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Game of Thrones Debate: Does Arya or Sansa Hold the Upper Hand Right Now?

If ever there were a time for the Starks to stand as a united front on Game of Thrones, it would be now, with the entirety of Westeros on the brink of two major, life-changing wars. However, in Season 7, Episode 6, audiences saw that the growing opposition between the Stark sisters is more alarming than reasonable. Arya and Sansa Stark need to stop engaging in a cold war against one another and start working together, even if they are justified in their respective suspicions of each other.

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During the episode “Beyond the Wall,” Arya confronted Sansa over the note she found in Littlefinger’s room, the one that Sansa had been forced to write by Cersei Lannister years ago. In this moment, it became clear the two young women were bordering on becoming enemies rather than allies. Arya believed that Sansa actually wrote the letter accusing her father of treason back in Season 2. As such, Arya began to gently threaten Sansa, hinting at the assassination techniques she had learned abroad. While Sansa tried to convince Arya she was put under duress and she’s in fact not working against the Stark family for her personal gain, she also began flexing her muscles, attempting to suss out just how much of a threat Arya is to her well-being.

It’s difficult to say who is right because both women carry a lot of baggage and are both so much stronger after all they’ve been through on their own. However, they’re both clearly not handling their reunion properly, and if they don’t wise up to Littlefinger’s machinations to tear them apart, they could end up doing irreparable harm to one another.


Game of Thrones S7E6 Arya
Image: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO

The pros: Arya is right to be suspicious of Sansa, whether or not they’re sisters. Finding that note definitely doesn’t look good for Sansa and supports Arya’s own dislike of her sister, which has been in place since they were children.

To the newly returned Arya, Sansa could be even more cunning than she lets on; she could be feigning innocence. Her suspicions are bolstered by the fact that Sansa was so closely aligned with the Lannisters for so long (through both her involvement with Joffrey and her short-lived marriage to Tyrion).

Oh, and having Littlefinger as Sansa’s closest adviser doesn’t really allay Arya’s suspicions, especially not since she saw Littlefinger doing some secret double-dealing, which could be perceived as something Sansa allowed.

The cons: Arya is right to have her guard up, but she is also being a massive jerk to Sansa. Rather than having a calm, logical, reasonable conversation with her, she’s going around and brandishing her knife, threatening to cut off her sister’s face. Arya, please chill out. Jumping to conclusions rarely works out for anyone.

Also, Arya is in dire need of allies right now, and even though she likes to think that she is some capable, face-stealing assassin, it doesn’t hurt to have a little help and protection, like the kind that her sister could offer. Right now, she’s in danger of blowing it because she doesn’t want to consider that what her sister is saying is true.

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Game of Thrones S7E6 Sansa
Image: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO

The pros: Sansa has been through a heck of a lot during her time on GoT. She has endured emotional and mental manipulation at the hands of the Lannisters. She watched her father get beheaded while the public of King’s Landing cheered on. She was coerced into marrying Tyrion Lannister who, sweet as he is, was not a good match for her. She is also a rape survivor and chooses to weaponize her anger toward those who have wronged her for political gain.

Hearing her warn Arya that Arya has no idea what she’s been through in the last six years stings because she’s been through quite a lot, and Arya needs to know that. Sansa is trying to be as effective a ruler as she can be and use her pain for something positive; Arya needs to understand that. Also, if anything, Sansa has gone out of her way to make sure Arya has settled in nicely now that she’s home at Winterfell. It’s a big blow to Sansa that Arya is seemingly spitting on that by threatening to hurt her and accusing her of something she didn’t do.

The cons: First off, Sansa should know better than to seek counsel from Littlefinger; it just looks super-shady. We should allow for the possibility Sansa’s got a bigger plan in motion that requires keeping him, an enemy, close to her, but she should really be considering the optics of this move.

Secondly, it’s probably not the smartest move to go rummaging around in your long-lost sister’s belongings when you know full well she is capable of murder, Sansa dear. For a rational woman, she’s going about procuring information about her sister’s intentions very irrationally.

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It’s clear right now that it’s going to be tough to side with one Stark sister over another. These young women have their strengths working for them and their weaknesses working against them. These two need to get their issues sorted out ASAP and unite against the real wolf in their henhouse, Littlefinger, before it’s too late.

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