister Arya is trying to gain access to Winterfell. They brush the girl off as an impostor, revealing she asked for Luwin and Rodrik Cassel. Sansa instantly realizes it must be Arya and knows where she has gone. Sansa finds Arya where she expected, in the crypts looking over their father Ned's grave. They are happy to see each other but so much has happened to both of them in the past few years that they are at first awkward, unsure of what to say. Arya asks if she has to call Sansa "Lady Stark" now, to which Sansa firmly insists "Yes" - and then laughs. They smile and hug, though still a bit unsure. Arya notes that Jon left her in charge and smiles when Sansa says that she hopes Jon will be back soon - he will be so happy to see Arya, remembering how happy Jon was to see her when they were reunited.
The reunited sisters then look sadly on their father's grave statue. Arya says it doesn't really look like him. Sansa acknowledges that everyone who really knew his face is dead. Arya points out they're not. Arya tells Sansa that everyone says Sansa killed Joffrey. Sansa explains she actually didn't, though she wished she had. Arya remarks that he was always at the top of her "list". This confuses Sansa, and Arya explains that she'd been keeping a list of everyone she was going to kill - at which they both laugh. Finally, Sansa asks how Arya got back, but Arya only says her road wasn't a pleasant one. Sansa says her own road wasn't either. They hug again, earnestly and warmly. Sansa then informs Arya that Bran is home too.
Sansa brings Arya to Bran in the Godswood, where he is lost in thought by the Weirwood heart tree. Arya hugs Bran, who remains somewhat detached even at the sight of Arya. Bran says he isn't surprised Arya is alive because he saw her at the Inn at the Crossroads. Arya is confused, and Sansa explains that Bran is having "visions" now. Bran says he thought Arya was going to King's Landing, and when Sansa asks why Arya would head there of all places, he again startles them both by revealing Cersei is on Arya's list of names. Sansa asks Arya who else is on her list. Arya responds that most of these people, aside from Cersei, are dead already.
Sansa and Arya remark on the Valyrian steel dagger in Bran's lap, and Bran explains that Littlefinger gave it to him. Arya is confused as to why a common cutthroat would have a rare, priceless blade of Valyrian steel. Bran matter-of-factly says that someone very wealthy wanted him dead, and gave it to the assassin. Sansa is mistrustful of Littlefinger and explains Littlefinger would never give anyone anything unless he was expecting something in return. Bran says that doesn't matter because he doesn't want it. Instead, Bran hands the blade to Arya and says she can have it because he feels it's "wasted on a cripple". Sansa looks down. Sansa, Bran, and Arya - three of the remaining Stark children - proceed back to Winterfell's castle courtyard together, with Arya pushing Bran in his wheelchair.
Sometime later, Sansa and Littlefinger watch on silently from the walkway above as Arya and Brienne. Brienne goes easy on her at first, but then Arya completely outmaneuvers Brienne using the Water Dance training she received from Syrio Forel, augmented by her training with the Faceless Men. Ultimately, they reach a stalemate, with each of them holding a blade at the others' throat. Arya takes her leave of Brienne, both mutually impressed, as Sansa looks down baffled at how her sister reached such a deadly skill level.
Later, in the Winterfell throne room, Sansa oversees a meeting of the Northern lords. Complaining that the King in the North should stay in the North, Robett Glover and Yohn Royce propose that she take power in the absence of her half-brother Jon. However, Sansa insists Jon is their true ruler who is doing what he believes is right for their people and that she is merely his regent. Following the meeting, Sansa confides her frustration in the Northern lords with Arya. Arya thinks that she should not let the lords get away with insulting her and suggests assassinating them. Sansa disagrees with Arya's idea to kill the troublesome lords, preferring a more diplomatic approach so as not to lose their support. Arya tells Sansa to admit that she is harbouring thoughts of permanently ruling Winterfell if Jon doesn't return. Disturbed and disheartened by Arya's suspicions of her, Sansa tells Arya that she has "work to do."
Later, Arya presents the letter that Sansa had written to their late brother Robb urging him to come and bend the knee to Joffrey. Sansa replies that the Cersei forced her to do it under duress. Arya counters that she was not tortured and that she saw Sansa at their father's execution; Sansa retorts that Arya did nothing to stop their father's execution either. Arya chastises Sansa for betraying their family but Sansa responds that they have only returned to Winterfell because of her, while Arya travelled the world in pursuit of her own agenda. Sansa adds that their half-brother Jon was saved from defeat when Petyr Baelish and the Knights of the Vale came to their rescue and insists Arya would not have survived the torments she endured at the hands of Joffrey and Ramsay.
Sansa demands to know where Arya found the letter and chides her younger sister that Cersei would be pleased to see them fighting, but Arya is still bitter towards Sansa. She realizes that while Jon would understand the difficult circumstances Sansa was under when she wrote the letter, Sansa is afraid the Northern lords will discover it and turn on her, including Lyanna Mormont. Arya adds that Lyanna is younger than Sansa was when she wrote this letter but argues Lyanna wouldn't agree with Sansa's defense that she was a child at the time. While recognizing that Sansa wrote the letter out of fear, a bitter Arya says that she prefers to embrace anger over fear.
Later, Sansa asks Petyr Baelish about where Arya got the letter from, unaware that Baelish orchestrated the entire incident. Sansa tells Petyr that she is commanding 20,000 men who answer to Jon but not to her. Petyr tells Sansa that the men will trust her because she can rule. Sansa does not trust the loyalty of the Northern lords, citing their history of switching sides. She counters that the discovery of the letter will turn her liege lords and men against her. Sansa confides in Petyr about her strained relations with Arya. Petyr suggests that Sansa talk with Brienne of Tarth because she has sworn to protect both of Catelyn's daughters from harm. Trusting Baelish, Sansa accepts his advice.
The following morning, Maester Wolkan informs Sansa that they have received a letter from Cersei. Sansa meets with Brienne, who advises her not to leave Winterfell. Instead, Sansa decides to send Brienne as her representative since she could reason with Jaime. Brienne warns that it is too dangerous for her to leave Sansa alone at Winterfell with Petyr. Sansa insists that her guards and men are loyal to her but Brienne warns that Petyr might be bribing them behind her back. Brienne offers to leave her squire Podrick Payne, whose swordsmanship has improved, but Sansa insists that she can take care of herself.
Sansa enters Arya's quarters and opens a leather case containing several "faces", including the late Walder Frey's face. Arya catches her sister pilfering through her personal effects. When Sansa tells Arya that her men are loyal to her, Arya mockingly retorts that they are not here. Arya tells Sansa that she obtained the faces from the Faceless Men of Braavos and admits she spent time training to be a Faceless Man. She forces Sansa to play the lying game and begins by asking if she thinks that Jon is the rightful King. Sansa demands that Arya tell her what the "faces" are.
Arya replies that when they were young they always aspired to be other people. Sansa wanted to be a queen while Arya herself wanted to be a knight. In the end, neither of them got what they wanted. Arya says that the faces allow her to become someone else and toys with the idea of assuming Sansa's face and status. Arya approaches Sansa with her dagger and muses at the prospect of becoming the Lady of Winterfell. However, Arya relents and leaves a disturbed Sansa alone with the dagger.
Sansa and Petyr discuss Jon's decision to bend the knee to Daenerys. Sansa feels betrayed by Jon, and Petyr suggests that Sansa would make a better ruler than Jon. Sansa tells Petyr that Arya would turn against her if she tried to usurp Jon's power, and Petyr goads her, planting the idea that Arya wants to kill Sansa and take her place as Lady of Winterfell.
However, still unsure of Petyr's intentions, Sansa visits Bran. From this, she learns of his Greensight powers, in which he proves Petyr's ultimate guilt in the War of the Five Kings. This proves everything Petyr has done to gain power: his murder of Jon Arryn, his attempt to kill Bran, his betrayal of Ned and his attempt to turn Arya and Sansa against each other.Sansa sits with Bran when Arya is brought into the Great Hall. Petyr watches as Sansa reads the charges of murder and treason, before Sansa addresses him directly, revealing that the trial is actually for him. She accuses Petyr of murdering Lysa Arryn, convincing her to poison her husband and sending a letter to the Starks blaming the Lannisters for the crime, and conspiring with Cersei and Joffrey to imprison and execute Eddard Stark.
Petyr denies the charges, but Bran reveals that he has seen Petyr's betrayal in his visions. Sansa is unfazed by Petyr's begging and thanks him for all his lessons, promising she will never forget them. Arya then slits Petyr's throat, and Sansa watches as he dies.
On the battlements, Sansa confides in Arya that she believed Petyr really did love her, and Arya assures her that she did the right thing. Arya concedes that she couldn't have survived what Sansa survived, but Sansa disagrees, claiming that Arya is the strongest person she knows. Arya and Sansa remember their father's words about looking out for one another, and each confides how much they miss him.
Sansa stands on Winterfell's ramparts as the combined Stark and Targaryen forces march towards the castle, and stares in cautious awe as Drogon and Rhaegal fly overhead. She greets Jon as he arrives in the courtyard, and mentions that Arya is "lurking somewhere" when Jon notices her absence. He introduces her to Daenerys as the Lady of Winterfell, and the two women exchange a civil but tense greeting.
Later, in the castle's great hall, Sansa sits at the high table along with Jon, Daenerys, and Tyrion. Tyrion tries to calm those present who are displeased at Jon bending the knee to Daenerys; he says that they have assembled the largest army ever seen. Sansa coolly undercuts Tyrion by asking how she is supposed to feed an army that size, as well as two full-grown dragons. When she sarcastically asks what dragons eat, Daenerys replies, "Whatever they want."
Sansa later converses with Tyrion privately for the first time since they last saw each other at Joffrey's wedding; Tyrion calls the wedding "a miserable affair", though Sansa sardonically remarks, "It had its moments." She also calls Tyrion out for believing that Cersei will honor the pledge to send the Lannister forces north. She is disappointed in Tyrion, saying she used to think Tyrion was the cleverest man she ever met.
Sansa shows Jon the message that Robett Glover will be remaining in Deepwood Mott with his troops, as he never pledged to fight for a Targaryen. She expresses her disapproval of Jon giving up his crown to Daenerys. Jon replies titles don't matter in the face of the Night King and the army of the dead and they don't stand a chance against them without Daenerys's help. Although Sansa assures Jon that her faith in his judgement has not waivered, she bluntly asks him if he truly bent the knee to save the North, or because he loves Daenerys.
When Jaime arrives at Winterfell, Sansa - now clad in armor - is once again seated at the high table with Jon and Daenerys. The two women harshly berate Jaime for his past actions and question whether his loyalty to their cause is genuine. Only when Brienne vouches for Jaime does Sansa trust him, and Daenerys allows his sword to be returned to him.
Later, Daenerys speaks privately with Sansa, addressing some of the thorny political issues involved in their alliance. When Sansa notes Jon's love for Daenerys and is concerned Daenerys is manipulating him, Daenerys openly confesses her love for Jon, assuring Sansa she has no ulterior motives. Although a greater understanding appears to develop between the two women, Sansa remains firm in her conviction that the Northerners will never truly accept an outsider as their ruler again, and bluntly asks Daenerys what her plans for the North are once the dead have been defeated.
The awkward moment is interrupted by Maester Wolkan announcing the arrival of Theon and his men. In the great hall, Theon kneels to Daenerys and asks Sansa's permission to stand with the Starks against the army of the dead, at which Sansa strides forward and embraces him. The two are later seen having a meal in the courtyard while awaiting the call to arms.
When the army of the dead and the army of Winterfell finally face each other across the battlefield, Sansa and Arya observe from the castle walls. When the initial charge of Dothraki screamers is easily repelled and the wights advance, Arya orders Sansa to go down into the crypts and hands her a dragonglass dagger. Sansa says she doesn't know how to use it, and Arya repeats the words that Jon said when he gave Arya Needle: "Stick 'em with the pointy end." Down in the crypts, Tyrion is restless about not being able to help, but Sansa firmly reminds him that they are all down there for a reason; they won't be any help on the battlefield, and doing nothing is the most heroic - if the most difficult - thing they can do.
Impressed by her logic, Tyrion sardonically remarks that they should have stayed married. Sansa humorously acknowledges that he was the best relationship she ever had, but his loyalties to Daenerys would mean that they could never remain together, which is taken as an offence to Daenerys by Missandei. As the army of the dead breaches Winterfell's walls, the Night King reanimates all that have fallen in the battle so far, and his spell extends to the many Stark bodies housed in Winterfell's crypts. In the crypts, the living scramble to escape and Sansa ends up hiding behind a large stone casket with Tyrion. The two look desperately into each other's eyes, and Sansa pulls out the dragonglass dagger given to her by Arya.
An unspoken understanding passes between her and Tyrion, who tearfully kisses her hand as if in farewell. Before she can act, however, Arya manages to slay the Night King in the godswood, causing the entire army and the remaining White Walkers to shatter and collapse. Sansa and the other survivors make their way out of the crypt to survey what remains.
The survivors of the battle later gather in front of Winterfell's walls to light the funeral pyres of all who gave their lives in defense of the living. Sansa tearfully places a pin bearing the House Stark direwolf onto Theon's body before lighting his pyre herself. During the celebration feast that follows, she makes her way to the table where the Hound is seated.
The two discuss the many trials they've suffered since their last meeting, and Clegane reminds Sansa that she could have been spared many horrors if she'd left with him when he offered. While not downplaying her own tragedies, Sansa coolly responds that without those horrors, she would still be the "little bird" Cersei thought her to be - ignorant of the cruelty of the world and unable to fend for herself.
Sansa later attends a war council in preparation for the continued war against Cersei. She advises giving the armies time to rest before engaging in a new conflict, only to cause a tense moment with Daenerys who insists on attacking Cersei as soon as possible, coolly telling Sansa that it's time for the North to reciprocate. Along with Arya and Bran, Sansa then meets with Jon in the godswood. Jon is angry at his sisters for their treatment of Daenerys, explaining they'd all be dead without her. Sansa protests that Arya is the one who killed the Night King and Jon points out Daenerys's armies gave their lives to defend against the Army of the Dead. Sansa acknowledges this but doesn't think it's reason enough to automatically submit to Daenerys but Jon says he pledged the North to Daenerys. Arya tells Jon she respects his decision, it was the right thing to do, but it's also right for herself and Sansa to distrust his Queen. Jon wants them to get to know Daenerys but Arya doesn't want to either, Daenerys isn't one of them. Jon tells her they won't make many allies if they're only friends with the people she grew up with. Arya is fine with this because all she needs is their family, the four of them. Jon tells them he's not a Stark, but Sansa and Arya both insist he is Ned's son and their brother. Pained, Jon reveals he needs to tell them something and swears them to secrecy. Sansa balks but Jon asks her to do it because they're family. When both sisters swear, Jon asks Bran to reveal his true parentage: the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and the subsequent heir to the Iron Throne.
Later, Tyrion finds a shaken Sansa looking at Daenerys's dragons in the sky. She asks why Tyrion would choose to follow Daenerys. Tyrion replies that Daenerys loves Sansa's brother, but Sansa says it doesn't mean she'll be a good queen. Tyrion notes Sansa's dislike of Daenerys but says that a good relationship between the North and the capital has been beneficial. Sansa doesn't think this will be a problem, since Jon is Warden of the North and he loves the Queen. Tyrion realizes something is wrong and asks Sansa to look at him. He urges her to find common ground with Daenerys as Jon won't be spending much time in the North from now on. Sansa wonders what Tyrion is worried about as Daenerys seems to have everything she needs. When Tyrion urges Sansa not to provoke Daenerys, Sansa realizes he's afraid of her. She anxiously tells Tyrion she doesn't want Jon going south, the men in her family never do well there. Tyrion agrees but quips that Jon once told him he's not a Stark. This rattles Sansa, prompting Tyrion to ask if she's alright. He tries to convince her of Daenerys but Sansa is not receptive. As Tyrion leaves, Sansa has a change of heart and goes against her promise to Jon, telling Tyrion that there is somebody better for the Iron Throne.
Sansa later receives word of the ambush on the Targaryen fleet in which Rhaegal was killed, while Missandei is captured. She tells Jaime that she wanted to see his sister executed, but that it will likely not happen due to this setback.
Several weeks following the Battle of King's Landing, after which Daenerys lays waste to its surrendered populace and she is assassinated by Jon to stop her destruction, Sansa journeys to King's Landing. She takes command of the northern forces and stations them outside of the city. She does this to ensure the safety of herself and the other lords and ladies inside Kings's Landing, where she attends a great council in the dragonpit to decide the future of Westeros with the rest of the council. While Bran is elected as King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Sansa holds to her convictions and requests that the North become an independent realm once more, to which Bran agrees. Jon is sentenced to rejoin the Night's Watch, and Arya intends to sail west of the Sunset Sea. After saying her goodbyes to her siblings, Sansa returns to Winterfell and is crowned Queen in the North.
When she lived at Winterfell with her family, Sansa grew up as the eldest daughter of a Great House, trying to emulate her mother's example of a "proper lady" from the southern courts. Sansa's devotion to the traditional, refined "feminine virtues" caused friction between her and her blunt, tomboyish younger sister Arya, with whom she had a sibling rivalry. As a little girl, Sansa naively believed in the tales and epic romances in which every princess gets her honorable knight in shining armor to sweep her off her feet. Sansa was infatuated with the traditional romances about mythical figures like Jonquil, and historical figures like Duncan Targaryen. Her greatest goal in life was to be married to a heroic and handsome prince, sitting around with other noblewomen eating lemon cakes while gossiping about the goings-on at court.
Sansa's innocent, childhood infatuation with the ideals of princesses and knights made her tragically susceptible to the manipulations of the Lannisters. She held the blind belief that all queens and princes are kind and truthful, as if inherently a result of their titles, when Cersei just happened to be a woman who married a king to secure a marriage alliance, and Joffrey just happened to be her son. Without real cause, she blindly loved Joffrey with all her heart and trusted and admired Cersei, only for them to repay her love and trust by beheading her father before her very eyes.
Afterwards, Sansa has a harrowing experience as a prisoner of the Lannisters, a plaything for the psychopathic Joffrey to have publicly beaten by his guards for petty amusement. Her shock at the death of her father was only later deepened at the news of how her mother and brother Robb were horrifically killed at the Red Wedding and their corpses desecrated. She was visibly elated upon hearing that Arya, Bran, and Rickon were actually still alive, and though she took mostly after her mother and had a somewhat distant relationship with Jon, she loved him all the same. She was surprised to hear that Jon had become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and Jon was the first person she turns to for shelter after escaping Winterfell, aware that he would protect her from Ramsay.
Sansa subsequently escapes King's Landing to the Vale with Littlefinger, and her experiences have clearly changed her personality. She had to learn from painful experience how to lie to survive at Joffrey's court, saying one thing but meaning another and manipulating people to her own ends as best she could. No longer under constant control by Joffrey and Cersei's guards, she is in her own way beginning to mature into her own power and influence as a political force.
The numerous tragedies she has suffered, and the crimes against herself and her family, have also darkened her personality turning her more ruthless, though not quite cruel. This shows when she refuses to take Theon's arm when he comes to escort her to the Godswood to marry Ramsay and coldly asks if he thinks she cares what Ramsay will do to him if she doesn't. She also later expresses approval of what Ramsay did to Theon, now Reek, and declares she would do the same. Once reclaiming Winterfell, Sansa feeds her abusive husband, Ramsay to his own hounds, even smiling as it happened.
However, despite all the suffering that she has been through, Sansa appears to have retained a certain degree of compassion that is also demonstrated in her multiple attempts at reaching out to Theon after Theon admits that he did not kill Bran and Rickon and they are alive. After Theon helps her escape from Winterfell, Sansa once again sees Theon as a surrogate brother and promises she will not let Jon execute him when Theon fears Jon will have him killed for his crimes. Sansa also becomes more compassionate and a loyal sister to Jon and apologizes for being "awful" when they were children. When she faces Myranda for the last time prior to her escape from Winterfell, Sansa was about to allow the psychopathic girl to shoot her so that she could die with as much of herself as was remaining. She has also become significantly more brave, courageous and is developing nerves of iron.
Sansa's sufferings have made her stronger and more mature, but also more war-like. Caring less for the traditional feminine virtues she used to praise as a child, Sansa moves against Ramsay in order to take back Winterfell and the North, and outright rejects his conditions for saving her brother Rickon, knowing full well he would never keep his word and instead tells him that he will die the next day. Her experiences with the Lannisters have enabled her to watch in grim satisfaction as Ramsay is torn apart and eaten by his own hounds. This contrasts her visible horror in Season 1 upon seeing the violence when she first arrived in King's Landing, where she is distressed at Gregor Clegane's violence against Ser Hugh and Loras Tyrell and faints when her father is abruptly beheaded in front of her. Sansa is also effective as Lady of Winterfell and Jon's regent, devoting her efforts to maintaining order and preparing the North for winter, for which she earns the respect of many Vale and Northern lords.
Due to the harrowing experiences of the Stark children, Sansa experiences a development in the relationships with her surviving siblings when they are reunited. Though she and Jon were the least close of the Stark children, they love one another as siblings and their relationship as brother and sister become stronger when they are reunited. While Sansa will argue with Jon, she speaks to him as an equal, wants to see him safe, and Turner observes Sansa's relationship with Jon has restored Sansa's faith in men. While Jon remains a protective older brother to Sansa and likewise wants her safe, he also recognizes Sansa's intelligence and her adeptness as a leader, placing the North in her charge as his regent. Sansa and Arya did not get along as children and though they love each other, experience a rocky start after their reunion in Season 7 due to their experiences. Nonetheless, they come to recognize new strengths in one another: Arya's skills as a combatant and Sansa's abilities as Lady of Winterfell. By the end of Season 7, their relationship grows stronger and they develop a new closeness as sisters. Sansa is relieved and happy to be reunited with Bran but is unsettled by the changes he has undergone as a result of becoming the Three-Eyed Raven. Regardless, she asks for Bran's help in using his powers to look into Littlefinger's past and upon learning the truth, decide to put Littlefinger on trial to answer for his crimes.
|Season One appearances|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What Is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch Is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars To Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
|Season Seven appearances|
|Dragonstone||Stormborn||The Queen's Justice||The Spoils of War|
|Eastwatch||Beyond the Wall||The Dragon and the Wolf|
|Season Eight appearances|
|Winterfell||A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms||The Long Night|
|The Last of the Starks||The Bells||The Iron Throne|
- Main - Gallery: Sansa Stark
There is a range of promotional images and screen captures featuring Sansa in the gallery.
- Spoken by Sansa
- Sansa Stark: "Do you think Joffrey will like me? What if he thinks I'm ugly?"
- Catelyn Stark: "Then he is the stupidest prince that ever lived."
- Sansa Stark: "He's so handsome."
- — Sansa reveals her huge crush on Joffrey while talking with her mother.[src]
- "There is no honor in tricks."
- ―Sansa Stark
- Tyrion Lannister: "I apologize for my nephew's behavior. Tell me the truth. Do you want an end to this engagement?"
- Sansa Stark: "I am loyal to King Joffrey, my one true love."
- Tyrion Lannister: "(to himself) Lady Stark, you may survive us yet."
- — Tyrion and Sansa, after Joffrey has Sansa publicly beaten at court.[src]
- "The worst ones always live."
- ―Sansa Stark
- Sansa Stark: "I lie awake all night, staring at the canopy, thinking of how they died."
- Tyrion Lannister: "I could get essence of nightshade to help you sleep."
- Sansa Stark: "Do you know what they did to my brother? How they sewed his direwolf's head onto his body? And my mother? They say they cut her throat to the bone and threw her body in the river."
- Tyrion Lannister: "What happened to your family was a terrible crime. I didn't know your brother; he seemed like a good man, but I didn't know him. Your mother, on the other hand, I admired her. She wanted to have me executed, but I admired her. She was a strong woman, and she was fierce when it came to protecting her children. Sansa, your mother would want you to carry on. You know it's true."
- — Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister talk about the Red Wedding.[src]
- Theon Greyjoy: "Do what he says! Do what he says or he'll hurt you!"
- Sansa Stark: "He already hurts me every night! All day I'm locked in this room and every night he comes! It can't be any worse!"
- Theon Greyjoy: "It can. It can always be worse."
- — Theon Greyjoy tells Sansa to obey her new husband.[src]
- "If it weren't for you, I'd still have a family. If I could do to you what Ramsay did right here, right now, I would."
- ―Sansa reprimands Theon for everything he has done.
- Sansa Stark: "Tell me why Bran and Rickon should be gone while you still breathe the air! [Grabs Theon by the face and shakes his head.] TELL ME TO MY FACE, THEON! TELL ME THAT THEY WEREN'T YOUR BROTHERS!"
- Theon Greyjoy/Reek: "THEY WEREN'T BRAN AND RICKON! I couldn't find them. It was two farm boys. I killed them and burned them so no one would know."
- — Sansa forces Theon to admit that he did not kill her brothers.[src]
- "I know what Ramsay is. I know what he'll do to me. If I'm going to die, let it happen while there's still some of me left."
- ―Sansa to Myranda and Theon.
- "Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn't know, you're an idiot. If you did know, you're my enemy."
- ―Sansa to Petyr Baelish
- Sansa Stark: "You said you would protect me."
- Petyr Baelish: "And I will. You must believe me when I tell you that I will."
- Sansa Stark: "I don't believe you anymore. I don't need you anymore. You can't protect me. You won't even be able to protect yourself if I tell Brienne to cut you down. And why shouldn't I?"
- — Sansa turns the tables on Baelish.[src]
- Petyr Baelish: "Do you want me to beg for my life? If that's what you want, I will. Whatever you ask that is in my power, I will do."
- Sansa Stark: "What if I want you to die here and now?"
- Petyr Baelish: "Then I will die."
- Sansa Stark: "You freed me from the monsters who murdered my family and you gave me to other monsters who murdered my family. Go back to Moat Cailin. My brother and I will take back the North on our own. I never want to see you again."
- — Sansa to Petyr Baelish[src]
- "No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone."
- ―Sansa to Jon Snow
- Ramsay Bolton: "Now, if you want to save..."
- Sansa Stark: "You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."
- — Sansa warns Ramsay of his impending doom.[src]
- "Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear."
- ―Sansa to Ramsay just before he is devoured by his own hounds.
- Sansa Stark: "You have to be smarter than father. You need to be smarter than Robb. I loved them, I miss them, but they made stupid mistakes and they both lost their heads for it."
- Jon Snow: "And how should I be smarter? By listening to you?"
- Sansa Stark: "Would that be so terrible?"
- — Sansa and Jon.[src]
- "I'm a slow learner. It's true. But I learn."
- ―Sansa to Petyr Baelish
- Edmure Tully: "My lords and ladies. I suppose this is the most important moment of our lives. What we decide today will reverberate through the annals of history. I stand before you as one of the senior lords in the country, a veteran of two wars, and I'd like to think my experience has led to some small skill in statecraft and I understand that..."
- Sansa Stark: "Uncle, please sit."
- — Sansa, having had enough of Edmure Tully's attempt to become King, cuts him off mid-speech and respectfully but sternly asks him to sit back down.[src]
- "I love you, little brother. I always will. You'll be a good king. But tens of thousands of Northmen fell in the Great War defending all of Westeros, and those who survived have seen too much and fought too hard ever to kneel again. The North will remain an independent kingdom as it was for thousands of years."
- ―Sansa secures Northern independence from her brother, the new King Bran
- Jon Snow: "The North is free thanks to you."
- Sansa Stark: "But they lost their king."
- Jon Snow: "Ned Stark's daughter will speak for them. She's the best they could ask for."
- — Sansa and Jon say farewell[src]
- Spoken about Sansa
- Tyrion Lannister: "She won't rest until my head's on a spike!"
- Jaime Lannister: "Not just yours. She's offering a knighthood to whomever finds Sansa Stark."
- Tyrion Lannister: "Sansa couldn't have done this."
- Jaime Lannister: "She had more reason than anyone in the Seven Kingdoms. Do you think it's a coincidence she disappeared the same night Joffrey died?"
- Tyrion Lannister: "No, but...Sansa's not a killer. Not yet, anyway."
- — Jaime and Tyrion discuss Sansa.[src]
- Cersei Lannister: "You have no loyalty to Catelyn Stark?"
- Jaime Lannister: "Catelyn Stark's dead."
- Cersei Lannister: "So if I told you to leave the capital right now and find Sansa, if I told you to find that murderous little bitch and bring me her head, would you do it?"
- — Cersei to Jaime about killing Sansa.[src]
- "You've known Sansa since she was a girl. Now watch her become a woman."
- ―Ramsay Bolton to Theon
- "She's exactly like her mother..."
- ―Brynden Tully after reading Sansa's plea.
- Jon Snow: "Sansa thinks she's smarter than everyone."
- Arya Stark: "She's the smartest person I've ever met."
- Jon Snow: "Now you're defending her? You?"
- Arya Stark: "I'm defending our family. So is she."
- — Jon and Arya[src]
- "Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now."
- ―Tyrion to Sansa
|Tyrion Lannister ||Ramsay|
|Arya Stark||Bran Stark||Rickon Stark|
|Eddard Stark||Catelyn Tully|
|Jon Arryn||Lysa Tully|
|Petyr Baelish||Edmure Tully||Roslin Tully|
|Robb Stark||Talisa Stark|
|Tyrion Lannister ||Ramsay|
|Arya Stark||Bran Stark||Rickon Stark||Robin Arryn||Newborn|
Behind the Scenes
- Sophie Turner has naturally baby blonde hair. So to get that Tully red, her hair had to be dyed for Sansa's auburn (reddish brown) hair. Kevin Alexander uses a mix of four different watercolor shades. Since Turner was only thirteen or fourteen when she started on the show, Alexander didn't want to use peroxide on her. The color lasts about ten days and needs to be touched up constantly.
- After the filming of the episode in which Sansa's direwolf, Lady, is executed, Turner adopted the dog that played Lady, a Northern Inuit named Zunni. Series author George R. R. Martin confirmed this on his blog.
- On the Season 6 Blu-Ray, Sansa narrates the Histories & Lore video "Northern Allegiances to House Stark", as well as on the Season 7 Blu-ray, she narrates Chapter 6 of Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, "House Stark, The Kings of Winter" and Chapter 10, "The Last Dragons".
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Sansa enjoys conventional "ladylike" pursuits, with a keen interest in music, poetry, singing, literature, history, dancing and embroidery. She was taught to play the High harp by Lady Leonette. She has a romantic notion of handsome princes and knights fighting honorably for love and loyalty. She is sharply contrasted with her far less idealistic and tomboyish younger sister, Arya.
Due to a time jump which was originally planned in the books but later dropped, Sansa is only 11 years old when the narrative begins. Author George R.R. Martin himself has said that he would have aged-up the younger characters had he initially known he would abandon the time-jump. Therefore, in the TV series' timeline, all of the younger characters including Sansa have been aged up two years from the books. Thus, Sansa is 13 years old in Season 1, and 14 years old in Season 2. Keeping in mind that in medieval times, the age of maturity was lower than it is today, this younger age in the books isn't quite as unusual as it sounds, but due to the abandoned time jump, this still causes some discrepancies. For example, in the books, Joffrey's torment of Sansa doesn't have quite the same inherent sexual tension to it because they're both two years younger. Sansa directly states that she is 13 years old in dialogue from the pilot episode of Season 1. On her wedding night with Tyrion Lannister, however, she says that she is 14 years old when she should be 15 years old because it's been two years since the pilot episode. It is possible that she either simply had not reached her nameday and turned exactly 15 yet, or that she was lying to try to shame Tyrion before he took her virginity (though as it turned out, Tyrion still refused to consummate the marriage, morally repulsed at being forced to marry such a young girl).
A subplot in the books which is only somewhat alluded to in the TV series is that in her desperation, Sansa starts latching onto the idea of Sandor Clegane as her protector from Joffrey or a potential source of an escape attempt.
In sharp contrast to Arya, Sansa is very passive and submissive, waiting for things to happen rather than take active actions. Only on rare occasions does she temporarily step out of her passivity, like the time she intervened to save Ser Dontos or her momentary intent to kill Joffrey, but these are exceptions; during the time she was held captive at the Red Keep, she did not make even the slightest effort to find a way to escape.
In the books, Sansa is shown to be partially responsible for her father's arrest by revealing to Cersei his plan to have his daughters leave the capital city. Given that she is only a naive eleven-year-old, and that Eddard didn't give her any explanation for why he wanted to send her away from King's Landing, she assumed he was simply fighting with Cersei over some matter of state. Still enraptured with the idea of staying and marrying Joffrey, Sansa thought that if she told Cersei she would then smooth over whatever disagreement they had. Yet the main fault is Eddard's, for foolishly revealing his cards to Cersei, and even more foolishly - putting his trust in Littlefinger and revealing his plan to him. Thus Littlefinger and Cersei knew what Eddard planned to do and had time to prepare counter-measures, regardless of what Sansa told Cersei.
Sansa technically gained the title of "princess" when her brother Robb was declared the new King in the North. While her brothers Bran and Rickon use the title of "prince" among the Northerners at Winterfell, Sansa's storyline involves her being held as a prisoner at King Joffrey's court in King's Landing. The Lannisters refuse to acknowledge the North's claims of independence so they don't refer to Sansa as "princess". Meanwhile, Sansa is in fear for her life and is subjected to frequent beatings at the hands of the Kingsguard at Joffrey's whim, so she doesn't refer to herself as "princess" for fear of angering her captors. Thus her title is rarely, if ever, invoked (unless Robb and Catelyn in the Northern camp are discussing her captivity).
Unlike in the show, Sansa does not befriend Shae and does not trust her. Shae does whatever Sansa tells her, but sometimes, she gives Sansa insolent looks. Sansa has no idea why Shae looks at her this way, for Sansa does not know Shae is her husband Tyrion's lover.
Following Sansa's escape from King's Landing, Littlefinger takes her first to his ancestral home at the Fingers. There he reveals Sansa part of the scheme to murder Joffrey; he does not reveal what his motive was, nor why it was necessary to involve her in the scheme.
As a precaution, Sansa's hair is dyed black (as her auburn hair would reveal her as a Tully) and is given the alias of "Alayne Stone", Littlefinger's bastard daughter who recently decided to seek him out after having been entrusted to the Faith of the Seven. Sansa keeps her true identity hidden whilst in the Vale; eventually, she is no longer described as "Sansa" in the text but as "Alayne," even in her own thoughts. In the show, she is introduced simply as "Alayne", a niece of Petyr, who makes only a vague attempt to hide her hair; she later dyes it of her own volition.
Sansa has no idea that Littlefinger was involved in her father's downfall, but knows well that he is treacherous and cannot be trusted. She separates "Littlefinger" from "Petyr" in her mind: Petyr is the kind man who saved her from the Lannisters, and who loved her mother, but she knows Littlefinger exists within him, and he was never her friend: she remembers him smiling slyly and whispering in Cersei's ear; she reminds herself that whenever she was in danger, Tyrion and the Hound were the ones who saved her, not him; she knows about his part in Jon Arryn's death (Lysa reveals that in her presence); she saw him killing two people - Ser Dontos and her aunt - the latter by his own hands.
In sharp contrast to the show, Sansa does not become full of confidence overnight following her aunt's death. She does not lie to the lords about Lysa's death at her own behest, but under the command of Littlefinger; she shivers in fear when Nestor Royce inquires about Lysa, barely managing to lie that Marillion was the one who pushed Lysa to her death, and nearly faints when Littlefinger says "it was I who killed her" (as if talking metaphorically); she also fears that Yohn Royce will recognize her (it is unclear if he does).
During her time in the Vale, Sansa becomes more astute in political affairs as the protégé of Littlefinger. This subtle change in her personality is different from the more drastic one in the show. She watches Littlefinger's manipulations of Lord Nestor Royce and the Lords Declarant, but generally remains timid, passive and obedient as ever: she never questions Littlefinger's actions and plans; she has no idea about the current events out of the Vale and particularly in the North (except she learns her half-brother Jon has become the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch), that Edmure is held captive at the Twins, and that Riverrun is under siege; she does not even know who currently holds her home and does not bother to ask; she does not take any actions to help either her uncle or her great-uncle.
Although Littlefinger does not intend to keep Sansa to himself, there are hints he lusts after her, perhaps because she resembles her mother: he occasionally gives her not-so-fatherly kisses, and once touched her left breast, while telling her "You are Alayne, and you must be Alayne all the time. Even here. In your heart".
Sansa finds her cousin Robert Arryn (in the show he is called "Robin") pitiful and repulsive. After the incident with the snow castle, she thinks angrily that even Joffrey had more spine than Robert. Still, after Lysa's death, Sansa feels sorry for him and treats him patiently as she can. At one occasion, he demands "a hundred lemon cakes and five tales", Sansa's patience nearly runs out and she feels like giving him "a hundred spankings and five slaps", but restrains herself (unlike in the show). Robert, who has no idea of "Alayne"'s true identity, initially declares he hates her for ripping his doll, but after Lysa's death he forms a strong attachment to her, even sleeping in her bed at night as he used to do in his mother's. Sansa wouldn't have minded if he only slept, but since he tries to nuzzle at her breasts and wets the bed during his seizures - she asks Lothor Brune to lock his door.
In a sample chapter of The Winds of Winter, Robert tells Alayne she should marry him. Sansa, who does not have the heart to tell Robert her negative opinion of him, gently but firmly tells him it is out of the question: as the Lord of the Eyrie and Defender of the Vale, he must wed a highborn lady and father a son - not a bastard, otherwise his bannermen will claim that Littlefinger made him do that, and put her and "her father" to death. In the chapter, preparations are being made for a tourney, as suggested by Sansa to Littlefinger as a means of orchestrating a meeting between Sansa and Harrold Hardyng. Sansa finds Harold attractive, but immediately reminds herself the bitter lesson she learned long ago - not to judge people by their physical appearance; she recalls that Joffrey was comely but a monster, but Tyrion was unattrative but kind to her. Harrold initially speaks to her rudely, calling her "Littlefinger's bastard", nearly moving her to tears; later he apologizes. Sansa treats him courteously but coldly, as Littlefinger instructed her - to charm Harrold but not to look too eager. To test his honesty, Sansa asks him about his bastard daughters, and he answers openly. Harrold asks to wear her favor in the tourney, but she refuses, claiming it is promised to another.
Sansa's Season 5 story arc diverged significantly from that in the books. Littlefinger does not arrange for her to marry Ramsay Bolton, whom she never meets, and indeed she does not even leave the Vale. Instead, she is betrothed to Harrold Hardyng, Robert Arryn's presumptive heir, should the weak and sickly Robert die prematurely, as Littlefinger expects (perhaps he intends to "help" Robert die). His plan is to wed Sansa to Harold, and for Sansa to reveal her identity to everyone present during the wedding, in order to gain the support of the knights in the Vale for winning her birthright back. Littlefinger says nothing about the Boltons or any military campaigns, since his plans will take several years to come to fruition - the marriage cannot take place before Robert dies, Sansa is widowed and Cersei is done, and there is no way to know in advance who will hold Winterfell and rule the North at that future point.
In the books, Sansa's storyline in season five is played out by her best friend Jeyne Poole, who is forced to masquerade as Arya Stark. Jeyne's story is almost identical to Sansa's season five storyline, although it is not Brienne who offers Jeyne her help if she needs it (indeed, Brienne has not met the Stark girls by the point the books reached). Instead, it is Mance Rayder who infiltrates Winterfell as a bard to rescue her on the orders of Jon, Sansa's half-brother. Also, Jeyne never tries to escape Winterfell on her own and does not attempt to force Theon into helping her as she is mentally in a much worse state than Sansa is in while Sansa is married to Ramsay in the show. In the books, while Jeyne is being tormented, Sansa is safe in the Vale, surrounded by friendly people like Myranda Royce and Mya Stone (the elder of Robert's bastards). Sansa believes herself the last of the Starks except for her half brother, as she presumes her sister and brothers to be dead along with most of the realm.
Sansa does not make an appearance in the fifth novel "A Dance with Dragons". She is mentioned several times by various characters: Theon remembers a time when he had thought that Eddard might marry him to Sansa and claim him for a son, but realizes that had only been a child's fancy; Tyrion speaks about her with his dwarf companion; Cersei recalls that Petyr Baelish had offered to wed her, but was denied because he was much too lowborn; and Jon tells Stannis that Winterfell belongs to Sansa and thinks of Sansa alongside their other siblings while he decides what to do after receiving Ramsay's letter.
There is a fan theory that the book scene, in which Sansa builds a snow model of Winterfell and Littlefinger helps her (its analogous show scene in "Mockingbird") is a foreshadowing that she and Jon, with Littlefinger's help, will restore both their home and House Stark. In view of the finale of season 6, it may actually happen in the books too.
According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Sansa" is pronounced "SAHN-suh" (i.e. between "San-suh" and "Sohn-suh").
Sansa Stark not "Sansa Lannister"
Among the powerful noble families of the Seven Kingdoms, women will retain the use of their maiden name if their family is more powerful or ancient than their husband's family.
In Westeros, only members of noble Houses typically have surnames (i.e. "Eddard Stark" is actually "Eddard of House Stark" in full). The nobility of the Seven Kingdoms is formed of roughly five tiers, which in descending order are: the royal family that controls the Iron Throne, the Great Houses who rule entire regions, the major noble Houses, the lesser noble Houses, and the knightly Houses. The Targaryens were the royal family though they were recently supplanted by the Baratheons. Great Houses rule each of the formerly independent "Seven Kingdoms" - such as the Starks who rule the North, the Lannisters who rule the Westerlands, and the Tyrells who rule the Reach. Major Houses are those under the Great Houses, such as House Umber which serves the Starks, or House Redwyne which serves the Tyrells. Underneath them are the lesser noble Houses (i.e. House Poole), and below them are knightly Houses (i.e. House Clegane): the difference between the two is that lesser Lords still have the right to dispense justice on their lands while knights do not.
Typically, if a noblewoman marries above her station into a more powerful family, she will switch to publicly using that family name. For example, "Olenna Tyrell" was born Olenna Redwyne, but the Tyrells are the Redwyne's overlords so she switched to use of that name. A noblewoman who married below her station would defiantly continue to use the name of the more prestigious family she was born into.
Given that the Starks and Lannisters were both Great Houses of equal social rank and both former royal houses, it isn't automatically assumed that Sansa would switch to being known as "Sansa Lannister". The major factor is that Sansa was forced into a marriage to a similarly unwilling husband by her captors. Theirs also remains an unconsummated marriage. Such unconsummated marriages can be annulled (not automatically as Littlefinger says in the show, though), but since both Sansa and Tyrion are wanted for regicide and far away from each other - it will be very difficult, though not impossible, to annul their marriage. Moreover, the books do not specify the requirements for an annulment (whether both husband and wife must attend, who is authorized to perform the annulment, etc.), thus it is unknown how difficult it will be to annul the marriage.
Sansa believes that her marriage to Tyrion is valid, as she reminds Littlefinger on the fourth novel when he reveals his plans to marry her to Harrold Hardyng. It is unclear whether Sansa knows her marriage can be annulled; Littlefinger never brings up this option. He assures her it is not a problem, her intended marriage must wait until "Cersei is done and Sansa's safely widowed". In addition, she could get married as her disguise, Alayne Stone.
Prophecies about Sansa
In the third novel "A Storm of Swords", the old woods witch known as the Ghost of High Hill speaks about Sansa: "I dreamt of a maid at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow." The first past of the prophecy is clearly about the Purple Wedding; it has yet to be seen how and when the second part comes true.
- Sansa Stark on A Wiki of Ice and Fire
- Jeyne Poole on A Wiki of Ice and Fire
- Sansa Stark on Wikipedia
- ↑ Script for Season 8 Episode 6: "The Iron Throne", page 22
- ↑ In "Two Swords" Jaime replies "Sansa Stark is Sansa Lannister now" to Brienne's claim that she serves only Sansa Stark.
- ↑ Sansa directly stated that she was 13 in the Season 1 premiere (aged up from 11 in the first novel).
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Sansa Stark entry
- ↑ "Winter Is Coming"
- ↑ "The Kingsroad"
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
- ↑ "The Wolf and the Lion"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 "A Golden Crown"
- ↑ "You Win or You Die"
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 "The Pointy End"
- ↑ "Baelor"
- ↑ "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ "The North Remembers"
- ↑ "What Is Dead May Never Die"
- ↑ "Garden of Bones"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "A Man Without Honor"
- ↑ "Blackwater"
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
- ↑ "And Now His Watch Is Ended"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ "The Climb"
- ↑ "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 "Second Sons"
- ↑ "Mhysa"
- ↑ "Two Swords"
- ↑ "The Lion and the Rose"
- ↑ "Breaker of Chains"
- ↑ "Oathkeeper"
- ↑ "First of His Name"
- ↑ "Mockingbird"
- ↑ "The Mountain and the Viper"
- ↑ "The Wars To Come"
- ↑ "The House of Black and White"
- ↑ "High Sparrow"
- ↑ "Sons of the Harpy"
- ↑ "Kill the Boy"
- ↑ "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
- ↑ "The Gift"
- ↑ "Hardhome"
- ↑ "Mother's Mercy"
- ↑ "The Red Woman"
- ↑ "Home"
- ↑ "Book of the Stranger"
- ↑ "The Door"
- ↑ "The Broken Man"
- ↑ "Battle of the Bastards"
- ↑ "The Winds of Winter"
- ↑ "Dragonstone"
- ↑ "Stormborn"
- ↑ "The Queen's Justice"
- ↑ "The Spoils of War"
- ↑ "Eastwatch"
- ↑ "Beyond the Wall"
- ↑ 59.0 59.1 "The Dragon and the Wolf"
- ↑ http://viewers-guide.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/season-7/episode-7/people/100/petyr-littlefinger-baelish
- ↑ "Winterfell"
- ↑ "The Long Night"
- ↑ "The Last of the Starks"
- ↑ "The Iron Throne"
- ↑ http://www.newsherald.com/zz/entertainment/20160519/game-of-thrones-not-even-kit-harington-knew-about-that-stark-reunion-at-first
- ↑ https://youtu.be/cxSddcCh36I?t=341