From the moment Sansa Stark was introduced to Daenerys Targaryen in Season 8, Episode 1 of Game of Thrones, she’s been distrustful. In fact, Sansa hasn’t been too keen on siding with the Mother of Dragons since Season 7 and she told Jon Snow as much before he left Winterfell. While he may have bent the knee, a new theory posits that Sansa was behind the events of Episode 4 and plans to sabotage Daenerys to make sure it’s Jon who sits on the Iron Throne by the end of Game of Thrones Season 8.
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Redditor u/madame_hussain theorizes that Sansa made plans to forcefully remove Daenerys from claiming the Iron Throne. In Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks,” Sansa tells the Hound about how much she’s learned since the show began, even attributing some of her political talents to Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.
At first, it seemed like she was simply discussing her journey and how far she’d come, but it could’ve also been foreshadowing exactly how she’ll put these lessons to the test. After all, one of the things Sansa learned is how to betray those deemed a threat to her and to the North. Currently, the Mother of Dragons poses the biggest threat of all.
Daenerys has been trying to win Sansa’s favor, not because she wants them to get along or because they both love Jon, but because she wants the Iron Throne and needs as many allies as possible. Sansa, however, knows that the Breaker of Chains doesn’t truly care about the North. After finding out Jon has a right to the throne, what better way to secure the safety of her people than to take out Jon’s biggest competition and make him king instead?
One of the reasons she’s never pledged her allegiance to Khaleesi is because she knew she never had the North’s best interests at heart. Daenerys may have been born in Westeros, but her whole life has been spent in service of reclaiming the Iron Throne. Sansa witnessed Daenerys’ act of legitimizing Gendry and most likely recognized it as a power play. It would therefore make sense for Sansa to come up with one of her own.
“Sansa’s objective is to sabotage Dany,” writes u/madame_hussain. “Helping Cersei to win and end the war very quickly so the North doesn’t suffer any more losses and then assassinate Cersei. Jon will have no option but to step up and be the king of the seven kingdoms.”
There are several examples in Episode 4 that u/madame_hussain expands upon. With the idea that Sansa pushed for these events to occur, her first plan of action might have been to send a raven to Cersei ahead of Daenerys’ arrival in Dragonstone. That might sound drastic, but it might at least explain how Euron and his fleet were able to catch Daenerys off-guard. It also helped that the Northern army wasn’t on board any of Daenerys’ ships, so Sansa didn’t lose any more of her men.
Additionally, Sansa quickly revealed Jon’s true identity to Tyrion, but only after attempting to persuade Jon that he should be king. Jon wasn’t onboard with the idea, though, so Sansa may have taken matters into her own hands. Telling Tyrion the secret plants a “seed of doubt” and could lead him to question whether the Mother of Dragons is fit to rule. This means Sansa, in part, potentially played a role in driving Daenerys towards becoming the Mad Queen (even her hair is disheveled following Missandei’s tragic death).
Her next plan of action would be to kill Cersei, the second biggest threat. U/madame_hussain suggests Arya is best suited to accomplish the task and there’s no doubt that Sansa would’ve given her sister some tips about Cersei given their history.
While some of these details might be a little far-out, the overall theory makes a lot of sense. Sansa may have hated Littlefinger, but she learned a lot from him, and now she’s putting those skills to use.
Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.