Does Sansa Give Daenerys Winterfell? This 'Game of Thrones' Theory Could Explain That Clip
Game of Thrones taking a year off means the series missed the Golden Globes for the first time since it premiered in 2011. But the show wasn't about to completely let fans forget about it. During the ceremony, HBO released a trailer, promoting several of their upcoming series for 2019, including the first clip from Game of Thrones Season 8 that had dialogue. (HBO previously released a clip with footage of Jon Snow and Sansa embracing, but it had no lines.) The one piece of dialogue freaked fans out though. Does Sansa give Daenerys Winterfell?
The clip in the new trailer is from the same scene as the clip released back at the end of the summer, when Jon Snow returns to the Stark family home of Winterfell with Daenerys (and her dragons) in tow. Fans were concerned because Sansa seemed to be looking over Jon's shoulder at something and whatever it was, she didn't like it.
The new clip has Jon escorting Daenerys up to Sansa, to which the Lady of Winterfell says to the Mother of Dragons: "Winterfell is yours, your grace." Her voice is flat, and her smile doesn't really reach her eyes. Daenerys starts a little like she wasn't quite expecting to hear this.
Scroll to the 38-second mark to watch.
Fans instantly noted the similarity of the scene to another moment in the Winterfell courtyard, when Robert Baratheon arrives in the premiere episode of Season 1. That's a deliberate move on the show's part. According to the showrunners, the plan is for Jon's arrival with Dany at Winterfell to echo the Baratheon/Lannister arrival, to contrast how much things have changed, and yet the formalities stay the same.
But fans who are upset at the idea they're seeing Sansa hand over the keys to Winterfell to a Targaryen should be comforted by this. Note the language from the scene between Robert and Ned in Season 1:
Ned Stark wasn't giving Robert Baratheon his castle, or handing over the keys to the place. He's extending a welcome to his liege lord. "Winterfell is yours" is a turn of phrase, a polite way of saying "Mi Casa, Su Casa." Sansa isn't handing over Winterfell to the Targaryens any more than her father was giving it over to the Baratheons (and the Lannisters.) She's merely welcoming Dany to stay and rest here before she and Jon go out Night King hunting. (Knowing Sansa, she's also privately wondering if there's a space to garage the dragons not currently full of grain and therefore flammable.)
Now, to be fair, Daenerys may not know this. It is notable she visibly starts when Sansa says this. It's a little bit like when Rachael Chu turned up at Nick's house and tried to drink the water for washing her hands. One of the running issues is Dany doesn't know Westerosi protocols. There may need to be a moment where Jon quietly says "No, she didn't *give* you Winterfell, silly." (Awkward.)
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres in April on HBO.