12 Things To Remember About Sansa Stark Before 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7 Airs

by Ani Bundel

It's the first day of summer here. But in the world of Westeros, winter has arrived.

The second trailer for Game of Thrones Season 7 features the oldest living trueborn Stark, Sansa, front and center. She is a major player this coming season. But it wasn't always this way.

Sansa's rise has been a long and painful one. Let's look back on the last six seasons of Game of Thrones and see how Sansa went from a young, silly girl in love with an idea of a prince to the woman she is today, one who will unleash hungry dogs on her husband and not even blink.

Season 1: Sansa Is Engaged To Joffrey Lannister Baratheon


When we first met Sansa back in Season 1, she was young. (In this shot, she's actually extra young, since this was footage shot for the first pilot that was scrapped.) She believed in a thing called love, and she believed that blonde princes with beautiful mothers and heroic fathers were what every girl should aspire to marry.

When the Lannisters came to Winterfell, she learned she was being betrothed to Joffrey Baratheon. It was like all her dreams were coming true.

Season 1: Sansa Arrives In King's Landing


Sansa's arrival in King's Landing, despite the death of her wolf pup Lady, was just as glorious as she imagined. There were Lords and Ladies, and knights with ridiculously rose-covered armor. (No, seriously, how is anyone supposed to fight in this get-up?)

It was all so exciting and romantic. Her father was the second most important man in town, and one day she would be Queen.

Season 1: Sansa Watches Her Father's Execution


...and then this happened.

This was not actually supposed to occur. This was just supposed to be a bunch of grandstanding. Joffrey was supposed to offer him mercy. Ned was supposed to take the black, go to the Wall and maybe tell Jon about his mother one day.

And then Joffrey decided to be a little brat and behead him anyway. So much for that lovely blonde prince.

Season 2: Sansa Is Abused By Joffrey, But Treated Well By The Hound


Sansa was now a prisoner in King's Landing, one that her abusive, psychotic monster of a fiancé could do whatever he wanted with. And he did just about anything he could. (Thankfully none of that included the bedroom, but that's merely a sign of how unwell Joffrey was -- even sex didn't interest him.)

Sansa dreamed a knight would come and rescue her and they would fall in love. Ironically, it was happening with Joffrey's guard, the Hound. But Sansa didn't realize it until it was too late. Given the choice, she stayed in King's Landing and the Hound left without her.

Season 2: Sansa Is Carefully Taught by Cersei

Sansa may have been raised by Starks for the first 11 years of her life, but her real education started in King's Landing. Her first teacher was the woman now known as "Mad Queen" Cersei Lannister.

The night of the Battle of Blackwater, Sansa got quite an education of the realities of being a queen. A brood mare, married off to whoever they told her to, Cersei advocated using one's sex to survive. Catelyn might not have put it so bluntly, but one suspects she might have agreed that Cersei wasn't wrong.

Season 3: Sansa Is Married Off To Tyrion


When the Tyrells marched into King's Landing at the end of Season 2, Joffrey dropped his engagement to Sansa for Margaery. Sansa thought she was finally free, but her foolish innocence doomed her again. In repayment for warning Olenna and Margaery about the reality of Joffrey, theTyrells promised her a safe marriage, and a ticket out of King's Landing. She was so glad, she then spilled the news to Littlefinger.

But Littlefinger had other plans, one of which included keeping Sansa in King's Landing, where he could eventually capture her for himself. So he went to the Lannisters and warned them. They obliged him by marrying her off to Tyrion instead, keeping her a prisoner and giving her no escape.

Season 4: Sansa Is Spirited Away When Joffrey Dies

Littlefinger's next move was to work with Olenna to kill Joffrey. In return, he would be allowed to take Sansa, and Tyrion would take the fall for his nephew's death. (It was a genius move, destroying the Lannisters from the inside by knocking one piece off the board.)

Sansa found herself at the Eyrie, where she learned another lesson: She had sexual power over Littlefinger. But such power is also dangerous, as she learned when her Aunt Lysa tried to kill her out of jealousy. Thankfully, Littlefinger arrived in time, only to then kill Sansa's aunt in front of her, as punishment.

Season 4: Sansa Is Revealed To The Lords Of The Vale

Sansa was originally brought to the Vale under the guise of being Littlefinger's bastard daughter. When Lysa died, Littlefinger wanted her to keep lying. But Sansa realized it would be more prudent to reveal her true name. It bought the trust of the Lords of the Vale (who suspected -- quite rightly -- that Littlefinger had offed his wife).

She then used that trust to convince them that Littlefinger was innocent and that it was a good idea to let him lead the Vale. Sansa was taking her first baby steps in the Great Game, learning she could bestow power on those she chose.

Season 5: Sansa Is Married Off To Ramsay Bolton


One baby step forward, one giant step back. Sansa's next mistake was once again trusting Littlefinger. On his advice, she married Ramsay Bolton, assuming (as Littlefinger did) he could be won over and controlled by sex.

Turned out she'd just married a guy who made Joffrey look tame.

Unlike Joffrey, Ramsay took out his punishment on his new wife in their bedroom, rather than in public. Remember kids, just because you repeat "I am the Stark in Winterfell, no one can hurt me here" doesn't make it any truer than thinking a blonde prince with a pretty mother is a good marriage decision.

Season 6: Sansa Reunites with Jon Snow

Escaping Winterfell with Theon at the end of Season 5, Sansa made a run for it. It would have been a futile move, had she not lucked into running into Brienne of Tarth. She'd already spurned Brienne once on Littlefinger's advice. This time Sansa didn't hesitate and swore Brienne into her service. First order of business: head north to Castle Black to find Jon.

Let me be clear: The timing here was excellent. If Sansa had arrived a week earlier, she would have found Jon was the current Lord Commander, and he would have refused to leave the Night's Watch because of Hardhome. Two days earlier, she would have shown up and been told her brother was dead. A few days later, she would have been told he already left.

Timing. Is. Everything. (And so are hugs.)

Season 6: Sansa Wins The Battle Of The Bastards


Having Jon by her side made Sansa feel like she was going to win back Winterfell. But as they traveled together, Sansa realized her brother was not actually as savvy as she needed him to be. So much so that, on the eve of battle, she took off. She told him he should accept their brother Rickon was already dead, that if he lost, she would not allow Bolton to take her alive, and that his promises to protect her were just words. (And words are wind.)

Realizing the battle was probably lost unless she did something, Sansa did something. She rode to the Eyrie. She told Littlefinger the battle was happening, and she needed him to come with her now. Littlefinger, and the Knights of the Eyrie, did just that. They showed up, just in time, to decisively turn the battle, and defeat Ramsay Bolton once and for all.

Season 6: Sansa Is Not Named Queen In the North

Jon Snow understood the battle was only won because of Sansa. He gave her Ramsay to kill herself. (She proved an apt pupil of his ways, using his own dogs to eat him.) He gave her the main bedroom. He told her this was her home, and she was the Lady of Winterfell, and he would not stand in her way of taking charge here.

And that might have come to pass, had it not been for one little pipsqueak of a girl. Lyanna Mormont had other ideas. She declared Jon should not be Lord of Winterfell, but a much higher position: King of the North. Sansa might be Lady of Winterfell, but at the close of Season 6, Jon now outranks her and is the one "in charge."

No wonder Littlefinger gave her that look across the room. Will Sansa stay loyal to her brother and the Starks? Or will she follow the training of those who taught her? We'll find out in Season 7.