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Will Sansa Stark Die in Game of Thrones Season 8 Finale?
Season Eight of Game of Thrones has rightly been criticized for rushing to the finish line at the expense of character development. But there is one character whose arc makes sense: Sansa Stark. In these final episodes, Sansa has shown what she’s learned throughout her brutal life held captive by abusive politicians.
When Sansa is reunited with The Hound in Episode Four, he calls her a “stupid little bird,” and says she would have avoided her abusers by leaving King’s Landing with him in Season Two. She responds: “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life.”
It’s true Sansa is much stronger and wiser than she was when she last saw The Hound, but with this statement, the writers are giving too much credit to her abusers. It wasn’t the brutalization she experienced—it was her survival instincts and cunning that got her through to the end. Which is why Sansa won’t die in the final episode. She’s come too far.
Sansa ultimately outsmarted Littlefinger.
Of all the tragic storylines on Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark’s has been the hardest to watch. For seven long seasons she’s been held hostage by evil nobles in King’s Landing to be used as a pawn in the fight for the Iron Throne. In King’s Landing she was tortured and abused by Joffrey and Cersei. She was married off to Tyrion Lannister. And even when she finally escaped the city, she was manipulated by the despicable Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish then sent to the monstrous Ramsay Bolton who raped her in one of the most unforgivable scenes in this series.
Yet, Sansa has survived it all. She’s remained strong and outsmarted her enemies in pivotal moments. In Season Six, her suffering briefly came to an end when she fed Ramsay to his dogs, reunited with her brothers and took her proper position as a woman of power in the North. Next, in Season Seven, she outmaneuvered Littlefinger and had Arya slash his throat. “I’m a slow learner, it’s true, but I do learn,” she said as he died.
After being abused by Ramsay Bolton, Sansa let his starving dogs loose to kill him.
Sansa proved that point this season when she warned her brother Jon not to trust Daenerys Targaryen. And she sets into motion Tyrion and Varys’ betrayal of Dany by telling Tyrion the truth about Jon’s identity. Sansa knew well the power of information. And she knew that secrets can topple even the most powerful leaders.
This is a tactic she’s seen used by the likes of Cersei and Littlefinger throughout this entire story. Sansa hasn’t been a helpless princess caught up in a war beyond her. She’s been learning and studying. She’s not only survived, but she’s grown into a leader and strategist arguably more powerful than Littlefinger and Cersei ever were.
Of course, Daenerys proved in Episode Five that she’s more than willing to kill anyone who gets in her way of sitting on the Iron Throne. She executed Varys for making it clear he believed Jon would make for a better ruler than Dany.
Afterward, Dany tells Jon: “Now [Sansa] knows what happens to people when they learn the truth about you.” Daenerys then fried all of King’s Landing on a mad tear with her dragon, proving Sansa right.
So, there’s a target on Sansa’s back heading into the final episode. But she also perfectly set up a coup against Daenerys, who has proven even more violent and unstable than she could have predicted. Sansa has outmaneuvered the most evil characters this show has created, and it’s all prepared her for this final episode. Don’t be surprised if she even ends up on the Iron Throne.
Senior Staff Writer
Kate is a writer for Esquire covering culture, politics, style, and lifestyle.