Nope, Sansa Stark Isn’t In Trouble

Well, not more than anyone else in Westeros (see Night King)

That Look Says It All (HBO)

Well, another day, another theory that I disagree with.

I was looking through my feed and I saw this theory suggesting that Sansa is likely not to survive Season 8 (as you may remember, I have argued that Sansa has a strong chance of ultimately winning the Game of Thrones). Anyway, this was the article in question:

The theory relies on two main arguments, let me address them one at a time:

  1. Sansa Was Not in GRRM’s Original Outline of Who Survived

This one is pretty easy to respond to, let’s just turn to an article quoting David Benioff talking about GRRM’s process:

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with George, and he makes a lot of stuff up as he’s writing it. Even while we talk to him about the ending, it doesn’t mean that that ending that he has currently conceived is going to be the ending when he eventually writes it.”

Or what David Weiss said in the same interview:

“It’s like looking at a landscape and saying, OK, there’s a mountain over there, and I know that I’m getting to that mountain. There’s an event that’s going to happen, and I know that I’m moving in the general direction of that event, but what’s between where I’m standing now and that thing off on the horizon, I’m not totally sure. I’ll know when I get there, and then I’ll see what the terrain looks like around me and I’ll choose my path once I get closer to it. He figures a lot of this stuff as he goes. He always says he’s a gardener, not an architect.”

Or if you don’t believe them, let’s see what George R.R. Martin himself has to say about it:

Martin divides writers into two types: architects who create their worlds, thinking about the smallest details before starting to write; and gardeners, who advocate for improvisation. He attributes himself to the second type. This approach, of course, has its side effects, Martin stated. “Several times the plot has led me to a dead end, from where there is no way out. I had to go back and rewrite everything again.”

So, yeah…I don’t think anything George Martin said 20 years ago is written in anything more solid than sand (or snow).

2. Sansa’s Direwolf is Dead

Cersei Doesn’t Care About Direwolves (HBO)

This argument is unpersuasive to me because nothing matters to GRRM more than the effectiveness of leadership.

Mr. Martin doesn’t seem to care if you are:

  • A Nice or Respected Ruler (see Ned or Renly)
  • A Hereditary Ruler (see Robert)
  • A Ruler with Dragons (see Targaryen’s)
  • If you have Magic (see Melisandre)
  • If you are a great strategist (see Tywin)
  • If you are a great strategist in battle (See Robb)
  • If you are a great general (see Stannis)
  • If you are clever (see Littlefinger)
  • If you are a backstabber (see Dorne)
  • If you are ruthless or cruel (see Bolton’s)
  • If your heart is in the right place (see Jon)

There is nothing wrong with possessing any of the above attributes as long as you are also at the same time effective as a leader, strategic, and can see around corners.

George R.R. Martin doesn’t give two damns if Sansa has magic wolves. magic powers or dragons. All that matters is if she can effectively marshal whatever forces she has better than her opponents, protect her flanks, and predict traitors.

So, let’s look at who was the most and least effective last season:

  • Cersei started with a terrible hand and ended up in a very strong position, outplaying almost every other player — A+
  • Sansa exposed and dealt with a poisonous snake, consolidated her power, and aligned with her strongest ally against every enemy aside from the undead (Arya) — A
  • Daenerys started in an incredibly strong position and then followed two men into an absurd pit of despair, when she took control back and decided to roast Lannister’s she was at her best — C
  • Jon Snow has always been one of the weakest players of the game but one with the strongest Emo attractiveness skills and who has the best claim to the crown (it baffles me how he is still alive, kind of) — F
  • Arya kicked ass all the way through, but she isn’t playing the Game of Thrones, she just wants to keep on kicking ass — B+
  • Tyrion was responsible for two of the most inexplicably awful plans in the history of the entire ASOIAF universe. He was independently responsible for gifting the Night King a dragon. If anyone should be dead, as much as I love him, it should be Tyrion — F-
  • Night King was very effective, and now he has taken down the wall and has a gigantic zombie ice dragon. He is also one heck of a thrower of the javelin — A+
  • Euron was pretty effective, he accomplished everything he set out to do. Heck, he even built 1000 ships on islands with no wood and was able to teleport from one end of Westeros to the other in the blink of an eye. One problem, his final goal is to marry Cersei, and that just isn’t going to end well. He is also kind of a prancing jackass — B+

I am sure I am leaving some people out (kind of brain dead at the moment…or always, who knows). However, it is unlikely one of the most effective leaders of Season 7 is going to be killed just because her Direwolf died.

George R.R. Martin’s whole series is based on the central organizing principle that no matter how much magic or power you have, if you aren’t watching your bathroom door, you can get a crossbow bolt in the chest while you are getting important business done.

Anyway, I am voting a big thumbs down on this Sansa “theory.”

Here is a guide to everything that I have written about Season 7 of Game of Thrones:

Josh is a 100% reader-funded blogger and freelance writer. Please consider following him on Twitter, throwing a tip into his hat on Patreon, or adding his blog OnPirateSatellite to your feeds. Support writing on platforms like Medium that don’t have pop-ups or bloatware.

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Josh H

Author, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate, Co-Host of the "Decarceration Nation" Podcast, Television critic and Movie Reviewer, OnPirateSatellite.com