THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT GAME OF THRONES - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
When HBO announced that Game of Thrones wouldn't be coming back to our screens until 2019, all my hopes for the new year seemed to dissipate. I crawled into bed, switched on season one and binge watched, trying to pretend that Dan and David weren't hurting me like this again.
As I was watching, I rediscovered many loves: the entire Stark family, Tyrion and the tiny baby dire wolves. What really struck a chord with me though was the seriously underrated brilliance of Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark.
When Game of Thrones aired what seems to be eons ago, Sansa Stark was more or less a plot device. She was betrothed to Prince Joffrey so her father and his best friend (Rest in Peace Bobby Baratheon) could join houses and fortify the realms of Westeros. She was a typical teenage girl in many respects: she squabbled with her siblings and parents, had a crush on a boy she'd met who had sweeping Bieber-esque bangs and she was incredibly naive about her future.
However, Sansa soon moved past the realms of normal teenage life into what is probably the most painful and heart breaking stage of her existence. For those who have seen the show, you know all the awful hardships Sansa goes through from the moment her fathers head left his shoulders. However, in the audience of GoT fans, there is a large portion of people who dismiss Sansa and her struggles, labelling her as a 'whore', 'wet blanket', 'wimp' and 'a pointless character acted badly and written to only serve the female audience,' (something I read a lot in comment sections).
On the internet, there are groups of people who come together to talk shit about shows and movies they love through memes, and then there's shit posting groups. I am a member of a couple Facebook groups dedicated to shit posting, one of those being about Game of Thrones. Within this group is where I have encountered this dialogue about not just Sansa, but all the women on the show. Predominantly male, commenters criticise Sansa for being boring, whiny, irritating, weak and most outlandishly, a slut. Their claims have no real evidence, although their collective hatred of women in their beloved television show makes them impossible to argue with.
I, however, think Sansa is fantastic. Like many other people I once thought Sansa's whining in the earlier seasons was grating, but I completely understand it. Sansa was a teenage girl. Now I don't know if you know this, but teenage girls can be difficult sometimes. I was a teenage girl, and boy oh boy was I worse than Sansa, with no where near as such dire circumstances as hers, mainly because my crush and his family didn't decapitate my dad. Sansa was a realistic representation of a teenage girl and Sophie Turner did that well because she was also a teenage girl. Duh. It's not as if she stayed thirteen, she grew up and she grew up so fucking well. Sansa went from a scared, trapped little girl, who miraculously survived living with Joffrey and Cersei, to a boss arse bitch who executed Littlefinger after outsmarting him with the help of her equally amazing sister Arya.
People dismiss Sansa as character with no strength, and to that I say bullshit. Sansa may not have been an extremely rebellious character, but how was she supposed to be with the Lannisters breathing down her neck? Also, isn't it important to portray a woman trapped in her own circumstances due to domestic and sexual violence, especially in this day and age?
What Sansa did in the long run was smart; she learned from the people manipulating her and the people around her. She learns from Cersei about tenacity, ruthlessness and protecting her family. She couldn't leave at risk of death. She had Varys as an ally so she could've escaped, but Sansa was still only a teenage girl, and a terrified one at that, so she stayed and she learned every manipulative tactic used against her by every person who came her way. She adapted, and turned into a cunning hybrid of Catelyn and Cersei.
Now that we're so close to the end of Thrones and the characters are dropping like flies, there's so much speculation in the fandom world about who will end up on the Iron Throne. While these men, who seem to simultaneously hate all the female characters and grossly lust after them, all fight over who deserves the throne, I, and a handful of people I know, have a strong confidence that it will be a woman.
Maybe the throne itself will be destroyed, and a democracy will begin. In my ideal world, Sansa, Arya, Dany and Missandei team up in an epic girl group and become equals, and a dragon destroys the throne in some beautifully symbolic way. While that's probably not going to happen (but if it does you all owe me a dollar) there's a lot of fierce women still in the game, and at this point the writers would be stupid not to put one of them on the throne. Or dismantle it completely.
The moral of the story is, if you hate Sansa because you think "she's a useless character only created for women" and you aren't a top tier actor, writer or director who has qualifications in creating characters, you're probably just intimidated by women who could kick your arse and steal your wallet. So, as much as I love the beautiful men of Westeros, it's high time to let the women take control because as the saying goes, "All men must die, but we are not men."
Images: Game of Thrones
Kirra is a young, loud woman with a passion for equality, wine from a cask and drag queens. She is often spotted staring into space thinking about Game of Thrones and pizza.