In the second episode of Game of Thrones Season Eight, Daenerys sat Sansa down for a one-on-one chat—a chat that should have happened immediately when Dany arrived at Winterfell—to figure out how to get on the Lady of the North’s good side. And Sansa, in return, played nice, letting Dany build connections about being strong female leaders from messed up families before asking the most important question of this entire damn season: “And what happens afterwards? We defeat the dead, we destroy Cersei. What happens then… What about the North?”
Dany did not like that question at all, snatching her hand away from atop Sansa’s. Because to her, it isn’t a question that should be asked at all. She made the answer clear from the moment she met Jon Snow at Dragonstone. She believes she is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. She will win it, one way or another. And fighting the White Walkers, while necessary, is just a detour on her way to killing Cersei and taking complete power over Westeros—the North included.
Sansa’s not going to take that lying down. One of the most compelling Game of Thrones finale theories predicts a showdown between Sansa and Dany, with Sansa fiercely protecting the North’s independence and Dany refusing to let one Kingdom of the Seven slip from her grasp. Sansa is already chipping away at Dany’s authority, making her thoughts about Dany’s presence in Winterfell abundantly clear, and overriding Dany in the case of granting clemency to Jaime Lannister after Brienne vouched for him. Sansa has made no moves to take more power for herself. She doesn’t seem to want it—yet. But she is fiercely loyal to her family, and Jon might one day make his own half-Stark, half-Targaryen claim to the Iron Throne.
The biggest showdown of the final season of Game of Thrones might not be the living versus the dead, or the coalition of Starks and Targaryens against Cersei. It might be Dany versus the family that’s hosting her right now: Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Jon, and the Northern folk whose loyalty they command. Of course, the answer to Sansa’s question all depends on who makes it out alive after next week’s battle at Winterfell against the White Walker army.
Tension aside, let’s all stop and enjoy Sansa trashing men like her brother Jon for being…men. “Men do stupid things for women. They’re easily manipulated,” she tells Dany in what is most definitely foreshadowing. What a line.