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Sansa Stark

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"Your daughter will do well in the capital. Such a beauty shouldn't stay hidden up here forever."
Cersei Lannister to Sansa Stark's mother, Catelyn Stark[src]

Sansa Stark is a major character in the first and second seasons. She is played by starring cast member Sophie Turner and debuts in the series premiere. She was once betrothed to King Joffrey Baratheon. She adopted the direwolf Lady but Lady was executed following a dispute between Joffrey and Sansa's sister Arya. 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 set aside his betrothal to Sansa in favor of Margaery Tyrell but Sansa remains a captive of House Lannister in King's Landing.



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 rule the region from their seat of Winterfell and Eddard also holds the title Lord of Winterfell. He is also 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). She is good at sewing and embroidering. She likes poetry and songs and dreams of being a good Queen like Cersei Lannister. She has the Tully coloring like most of her siblings and is as beautiful as her mother. She is often seen in contrast with her sister, Arya Stark.[2]

Season 1

Sansa adopts the dire wolf cub Lady when her brothers find her orphaned litter. 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 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 threatens to hurt him for pretending to be a knight. 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. She is taken before King Robert and his retainers and asked to corroborate Joffrey's claim that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack. She chooses to say instead that it happened too fast and she wasn't sure what happened, to Arya's fury. 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 demanding 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 Littleginger 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. 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, equal to the one Cersei uses.

{C}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 later tells her father and Arya that she wants to give Joffrey beautiful blonde-haired children and that he will be a great 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 gives Eddard the clue that leads to him realizing 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 tries to give Sansa time to escape but she is nevertheless taken into custody. She pleads for mercy for her father and Cersei agrees 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 begs for her father's life, this time in front of the entire court, and Joffrey agrees to spare him 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 surprise and shock, Joffrey nevertheless refuses him mercy and 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 Mordane. Sansa refuses to give Joffrey the satisfaction of seeing her upset and shows no emotional response. Joffrey 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 remains 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 informs Cersei. 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 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

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 the Song of Ice and Fire novels 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.

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

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