Sansa Can't Help But Wonder… Is Winterfell Still Winterfell Without The Zsa Zsa Zsu?

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Sansa Stark has had a tough time of it on Game of Thrones. But she's taking it one day at a time — in her journal. In this imagined column, Sansa Stark explores what it means to be a young woman at Winterfell à la Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City.
On a morning stroll through Winterfell — I find that it's meditative, and really helps with all my anxiety-induced sciatica — I paused to look at the grain count. We're horribly low on numbers. Just down to 4,000 bushels.
I'm told: "For the current occupants of the castle, it's enough for a year, perhaps more." Well, that's no good. I rolled my eyes, and gave strict instructions to store even more grain. Honestly, did no one think this could be a problem as we head into another Long Night? Note: I'm wearing my heaviest fur.
I also remind my staff that grain, though delicious, isn't the be-all, end-all of existence. There have been times when, instead of munching on grain, I've simply purchased the nearest copy of Vogue Westeros. I find the images nourishing. They seem doubtful. But, you know, if the remaining armies of the North trek back up to defend Winterfell, we're going to need something to nourish everyone.
"We must prepare for that eventuality," I say. This is my job now; this is who I am.
"Command suits you," Littlefinger mutters as I walk away. Lord Baelish is a constant presence at my elbow these days, offering tips, hints, doses of creepiness that send chills down my spine. Yes, it does suit me. I'm Sansa Stark, a direct descendant of Ned Stark.
Why does everyone — Jon Snow included, that righteous bastard — continue to treat me like I'm a lamb, toddling about Winterfell and trying to be a leader? I'm just as much a leader as anyone else. Moreover, Littlefinger is useless. At best, he's good for lurking around corners and the occasional easy errand. I find he's good at fetching wood for the fire.
"I know Cersei better than anyone here," he says, a blatant untruth. Cersei practically raised me; my mother, Catelyn, wasn't around much. (That happens when you have a brother vying for the Iron Throne and a wayward, sword-loving sister.) What is it about men that makes them so oblivious to the lives of women? Need I remind him that we spent hours together in the Red Keep during the Battle of Blackwater? (Not to mention, Cersei was the second woman who found out about my menstrual cycle. You can't fake that kind of intimacy.)
"You don't know Cersei better than anyone here," I remind him. Lord Baelish knows no one, really. He's a leftover person, I like to say: We all have our paths, our predetermined loyalties. He had the hots for my mother, and that's where his interests end. "Thank you for your wise counsel," I add for effect.
There is no woman in the Seven Kingdoms who can hold an icy stare like I can. When it comes to men who were once infatuated with your mother, I couldn't help but wonder: How flippant is too flippant? I am, after all, his junior. But I manage the grains. I saved Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards! I now control the North. That should count for something.
I'm looking for a place to find some respite — perhaps a dank, icy alcove — when there's news of someone at the gate. It's Bran Stark, my long-lost brother who — I'll admit it — has never made sense to me. (He loved to climb on rooftops. I wanted my hair done. We weren't fast friends.) But still. It's Bran. When faced with a family member you haven't seen in years, you have no choice but to do one thing: Pause, hold for effect, then throw yourself at him.
The trouble with siblings is that you're meant to accept what they say at face value. This means when Bran tells me he's a three-eyed raven, I have to play along. Yes, Bran, you're the three-eyed raven. And I enjoy wearing this itchy-as-fuck wool coat.
He's very solemn these days, all furrowed-brow and blunt statements. (Stop asking about my dramatic past. Don't they teach manners beyond the Wall?) When did my little brother become a silent, miserable lout? I want him to be a chill, fun hang to accompany me as I run Winterfell. I want to wear furs, read Vogue Westeros, run this place like a benevolent queen, and punch Littlefinger once a day. But he's an idiot (he thinks he can see all), and so is Littlefinger. Moreover, where the fuck is Arya? There's so much I want from the Seven Kingdoms that just isn't happening.
After my reunion with Bran, I trekked back up to the estate. I made my way back to my bedroom, where I removed my fur, and flopped on my bed. No matter how many furs I wear or how much wisdom I demonstrate, all of Winterfell, including my newly prophetic brother, seems to see me as some pitiable child. No matter how far you travel or how cool you remain under the pressures of Cersei Lannister and a White Walker invasion, can you ever escape your past?
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