Games of Thrones kept us intrigued for 8 Seasons. Although it has ended, our conversations continue. Games of Thrones presented interesting character development and plot lines. Characters that seem to have little in common are often on parallel paths. Daenerys and Sansa are one example. They are completely different characters, but they have many similarities in their stories.
Overall, we can see that their journeys almost crisscross in the viewer's eye. In Season 1, Daenerys was a viewer favorite, transforming from a former powerless younger sister into a powerful female leader. In Season 1, Sansa was not a viewer favorite. Viewers often found Sansa irritating and annoying. However, in Season 8 Sansa became more liked, and Daenerys became the villain. Looking more closing at their character development and their stories: What makes them similar? What makes them different?
10 Similarity: Young And Betrothed
At the beginning of their stories, Daenerys and Sansa are near the same age, entering the same predicament: in a foreign land, engaged to a potential political ally for their families. In the books, Sansa is only 11, and Daenerys is 13. In the show, Sansa is 13, and Daenerys is 17.
They live in a foreign land, adapt to different customs, and learn a different language. Although Daenerys literally learns a new language, Sansa learns the language of Kings Landing and the game. Both didn't choose the men they are meant to wed; instead a male family member chose their intended partner. The marriages were strategical to create alliances between families (Sansa) and/or to reclaim family power (Daenerys).
9 Difference: Family Love And Loyalty
Sansa grows up in a big family and with love. Her parents, although first an arranged marriage, had grown to love each other. Clearly, Ned and Catelyn love their children. Sansa grows up with this stability. She has little fear or insecurity throughout her childhood. Sansa and her siblings have been taught that when winter comes, the lone wolf may die, but the pack survives. When times are rough, family survives by pulling through the challenge together. Family is trusted; the pack is trusted.
Daenerys grows up with an insecure household and family. She only knows that she has one family member, her older brother, Viserys. Moreover, her brother is abuses and uses her. He doesn't see her as a true person, only a means he can use to get to the throne. When he is killed, she states that he was no dragon, and she is fine being the only dragon. A pack is not needed. In addition, they have no solid home, meaning that she lacks the security that Sansa has.
8 Similarity: Witnessed The Death Of A Family Member
Sansa witnesses her father, Ned, beheaded. Daenerys witnesses her brother, Viserys, killed by having his head submerged in boiling gold. Not only do they both see this happen right in front of them, their betrothed actually are the ones that do it, either directly (Drogo pouring the gold) or indirectly (Joffrey refusing the pardon). These deaths are a turning point for both of them. Sansa no longer believes in the daydream of court and princes that she was taught, and Daenerys no longer believes in Viserys' quest. Both realize that the stories they have been told all their lives are false.
7 Difference: Romantic Love (Or Lack Thereof)
Whereas Daenerys lacked family love and loyalty, she does not lack romantic love. She and Drogo do love each other, and she grows through that love. Drogo encourages her to be strong, and he supports her quest to get back the iron throne. She also loves Jon (even though she discovers that technically he is family). Their love is not family love, but romantic love. Even after her rough and insecure upbringing, she is capable of experiencing and expressing great love.
Sansa has not had a great romantic love. All of her suitors (sans one) have been horrific to her. Due to these terrible experiences, it could be that she is uncomfortable with romantic love and letting herself become vulnerable. Being vulnerable has not worked well for Sansa, therefore it would be hard for her to open up to a romantic love.
6 Similarity: Loved By An Advisor
For most of her life, Jorah served as an advisor to Daenerys, even when it wasn't official in name. While he did betray her, he worked to redeem himself. He died to save her. In addition, he believed that she could be a fierce dragon and a compassionate queen. Yet, he also loved her. After he dies to save Daenerys, she tells Jon that Jorah loved her, and that she couldn't love him the way he wanted.
Although Littlefinger is not identified in name as an advisor to Sansa, it is clear that he fulfills the duty of an advisor. He is clever, one of the smartest players in the Game of Thrones. From Littlefinger, Sansa learns budget (a skill proved helpful in Season 8), and she learns to observe and understand the intentions of others. She becomes one of the smartest characters in the show, so her time with Littlefinger did have some benefits. In his own way, Littlefinger is in love with Sansa, as he had been with her mother. After they kill him, she tells Arya that she believes he was in love with her, in his own way.
5 Difference: The Warrior And The Strategist
Sansa is a key strategist. She studies, observes, and explores options. Sansa knows how to run a kingdom in the important day-to-day operations. Though not a warrior, she can see the big picture and determine what direction to take. Daenerys is a warrior. On top of Drogon, she goes into war with her troops. She is even willing to go to war to defeat the Night King, despite the costs. She can see the immediate goal: the iron throne. However, she lacks the strategy about sustaining a kingdom and endearing herself to an unwelcoming public. Sansa shows the restraint of a strategist. Daenerys shows the impulse of a warrior.
This can be seen in their approach to power. Daenerys will fight for it; meanwhile, Sansa will negotiate for it.
4 Similarity: Victim Of Assault
Early in her marriage to Drogo, young Daenerys is assaulted. Her assault only happens in the very beginning. Drogo is not shown to be a villain or a sadist, but that he is following the Dothraki way. Later, they develop a loving marriage.
Sansa is hurt by Ramsay, horribly, sadistically, and often. It is hard to watch. There is no change in Ramsay, and Sansa is prisoner to him for a time until she escapes.
3 Difference: Empathy, Self-Reflection, And The Big Picture
In the first seasons, Daenerys showed empathy. She was compassionate when the compassion felt in parallel with her mission of reclaiming her destiny, destroying tyrants, and helping mend injustices. Throughout her journey, she saw herself as a hero, a mother of dragons, capable of saving people. When those in need of compassion, such as Dickon, didn't align with her mission, she had no mercy or self reflection.
Sansa is the opposite. She has great empathy and self reflection. After a difficult battle, she understands that the soldiers need to rest before they go into another battle, thus allowing them to fight better. She reflects on the past when she was naive or a slow learner by owning up to her faults and learning from them.
2 Similarity: Fiercely Connected To Family Name And Legacy
Daenerys's whole arc is about reclaiming her family's legacy. Proud of her heritage, she views the throne as her destiny. This belief and connection to her family's legacy is unwavering. Anytime she meets a new person, as she did with Jon, she lists all of her titles. She is the mother of dragons, the creature long connected to her family. She is the dragon.
Sansa comes to the connection not as steadfast as Daenerys. Earlier in the series, Sansa wanted to escape the cold North for the summers of the South. She adopts the clothing of her captors, sporting clothes and hair styles typical of Cersei in Season 1. Because of her struggles and traumatic experiences, her family's name, legacy, and members become what she values above all this. Her wardrobe changes to reflect that, as shown by the wolf she embroidered on her shirt in Season 6. Sansa wants the North to stay separate as its own kingdom, and she transforms from the Lady of Winterfell to Queen.
Although they both want to be queen, how they become queen and the values that they hold are very different.
1 Difference: Direwolf And Dragons
Both creatures are a symbol of their families; both had been thought to no longer exist. Daenerys and Sansa love their animals, but Sansa is separated from her pet early on in her journey, killed by her father's hand. Daenerys raises the dragons, considering them her children. Even though two do die, she still is able to see the dragons grow, and she becomes more connected to them. They are her children, and she has a strong bond with all three, especially Drogon. Sansa's Lady is not allowed to grow up, limiting the type of connection she can have with her.
Sansa stays grounded despite this loss and other tragedies she experiences. The deaths of the two dragons plus the deaths of her advisors cause Daenerys to change from a potential compassionate queen to the Mad Queen, burning all within her path.