Forget Jon and Dany, We Have Other Ideas for the Iron Throne

Everyone seems to be rooting for Jon Snow and Daenerys to rule the Iron Throne together—and we can’t help but think the Stark sisters would be a better duo

Katherine Singh
Game of Thrones Stark Sisters
(Photo: HBO)

A LOT went down in tonight’s Game of Thrones. The latest episode of the final season saw the Northerners and remaining Unsullied and Wildlings toasting Daenerys and Jon Snow for their victory in the war against the dead. But while everyone in Winterfell seemed to be rooting for Jon and Dany to take the reigns of the Seven Kingdoms, we’re beginning to see serious hints that it may be Arya and/or Sansa Stark that ends up on the Iron Throne.

Not only are the Stark sisters badass AF, but they’ve proven time and time again that, prophecy or not, they are the princesses that should have been promised. Unlike Jon and Dany, they have what it takes to unite the Seven Kingdoms—and they could totally do it without any dragons, and without totally brushing off their loyal BFF (#justice4Ghost).

For your consideration, here’s why we think the Stark sisters are Westeros’s best bet for Queen(s).

They’re self-aware and self-reflective in a way Jon and Dany straight-up aren’t

In many ways, it’s starting to feel like Sansa and Arya are the only characters who are still growing and developing in positive ways (seriously, what is *with* Jaime undoing all his personal growth and riding on back to Cersei??)—and that deliberate self-improvement makes them *great* for the job as co-rulers.

As Sansa pointed out in her post-battle conversation with The Hound, everything she has endured: manipulation at the hands of Littlefinger and Cersei, brutality by Ramsay Bolton and resilience through her ability to survive the aforementioned—has led her to become the person, and leader, she is now. When the Hound refers to the Lady of Winterfell as “little bird” (a pet name he had for her in season 1, when she was basically a prisoner in King’s Landing), telling her she wouldn’t have endured the hella hardships she has over the past eight seasons if she’d escaped King’s Landing with him, Sansa responds: “Without Littlefinger, Ramsay and all the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life.”

While we’re rolling our eyes over the (male) writers trying to suggest Sansa’s rape made her stronger, her conversation with The Hound reminded us she is a survivor. Sansa’s character arc (TBH, probably one of the best in the series, aside from Theon—RIP) from vapid, materialistic lady to strong and cunning leader leaves us feeling that she’s just getting started.

Sansa also learned to use her former weaknesses—other characters’ perceptions of her as frail and in need of protection—to overpower them. First with King Joffrey, whom she feigned timid allegiance to in season 1, then with Littlefinger, whom she let believe she trusted, all while aware he was trying to pit her against her sister. In both cases, Sansa owned her image and used it to her advantage.

And, let’s be honest, this type of self-awareness is something we would *never* see from the Dragon Queen, or her wannabe hubby/nephew. Jon is completely incapable of seeing how his feelings for Daenerys could be clouding his judgement of her eligibility to rule, and Dany is completely incapable of recognizing her own downfalls, like her tendency to overreact, demand unearned allegiance and kill people at a moments notice and against the warnings of her advisors. You know, just a few things.

Unlike the Sansa sisters, neither Jon nor Dany seem to be able to overcome their real weaknesses.

They’re strategic and smart

Time and time again—especially over the past two seasons—the Stark sisters have proven that they’re much better strategists than their male counterparts.

Robb Stark was great to look at, a romantic at heart, but a straight-up terrible strategist. Can we ever forget the Red Wedding? The multi-fatality tragedy that was incited all because Robb went back on his oath and refused to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters. And, somehow, he just didn’t see the revenge coming.

And, TBH, Jon isn’t any better. While he has countless times thrown himself in to battle, prepared to be the hero, his sisters have done the serious leg work, saving him every time at the last minute, due to their smarts and strategy. First, at the Battle of the Bastards, when Sansa had the foresight to call in help from the Nights of the Vale, and more recently at The Battle of Winterfell when Lady Stark asked all the important questions: like, how they were going to feed the biggest army in the Seven Kingdoms, and when Arya did the deed and killed the Night King, all while Jon flew around in a snowstorm and then stupidly tried to take on the Night King and his army one-on-one.

And tonight’s episode was no diff. While the (future) Mad Queen suggested Sansa was attempting to postpone the North’s march on King’s Landing, Sansa was actually trying to be strategic so that the (very limited) soldiers could recoup after their brutal battle with the dead. Honestly, who wouldn’t need at least two weeks of vacay after that??

They stay true to themselves

Hey Jon, maybe take some notes from your younger sis/cousin, Arya on not throwing all common sense away for your love interest….

While fans have been rooting for Arya and Gendry Baratheon to be our GoT #OTP since all the way back in season 1, and were stoked if not slightly shocked when the couple consummated their love in episode 3 of the latest season, Arya is not here for settling down. She has never been a lady, and it’s something she’s been reminding us (and her fam) since the Starks first came to King’s Landing in season 1.

So, as much as our hearts *legit* sang when Gendry, a newly appointed Lord, asked Arya to marry him and be the Lady of Storm’s End, we had to have known the answer before she gave it: “[…] I’m not a lady. I never have been, thats not me.”

As much as we’d love to see Arya and Gendry go off, have a lovely (non-red) wedding and some nice little lords and ladies to populate their castle—that’s not GoT and, more importantly, that’s not Arya. And we love that—in a trope that has so often been used—Arya didn’t just throw away her plans, and more importantly her sense of self, for the guy she loves. Because that doesn’t define her.

Sorry Gendry, but she has bigger fish to fry (*ahem* Cersei *ahem*).

They’re not afraid to call people out on their bullsh-t

Dragon Queen or not, the Stark sisters aren’t ones to stay silent. We saw this several times in this season’s fourth episode; first, at the raucous battle celebration/high school party, when Sansa gave her now infamous side eye to Tyrion and Dany after the Dragon Queen named Gendry Lord of Storm’s End. While we at home were busy tearing up/breathing  a sigh of relief that Dany wasn’t going to majorly lean in to her Mad Queen vibes and kill him, Sansa made it *very* clear, to everyone—including Tyrion—that she knew exactly what Daenerys was doing: buying Gendry’s loyalty.

Next, the sisters did what they now do best—teamed up to call Jon out for his lack of loyalty to their family; with the sisters (plus Bran) letting their half-brother/actual cousin know that they support him, but not his lady love—because, TBH, why would they? They don’t know Daenerys at all, and her track record since coming North (ie: pretty much straight up threatening Sansa’s life, doing nada in battle and expecting literally everyone to bend the knee) hasn’t been super promising. As Arya said: “That’s alright, I don’t need many allies.” 

We love a strong woman who knows what she wants.

And, finally, in the best battle of the exes of the night, Sansa once again proved that it’s she who should be hand to the queen—or just, you know, the Queen—by calling out her ex-hubby Tyrion for his blind loyalty to Dany. Tyrion is straight up scared of the Dragon Queen—and Sansa knows it. She also hit Tyrion with some hard facts, telling him that just because Daenerys loves Jon, it doesn’t make her a good Queen. *mic drop*

TBH, they’re the best women for the job

Let’s be honest, the final battle is set to come down to the women of this show. And after eight seasons of women being treated like literal trash by the men of Westeros (even up to and including the latest episode, which saw both Missandei murdered at the hands of the Mountain and Jaime Lannister leave Brienne in the middle of the night), it’s hella satisfying. From the tension between Sansa and Dany since their initial meeting, to the what we know is an inevitable face-off between Arya and Cersei, the past few episodes have proven that the real battle is a battle of wits between the women of the Seven Kingdoms. And we’re freakin’ here for it.

If anything, the biggest reveal this season hasn’t been Jon Snow’s parentage, but rather just how inconsequential the men of this show are; and how strong and strong-willed the women are. Whether it’s owning their sexual desires (we see you, Ser Brienne of Tarth!), fulfilling their life long goals (again, love to Brienne), or protecting their families (hats off to Cersei for repeatedly trying to do this, even if her means were…questionable), the women of Westeros have been showing up big time and proving themselves incredibly cunning.

(Real Q: When do we think Euron Greyjoy will realize that the baby can’t possibly be his?)

Related:

Last Night’s GoT’s Was Huge For Brienne…But It’s the Ultimate Glass Cliff Situation
That Sansa vs. Dany Showdown is a Reminder That Feminism Doesn’t Mean Blind Support
Obsessed With Game of Thrones? We’re Unpacking the Latest Fan Theories Here

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