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Sansa Stark

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"Lady Stark, you may survive us yet."
Tyrion Lannister to Sansa Stark[src]

Sansa Stark, legally Sansa Lannister, is a major character in the first, second and third seasons. She is played by starring cast member Sophie Turner and debuts in the series premiere. She adopted a direwolf she named "Lady", but Lady was executed following a dispute between Joffrey and Sansa's sister, Arya. Sansa was once betrothed to King Joffrey Baratheon. She was initially thrilled at her betrothal, but has since experienced Joffrey's cruelty and watched the execution of her father, Eddard Stark, on his orders. Joffrey has since set aside his betrothal to Sansa in favor of Margaery Tyrell, but she remains a captive of House Lannister in King's Landing. Sansa is now the lady wife of Lord Tyrion Lannister, following an arranged marriage by his father, Tywin.



Sansa Stark is the eldest daughter and second child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark. Eddard is the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North. The North is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Stark rules the region from their seat of Winterfell and Eddard also holds the titles of Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North to King Robert Baratheon.[1]

Sansa was born and raised at Winterfell. She has three brothers (Robb, Bran and Rickon), a half-brother (Jon Snow) and a younger sister (Arya). Sansa enjoys proper "lady-like" pursuits, and is good at sewing, embroidering, poetry, and music. She dreams of being a regal Queen like Cersei Lannister, and that just like in the epic songs she will meet her knight in shining armor. She has the Tully coloring as do most of her siblings, and Lady Catelyn thinks Sansa will be even more beautiful than she was when she was younger. She is often seen in contrast with her sister, Arya Stark who has neither her looks nor her accomplishments in feminine activities and comportment.[2]

Season 1

When her brothers find an orphaned litter of direwolf pups, Sansa adopts the gentlest one and names her Lady. When King Robert Baratheon visits Winterfell to offer Sansa's father the position of Hand of the King, he also offers to betrothe his son Joffrey to Sansa. Sansa, who is very taken with the handsome young prince, thinks this is a splendid notion. She longs for the excitement of the capital and begs her parents to agree to the match, until they do so. Eddard takes the handship and decides to take his daughters with him to the capital.[3]

Sansa in the Camp

Sansa with her direwolf, Lady.

At the Crossroads Inn on the kingsroad, Joffrey offers to walk Sansa along the riverbank after the disquieting experience of meeting Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's headsman. They find Arya practicing her swordwork with Mycah, a butcher's son, and Joffrey starts to hurt him for acting above his station and striking a girl of noble blood. Arya strikes Joffrey, and when the prince retaliates, Arya's direwolf, Nymeria, intervenes and bites Joffrey's arm. Arya and Mycah flee and Joffrey cries before snapping at Sansa to get him help. Sansa is taken before King Robert and his retainers and asked to corroborate Joffrey's claim, that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack. Arya tells her to tell the truth, but to Arya's fury, Sansa is worried about upsetting her relationship with Joffrey, so she says that it happened too fast for her to know. Queen Cersei orders that Nymeria be executed for harming Joffrey, but when the direwolf cannot be found she suggests that Lady be substituted for her. Eddard, furious with Robert for agreeing to this, carries out the execution himself, to Sansa's anger.[4]

Sansa in King's Landing

Sansa Stark dining in King's Landing.

Arriving in King's Landing, Sansa's enmity towards Arya and her father continues. Eddard fails to mollify Sansa by buying her a doll as she hasn't played with dolls for years. Eddard explains to Arya that Sansa could not defy Joffrey or go against his version of events if she wished to maintain his goodwill in marriage.[5]

Septa Mordane shows Sansa the throne room of the Red Keep as part of a history lesson, Sansa realizes that her grandfather and uncle were killed there by the Mad King. Sansa is fearful that she will not be able to give Joffrey sons, only daughters like her friend Jeyne Poole's mother, but Mordane doesn't think this likely.[6]

At the Hand's tournament, Sansa witnesses Ser Gregor Clegane killing Ser Hugh of the Vale during a joust. Littlefinger tells Sansa about how Gregor burned the face of his brother, Sandor, when they were very young. Sandor is Joffrey's bodyguard and Littlefinger advises against relaying the story to Sandor.[6]

Sansa is given a flower by Ser Loras Tyrell, the famous Knight of the Flowers, before his tilt with Ser Gregor Clegane. He gives the flower to Sansa, but he is looking at Prince Renly who is sitting behind her. She witnesses him defeating Gregor, and Gregor's subsequent furious attack on him, which is halted only by the intervention of Sandor. She joins the smallfolk in applauding Sandor's actions.[7]


Joffrey gives a Lannister pendant to Sansa, identical to the one Cersei wears.

Sansa and Septa Mordane are embroidering, and Sansa begins speaking very rudely to her, as time at court around Cersei is changing her for the worse. Joffrey visits Sansa and gives her a present. He also apologizes for the incident on the Kingsroad and kisses her, winning back her favor. Sansa is later told by her father that he is sending her and Arya back to Winterfell, and her betrothal to Joffrey is to be broken. Sansa refuses to accept this: she tells them that she loves Joffrey, she will be his queen, and give him beautiful blonde-haired children. He will be a great king and a golden lion. When Arya points out that he isn't a lion, but a stag like his father, King Robert, Sansa angrily says Joffrey is nothing like him. This inadvertently leads Eddard to realize that Joffrey and his siblings are not King Robert's true children. Eddard tells Sansa and Arya that they are returning to Winterfell, over Sansa's furious protests.[8] King Robert dies following a hunting accident and Eddard attempts to reveal the truth about Joffrey to prevent him taking the throne. Eddard is betrayed by Littlefinger, his guards are killed and he is arrested.[9]

Eddard's retinue at the Red Keep is slaughtered by House Lannister guardsmen led by Sandor. Mordane moves to confront the Lannister soldiers, while telling Sansa to lock herself in their rooms. Sansa is taken into custody by Sandor and brought to Cersei. She pleads for her father's cause, insisting that a mistake has been made, and proclaiming her own loyalty. Cersei says that she will believe Sansa is loyal on the condition that Sansa write to Robb asking him to bend the knee and swear fealty to Joffrey. The letter is unsuccessful and Robb instead raises an army and marches south to relieve the Riverlands from the Lannister armies. Sansa again pleads for mercy and for her father's life, this time in front of the entire court, and Joffrey agrees to give him mercy if he admits his wrongdoing and acknowledges Joffrey as the true king. Sansa says that she is sure he will.[10]

At his trial, Eddard Stark acknowledges his "crimes" and swears loyalty to King Joffrey Baratheon. To Sansa's utter shock and horror, Joffrey nevertheless orders Eddard's decapitation. Sansa is prevented from interfering and her father is killed before her eyes.[11]

Days later, Sansa is in court and watches as Joffrey orders the removal of the tongue of the singer Marillion, who has written a song unfavorable to the royal family. Joffrey then takes Sansa to the traitor's walkway, where the severed heads of executed criminals are mounted on spikes along the castle walls. He draws Sansa's attention to the severed heads of her father and Septa Mordane. Sansa refuses to give Joffrey the satisfaction of seeing her upset and shows no emotional response. Joffrey tells her that executing Eddard was showing mercy, as he gave him a quick death, and he suggests that he will mount her brother Robb's head on the wall after defeating him. Sansa retorts that maybe Robb will take Joffrey's head instead. Furious, Joffrey has Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard strike her. Joffrey tells Sansa that they are still to be married. Sansa contemplates pushing Joffrey off the walkway, but is subtly stopped by Sandor. After Joffrey and Meryn leave, Sandor gives her a cloth to attend to her cut lip and tells her that she will be needing it again.[12]

Season 2

Main: Sansa Stark Season 2

Sansa remains a captive of Queen Regent Cersei Lannister in King's Landing. She has learned to feign loyalty to King Joffrey Baratheon to avoid further abuse from him. She attends Joffrey's name day tournament and convinces him to spare Ser Dontos Hollard when he attends drunk.[13]

Sansa is forced to sit through the Lannisters discussing killing her brother Robb Stark over dinner. She vents her frustration on her new handmaid Shae.[14] When Robb wins a crushing victory at the Battle of Oxcross, Joffrey responds by having Sansa stripped and beaten in front of the court. Tyrion Lannister intervenes and offers to end her engagement to Joffrey, but she retains her facade of loyalty.[15]

Sansa attends the departure of Princess Myrcella Baratheon for Dorne . She stands up to Joffrey when he mocks his brother Tommen for crying. As the royal party returns to the Red Keep Joffrey is struck by excrement thrown by the angry crowd. Joffrey causes a city wide riot by demanding that his guards kill all of the smallfolk present. Sansa is separated from the rest of the group and almost raped by a group of commoners. She is rescued by Sandor Clegane. Shae treats her injuries and Sansa tries to rationalize being attacked when she hates Joffrey more than anyone. Shae warns her not to say such things and to trust no-one.[16]

Sansa has a nightmare that she is being stabbed by her attackers from the riots. She wakes up to find her mattress bloodied by the onset of her first period. Shae tries to help her conceal the evidence as it means she is ready to bear Joffrey's children. The Hound catches them and (reluctantly) informs the Queen. Cersei gives Sansa advice on motherhood, reassuring her that she will love her children if not her husband. She tells Sansa that the more people you love, the weaker you are.[17]

Stannis Baratheon sails his fleet into the bay outside King's Landing triggering the Battle of the Blackwater. Sansa is summoned to the throne room to say goodbye to Joffrey. He forces her to kiss his new sword and she subtly undermines his bravado. She then takes refuge in Maegor's Holdfast with Shae; Cersei is hosting the women of the court there. She torments Sansa during the battle, mocking her faith, telling her that Ser Ilyn Payne is present to kill her if the walls are breached and drunkenly telling her to use her sexuality as a weapon. Cersei eventually storms out, believing the battle lost. Sansa attempts to keep the morale of the women up with prayers and singing. Shae tells Sansa to return to her chambers and bar her door to keep her safe should Stannis breach the keep. Sansa finds Sandor waiting for her inside. He tells her that he is going north and offers to take her with him. She is reluctant to leave the potential safety of being rescued by Stannis but he warns her that all men are killers. Stannis's force is ultimately defeated by a host of House Lannister and House Tyrell reinforcements led by Tywin Lannister.[18]

Sansa attends court as Joffrey doles out rewards. Tywin is named Savior of the City and Hand of the King, Petyr Baelish is made Lord of Harrenhal and Loras Tyrell is allowed to name a favor from the king. He asks Joffrey to marry his sister Margaery. Joffrey asks Margaery if this is what she wants while Cersei looks at Sansa deviously. Joffrey says that he would be honored to return Margaery's love, but regrets that he is promised to Sansa. Cersei suggests Joffrey set Sansa aside because of her family's treachery. Joffrey accepts the betrothal. Joffrey states that he will "Love you from this day, until my last day" - the same endearment he once offered Sansa.[8] Sansa turns away, feigning sadness but allowing herself laughter once she has privacy. Her revelry is halted by Petyr consoling her; she pretends to be upset. Petyr crushes her hopes of freedom and warns her that her situation has worsened, as she will no longer have the token protection of becoming Joffrey's queen but will remain his captive. Petyr tells her that she reminds him of her mother and vows to help her return home. Sansa is reluctant to trust him and maintains her facade.[19]

Season 3

​Baelish tells Sansa of a new role that he has taken which will allow him to leave King's Landing, and offers to smuggle her out of the city. She is hesitant about the idea. Margaery and her grandmother Olenna Tyrell invite her to lunch in the gardens, where they ask her about Joffrey. Sansa is initially restrained and polite, but soon admits that he is a "monster".

While she prays outside under guard, Margaery comes and talks to her, telling her that they should see Highgarden, the Tyrell home, together. Sansa replies that Cersei would never allow her to leave King's Landing. Margaery tells her that she could be a wife to Loras Tyrell, to which Sansa is overjoyed. They go to see Loras during his swordplay practice, during which she admires him.

Loras and Sansa spend more time together in the following weeks, though Sansa is far more enthusiastic about their impending marriage then he is. Loras admits he's always wanted a big wedding with lots of guests, fancy food and a good tournament, though he only seems to remember that there will be a bride when Sansa gives him an expectant look. One subject where they do find common ground is their shared hatred of King's Landing, with Loras saying that King's Landing is "the most terrible place there is".

The plan to wed Sansa to Loras is scuppered when Cersei Lannister grows increasingly suspicious of the Tyrells and learns of the proposed marriage through Petyr Baelish, which prompts Tywin Lannister to arrange for his Cersei and Tyrion to marry Loras and Sansa respectively, to curb the ambitions of House Tyrell and to bolster the ties between the Lannisters and two of the other great houses of the Seven Kingdoms.

As she watches Littlefinger's ship depart for the Vale of Arryn , Sansa is devastated as she realises that both of her chances to leave King's Landing have gone, and she has no choice but to marry into the family that killed her father. However, Tyrion promises to Sansa that he will not mistreat her, and she concedes that there are worse Lannisters she could be wed to.

The wedding itself is an embarassing affair. Joffrey smugly escorts Sansa to the altar in place of her father and removes the stool upon which Tyrion was to stand on to cloak Sansa in Lannister colours as part of the ceremony. Tyrion then spends the wedding feast becoming steadily more drunk while Joffrey threatens to forcibly impregnate Sansa. Joffrey is insistent on going ahead with the bedding ceremony despite his uncle's protestations, but Tyrion threatens that Joffrey will "be fucking [his] own bride with a wooden cock" if he doesn't let it drop. Tywin defuses the situation by dispensing with the bedding ceremony, and Tyrion takes Sansa out of the room before Joffrey can take it any further.

Tyrion refuses to consummate their marriage, saying he will wait until she wants him to, even if that means never. Shae is pleased to see that Sansa's bedsheets are unstained the morning after the wedding, as it means that Sansa remains a virgin. Sansa and her new husband actually get along rather well, sharing jokes and a common enemy in Joffrey. However, their cordial relationship suffers a crushing blow when Sansa receives news of the death of her mother and brother at the Red Wedding , an event orchestrated by Tyrion's father.


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa

Image gallery

Family tree

Lord Stark tree
Rickard Stark
Lady Stark
Brandon family tree
Brandon Stark
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Stark
née Tully Tully shield icon
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark Stark shield icon
Unknown tree
Lyanna tree
Lyanna Stark
Benjen Tree
Benjen Stark
Night's Watch Crow shield icon
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
100px-Tyrion tree
Tyrion Lannister Lannister shield icon
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark Bolton shield icon
Ramsay Bolton Bolton shield icon
Arya family tree
Arya Stark
Bran fam tree
Bran Stark
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark
Jon Snow family tree image
Jon Snow
Night's Watch Night's-Watch-sigil
Ygritte tree
Ygritte Wildling shield icon

In the books

In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa is very much a lady, with a keen interest in music, poetry, singing and dancing and other "ladylike" pursuits such as embroidery. She has a romantic notion of handsome princes and knights fighting honorably for love and loyalty. She is sharply contrasted with her far less idealistic younger sister, Arya.

Due to a time jump which was originally planned in the books but later dropped, Sansa is only 11 years old when the narrative begins. Author George R.R. Martin himself has said that he would have aged-up the younger characters had he initially known he would abandoned the time-jump. Therefore, in the TV series' timeline, all of the younger characters including Sansa have been aged up two years from the books. Thus, Sansa is 13 years old in Season 1, and 14 years old in Season 2. Keeping in mind that in medieval times the age of maturity was lower than it is today, this younger age in the books isn't quite as unusual as it sounds, but due to the abandoned time jump this still led to some discrepancies. For example, Joffrey's torment of Sansa doesn't have quite the same inherent sexual tension to it in the books, because they're both two years younger.

A subplot in the books which is only somewhat alluded to in the TV series is that in her desperation, Sansa starts latching onto the idea of Sandor Clegane as her protector from Joffrey or a potential source of an escape attempt.

In the books Sansa is shown to be culpable for her father's arrest by revealing his plans to Queen Cersei. She acts in an attempt to have Cersei command Lord Eddard to remain in King's Landing so that Sansa could marry Joffrey.

Sansa technically gained the title of "princess" when her brother Robb was declared the new King in the North. While her brothers Bran and Rickon use the title of "prince" among the Northerners at Winterfell, Sansa's storyline involves her being held as a prisoner at King Joffrey's court in King's Landing. The Lannisters refuse to acknowledge the North's claims of independence so they don't refer to Sansa as "princess". Meanwhile, Sansa is in fear for her life, subject to frequent beatings at the hands of the Kingsguard at Joffrey's whim, so she doesn't refer to herself as "princess" for fear of angering her captors. Thus her title is rarely if ever invoked (unless Robb and Catelyn in the Northern camp are discussing her captivity).

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Sansa" is pronounced "SAHN-suh" (i.e. between "San-suh" and "Sohn-suh").

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Prince Bran Stark Heir: Prince Rickon Stark
Seat: Winterfell (formerly) Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell
Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark
Current members:Sansa Stark · Arya Stark · Benjen Stark
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Jon Snow
Household:{Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Maester Luwin} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · {Septa Mordane} · Jeyne Poole · Osha · Hodor · Farlen · {Old Nan} · Mikken · Varly · Heward · Wyl · Tomard · Tommy · Jacks
v  d  e
Lord: Queen Regent Cersei Lannister Heir: (disputed)
Seat: Casterly Rock Lands: The Westerlands
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the Westerlands · Lord of Casterly Rock · Warden of the West · King of the Rock (pre-War of Conquest)
Ancestors:Lann the Clever · Tommen II Lannister · Loren Lannister · Damon Lannister
Current members:Kevan Lannister · Tyrion Lannister · Jaime Lannister · Dorna Lannister · Lancel Lannister · Cynda Lannister · Lyman Lannister
Deceased members:Tytos Lannister · Joanna Lannister · Stafford Lannister · Alton Lannister · Martyn Lannister · Willem Lannister · Orson Lannister · Tywin Lannister
Household:Podrick Payne · Bronn · Gregor Clegane · {Amory Lorch} · {Polliver} · {Rorge} · {Biter}
Overlord:House Baratheon of King's Landing

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