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Most of the characters on Game of Thrones exist in various levels of misery. One character who has had a particularly miserable ride over the first five seasons is undoubtedly poor Sansa Stark. Her terrible fortunes took an even more unsettling turn when she was married to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton, who proceeded to rape and brutalize her. Luckily, she made a daring escape at the end of Season 5, and the Season 6 premiere saw reason for Sansa to actually have hope, and according to actress Sophie Turner, the eldest Stark daughter will be far from passive in Season 6.
She definitely builds up her own allies in this [season]. She’s not gathering an army, but it’s basically about her trying to make people listen to her and people realize that she knows the politics of this game and she knows how these things work. She probably has strategies better than a lot of the other people who are trying to fight a war with war, but she actually has the strategies and the tactics. It’s about her trying to make people listen.
By the end of Season 5, the only ally that Sansa could count upon was the traumatized Theon Greyjoy. Although he does have the best of intentions and the drive to do right by Sansa, Theon is hardly the most stable or able person to help her survive on the run in a Northern winter. Now that Sansa has seen Brienne and Podrick in action, accepted Brienne’s pledge of service, and escaped the clutches of Ramsay, she should have the opportunity to make a stand for the Starks in the North.
Sansa has spent most of her formative years being traded around as a playing piece in the game of thrones, ranging from her betrothal to Joffrey to her marriage to Tyrion to her dynamic with Littlefinger that led to her state of captivity with Ramsay. Fortunately, she’s seen enough of the conflicts between the noble houses to understand how the game is played. Tyrion predicted that the Northerners would never forget the Red Wedding, Roose Bolton knows that he can’t hold the North without a Stark, and Sansa found allies even within the Bolton-controlled walls of Winterfell in Season 5. Now that she is free of Ramsay’s control and motivated to use her strategic smarts, Sansa may do as Sophie Turner told IGN she would by transforming from a character who seemed unlikely to survive the series into a character who outlives all of the rest of the regulars.
Personally, I’m hoping that Sansa’s accumulation of allies will lead her to cross paths with a living Jon Snow. Game of Thrones has toyed with Ned’s kids almost meeting too many times already; a reunion between the two who had not been close back in the good days but are brought back together in the bad could be fabulous. Of course, that’s assuming that the showrunners and Kit Harington are lying about Jon being dead for good, and I’m choosing to be optimistic about that. Who knows? Maybe she’ll have Jon at her side when she dons her awesome Stark armor.
To see Sansa’s next steps in showing off her skills of strategy and tactics, tune into Game of Thrones on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Don’t forget to check out our schedule of summer TV premiere dates.