“I’ll probably be a married woman by the time you return” – Sansa bids goodbye to Littlefinger.
Game Of Thrones Episode 5.03: “High Sparrow” Shown: Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) (CR:HBO)
When we first met Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and her little sister Arya (Maisie Williams) five seasons ago, they were simply young girls, “ladies” to be precise, with few cares to fill their days.
Game Of Thrones Episode 5.03: “High Sparrow” Shown: Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) (CR: HBO)
Now, having quite literally grown up before our eyes, they forge ahead, completely alone in the world, believing the majority of their family are dead (they’re not).
Both young women having been to hell and back–repeatedly–and so have grown strong spines. Living as sisters they had nothing but parentage in common; now they could very well team up as savvy, hardened survivors. “Could” is the operative word as they are continents apart, unaware of each other’s present circumstances and indeed, having no reason to believe the other is still alive.
In episode 5.03 of Game of Thrones, Sansa’s story took a necessary departure from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series. In Sansa, we have a woman who has come of age but whose book character is rather a prisoner of Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) at the Veil for an extended period. This would not make for very compelling television. Perhaps Game Of Thrones’ showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff wisely chose to expand Sansa’s story, since new material from the book series has pretty much been exhausted at this point.
The show took us back to the destroyed Winterfell, now under renovation by the Boltons, who conspired with the Lannisters and Freys to overthrow the Starks.
Sansa has returned home for the first time since she left, back in season 1 for King’s Landing. Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) has lost his powerful ally in Tywin Lannister after the latter’s sudden death and he must shore up support in the North.
He explains to son Ramsey (Iwan Rheon) that when forging alliances, marriage is much more effective than the Bolton’s trademark flaying. And so Sansa Stark and Ramsey Bolton (nee Snow) are to be wed.
Not surprisingly, many fans are aghast at this turn of events which they assume will mean “repeated rapes” at a minimum, and other violence done to Sansa’s body and psyche.
I don’t think anything as awful as they imagine will happen because it’s what everyone expects and how would that be good writing? Sansa has lived in hellish circumstances for years now and she’s found ways to survive (sometimes, she was just lucky). This is a brand new hell, granted, but though there is sure to be some trauma to come, will that trauma be visited on Sansa alone?
We’ve been given several hints that as horrible as Sansa’s situation appears, she is not truly alone. She was immediately greeted upon being shown to her room by an older women who welcomed her by name and uttered, “The North remembers.” Further, Reek/Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) who used to live with Sansa and her family, knows she’s there and his (book) storyline could be fudged a bit. He could find himself as much of a changed man as the one he currently is (but, for the better).
Finally, is Littlefinger as naive as he let on when he told Ramsey, “I don’t know much about you”? That line struck a huge dissonant out-of-character chord with me. Time will tell how ill-informed Littlefinger was when he and Roose Bolton made their alliance via the betrothal of Sansa Stark and Ramsey Bolton.
In one of an untold number of interviews about Game of Thrones season 5, Sophie Turner disclosed that there is a difficult, “messy” scene coming up that she is involved in that even the crew had apprehensions about. Fans have jumped to the conclusion that Ramsey will torture Sansa. I wouldn't be surprised if he rapes her but, and this is important because you hear it often from actors, Turner may, for the first time, be seen nude. If so, it would have been a big deal for everyone involved in creating the scene.
This is all pure speculation of course, but for my money, it is much more likely that Ramsey Bolton should fear the wrath of the North and its people than we should fear that Sansa will succumb at the hands of the Boltons.