Artwork © Magali Villeneuve
|Alias|| Little bird|
|Allegiance|| House Stark|
House Baelish of Harrenhal (as Alayne)
|Born||In 286 AC, at Winterfell|
|Book(s)|| A Game of Thrones (POV)|
A Clash of Kings (POV)
A Storm of Swords (POV)
A Feast for Crows (POV)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The Winds of Winter (POV)
|Played by||Sophie Turner|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5|
- For the historical figure, see Sansa Stark (daughter of Rickon).
Sansa Stark is a member of House Stark and is the elder daughter of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark. She has three brothers (Robb, Bran and Rickon), a younger sister, Arya, and a half-brother, Jon Snow. Sansa Stark is one of the major POV characters in the books. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, she is played by Sophie Turner.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Sansa Stark
Sansa is traditionally beautiful, taking after her mother's family (the Tullys) with her high cheekbones, vivid blue eyes and thick auburn hair. She is eleven years old at the start of the series. As she has grown up, her figure has been described as tall, graceful and womanly.
Sansa was raised a lady, and possesses the traditional feminine graces of her milieu, with a keen interest in music, poetry, singing, dancing, embroidery, and other traditional feminine activities. Like many girls her age, Sansa is enthralled by songs and stories of romance and adventure, particularly those depicting handsome princes, honorable knights, chivalry, and love. Initially those song and stories were Sansa's vision of the world beyond Winterfell, a world she desperately wishes to experience, but she is later disabused of such innocent romanticized notions. She keeps faith with both the old gods and the Seven.
Sansa is the eldest daughter and second child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark, head of House Stark and Warden of the North. She was born and raised at Winterfell. In her eleven years, she learns the duties of a noble daughter and is tutored by septa Mordane in the traditional womanly arts. Sansa has a younger sister Arya. She has an older brother, Robb, and two younger brothers, Bran and Rickon. She has a bastard half-brother, Jon Snow.
A Game of Thrones
With her father Eddard Stark's appointment as Hand of the King, Sansa is delighted at the prospect of life at court in King's Landing and is thrilled by her betrothal to the handsome Prince Joffrey. On their journey to the capital, Joffrey courts Sansa at his mother's insistence. The two are walking together when they come upon her sister Arya playing at swords with the boy Mycah. Joffrey draws his sword and threatens Mycah, but Arya fights with him; her direwolf Nymeria disarms and superficially wounds him.
Later recounting the tale to King Robert I Baratheon, Arya tells the truth while Joffrey lies, saying that Mycah, Arya, and Nymeria attacked him without provocation. Sansa, not wishing to betray her future husband, lies and refuses to verify either story, pleading that she doesn't remember. Queen Cersei Lannister uses the opportunity to insist that the direwolf that attacked her son be killed. Arya, having anticipated this, had driven Nymeria away; as a result, to assuage the queen, Sansa's direwolf Lady is killed instead.
In King's Landing, Sansa feuds with her sister, placing the majority of the blame on Arya for her direwolf's death. She remains infatuated with Joffrey, largely overlooking his violent mood swings, and develops a close relationship with Queen Cersei as well. Attending the Hand's tourney celebrating her father's appointment, she finds many of her notions of knightly valor and chivalry reinforced, seeing the events as worthy of one of her favored stories. She also develops a crush on Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers; when he gives her a red rose, she is certain she is living in a romantic song.
After her father discovers the truth of Joffrey's parentage and tells his daughters that he is returning them to Winterfell, Sansa, in an act of defiance, runs to the queen and tells her of her father's plans, pleading that she might be allowed to stay and marry Joffrey. Her doing so unwittingly aids Cersei's plot against her father. After Lord Eddard's arrest, Sansa is forced to call her father a traitor. She pleads in front of the king and his retainers for mercy. Joffrey, now king after Robert's death, promises to be merciful, but on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor he orders Eddard's execution as Sansa helplessly looks on.
Even after Eddard's beheading, Cersei declares that Joffrey should still be married to Sansa upon her flowering. Sansa, now horrified at the prospect and only wanting to return home, nevertheless has no choice but to remain in King's Landing during the deteriorating situation, as a hostage, and denounce her father and brother as traitors.
A Clash of Kings
Now effectively a hostage in the Red Keep, Sansa armors herself in her lady's courtesies as she dutifully goes through the motions of denouncing her family as traitors and pleading to them for peace.
Joffrey frequently orders her to be beaten by his Kingsguard as punishment for actions taken by her rebellious brother Robb, who has been crowned King in the North. On one occasion Joffrey orders her to be stripped naked at court, and on another he shows her her father's head, which has been placed on a spike on the Red Keep. This prompts her to consider an attempt to kill him, but the action is prevented by Sandor Clegane, who sees her intention and subtly stops her.
At the tourney on King Joffrey's name day, at which there is only a small crowd and few competitors, Sansa realises she has lost her romantic notions about knightly and courtly love. At the tourney, Ser Dontos Hollard disgraces himself by showing up too drunk to compete. Joffrey decides that he should be killed, causing a horrified Sansa to thoughtlessly speak out. Before Joffrey can lash out at her for contradicting him, Sansa makes up a convincing lie which Sandor Clegane backs up; Sansa also pleads successfully with the king to spare Dontos. A placated Joffrey instead merely strips him of his knighthood and makes him a court fool, as Sansa suggested.
Tyrion Lannister treats Sansa with surprising kindness, and his arrival in the city and assumption of the position of acting Hand of the King sees an end to the more overt abuses directed at Sansa. She also develops a unique relationship with Sandor, who despite his brusque words and hideous demeanor treats her gently and refuses to beat her at Joffrey's command. He privately mocks her for her naive nature but also displays sympathy for her predicament. Sandor saves her life during the riot of King's Landing. Tyrion panics when he thinks she has been lost during the rioting, when her sworn shield abandons her to save himself.
One night Sansa finds a note in her room, directing her to come to the godswood if she wants to go home. It is from Dontos, who promises that a plan is in place to free her from the Lannisters and bring her to Winterfell. Wary of a trap, she nevertheless agrees to Dontos's promise, who in turn counsels patience and perseverance. Feigning a newfound piety to the old gods, Sansa makes frequent trips to the godswood to meet with Dontos, at first seeing him as a gallant rescuer who seeks redemption for the shame he brought upon himself, though she eventually comes to doubt his competence. They refer to each other as Florian and Jonquil.
As Stannis Baratheon's army approaches the city, Sansa experiences her first flowering, making her officially a woman. During the Battle of the Blackwater Sansa takes refuge with many of the other ladies of the court in the sept of the Red Keep, where she remains strong and attempts to calm many of the other frightened women, despite the bitter and cynical words of a drunk Cersei, who spends her time there by snipping at Sansa and the other attendant ladies before storming out. After the battle, Sandor Clegane, who had been broken during the fighting, drunkenly offers to take Sansa with him as he flees the city. She refuses, and he makes her sing for him at knifepoint. Later on, Sansa remembers something else happening.
After the Lannister victory, it is announced that Sansa's betrothal to Joffrey is at an end, for the Crown's alliance with House Tyrell includes a marriage pact between Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey assures her that he will still get to have her sexually, stating as a king can take whomever he wants to bed. Sansa remains in King's Landing, still a hostage to the Lannisters; Dontos assures her that the plan to get her home is still in place after the wedding, giving her a hairnet adorned with purple amethysts.
A Storm of Swords
Sansa is asked to sup with Margaery Tyrell and her grandmother Olenna Redwyne. She is escorted to dinner by Ser Loras Tyrell, who takes her breath away with his beauty and compliments. She refers back to the rose he gave her at the Hand's tourney in honor of her father, but he appears to have forgotten her and the rose. She tries to draw out further small talk, inadvertently offending Loras by saying it must be hard for his sister that Renly died, not realising that they were lovers.
Loras leaves her at the dinner, where she is warmly welcomed by the Tyrell women. Over dinner, Olenna tries to find out more about Joffery; with some coaxing and the arrangement of a distraction to prevent any spies from overhearing, Sansa confesses to them that Joffrey is a monster and begs Margaery not to marry him. Margaery insists that she will be safe with her brother Loras's addition to the Kingsguard, and brushes off the concerns.
The Tyrell women raise the possibility of Sansa being freed from King's Landing and taken to Highgarden to be married to the Tyrell heir Willas, who is crippled, but kind, intelligent, and capable. Sansa readily agrees, anxious to be free of the Lannisters, and becomes friends with Margaery for a time.
Sansa shares with Ser Dontos the Tyrell plot, and Dontos advises her against it, fearfully noting that the Tyrells are not as gentle as they seem. Sansa, frustrated with the apparent lack of progress in Dontos's own supposed plans, disregards his warnings. However, he informs his employer Petyr Baelish of the plot, who in turn informs the Lannisters.
Not wishing to lose their hostage, Lord Tywin Lannister acts quickly to marry Sansa to Tyrion Lannister against the wishes of both parties. Sansa, now thirteen, does her best to hide her feelings toward her disfigured dwarf husband, remaining courteous to him despite her disgust with his physical appearance. Tyrion does not require that she consummate the marriage, for which Sansa is grateful, particularly after learning of her brother and mother's death at the Red Wedding.
Dontos insists that Sansa wear the hairnet he gave to her earlier to the wedding between Joffrey and Margaery, which she does. When Joffrey chokes and dies at the wedding feast, Sansa flees and meets with Dontos. He escorts her to a boat that takes her to a ship, where Petyr Baelish greets her. Baelish explains to Sansa that Joffrey's death was due to a poison that had been smuggled into the feast ,disguised as of one of the amethysts on her hairnet, and shares with Sansa some of the details of the plot between himself and Olenna Redwyne to kill Joffrey. Littlefinger also has Dontos killed and dumped overboard, explaining that while he had played his part well, a drunk such as Dontos could never be entrusted to keep such sensitive information secret for long.
Taking Sansa with him to his meager personal holdings, the original 'little finger' of land of the Vale, Baelish coaches her on a story to pass her off as his bastard daughter "Alayne Stone", so as to avoid detection. Sansa was wanted as Tyrion's accomplice in connection with Joffrey's death. On the Fingers, Sansa's aunt Lysa Arryn meets with them and weds Petyr. As her aunt and Petyr enjoy being intimate after the bedding ritual, Sansa takes a walk outside, musing on her own unpleasant wedding night with Tyrion and wondering what has become of Sandor Clegane. Upon returning to her bed for the night, she is accosted by the singer Marillion who tries to rape her. Sansa is saved by the intervention of Lothor Brune, Littlefinger's personal guard, who was set to keep watch on her that night. After briefly thinking that it is Sandor and not Brune who rescued her, Sansa dreams of the Hound in her marriage bed, and the deaths of Joffrey and her brother Robb.
In the morning, she is sent to see her aunt, and Lysa reveals that she knows Sansa is really her niece. Lysa agrees to assist in the coverup providing her with hair dye to color her most obvious Tully feature, her auburn hair. Lysa also proposes to wed Sansa to her sickly son Robert. Sansa is appalled by this, but keeps her true feelings to herself. Later in the Eyrie, she finds herself having to comfort young Robert, who is no longer able to share his mother's bed, since Petyr is in it. Robert frequently crawls into her bed and she is disgusted by his shaking sickness, which often leads him to wet her bed. Increasingly resembling a grown woman, she finds herself prey to the sexual advances of Lysa's bard Marillion, whom she denies.
Sansa is homesick in the Eyrie. When snow falls in the courtyard where the godswood would not grow, she makes an elaborate snow fort, which eventually takes the shape of Winterfell. She is surprised when Lord Baelish helps her and kisses her. Before she has time to digest what just happened, Robert comes out and destroys the castle which upsets her even more. She rips his doll and he goes into a shaking spell.
It turns out that Lysa witnessed the kiss and in a fit of jealous rage attempts to kill Sansa by shoving her out of the Moon Door. Littlefinger arrives in time to intervene, and shoves Lysa out of the Moon Door to her death, framing Marillion for the murder and involving Sansa in the cover-up.
A Feast for Crows
Brienne of Tarth begins her quest to find Sansa Stark.
During Cersei Lannister’s meeting with the new small council the discussion turns to Sansa Stark, the apparent heir to Winterfell, and her whereabouts. Cersei announces that she ought to have shown Sansa to the black cells as the daughter of a traitor, but instead she made her part of her own household. Cersei then goes on to say that Sansa shared her hearth and hall and played with her own children, and that she fed and dressed Sansa and tried to make her a little less ignorant of the world. Cersei then states that Sansa repaid her kindness by helping to murder her son. She then tells the council when they find the Imp they will find the Lady Sansa too. Cersei then announces that Sansa is not dead … but promises that before she is done with her she will be “singing to the Stranger, begging for his kiss”. An awkward silence from the small council follows.
Meanwhile, after Lysa's death Sansa, still in the guise of "Alayne Stone", becomes the de facto Lady of the Eyrie, comforting her sickly young cousin Lord Robert while being tutored by Lord Baelish in some of the finer points of courtly intrigue. 
When Lyn Corbray draws his sword during a parlay between Petyr and the Lords Declarant, and Baelish leverages the breach of etiquette to demand a trial period of regency over the little Lord Robert, Sansa correctly surmises that Corbray is under Baelish's employ, which Baelish confirms. Petyr then reveals his plans to Sansa for eventual marriage to the Arryn heir after Robert, Harrold Hardyng, and an eventual plan to reveal her true identity and to reclaim Winterfell in her name.
The Winds of Winter
Quotes by Sansa
|“||There are no heroes ... In life, the monsters win.||”|
- Sansa's thoughts after the execution of Eddard Stark
|“||The Hound is right ... I am only a little bird, repeating the words they taught me.||”|
- Sansa's thoughts
|“||Once, she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his mother, the queen. They had repaid that love and trust with her father's head. Sansa would never make that mistake again.||”|
- Sansa's thoughts
|“||My skin has gone from porcelain, to ivory, to steel.||”|
- Sansa's thoughts
|“||No one will ever marry me for love. But lying came easy to her now.||”|
- Sansa's thoughts
|“||I wish that you were Lady.||”|
- Sansa to the old blind dog
Quotes about Sansa
|“||You’re like one of those birds from the Summer Isles, aren’t you? A pretty little talking bird, repeating all the pretty little words they taught you to recite.||”|
– Sandor Clegane, to Sansa
|“||She lost her wolf.||”|
|“||Life is not a song, sweetling. Someday you may learn that, to your sorrow.||”|
– Petyr Baelish, to Sansa
|“||Sansa was a lady at three, always so courteous and eager to please. She loved nothing so well as tales of knightly valor. Men would say she had my look, but she will grow into a woman far more beautiful than I ever was, you can see that. I often sent away her maid so I could brush her hair myself. She had auburn hair, lighter than mine, and so thick and soft... the red in it would catch the light of the torches and shine like copper.||”|
|“||She is nothing if not dutiful, this wife of mine.||”|
– Tyrion Lannister's thoughts
|“||With my wits and Cat's beauty, the world will be yours, sweetling.||”|
– Petyr Baelish, to Sansa
References and Notes
- ↑ See the Sansa Stark calculation.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 44, Sansa III.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa I.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 61, Sansa V.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
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