It's by no means a stretch to say that I have a pretty turbulent relationship with the Stark family. As a whole, I think the Starks been a bit of a mess since Season 1. That said, I will make a case for the fact that Sansa Stark is probably the most badass living Stark on Game of Thrones right now. Sure, she has a king, an assassin and a time-traveler for siblings but that doesn't mean Sansa is not a true MVP in her own way. Arguably, Sansa has had more emotional and physical stress placed on her shoulders than any of her siblings. Yes, Bran fell from a tower. Sure, Jon literally died. But Sansa's journey has been equally as fraught.
Over the seasons, Sansa has largely functioned as a political pawn. Often at the mercy of men, she has had to navigate the cruel political world of Westeros on her own. She may have had allies but those unions were fleeting. She was not always protected. As a result, Sansa has been quick to toughen up and assert herself in times of crisis. It was during Season 6 that we finally saw Sansa come full circle into her own MVP status. Now, Sansa stands as a woman of her own making. She's empowered, intelligent, ferocious and she has a good head on her shoulders. Her future may be anything but set yet it's her past on Game of Thrones that enlightens us to the kind of brilliant woman that she really is. Here are some of her biggest MVP moments.
1. When She Fed Ramsay To The Dogs
Whenever you need to define "comeuppance" or "karma" to your friends, just turn this scene on and watch their reactions. Sansa's most MVP moment was also one of the last times we saw her in Season 6. Her monologue on the cold revenge she would be serving up to her ex is now iconic.
2. When She Aligned Herself With Littlefinger
Sansa has a complicated relationship with Littlefinger and it began long before she was born. After being put through the ringer of a marriage to Ramsay Bolton, her renewed alliance with Littlefinger was a surprise. That said, Sansa's maturity means she holds just as much power now as he does.
3. When She Saved Jon At The Battle Of The Bastards
How can you forget the moment when Sansa saved her big brother in a moment of certain crisis like it was no big deal? Sure, Sansa arriving with Littlefinger's army was a bit of a deus ex machina, but it's impressive and admirable nonetheless. Her brother would have been flattened on the battlefield had it not been for her strategizing.
4. When She Repeatedly Proved She's Smarter Than People Think
Don't confuse beautiful with being an airhead, people. Sansa is as intelligent as she is ferociously beautiful. Time and again, Sansa has outsmarted her opponents (see: her treatment of Joffrey) and done it ever so coolly.
5. When She Low-key Put Her Cousin In His Place
Remember that time Sansa and Littlefinger paid a visit to her relatives in the Vale? And do you remember when Sansa got so annoyed listening to her entitled cousin whine about petty nonsense, after going through a trying time in King's Landing, that she just slapped him? Yeah, Sansa takes no guff and she's more than ready to make it known.
6. When She Stood Up To Joffrey
Real talk: Joffrey is, was, and will always be the worst. The literal worst, guys. Watching Sansa slowly realize there were ways to shake Joffrey's confidence and swagger without getting her head chopped off was absolutely delightful.
7. When She Begged For Her Father To Be Spared
Also one of her most heartbreaking moments, watching Sansa plead to her first of many nemeses so that her father wouldn't be killed was brutal. We all knew what a jerk Joffrey was, but Sansa was still holding onto the silver lining. She was pragmatic, brave and gracious through the whole ordeal but this was one of the first time's Sansa became disillusioned with the Lannisters.
8. When She Was Paired With Tyrion
Being tough is one thing, but kindness is another key to maintaining an MVP status. Sansa's time with Tyrion was one of her most charmed. While her future was decidedly darker, the way she got along with the kindest Lannister was downright heartwarming.
9. When She Confronted Littlefinger
Again, when Sansa and Littlefinger get together, things get intense. Before the Battle of the Bastards, Sansa met secretly with Littlefinger. It was then that she delivered yet another jaw-droppingly powerful monologue on her treatment at the hands of men. It was at this moment we knew Sansa was definitively the best Stark on the planet.
10. When She Teamed Up With Brienne
Because I'm an absolute sucker for strong women teaming up together, I loved when Brienne saved, then pledged herself to Sansa. Brienne is a perfect human if ever there was one. Watching Brienne offer her service was chivalrous, but watching Sansa treat Brienne as a confidante and friend was just as perfect.
11. When She Tapped Into A Deep Well Of Bravery
Sansa has been tested time and time again. She has repeatedly found herself in situations that have forced her to act quickly, grow fast and think keenly. She's also legitimately battle-tested; that's a formidable quality for a woman of Westeros.
There you have it. Some of the best and biggest MVP moments straight from Sansa Stark. I am sincerely hoping that she continues to literally and figuratively kill it in Season 7.
Images: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO; Giphy (11)