‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: Are Sansa and Theon in Love?
Tearful reunions abound in Game of Thrones Season 8, but perhaps one of the most surprising has been that of the now-intimidating, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and the once-meek Reek, the rehabilitated Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Their heartfelt hug at Theon’s return to Winterfell has fans wondering if there is time left in the series for a love story. Could Sansa and Theon be falling in love?
Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy were childhood friends
When Sophie Turner first landed her role on Game of Thrones she was only 14 years old. Cast as the 13-year-old Sansa, she first meets Theon as a child in her home, at Winterfell. Theon was taken as a hostage of her father’s (Ned Stark) when Balon Greyjoy attempted (and failed) at a rebellion against the Iron Throne. The two were raised together as friends and practically siblings. He has been well taken care of by the Starks and raised alongside Winterfell heir: Rob.
That is why it is particularly heartbreaking in Season 2 when Theon betrays the Stark family.
Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy have a troubled familial past
Aside from Theon’s father trying to take down the Starks, he and Sansa have more family issues. In Season 2, Theon betrays Rob Stark by riding up to Winterfell to take over the castle, and subsequently the North. In a show of power, he tracks and supposedly kills the two youngest Stark boys: Rickon and Bran. Although, viewers quickly find out he just “pretended” to burn the boys alive and actually burned two, innocent villagers. Can Sansa forgive and trust someone who wanted to, even as an act, kill both of her baby brothers?
If not that, he can absolutely be blamed for the death of her brother, mother, sister-in-law and many of the soldiers loyal to her family as he is the catalyst for the events that lead the Red Wedding. Regardless of where blame is placed, Theon was particularly awful to the Starks and has a lot of work to do if he is to redeem himself.
Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy are bonded by shared trauma
Sansa and Theon were brought together again by Ramsey Bolton, when he took Winterfell from the latter. Both Theon and Sansa faced tremendous trauma under Ramsey: Theon was tortured and mutilated and Sansa was sexually and physically exploited. This shared trauma could offer a possible explanation to their embrace in season 8: they simply understand each other in a way no one else possibly could.
Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy’s escape and survival
Season 6 brings with it Theon’s heroic assistance as Sansa finally escapes from Winterfell and heads toward her brother, Jon Snow, at Castle Black. Although, ultimately the pair are saved by Brienne of Tarth. Theon still doesn’t feel comfortable facing Jon and leaves Sansa in Brienne’s care. Does this make him a hero or a coward in Sansa’s eyes?
Sansa Stark has grown up and grown wiser
Sansa has suffered from the hands of would-be lovers over and over again. (Think: Joffrey, Little Finger, Ramsey) Her powerful transformation from a little girl to powerhouse of the North doesn’t leave much room for a love interest. But, as she is reunited with Theon in Season 8 we watch her eyes well up in tears from undefined emotions when she sees Theon for the first time.
Sansa Stark’s reunion with Theon Greyjoy
Their Season 8 reunion has us all wondering the depth of their feelings for one another. Is Sansa’s reaction relief and happiness that Theon is still alive? Or appreciation that he has come to redeem himself in Winterfell? It seems to be a bit more than that as is evidenced by Theon’s reaction when Daenerys asks him why he is in Winterfell.
When he is questioned by Daenerys and Sansa, he explains that his sister Yara is sailing her fleet back to capture the Iron Islands and claim them in her name. When Daenerys pointedly asks his why he is in Winterfell– Theon simply looks at Sansa. That look is layered with meaning and emotion.
He says: “I want to fight for Winterfell, Lady Sansa. If you’ll have me.”
And then there is the hug. There’s relief there, and definitely affection, but love? Only time will tell how their relationship will end.
Unfortunately for us (and for Sansa and Theon) there isn’t much time left. At the end of Episode 2, Sansa and Theon are seen sharing a meal and conversation during what might be their last night on earth. They are clearly enjoying each other’s chosen company during what might be their last meal.