Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 “Dragonstone.”
Game of Thrones did not waste any time before jumping into the center of the much-discussed tension between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his sister, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Kit Harington, who plays Snow on the hit HBO series, teased the fraught dynamic between the Stark siblings.
The siblings strained relationship serves as one of the central arcs of “Dragonstone.” In the Season 7 opener, Jon is trying to rule the North, when Sansa openly challenges him over his plans for some of the Northern Houses.
Jon does not want to punish the children of the Houses that did not stand with House Stark in the fight for Winterfell. Sansa wants their lands stripped away, so they can be given to those who supported them. Jon stands firm on his decision and lets it be known that his word on the matter is final.
After the meeting, Jon and Sansa privately discuss her attitude, and in a surprising turn of events, Jon rigorously stands up to Sansa. He challenges her on why she is challenging him, and during the course of their conversation, Sansa goes from saying that Jon needs to be “smart,” and listen to her, to saying he is good at ruling.
There is a lot of whiplash in their interaction. Sansa affirms Jon and then takes it away. It is clear that what she thinks matters to him and that respect is not returned.
Sansa goes on the offensive
During their conversation, Sansa compares Jon’s frustrations to those of teen tyrant Joffrey Baratheon’s because Jon does not want her to “undermine” him, in front of the Northern lords. Jon asks her if she really thinks he is like Joffrey, and Sansa replies that he is as far from Joffrey as anyone she has ever met. So why did she even attempt to draw a parallel?
Sansa also warns him that Cersei (Lena Headey), who has sent a raven telling Jon he needs to come and bend the knee to her, will not stop until she gets what she, wants. Jon is more concerned with the looming White Walker apocalypse, while Sansa insists that Cersei is an equally imminent threat. Jon remarks that Sansa sounds like she admires Cersei and Sansa doesn’t strongly disagree.
If Jon is starting to worry about his sister’s moral compass in Game of Thrones Season 7, he has every reason to be flying into a full-blown panic. Sansa’s harsh verdict at the beginning of the episode is indicative that her conscience is in a troubling space.
The possibility that Sansa is in a dark place is not coming out of the blue either. Sansa reacted with great emotional restraint when she told Jon, their little brother Rickon would die at Ramsay’s hand in Season 6 Episode 9. Jon reacted to their brother’s doom with the exact opposite emotion; horror.
Jon cannot trust Sansa.
In the Season 7 premiere, Sansa continued her bizarre distrust of Jon, who has done nothing to earn it. She insists that Jon needs to trust her, even though she has lied to him repeatedly. It is easy to understand why Jon should be wary of trusting Sansa, not the other way around.
Why she is mistrustful of him is not rooted in any evidence. All he has done is try to protect her and he has done so successfully. No harm has come to her since she has been back with him.
Sansa lied to Jon about the Knights of the Vale and continues to lie about Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen). He has said things against her brother behind his back, and she has never stood up for Jon. At this point on Game of Thrones, her loyalties are as clear as mud.
Jon’s Game of Thrones journey
Sansa’s lack of respect for Jon is disheartening to witness in “Dragonstone.” He did not go from being the Lord Commander’s steward to the King in the North, without having earned the climb.
Sansa has no qualifications to rule the North. She has personal insight into Littlefinger and Cersei’s mind. That insight is certainly helpful, albeit far from anything that qualifies her to rule her homeland. She has never led anyone. Jon has.
Besides her bloodlines, she has no qualifications for the job. Deceiving Jon and nearly getting him killed, does not mean she “saved” the battle for Winterfell. In fact, she helped create the very calamity she claims to have been responsible for salvaging.
If she wants to help counsel Jon, then she needs to be transparent. She did not usefully advise Jon by deceiving him. She is purposely keeping Littlefinger around with some play in mind. She clearly suspects he wants Jon out of the way and has done nothing to warn her brother. She is instead granting Littlefinger unprecedented access to Winterfell and Jon.
Sansa and the battle for Winterfell
Sansa clearly fancies herself the hero when she talks to Jon after the battle for Winterfell in the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, but her actions are what helped cause the disaster in the first place. Had she told Jon, the Knights of the Vale would support them, he would have likely waited before challenging Ramsay, thus preventing the entire catastrophe.
Jon was and is the leader of House Stark’s military and Sansa undermined his status by withholding facts he was entitled to. Not only was he the leader, unlike Sansa he was risking his own life to fight in said battle. It is hard to describe Sansa’s actions as anything other than a betrayal.
In the Season 7 premiere, Sansa gave Littlefinger and herself most of the credit for retaking Winterfell, when the fact is Jon played a pivotal role in Ramsay’s defeat. If Jon had not pursued Ramsay before the villain could fortify Winterfell, and defeated him man-to-man, the secondary purpose of the battle, would have been lost.
It was great to see Jon defend himself, and not allow his obvious hurt at Sansa’s distrust, blind him to protesting her allegations. Jon let Sansa off the hook for lying to him, a little too quickly in Season 6. The result of which is currently playing out.
Clearly, the Northern lords’ confidence in him as the King in the North has heightened his self-esteem. If Jon’s confidence continues to snowball in Season 7, he should not be vulnerable to whatever Sansa has in store for him.
Sansa has made many unwise choices on Game of Thrones and it is about time someone reminded her of that. She does not have the winning record she claims to when it comes to making decisions.
Jon cannot trust Sansa. So how can he listen to her? All she has done is lie to him. How Sansa can continue to claim he should trust her without giving him any reason to, or offering him any faith in return, is confounding. It’s her who needs to trust him, not the other way around. Find out if Sansa ever does when Game of Thrones Season 7 continues Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.
[Featured Image by Helen Sloan/HBO]