Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms: A G.O.T. R.O.I. & S.W.O.T. Analysis - Sansa Stark
The number of characters jostling for the Iron Throne fluctuates faster than the relevance of Dorne. For seven full seasons now, it hasn’t really changed hands; the Baratheon-but-really-Lannister line has held it from Winter is Coming to The Dragon and the Wolf. With a handful of Starks in Winterfell, the Night King leading a zombie army, and Dany commanding a Dothraki horde, an Unsullied army, and
three two dragons, we’re closer than ever to a real power shift. But who’s best positioned to wind up on top of the special spiky seat when all is said and done? I’ll turn to my whopping 10 years of corporate experience to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis for each character and predict the ROI (return on investment) for the kingdom should they end up in the hotseat.
Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite late arrival (to both agency and battles), Sansa Stark.
Before Littlefinger fell flat on his face in Winterfell, he had amassed a significant amount of power in a short time. He trained Sansa in playing the games he played to reach his position, and Sansa outdueled him in last season’s finale. She may outsmart herself sometimes, but she’s at the top of list for behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
Sansa was late to the game, with an early storyline consistently placing her in the pawn role. Since leaving King’s Landing with Littlefinger, though, Sansa has vaulted herself into a position of favor in the Vale and been named Lady of Winterfell. While Jon was on a poorly planned peace mission to Dragonstone, Sansa was guiding the North in preparations for winter. She clearly commands respect among the houses of the North, and knows to plan for what’s coming.
I think this is pretty much a zero. If it comes to combat, Sansa has lost.
Lack of Trust
About that outsmarting herself thing: her timely arrival with the Knights of the Vale was both dramatic and effective, but it’s hard to figure out why she didn’t let Jon know it was an option. She’s been taken advantage of countless times by those around her, but it’s hard to win a throne by yourself without ending up like Cersei Lannister.
Claim to Winterfell
With Jon Snow actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, Sansa could argue she’s the oldest child of the Stark male line. We’ve already seen her let Jon take the lead as King in the North, but if he dies (or has different thoughts for post-White Walker retirement), Sansa will be in a powerful position.
Sansa has far less holding her back than most of our potential rulers. Her sister is an assassin, uninterested in the world of politics. Her half-brother Jon is clearly forging his own path. Her younger brother, Bran, is barely on the human scale at this point. Her ally is an extremely moldable Robin Arryn. She’s free to make moves most characters would have to pause and consider before making.
If things follow their usual course, a male Targaryen will end up on the Iron Throne. If Dany breaks the wheel, she’ll end up on the Iron Throne. We’d need something like a Great Council to make Sansa’s case.
Return on Investment
Sansa might have all it takes to effectively rule the Seven Kingdoms. She has a mind for politics, keen enough to keep her alive until she could escape King’s Landing, and, later, Littlefinger’s influence. She understands prioritization and thinks ahead, correcting the smiths and leatherworkers in Winterfell as well as managing food stores. She hasn’t demonstrated any worrying tendencies towards instability or violence. Queen Sansa would competently guide Westeros into prosperous times without overextending her reach. ROI: consistent 20%.
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