- Kristin Bundesen, PhD
Sansa was right-- At least 4 times
Sansa was right. She saved the day by following her own advice. If anyone still thinks Games of Thrones is misogynist, they haven't been paying attention. This season, the story of the show is more feminist than the filming of it. If you haven't noticed, then it is time to donate to your favorite women's action group and re-up your fem-cred.
1-- Listen to me. Sansa was right when she called out Jon Snow for not soliciting her opinions when drawing up the battle plan. A plan, by the way, that even the wilding commander Thormund did not understand. Thormund serves as the extreme example of Jon Snow's tendency to be straightforward and simple. Sansa's point was that Ramsay Bolton was not straightforward or simple. She knew Ramsay would exploit normal emotional responses to win the day. She may not have known that his battle plan was a combination of Hannibal and the Romans crossed with the US Civil War. But, she knew that if Jon was, well Jon, that Ramsay would have much too fun a day of it.
2- We need more men. Jon, poor simple Jon, just wanted to get the battle underway and not spend time recruiting more troops no matter how often Sansa pushed for this. Thank goodness she knew of at least two possible armies who might answer her call. Not Jon's call, but Sansa Stark's call; Sansa a Tully granddaughter and Sansa the cousin of Robin Arryn controlled by a man apparently with a Machiavellian lust for her, Petyr Baelish. Criticisms that Sansa withheld that information from her brother, don't get how much Sansa has taken control. Instead of passing information on, she is using it to best effect as SHE sees fit.
3- Don't do what Ramsay expects. Ramsay expects Jon to act as a normal affectionate, if half, brother and ride out to save Rickon. John's emotional response nullifies his own battle plans to make Ramsay's army come to him. In one of the most cinematic of shots, Jon literally stands in the middle of a field by himself arrayed against Ramsay's cavalry.
4- Rickon is a dead brother. Sansa's point was that once within Ramsay's control, there would be almost no chance of retrieving Rickon. In fact, Ramsay used Rickon exactly as Sansa expected, in a an emotionally manipulative 'game' provoking Jon into rash and angry behavior.
If you haven't been paying attention, this season has been leading the Westeros and Essos universe to female domination. In Season 1, Cersei was the main female power player. Catelyn was too perfectly the lady of Winterfell. Dany was a girl sold into a Dothraki marriage that she eventually decided to make work. In fact, in season one the only other female who was interested in power was Arya Stark who took up sword studies over embroidery or traditional dancing lessons. Preferring battle to making lots of little princes and princesses.
This season, Yara Greyjoy is making alliances and speaking wanna be queen-to-wanna be queen in her pursuit of the salt throne, with her brother as her 'hand' or lieutenant. Dany has dragons and Slavers Bay and the Second Sons and the Unsullied and a Dothraki horde with Tyrion as her 'hand'.
Although not explicitly referred to in episode 609, Battle of the Bastards, other female characters have positioned themselves into power positions. Margery Tyrell is playing the long game and setting herself up as the sole power in King's Landing. It's just that the High Sparrow doesn't know it yet. Sending her granny back to Highgarden preserves the Queen of Thorns' freedom to serve as a supply and support line when needed. Ellaria Sand, and her daughters and step daughters collectively known as the Sand Snakes are running Dorne after their coup. We haven't seen them in a while but they are lurking in the background.
The men are running around acting like idiots driven by lust. The Blackfish would rather die instead of follow the Tully words [Family, Duty, Honor] and support his grandniece Sansa. Jaimie wants to get back to Cersei despite a his expressions of respect for Brienne - which some interpret as flirting but really isn't. Boy King Tommen, First of His Name, is being manipulated into taking away his mother's greatest weapon, The Franken-Mountain.
Now that Sansa has proved that she is playing the game better than her brother, perhaps she and young Lady Mormont can restart their relationship over some decent Dornish wine. Game of Thrones the story, turns out to be about women taking power, no matter how many naked ladies prance through the background. Stay tuned for Arya returning to Westeros and accidentally bumping into Brienne again. Just a private prediction based on a desire to see female warriors in service to a Sansa-led Stark restoration.
[Originally published June 21, 2016]