‘…a wailing woman forced her way between two watchmen… Joffrey looked for a moment as if he meant to ride her down, but Sansa Stark leaned over and said something to him. The king fumbled in his purse, and flung the woman a silver stag.’
-Tyrion IX, A Clash of Kings
I think this single quote is the reason I fell in love with Sansa Stark. I always see a lot of praise (a lot of which centres around the TV adaptation) towards Margaery in her ability to ‘handle’ Joffrey or somehow being better equipped to influence him. But Margaery has her father as a staunch ally of the Lannister regime, she has her brother on the Kingsguard and her family in the capital, there is far less risk to her person in attempting to influence Joffrey.
Then we have Sansa Stark, an attainted traitor whose family is in open rebellion against the crown, who has been beaten and humiliated in public by her betrothed and will probably carry said scars for the rest of her life, and yet still she manages to steer Joffrey towards mercy and fulfilling one of her many courtly duties as Queen-to-be, risking chastisement at best and a public beating at worst. This is a King who has shot crossbow bolts down at his smallfolk for begging aid, who has no qualms about hurting her or anyone around him, and yet she still attempts- and succeeds- at swaying him towards charity at great personal risk with little payoff.
The fact that we miss moments like this in D&Ds adaptation is part of why audiences still decry Sansa as stupid, cowardly, or bratty and place her sister (who had her character assassinated in a more overt way by the adaptation) on a pedestal. We can’t all be Arya, we can’t all seek solace in physical fighting and retribution, but we could all stand to be a little more like Sansa, speaking up no matter the personal risk.
HBO: If you were king, which character would you choose for your Hand?
Isaac Hempstead Wright: I’d have Sansa. To be honest, I think she’d make a better queen, but she’d be a pretty mean Hand. She’s certainly had to grow a thick skin, having been bandied about by all these horrible characters, from Joffrey to Littlefinger to Ramsay. She’s also been exposed to that very cunning side of politics and seen how power corrupts. So I think she would have a very good grasp on how to rule. Plus, she’s a Stark.