I hate to be the bearer of bad news, you guys, but… Sansa is totally going to die on Game Of Thrones. I don't say this to be mean or because I don't like the eldest surviving Stark — quite the opposite. I truly believe that Sansa is one of the most important characters on the show, and after her kickass storyline in Season 6, I was ready to declare 2016 the Year Of Sansa. But none of that changes the fact that it remains incredibly unlikely that she'll survive to see the end of the series.
Now, I'm not saying that Sansa's going to die in Season 7; in fact, it's already known that she won't, thanks to Sophie Turner herself. On the red carpet at the BAFTAs this past September, the actress stated her plans to return to shoot Season 8 after she films her next X-Men movie. But just because she'll likely live through the events of the next seven episodes doesn't mean she'll make it out of the series finale alive.
I mean, this is Game Of Thrones, after all. Every fan knows that they're going to have to say goodbye to many of their favorite characters before the end. But here are seven reasons why I'm 99 percent positive Sansa will be one of them.
1. She's Not Part Of George R.R. Martin's Original Plan
In 2015, the original three-page outline for George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series, sent by the author to his publisher, was uncovered. A lot has changed since he typed it out; it was originally only going to be a trilogy, Jaime Lannister was evil and murdered his way to the Iron Throne, there was no Red Wedding (Robb died in battle and Catelyn was killed by the White Walkers instead), and there was a love triangle between Arya Stark, Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister. Yes, really.
Granted, you can't take anything in this outline as sacrosanct, given how much has been altered. But even in his initial conception of the saga, Martin was clear about who the protagonists were. "Five central characters will make it through all three volumes," he wrote, "growing from children to adults and changing the world and themselves in the process." Those "key players"? Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, and Jon Snow.
Meanwhile, Sansa's only contribution to the entire three-page outline is contained in a single sentence: "Sansa Stark, wed to Joffrey Baratheon, will bear him a son, the heir to the throne, and when the crunch comes she will choose her husband and child over her parents and siblings, a choice she will later bitterly rue." Sansa's arc in the finished product barely resembles that sentence… but the fact that she was pretty much an afterthought in Martin's original plan doesn't bode well for her chances of making it out alive.
2. Her Story Is Almost Over
There are characters on Game Of Thrones who still have a lot to do. Jon still has to learn the truth of his parentage and discover his destiny — possibly as Azor Ahai. Daenerys still has to conquer Westeros and reclaim her family's throne. Arya still has to complete her mission of seeking vengeance for all the wrongs committed against her family. Cersei still has to try to rule, most likely fail… and suffer the consequences. But what is Sansa's endgame? What does she have left to do?
Sansa has unquestionably had one of the most interesting arcs on the series, and is one of the characters who has changed the most from Season 1 through 6. She has transformed from a doe-eyed girl dreaming of her happily ever after with her prince into a steely-eyed young woman capable of manipulating grown men and winning military coups. But in purely narrative terms: what now? Short of continuing to climb all the way to the Iron Throne and meeting her end in the bloody conflict to come, it's hard to imagine where else her character could go.
Remember, when you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die. And between those two options, death seems much more likely than Queendom.
3. She Might Betray Jon
In answer to the question of what's next for Sansa's arc, some fans think they have come up with the answer — and it doesn't exactly bode well for her longevity, either. Some viewers are convinced that Sansa will betray Jon in Season 7, after Littlefinger sowed the seeds of distrust between the half-siblings (or cousins, technically speaking) at the end of Season 6.
If this particular storyline did come to pass, there would be very little room for it to end anywhere other than in Sansa's death. Jon has already died once on this series. He won't die again before he's had a chance to fulfill his narrative purpose; namely, saving Westeros from the White Walkers. But I have to admit that, if Sansa's going down, I'd rather her go down while embroiled in a dramatic conflict like this than simply getting killed in battle or sacrificing her life to save someone else.
I know it would be sad to see Starks turn on Starks, but it would also be fascinating to watch Sansa complete her transformation into Cersei (seriously, their arcs are very similar) and die while an active agent in pursuit of her own goals, rather than as a passive pawn being used for someone else's.
4. She's Too Close To Littlefinger
Speaking of being a pawn…
There's one very specific reason why Sansa's life may be in danger, and it has to do with her proximity to one of Westeros' most power-hungry and unscrupulous manipulators. I know most people think that Littlefinger would never hurt Sansa based on the fact that he has a deep (and deeply creepy) love for her. But if it came down to a choice between the throne and the Stark girl… which do you really think he'd pick? I know what I think — and I don't think Petyr would even hesitate. He'd push Sansa out the Moon Door faster than Lysa Tully.
It's been a long-running theory that the entire show is actually about the war between Littlefinger and Varys: two schemers, one devoted only to himself, and one devoted to the idea of the realm. If the story of Game Of Thrones is really the story of these two men, then at some point they're going to have to drop all pretense and lay their cards on the table, making their respective moves for the Iron Throne. That will inevitably involve sacrificing whatever pawns they have in play; and if Sansa unwisely remains close to Littlefinger in the meantime, she may find herself to be more disposable than she thinks.
5. She Could Become Lady Stoneheart
This theory's a little more out there, but it bears mentioning when discussing Sansa's ultimate fate. Fans desperate to see Lady Stoneheart on Game Of Thrones have come with clever ways the writers could still incorporate the resurrected character into the show — including turning other characters into a vengeful, reanimated zombie instead of the long-dead Catelyn.
One theory (sometimes referred to simply as "Sansaheart") posits that, at some point before the end of the show, Sansa will die and return to enact revenge against those who hurt her and her family. If this were to happen, the writers could have their cake and eat it to: Sansa could die tragically and still be a character on the show. A win-win!
6. All The Starks Will Die
According to some fans, there's only one way Game Of Thrones can end: with all of the Starks dead. Tragic, right? But if "All Starks Must Die," then that includes Sansa, and my theory will be proved correct.
7. Maisie Williams Said So
When asked at the show's SXSW panel this March why Sophie Turner had been allowed to return to her natural blonde hair color rather than Sansa's trademark auburn hair, Maisie Williams blurted out, "She's dead." There you have it folks! Straight from Arya's mouth.
And if all of that wasn't evidence enough for you, how about the fact that Sophie Turner herself said she wants Sansa to die? Better start prepping the tissues now, Sansa fans.