Sansa Stark is my personal hero on Game of Thrones (and here’s why)

Credit: HBO
Credit: HBO /

Thinking back on Game of Thrones, some of the biggest moments that people remember likely include the epic Battle of the Bastards, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) being the absolute badass that she is, the still-heartbreaking Red Wedding, and of course, the controversial ending. But for me, the part of the HBO series that sticks out the most is one character: Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Her perseverance, intelligence, and dedication to her family are reasons why she’s a personal hero of mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Daenerys. Although I don’t exactly agree with where her character arc went, she’s one of the most inspirational characters I’ve seen in fantasy media and I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the influence she’s had on pop culture and women across the globe. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is forever one of my favorite characters, and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is fantastic. But Sansa is someone who stuck out to me the most as a young woman watching the show for the first time, and she will be close to my heart forever.

I haven’t gone back and done a full rewatch of Game of Thrones since it ended in 2019, but Sansa is someone I still think about quite often. Okay, yes, she was a brat at the beginning of the show, but she was a child. She was a child who was forced to leave her family to marry one of the most evil characters of all time, and though she gets out of it, she then faces the most evil character on the show: Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Throughout the first five seasons, at least, Sansa is tossed around from man to man, all of whom are power hungry and want to own her, with the exception of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). She’s seen by men, and even some women, as someone who can be used and then thrown away.

Why Sansa Stark is such an inspiration to women

Sansa’s storyline throughout the first five seasons – until she escapes from Ramsay – is infuriating. Not because it’s written poorly, but because it’s so heartbreaking and so believable. Game of Thrones shines a light on the abuse women have faced and still face everyday through some of their female characters, but Sansa isn’t a damsel in distress. Even after surviving horrendous sexual abuse from Ramsay, she’s determined to live a better life. She’s determined to be with her family once again. Whether or not we really needed that highly controversial rape scene, we know that Sansa has gone through some of the worst things a person can go through, things that tragically, many women experience.

“I think the backlash was wrong because those things did happen,” Sophie Turner told Rolling Stone in response to the rape scene criticism. And those “things” still happen today. Everyday.

But the lesson of Sansa’s story isn’t that “all men are bad.” She has men like Jon or Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) who she can trust. And these male characters don’t serve as her savior. Sansa needs help throughout the show, like everyone does, but ultimately the person who does the most to save her is herself.

Nothing on Game of Thrones gives me more satisfaction than Sansa’s revenge on Ramsay. The season 6 episode “Battle of the Bastards” is one of my favorites for many reasons, the biggest being her act of vengeance. Though nothing Sansa could do could ever reverse the trauma she suffered at his hands, her being the one to have him killed is as close as she could get. I don’t think revenge is always the answer, but Sansa needed this. And as a woman watching her journey, I needed this.

Sansa’s ending in Game of Thrones is truly the one she deserves. She’s reunited with her siblings, she finally gets rid of Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen), and she becomes the Queen in the North. After all the people she lost, all the abuse she faced — both physical and mental — and after all the fear she held in her heart, she was home, and she was respected. And it was about time!

“My skin has turned from porcelain, to ivory, to steel” is a quote said by Sansa Stark in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Though it’s a simple line, it perfectly encapsulates her journey, and it explains why she’s forever an inspiration to me.

Next. Celebrating the women of House of the Dragon. dark

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