Should We Be Mad About The Daenerys/Sansa Rivalry?

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
It was one big family reunion on Sunday night's Game Of Thrones premiere, and like most family reunions, there was some tension. Season 8 kicked off with Jon Snow bringing Daenerys home to meet his family like it's Thanksgiving break during freshman year of college, and a rivalry immediately became clear. While the Dragon Queen and Sansa Stark complimented each other's looks — prompting a surge of memes on Twitter demanding the women kiss — there was an immediate distrust that formed due to the fact that they are two of the three most powerful women on the show...and they intend to keep it that way. However, many fans saw this as Game Of Thrones pitting two women against each other, and weren't happy with that being the defining narrative of the final season.
"This Sansa/Daenerys shit is so unimaginative and dull and so clearly the idea of men," BuzzFeed's Anne Helen Peterson wrote.
"they are handling sansa and dany’s relationship so bad," another viewer added. "No one expect Sansa to be fully welcoming, she has every right to see Daenerys untrustworthy but she has never been just so... rude. She always wears courtesy as a shield, she’s not like that."
Or, as Harper's Bazaar's Julie Kosin put simply: that what's happening? Yes, it's clear that Daenerys and Sansa do not like each other, but despite GoT's track record, this doesn't actually appear to be an instance of the patriarchy at work. Think about it: If you take away gender, this is still a power struggle. One person is being asked to cede power to someone they feel has wrongly taken it. Even when you add gender back into the equation, it's still a major step forward that the three key players in this struggle are all women (Cersei, Sansa, and Daenerys). They have conflicting motives and desires. Demanding they all get along when they meet isn't just unrealistic, but sexist itself.
As much as a Dany/Sansa sleepover would make for good memes, a much better use of their characters is to have them work through their struggles on screen, deepening their relationship and giving them more credit as individuals than any pleasantries could — which is why other fans are absolutely living for their dynamic.
That being said, if Game Of Thrones ends with three women on the throne holding hands like a coven, I wouldn't hate that either.

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