Artwork © M.Luisa Giliberti
|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. Sansa also has a bastard half-brother, Jon Snow.
A Game of Thrones
Sansa names her direwolf pup Lady. 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 Baratheon.
On their journey to the capital, Sansa is frightened when she meets Ser Ilyn Payne at the crossroads inn. Joffrey courts Sansa at the insistence of his mother, Queen Cersei Lannister. The two are walking together near the ruby ford 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 Joffrey's father, King Robert I Baratheon, at Darry, 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 does not remember. Cersei uses the opportunity to insist that the direwolf that attacked her son be killed. Arya, having anticipated this, had driven Nymeria away. To assuage the queen, Sansa's direwolf Lady is killed by Eddard 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 Ilyn to execute Eddard as Sansa helplessly looks on.
Even after Eddard's beheading, Cersei declares that Joffrey should still be married to Sansa upon her flowering. Sansa, horrified at the prospect and only wanting to return home, 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. Joffrey shows Sansa 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.
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. At the tourney on King Joffrey's name day, Sansa realizes 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 he should be killed, causing a horrified Sansa to make up a convincing lie which Sandor backs up. Sansa pleads successfully with the king to spare Dontos, and a placated Joffrey instead 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, including stopping Ser Meryn Trant from stripping the girl naked and beating her. 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.
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 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.
During the riot of King's Landing after the departure of Princess Myrcella Baratheon to Dorne, Ser Mandon Moore abandons Sansa to protect Joffrey and the girl is separated from the royal party. The Hound rescues the wounded Sansa from the mob and returns her to the Red Keep.
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. 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 sniping at Sansa and the other attendant ladies before storming out.
When Sansa returns to her chambers, she finds Sandor hidden in her room, broken from the threat of wildfire. He 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. Dontos later informs Sansa that Stannis was defeated by the arrival of Lord Tywin Lannister and House Tyrell.
After the Lannister victory, it is announced that Sansa's betrothal to Joffrey is at an end, for the Crown's alliance with the Tyrells includes a marriage pact between Joffrey and Lord Mace Tyrell's daughter, Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey assures Sansa he will still get to have her sexually, stating as a king he can take whomever he wants to bed. Sansa remains in King's Landing, still a hostage to the Lannisters; Dontos assures her 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. Ser Loras Tyrell takes her breath away with his beauty and compliments, but he does not appear to remember her or the rose from the Hand's tourney. When Olenna tries to find out more about Joffery, Sansa confesses that the king 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 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 she 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, Lord 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 despite her disgust with his appearance. Tyrion does not require that she consummate the marriage, for which Sansa is grateful, particularly after learning of the deaths of her mother Catelyn and brother Robb 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 she is greeted by Lord Baelish, known as Littlefinger. He explains that Joffrey's death was due to a poison that had been smuggled into the feast, disguised as one of the amethysts on her hairnet, and shares with Sansa some of the details of the plot between himself and Lady Olenna 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.
The Merling King takes Sansa to Petyr's meager personal holdings, the original 'little finger' of land of the Vale. Because Sansa is wanted as Tyrion's accomplice in connection with Joffrey's death, Petyr coaches her on a story to pass her off as his bastard daughter Alayne Stone, so as to avoid detection. At Petyr's holdfast along the Fingers, Sansa's aunt, Lysa Arryn, meets with them and weds Petyr. While her aunt and Petyr are intimate after the bedding ritual, Sansa muses on her own unpleasant wedding night with Tyrion and wondering what has become of Sandor. Upon returning to her bed for the night, she is accosted by Lysa's singer, Marillion, who tries to rape her. Sansa is saved by the intervention of Lothor Brune, Littlefinger's personal guard. After briefly thinking that it is Sandor and not Lothor who rescued her, Sansa dreams of the Hound in her marriage bed, as well as the deaths of Joffrey and Robb. In the morning, Lysa reveals she knows Sansa is her niece. Lysa agrees to assist in the deception, providing the girl with hair dye to color her most obvious Tully feature, her auburn hair. Lysa also proposes to wed Sansa to her sickly son, Lord Robert Arryn. Sansa is appalled by this, but keeps her true feelings to herself.
Later in the Eyrie, Sansa 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 denies the sexual advances of Marillion. Sansa is homesick in the Eyrie, and 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 happened, Robert comes out and destroys the castle which upsets her even more. She rips his doll and he goes into a shaking spell.
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, however, and instead 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
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. She tells Lord Nestor Royce that Marillion killed Lysa Arryn, not Littlefinger, and she deduces that Petyr grants the Gates of the Moon to Nestor to gain his political support.
When Ser Lyn Corbray draws his sword during a parlay at the Eyrie between Petyr and the Lords Declarant, Littlefinger leverages the breach of etiquette to demand a trial period of regency over the little Lord Robert, whom she calls Sweetrobin. Alayne correctly surmises that Lyn is under Petyr's employ, which Littlefinger confirms.
The Arryn court departs the Eyrie for the Gates of the Moon because of the onset of winter. Alayne befriends Nestor's daughter, Myranda Royce, and helps Robert during the journey down the Giant's Lance. Once at the Gates of the Moon, Alayne is introduced to three hedge knights, including Ser Shadrich. Petyr later reveals his plans to Alayne 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
|| Warning |
This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.
To comfort Sweetrobin, Alayne suggests the Brotherhood of Winged Knights, whose initial members would be selected in a tourney. She meets the newly-knighted Harry the Heir when he comes to the Gates of the Moon to compete.
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
|“||Petyr: Trust no one, I once told Eddard Stark, but he would not listen. You are Alayne, and you must be Alayne all the time. Even here. In your heart. Can you do that? Can you be my daughter in your heart?
– Petyr Baelish and Sansa
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
|“||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
|“||You have your mother's eyes. Honest eyes, and innocent. Blue as a sunlit sea. When you are a little older, many a man will drown in those eyes.||”|
- Petyr Baelish to Sansa
|“||She is not dead ... but before I am done with her, I promise you, she will be singing to the Stranger, begging for his kiss.||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ See the Sansa Stark calculation.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 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.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 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 16, Sansa II.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 61, Sansa V.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 4, Brienne I.
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.
- ↑ Alayne I (The Winds of Winter)
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
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