There are many great female characters in the Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire saga that I could have chosen to highlight here, but I chose to start with Sansa simply because she is the one many others would be quick to overlook. She began the series as an arguably meek, naive young girl; easy to dismiss and seemingly little more than the epitome of a damsel in distress. Watching, learning, and developing the skills she needs to survive, however, Sansa has gone through one of the series’ biggest developmental arcs, and has since stepped from the shadows of dragon-wielding Daenerys, warrior-woman Brienne, cunning orchestrator Cersei, and brutal vengeance seeker Arya, to emerge as every bit the interesting, complex, and valuable character – female or otherwise.
Sansa now embodies a quieter, more introspective kind of survivor; one who has overcome great trauma to form the strategic intelligence, emotional maturity, and hardened resolve that have proven necessary to save both herself and her people. Some survive by leading from the front, sword in hand (or dragons overhead), but Sansa has proven that there are different kinds of strength, and that there is more than one way to go the distance in the game of thrones.