Sophie Turner’s 10 Best Episodes as Sansa Stark, Ranked

For eight years between 2011 and 2019, Game of Thrones was the biggest show around. Season after season, its loyal fans were enthralled by the show’s phenomenal drama, epic plots, unforgettable battles, and a myriad of amazing characters. Chief among fan favorites were the prominent members of the Stark family.

An initially ill-fated brood, while many didn’t survive, those who did prove themselves worthy of all the victories they eventually win, and the titles that came with them. After all their suffering, and the emotional toll this took on their fans who had to endure the hardships of their favorite characters with them, there was a great deal of satisfaction from seeing the key family members reuniting and working together.

Among them, Sansa Stark emerged as one of the best characters, her astounding journey saw her traverse virtually impossible odds to emerge stronger, wiser, and far more powerful than she was at the beginning of the show. Played by Sophie Turner who did an amazing job as the character, Sansa was involved in many of the show’s standout episodes.

These are the ten best episodes that perfectly captured the immense lows and highs of her incredible journey from a naive and helpless young girl, to a Queen who earned the respect and admiration of everyone around her.

10 The Kingsroad (Season 1, Episode 2)

Gleeson and Turner in Game of Thrones

Early on in the series, Sansa Stark cut a very divisive figure. Her early character building cut her as pampered and snobbish, and the kind of teenage girl that was only obsessed with marrying a handsome man of noble birth. This was of course all true, as she was exactly like that with the show bringing out these aspects of her personality best by contrasting her with her little sister, Arya Stark.

In this episode, Sansa gets her wish as she’s promised to seemingly charming Prince Joffrey who was the heir to the famed Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Her early tiffs with Arya saw the younger of the two emerging as a far more likable character since she was tough, braver, and a lot more down to earth.

In this episode, Joffrey shows early on how malicious and vindictive he actually is when he causes an incident that causes Arya to stick up for herself and her peasant friend, while Sansa throws them both under the bus to protect her betrothed’s image, ultimately betraying Arya horribly in the process.

9 The North Remembers (Season 2, Episode 1)

Sansa in season two premiere of Game of Thrones

By Season 2, Sansa is quickly and brutally introduced to the savagery that comes with the political scheming and ambitions of the powerful Lannister family of King’s Landing. After witnessing her own father being executed unjustly by decapitation right in front of her, Sansa’s personality soon begins changing rapidly as she now understands the childish naivety of her previous existence as the eldest daughter of the Lord of Winterfell.

Her standout moment in this episode comes when she publicly convinces Joffrey to spare the life of Ser Dontos Hollard when his drunken behavior gets him sentenced to death at Joffrey’s name day tournament. Far from the same girl who once betrayed her own sister to save her own skin and keep her engagement to a Prince from being placed in jeopardy, she now possesses a greater capacity for appreciating kindness now that she’s seen first-hand how cold and cruel the world can be.

The moment is also the first early indicator that she’s slowly learning how to navigate the politics at play for her life at court.

8 Dark Wings, Dark Words (Season 3, Episode 2)

Turner in Dark Wings, Dark Words episode

By the third season, Sansa was tragically fully thrust into a cold and unforgiving world as a virtual prisoner of the Lannisters. Her fall from grace made for some horrifying, but compelling drama and also saw her retreating into a shell of compliance to survive.

Rarely departing from the role she was expected to play by Joffrey who was now King, and his mother, Cersei Lannister, who was actually the de facto ruler since she pulled the strings from behind the scenes, Sansa learned to hide her true feelings about them.

However, when the dynamic shifts again as the Tyrell family enters the political fray, Sansa’s interactions with Margaery Tyrell and the infamous Olenna Tyrell, cause her to finally break down and confess how she really feels about her predicament.

7 Garden of Bones (Season 2, Episode 4)

Turner in Game of Thrones

After her father’s death, the Stark children end up scattered and separated, each facing their own perils and tragedies. For Sansa, life with Joffrey is a daily nightmare as she’s subjected to some horrific psychological and physical abuse. In one of her saddest moments, Joffrey learns that her brother Robb Stark is refusing to pledge fealty to the throne, and he takes out his anger over this sleight on her personally.

Knowing what a delicate, respectable, and innocent person she once was makes Joffrey’s treatment of her even more gruesome and intolerable. In one of his most cruel moments, he threatens her with a crossbow, orders Ser Merryn Trent to beat her, and then to strip her. The worst part is that all this takes place at court with a full gallery of people present to witness her pain and humiliation. Thankfully, Tyrion Lannister intervenes and saves her before she loses all her modesty.

6 The Mountain and the Viper (Season 4, Episode 8)

Sansa in The Mountain and The Viper episode

When Sansa is later ‘rescued’ by the infamous Lord Peter “Littlefinger” Baelish, she initially seems to be blindly following him and proves to be nothing more than fodder for his schemes. However, after Lysa Arryn is killed by Littlefinger, we see Sansa display a noticeable shift in her demeanor and poise.

Related: Game of Thrones: Petyr Baelish’s (Littlefinger) 10 Best Quotes, Ranked

Not only does she begin changing her look, but her darker colors and more astute fashion sense reflect the fact that she finally seems to be playing the Game of Thrones herself too, rather than simply being a victim of it. By covering for Littlefinger, she leaves viewers in suspense over whether she’s really fallen for his manipulations, or simply serving her own interests by protecting him and confessing who she really is to the Knights of The Vale.

5 Second Sons (Season 3, Episode 8)

Dinklage and Turner in Game of Thrones

In this poignant episode, Sansa gets another dose of harsh reality when she’s initially led to believe that she’s free of Joffrey and will now be betrothed to Ser Loras Tyrell, a handsome and courageous knight from Highgarden. However, she’s soon shot of the brief happiness she feels about this when the plan is changed, and she’s forced to marry Tyrion Lannister instead — a man who’s often met with scorn for his appearance.

On their wedding day, Joffrey walks her down the aisle, still torturing her as he insinuates that she will still be his even after she marries his uncle. Tyrion gets drunk and mouths off, causing tense moments to ensue. However, he also turns out to be the kindest of the Lannisters, and he and Sansa actually share some sincere moments together as he makes her laugh and sets her mind at ease by not forcing her to consummate the marriage.

4 Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Season 5, Episode 6)

Sansa and Ramsay In Game of Thrones

In stark contrast to her marriage to Tyrion Lannister, and more in-keeping with her engagement to Joffrey, her second husband is every bit the kind of monster her fiancé was. Escalating the kind of actions that Joffrey often threatened but never got the chance to actually do, Ramsay Bolton consummated his marriage to Sansa by sexually assaulting her.

As cruel and sad as this is for the character, the moment is elevated to sickening levels since Ramsay also forces Theo Greyjoy to stay in the room and watch as he does this. Not only does Sansa have a fractious relationship with Theon, but she’s known him since both were young children, a fact that adds layers of vindictiveness to Ramsay’s monstrous act.

3 Fire and Blood (Season 1, Episode 10)

Turner and Gleeson in Game of Thrones

In the chilling finale episode of the first season, the tone for much of the rest of it is set. Not only does this episode end with Daenerys Targaryen proving her bloodline by walking into fire and returning with hatched dragons, Sansa also faces a defining moment that provides a seismic shift for her arc.

Having already suffered the heartbreak of watching her father being executed in front of her, she’s later subjected to an even more inhumane act. Joffrey, in one of the cruelest moments of his time on the show, forces her to stare at her father’s head mounted on a spike.

Initially distraught, the disturbing nature of her seeing this forces her into an almost catatonic state in which she learns how to make herself numb to the horrors of her life now. She also openly challenges Joffrey, showing the first spark of the fiery woman she will one day go on to become.

2 The Dragon and the Wolf (Season 7, Episode 7)

Sansa Stark as the Queen in the North

After all the suffering that Sansa endures during most of the show, by season seven, there is finally some positivity beginning to creep into the Stark family’s lives. In a shocking twist, the true leader and brilliant strategist Sansa is actually emerges.

While most of the season, and seasons running up to it, goaded viewers into thinking that Sansa may again be falling prey to manipulation, this time at the hands of Littlefinger, she and Arya prove that Sansa had learned from the master manipulator and had a few tricks up her own sleeve.

Related: Game of Thrones: Sansa Stark’s Most Heartbreaking Moments, Ranked

Pretending to fall victim to his evil plan to pit the two sisters of The Stark house against each other, Sansa winds up turning the tables as she accuses him of murder, and he’s executed by Arya. The poignancy of the moment was immense and also represented a true redemption that finally healed all the childhood animosity for each other the sisters once held.

1 The Iron Throne (Season 8, Episode 6)

Sansa Stark as the Queen in the North

In the build-up to Sansa’s meteoric rise in the show, she often began showing glimpses of being a gifted ruler who had taken all her pain and suffering and learned from it all to become a force of nature. Besides her brilliant takedown of Littlefinger, she also displayed some exceptional foresight and strategic thinking since she figured out Ramsay Bolton’s methodologies, then used Littlefinger to bring in the Knights of the Vale and save the day at the memorable Battle of the Bastards.

Given all she endured, and all she was able to overcome with so much of her grace and dignity still intact, it isn’t long before all the great houses of the North realize her true worth too. As a true Stark, and Ned Stark’s oldest daughter who had grown up in Winterfell, in the finale, she’s crowned Queen in the North, effectively eclipsing her own father’s achievements there since, as great as he was, he was only ever the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.

A fitting end to a stunning rise, the moment perfectly summed up Sansa’s character arc, even if the final season of the show never met expectations in other ways.