When Game Of Thrones started, Sansa Stark had one particularly strong defining characteristic: her unique vulnerability. She had terrible judgement in character, opting to ally herself romantically with the show's leading sadist, Joffrey; she wasn't plucky, like her sister Arya or sly like Margaery Tyrell. But as the show has progressed, fans have witnessed Sansa growing in strength. But the close of last season suggested a more morally ambiguous Sansa — so does Sansa turn evil in Season 7? It's a question worth asking. After all she's gone through, could Sansa really remain unharmed by her abuse?
A recent Vulture interview with actor Sophie Turner seemed unusually telling on the subject, with Turner hinting that the Battle of the Bastards corrupted Sansa. She said,
"At the end of the season, Sansa gets a taste of power — and it's the first time that she's had that ever, really. She feels like it's deserved because she did so much for Jon and the North, so when she saves the day and doesn't get any recognition for it, it was like she had that first taste of power and then was immediately stripped of it. She was stripped of the respect that she really feels she deserves... So she was looking to Littlefinger like, oh, you're right. Maybe that pretty picture you painted of me on the throne and you by my side isn't such a bad one."
Obviously being an actor on a show as big and frantically speculated over means Turner can't explicitly state what's going to happen. But she sounds as if she's hinting very heavily that Sansa is, in fact, on the verge of turning into a much darker character than viewers may be used to. She brought up the smile that plays across Sansa's face after she sees Ramsay be savaged to death by his own starving dogs. Turner said,
"That's also quite interesting. You wonder if it's just a smile because it's her first kill, because this man is out of her life, or whether she's going to get a taste for it. Whether she enjoyed it. Whether it's a power trip."
And when she's asked about Sansa's choice to dress entirely in black when she was finally able to change clothes in the Eyrie, Turner is even less nuanced in her response, seeming to strongly hint that Dark Sansa is the future:
"Oh, yeah. This is so much more Dark Sansa. When she changed her outfit, that was just the first hint that she was ready to start playing the game. That was a mild version of Dark Sansa, and now it's really starting to feel like there is a dark side to her. She's playing the game now, and very ruthlessly. When she wants something, she's going to go out and get it."
This said, Game Of Thrones' strength lies in its nuanced handling of immorality. Because there's Cersei immorality and there's Ramsay Bolton immorality, and those are two very different types of moral wickedness. Cersei's capacity to do things, like, say, blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor that's full of hundreds of people, seems to stem from a rabid overprotectiveness toward her children and her family, whereas Ramsay Bolton seemed to be depicted as a sociopath. He was evil just because. Given Sansa's extremely long, tortured character arc, I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up falling into the former category.
But this time, fans will get a feeling they don't necessarily have while watching Cersei carry out her plotting — a sense of catharsis. We've watched Sansa be passed around some of the worst men in Westeros (as well as admittedly, the best — Sansa may not have been happy, but her marriage to Tyrion Lannister was one of the more blessed moments in her romantic history). If Sansa goes rogue, I'm looking forward to a violent, intense, but cathartic Kill Bill type storyline with Sansa avenging herself on anyone who has ever wronged her. Here's guessing Cersei Lannister will be on the top of the list.
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