The Game of Thrones season 5 promotional juggernaut switched gears from teasers to a full blown trailer and a whole batch of promo photos. There is a lot to unpack from the two minutes of new footage and 19 brand new shots, but I want to focus on one character who appears very briefly and that is Sansa Stark.
First a disclaimer – I haven’t read the books so everything that follows is pure speculation as I have no idea where the story is going to take this character. And now some background with my feelings towards this character; when Sansa is first introduced she is a social climbing brat who at the first glimpse of Joffrey’s proclivity to picking the harshest punishment possible doesn’t run in the opposite direction. This seems dumb and therefore everything that follows could be seen as Sansa’s fault for wanting to marry the boy who would become king. But hold up, as age is a factor that should be considered and despite how fresh faced Sophie Turner looks during the first season it is easy to forget how young Sansa is meant to be. Later on when Tyrion asks how old she is, her reply of “fourteen” is incredibly shocking.
In any other show her actions would result in the usual teen punishments and the consequences would be less severe; in this world she has to witness the very brutal death of her father and then she is subject to various emotional and physical torments all at the hands of the boy she naively thought would be ‘the one.’ This is no fairy tale and the would-be queen sure doesn’t get her happy ending.
Cut to the last time we saw Sansa in “The Mountain and the Viper” and while this character has cried plenty in the past (and I’m sure there will be tears in the future) she responds to her current situation with all the knowledge and lessons from the women she has been surrounded by. Sansa has spent time with those who have all learned how to use what strength and skills they have to survive in a world where women don’t tend to have a lot of power; Catelyn, Cersei and Margaery are all very different of course but each has imbued valuable lessons. Margaery is on the surface the kindest of the three, but she is also using manipulation to stay ahead and this will be an important tool when it comes to Sansa’s current companion, Littlefinger. To me Sansa is the Blair Waldorf of Westeros (a theory I will expand upon one day) and I’m hoping season 5 will see her reaching the levels of scheming that would make Blair proud.
Littlefinger was in love with Sansa’s mother and there is definitely an element of transference here. What happens when the master manipulator is confronted by a vision of the woman he loved? And Sansa’s new steely darker look makes her resemblance to her mother even more uncanny giving her an advantage over Littlefinger. He really doesn’t have a lot of weak points but the Stark women – remember he didn’t sell Arya out to Tywin – have a way of reaching into the dark depths of Littlefinger and finding what little compassion he possesses.
Okay let’s talk about one of the costuming highlights of season four as Sansa switched up her floral muted pastel color frocks for the Goth feathered approach, complete with new pointy jewelry (to mirror her sister’s sword). Most teens have a moment where they dramatically change their look but this is not a moment of rebellion, instead it is a visual battle cry to show Sansa as far more than a victim. This is her taking charge of her fate and if she has to align herself with the super slimy Littlefinger then so be it. The way he looks at her with thirst in his eyes is of course incredibly creepy and I am hoping she doesn’t have to compromise herself too much to stay in favor.
A new cape and a style that mirrors Littlefinger’s dark attire keeps up the appearance that they are in this together; maybe Sansa will go all Stockholm Syndrome on us and Littlefinger’s hold over her will go from necessary survival tactic to something deeper. This is a scenario I want Sansa to avoid and if she can keep a piece of herself free from his clutches then this will be a small victory. In the promo (which you can see below) he puts his hands on her face imploring her to “avenge them” in the promo and he should add his name to the long list of Stark wrongdoers as he kick-started the whole thing; there is so much blood on Littlefinger’s hands you can’t even see his actual fingers.
The Stark children keep missing each other for reasons which include death and other missions they are taking part in; one of the most heartbreaking is how close Arya and Sansa were to seeing each other again. Now there is a sea between them and my hopes for an Arya/Sansa team-up have been dashed. So much has happened to both of them and if they could put aside previous grievances I think they would be a formidable team. Alas, now they have to go it alone and while they are better equipped to deal with the harsh realities of this world it would be much better if they were together.
And here is the very exciting and action packed season 5 trailer with plenty of conflict and a very beardy Tyrion.