*Spoiler warning for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 1.
When we met Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) in season 1, she was a naive child. Since then, she has been to hell and back. Now, in the Game of Thrones season 8 premier, the final season, she is a leader among her people. She is strong and wise. She stands tall, has earned the respect of the people around her, and isn’t above a little snark from time to time. Once a character most people sneered at, she now has legions of loyal fans, ready to stake their Twitter reputation on her brilliance. For Sansa stans, this episode, appropriately entitled “Winterfell,” did not disappoint. With Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) arriving at Winterfell with her forces, and characters that haven’t seen each other in years reuniting, Sansa has more than a few situations to navigate. In every interaction, however, she exhibits both poise and ton of sass. Sansa’s performance is a big part of what makes this episode shine. Below, I broke down the best of those Sansa moments.
- “Winterfell is your’s, Your Grace.” – Last season saw Sansa grow as a leader in the North, while Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was away treating with Daenerys. She took pride in the role, and in the respect her family name garnered. To say she wasn’t pleased that Jon gave away his crown to Daenerys, is an understatement. When Daenerys and her forces arrive this episode, Sansa isn’t foolish enough to cause a scene. Rather, in response to Daenerys’s warm greeting, she pauses, looks down at Daenerys coldly, and responds with these chilly words. No one knows how to play passive aggressive like Sansa.
- “What do dragons eat anyway?” – When both the Northerners and Daenerys with her advisors commence a war room, many voice their displeasure at Daenerys being their new queen. Sansa let’s it all play out, watches the Little Bear (Bella Ramsey) tear Jon to shreds, but when she finally does speak up, she moves past titles and crowns, and focuses on what people truly fear – starvation. While Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) brags about all of the armies and dragons Daenerys brought North, Sansa jabs back that none of that means anything if they can’t feed all of these armies, and culminates in this final snipe at Daenerys, prompting Daenerys’s equally sassy response, “Whatever they want.”
- “Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now.” – Back when Sansa was a prisoner of the Lannisters in King’s Landing, Tyrion was the only one who was nice to her and protected her, even before they were married. Everyone else around treated Sansa with cruelty and like she was a silly child, but Sansa had to be smart enough to survive the Lannisters all those years. In this episode, Sansa and Tyrion have their first meeting since she fled King’s Landing during Joffrey’s wedding, and it is everything we have always hoped a Tyrion-Sansa reunion would be. Every line is loaded with meaning, as they navigate their history and feelings about each other. Tyrion’s line here about Sansa’s survival, and the fate of most of her enemies, remind the audience just how much smarter Sansa is than people realize, and that underestimating her is certainly a mistake he will never make.
- “I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.” – In the same wonderful conversation between Sansa and Tyrion, they discuss Cersei (Lena Headey) marching North with her forces. After all her time spent with Cersei, Sansa knows her better than most people, and she’s skeptical that Cersei is actually coming to help them. We, the audience, know that she’s correct, but Tyrion tells Sansa that he has faith that she truly is coming due to a desire to protect the child she carries (though he doesn’t actually tell Sansa that Cersei is pregnant, he just alludes to it). In response to that naiveté, Sansa delivers this zinger of a line. Tyrion is thought of as being one of the most clever people on the show, but if he truly thinks that Cersei would come to their aid, he’s a fool, and Sansa’s pointing that out.
- “She’s the smartest person I’ve ever met.” – Okay, so Sansa isn’t actually in this scene, but it’s one of my favorite lines about Sansa in the entire series. As Jon and Arya (Maisie Williams) have their reunion in the gods’ wood, they discuss Sansa, and her dislike of Daenerys. Arya and Sansa never got along as children, but last season they learned how to be on the same team. When Jon disparages Sansa, and says that she thinks she’s smarter than everyone, Arya makes this observation about Sansa. It’s nice not only to see the Stark girls getting along, or even Arya defending Sansa, but to see yet another character acknowledge how smart Sansa is, and what a major player she is in this game.
- “‘I will stand behind Jon Snow,’ he said. ‘the King in the North.'” – Sansa says this to Jon when they find out one of the lords sworn to them isn’t coming. After holding it in all episode, Sansa finally gets to confront Jon about his decision to bend the knee to Daenerys. She’s not just angry, she smart enough to realize that allegiance to Jon was one of the few things holding this alliance together, and with him no longer in place as King in the North, it’s going to be difficult to keep everyone united.
- “Did you bend the knee to save the North, or because you love her.” – In the same conversation with Jon, Sansa hits upon an important truth. Jon says over and over again throughout the episode that he bent the knee to Daenerys to ensure the North’s survival, but Sansa sees right through that righteous excuse, and cuts to the heart of the situation. Her meaning: men don’t think with their brains. The fact of the matter is that Jon pledged his allegiance to Daenerys after she already said that she would fight the army of the dead with him, so he actually didn’t need to bend the knee to save the North at all. Jon better hope Sansa never finds out about this, because if she does, she’s going to be pissed!