Why Sansa Will Die In Season 8 Of Game Of Thrones

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Maybe it's time to talk to Bran...?
Maybe it's time to talk to Bran...? HBO

Heading into Game of Thrones’ final episodes, there’s a very good chance Sansa will die in Season 8. What follows is speculation, and you can expect spoilers for all released content, both the HBO series and the books.

It’s reasonable to assume the show is trying to hit all of George’s major upcoming plot moments, even if they compress or simplify the events that lead up to them. So to speculate on something this big, we must look more at what George has done, rather than what HBO showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have done.

One of the primary goals of A Song of Ice and Fire from the outset was to shake up the stale tropes and conventions of the high fantasy genre. While killing of protagonists is now old hat in TV and novels, that is in part thanks to A Game of Thrones . The book was first published in 1996, when fantasy (and even TV) was a lot more tame. The Sopranos Season 1 wouldn’t air for another three years, for example.

George has spoken about why Ned, Rob and Cat had to die. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said:

"I killed Ned because everybody thinks he’s the hero and that, sure, he’s going to get into trouble, but then he’ll somehow get out of it," he told EW . "The next predictable thing is to think his eldest son is going to rise up and avenge his father. And everybody is going to expect that. So immediately [killing Robb] became the next thing I had to do."

After those deaths in book three, things stabilized for the Starks. No Stark died in A Feast for Crows , and in A Dance with Dragons , Jon was killed by the Night’s Watch, but even at the time of publication most fans were convinced he would live on. The show proved that theory correct with his resurrection in Season 6. The show also killed off Rickon, who in the books is alive and well, chilling on Skagos and fighting unicorns with Shaggydog. Rickon’s death on the show wasn’t especially shocking, and if he dies in the books it won’t be very shocking either. The character has done very little, we’ve never had his POV, and have barely gotten to know him.

So here we are heading into the final season. It is difficult to imagine an author who made his mark killing off major, beloved, characters would allow all the remaining Starks to survive the final conflict. At least one must die. Here’s why I think it will be Sansa, through process of elimination.


Arya Stark has the strongest plot armor of any character. It has widely been reported that Martin’s wife Parris has forbidden him from killing off Arya, under threat of divorce.


Jon has died once, which makes it less likely that he will be killed again for shock value. That card has been played. He and Dany are also linked, theirs is the titular Song of Ice and Fire and they will need to survive the endgame to build their new world. As much as George enjoys killing characters perceived to be heroes, he will not go so far as to undercut the entire mythology of the series to do so. Jon and Dany are safe.


Bran is more likely to die than Jon or Arya, but still pretty unlikely. Bran suffered the loss of his legs early on, his journey has taken him from powerlessness to a becoming sort of sage for the good guys. Killing off the hero (Ned), his heir (Robb), and the Matriarch (Cat), all make sense as a way to shake up audience expectations. Killing off a weird disconnected wheelchair-bound sage just doesn’t have the same shock factor. Bran is already living as one dead, so his actual death cannot really be used to ‘punch’ the audience so to speak.

Then There Is Sansa

That leaves Sansa. In the books, Sansa has escaped the viper’s nest of King’s Landing and is being trained in the game of thrones by Littlefinger. In the show, she has become the empowered ruler of Winterfell. She has become great at political intrigue, but the game comes to an end when the Others cross into Westeros.

In the books, Sansa has not suffered as much as the other characters. She never married Ramsey and was never violated by him. Apart from enduring torment at the hands of Joffrey, she has otherwise been relatively unharmed. Sansa’s death at the moment when she finally grows into herself and becomes a capable player of the game will have more sting than the deaths of any of her siblings. The show is unlikely to change her fate, as we have already seen Benioff and Weiss’ desire to hit all the biggest moments from the books (even when they fail to properly set them up).

One final fact to consider: a few years ago a letter George wrote to his publisher leaked outlining the future of the series. In it, he names the characters that will live: Jon, Dany, Bran, Tyrion and Arya. No Sansa. In the letter Jon and Arya have a romance, so much about the story has changed since then. But it is still more evidence that Sansa is more likely to go than her three siblings.

Sansa will die before the show is done. Prepare yourself.

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