Game of Thrones is now well into its eighth and final season, and the surviving cast of characters has evolved tremendously since the series premiered way back in 2011. Daenerys is now a fierce, unflinching conqueror, Jon Snow is the death-defying heir to the Iron Throne, and Arya is doing grown-up things with Gendry.
But perhaps the character that's seen the most personal growth is Sansa Stark. Once a soft-spoken admirer of gallant knights and knitting-enthusiast, the Lady of Winterfell now goes toe-to-toe in verbal jousts with everyone from Jaime Lannister to Daenerys Targaryan, who we needn't remind you has two fire-breathing dragons at her command. Without further ado, let's run through 10 quotes by Sansa Stark that show how far she's come since her days blushing over Prince Joffrey.
10 "I don't want someone brave and gentle and strong, I want [Joffrey.]"
Sure, this isn't one of Sansa Stark's finest moments, but it does do well to remind fans of her humble beginnings all the way back in season 1. Without moments like this one to contrast with, all of Sansa's political prowess and inner-strength in later seasons wouldn't carry near the same weight as they do.
Plus, Arya and Ned swapping a coy smile in response to this quote by Sansa is one of season 1's funniest, most lighthearted moments, comically highlighting the desperation of a young girl being denied her fairy tale life.
9 "Joffrey will [come back.] The worst ones always do."
Before the Battle of Blackwater in season 2, Shae reminds Sansa that many young men in battle never get the chance to return home. Sansa's bleak reply reflects the damage her torture had done to her once hopeful perspective on life. It's hard to argue with her logic though, as Game of Thrones would go on to prove time-and-time again that the good guys rarely win.
And indeed, Sansa is proven right when Joffrey cowers away from the frontlines during the Battle of Blackwater, only to narrowly maintain control of King's Landing thanks to Tywin Lannister intervening with his army at the very last moment.
8 "They say my brother Robb always goes where the fighting is thickest. And he's only a pretender."
Despite being a captive of Joffrey and the Lannisters all throughout season 2, Sansa Stark can't help but serve up some delicious shade to King Joffrey just before the Battle of Blackwater. When Joffrey tells Sansa he'll return from the battle with Stannis Baratheon's blood on his sword, Sansa asks him if he'll be positioned to fight Stannis one-on-one, knowing full well the young king is too cowardly to fight on the front lines.
When a clearly distraught Joffrey dodges the question by calling her a "stupid girl," Sansa twists the blade by mentioning Robb Stark's bravery in battle, drawing a comparison to Joffrey's well-known cowardice. Here, Sansa expertly teases one of Joffrey's deepest insecurities with just enough subtlety not to invoke his wrath.
7 "He's a monster."
On its own, Sansa calling Joffrey a monster doesn't seem anything especially brave. He is a monster, through and through. But it's to whom she tells this that makes it such a significant moment for Sansa's character development. Pressed by Olenna Tyrell and Joffrey's soon-to-be wife, Margaery Tyrell, on Joffrey's character, Sansa initially defaults to her strategy of defending the king to save her skin. But when Margaery pleads with her to tell the truth about her betrothed, Sansa's humanity breaks through and she tells her truth.
Sansa's sincerity when uttering these three words tells the Tyrells, and the viewers, that we don't know the half of it when it comes to Joffrey's sheer brutality. What a lot of fans forget is that Sansa's bravery in warning Olenna and Margaery about Joffrey undoubtedly helped influence Olenna's decision to poison him at the Purple Wedding, sparing a great many his treachery.
6 "You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."
Sometimes the worst ones don't come back, and thankfully Sansa Stark was correct in predicting Ramsay Bolton's death at the Battle of the Bastards. This riveting quote by Sansa Stark even manages to shake up her psychopathic husband, who notoriously fed his infant brother to a pack of hounds.
Sansa's declaration precedes one of the best battles in Game of Thrones and foreshadows one of Sansa Stark's most powerful moments, where she arrives with the Knights of the Vale to stampede the remaining Bolton forces and hand Winterfell back where it belongs: under the Stark banner.
5 "I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home, and you can't frighten me."
Sansa Stark has stood up to some of the most wicked people in Westeros, including King Joffrey, Ramsay Bolton, and Littlefinger, so when Ramsay's play-thing Miranda threatens Sansa at Winterfell, it's no surprise that Sansa was having none of it.
Sansa had been through it all at this point: the beheading of her father, the massacre that killed her mother and brother at the Red Wedding, and her own abuse at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. As incredibly hard as it is to watch, this scene proved that not only does Sansa Stark learn from her mistakes, but she grows stronger through her hardships.
4 "You think he's going to fall into your trap, he won't. He's the one who lays traps."
Jon Snow's reluctance to take any of Sansa's advice seriously is one of his most frustrating mistakes - if he had heeded Sansa's counsel before the Battle of the Bastards, it's very possible Rickon Stark would still be alive. Sansa's wisdom when it comes to dealing with deranged men in power is unparalleled, and it's a real shame it took losing one of Ned Stark's surviving sons to prove that to Jon Snow.
Regardless, Sansa's warning about Ramsay Bolton and subsequent intervention with the Knights of the Vale solidified her position as one of the North's most powerful and trustworthy defenders.
3 "Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear."
The only thing more savage than Ramsay being eaten alive by dogs are the words Sansa uses to condemn him just beforehand. After Winterfell is reclaimed by House Stark and Jon Snow is named King in the North, it seems Sansa's haunting statement to Ramsay will prove prophetic.
Regardless, it's a watershed moment for Sansa Stark's character arc, as she had been belittled, maimed, and raped by Ramsay Bolton, only to gain the upper hand and ultimately execute him in the most satisfying way possible.
2 "I'm a slow learner, it's true. But I learn."
Sansa Stark is a skilled political strategist and valuable resource to her allies, but she wasn't always revered for her cleverness. Fans will remember earlier seasons where it seemed all Sansa cared about was marrying a handsome prince and having his babies.
Despite a number of tragedies befalling her family, Sansa doesn't make much of an effort to command her destiny until season 5, when Peter Baelish takes her under his wing. It's then that she begins to learn how to play the game to better her position, which we see her do in season 7 when she stages a trial for Arya before turning the screws on Littlefinger.
1 "Thank you for all your many lessons, Lord Baelish. I will never forget them."
As if we needed proof, Sansa sentencing Peter Baelish to death at Winterfell proves she is no longer susceptible to deception, even by the master of deception himself. Littlefinger pulls out every trick in the book to get out of facing judgment for his crimes, but the Lady of Winterfell never flinches.
The poetic part of it all is that without Littlefinger's guidance, Sansa may not have been quite cynical enough to see through his own façade, exposing Baelish as yet another political player who underestimated Sansa Stark's potential. As Tyrion would later proclaim, "Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now."