Game of Thrones Fans Furiously Debate Sansa Stark's Villain Status

Game of Thrones fans are in a serious debate about one character's villain status in the show. It all started with a post from a GoT fan on Twitter, who wanted to give the show its flowers for crafting "the most heartless and cruel villains. No other show or movie makes you as invested in watching their downfall, it almost feels personal". It was a post that would've generated some big support, if not for the photo collage that was included with it. 

The tweet from @daenartist comes with four photos of Game of Thrones characters, including Joffrey Baratheon, Ramsay Bolton, Aegon II Targaryen (with creepy Aemond in the background), and... Sansa Stark?

Yes, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is included in the photo collage of Game of Thrones' "heartless" and "cruel" villains, which has sparked a Wildfire of debate about whether or not Lady Sansa was mislabeled... or not. 

Sansa Stark's Story in Game of Thrones Explained

(Photo: HBO)

Sansa Stark's path through the story of Game of Thrones is a winding one, that's arguably full of murky gray. Sansa starts the story a pretentious and spoiled Lady of Winterfell – the complete antithesis to her tomboy sister Arya. Sansa's big hope in life is to marry Joffrey Baratheon and become queen of the Seven Kingdoms – in fact, she rejects most of her upbringing as a Stark in favor of endearing herself to Joffrey and the Lannister family. Unfortunately for Sasana her naive girlish dreams of romance are doomed within the dark political reality of Westeros, and the Lannisters take her as a hostage after killing her father Ned Stark. 

Sansa spent most of Game of Thrones either living in fear of Cersei Lannister; being tormented by the likes of Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton, and doing a lot of double-agent work playing both sides when it came to allegiances between the Lannisters, the Boltons, Littlefinger, and even her own family. The most compelling argument for Sansa's "villainy," however, is when Sansa is crowned "Lady of Winterfell" after Ramsay Bolton's defeat in the "Battle of the Bastards". Sansa uses her new power and position to oppose Daenerys Targaryen's claim to the Iron Throne, and her own brother Jon Snow's pledge to serve Daenerys. The dispute between the Starks and Targaryens never came to blows since Daenerys was assassinated; Jon rejoined the Night's Watch, and Sansa successfully lobbied the new King of Westeros – her brother Bran – to re-establish the North as its own independent kingdom – with her crowned as its queen. 

Is Sansa Stark A Villain in Game of Thrones? 

(Photo: HBO)

The series is called Game of Thrones, and if nothing else, the original series and House of the Dragon have both proven that anyone who ends up on the throne (or has a real shot at it) must become a morally dubious person to take and hold that power. Sansa's scenes in the show were often reflective of the horrible abuse and trauma she suffered in the war between the North and the Lannisters – but the show also chronicled the larger arc of how the naive and boy-crazy girl was beaten down and hardened into a Queen of the North with ice in her veins, and no need (or desire) for a king.

 Whether or not Sansa's transformation makes her a "villain" in the traditional sense (versus a "survivor") is going to always be highly debatable. That said, it's equally understandable why a fan with the Twitter handle "Daenartist" probably looks at Sansa as a villain. After all, Sansa was a clear antagonist for Daenerys Targaryen at the end, so if you're viewing Game of Thrones from the perspective of 'Daeny is the hero' (also debatable), then yeah, the Ice Queen (Sansa) looks like a villain compared to the Fire Queen. 

Where do you stand: Does Sansa Stark deserve to be counted among Game of Thrones' worst villains?