If there's one thing that Game of Thrones fans should know after seven seasons, it's that they shouldn't underestimate Sansa Stark. In Season 8, it seems Sansa finally knows it, too. In a new interview with Digital Spy, Sophie Turner talked about Sansa becoming the "true leader of Winterfell" in the final season. Not Jon Snow, not Arya, it's Sansa who appears to be following in her family's legacy. Ned Stark would be so proud.
Turner told Digital Spy last week that the final season will introduce an "empowered" Sansa. A fully realized Lady of Winterfell who doesn't need anyone to make decisions for her, but is happy to have those she loves by her side. "Finally, she has the strength of her family behind her," Turner said.
Sansa always felt a little bit like the black sheep of the Starks who was doing all she could to leave her family. She was perceived to be a wife, when she was always meant to be so much more. Her journey, which has included abuse at the hands of Ramsay Bolton, has turned her into a strong and powerful character who deserves more respect for all she's accomplished. Sansa doesn't wield a sword, but she's a cunning character who has paid attention to those around her. She's managed to survive on her brains and her understanding of warcraft. But as Turner pointed out in this recent interview, it was always in her DNA, she just needed to realize it.
Turner said that when the show returns, fans will see Sansa "as a very protective, empowered lady in charge. It's the first time you ever see her like that," she told Digital Spy, "and it's so amazing to see her like that – kind of owning her destiny."
Sansa started out as the young girl who wanted to get married to Joffrey, but she's become a woman who understands how this game works. She's more crafty than Jon Snow, forming the alliance with the Lords of the Vale to help him win the Battle of the Bastards. But, she can be heartless when she needs to be, taking Ramsay down with her might — not to mention, some very hungry dogs.
Sansa's done this by watching those around her — the good, the (mostly) bad and everyone else in between — learning from them, even those who might seem like surprising mentors like Petyr Baelish have been helpful. "She's used Littlefinger for all he has," Turner said of the character who met his bloody demise at the hands of Arya, but by the order of Sansa. "As [Sansa] said, 'Thank you for all your lessons'. He has nothing left to give her."
When Littlefinger was alive, though, he showed her his ways of using people to do his own bidding. But he also showed her how not to lead through the mistakes he made, namely with her. While he wasn't paying attention, the student became the teacher and it cost him his life. It's a lesson to anyone that Sansa is not to be messed with. As Sansa told Littlefinger in the Season 7 finale. "I'm a slow learner, it's true, but I learn."
In the Digital Spy interview, Turner also name checked Cersei and Margaery as two other characters who have helped Sansa find her strength through having their "wisdom and teachings all behind her."
Sansa has learned to be a leader by watching others try and do the same. She watched Margaery try to take the Iron Throne by going after Cersei and losing. Margaery just wasn't ready, but Sansa is, which makes her Cersei's one true adversary. The one who could finally take her down because she doesn't underestimate Cersei. She knows the evil she is capable of. At least that time living in King's Landing was good for something, right?
Sansa is following her family legacy, which means there could be a new queen sitting on the Iron Throne before the series is done. Bye, Cersei, bye, it's time to bow down to another queen who also happens to be the true leader of Winterfell.