You would be forgiven for forgetting the minor events of "Beyond the Wall." After all, it's not every week Game of Thrones ends an episode with a cliff-hanger like a freaking resurrected zombie ice dragon. This week's scenes involving Jon, Daenerys, the Night King, and the White Walkers massively overshadowed the more manipulation-driven, dubious dealings in Winterfell. Before all the drama with the ice and fire, there was trouble at Winterfell among Sansa, Arya, and Littlefinger. The episode threw a subtle but puzzling curveball: Just why did Sansa send Brienne, of all people, to King's Landing?
Why was Sansa being mean to Brienne? Why did she send her away so coldly? And what does this have to do with Littlefinger and the years-old letter he planted for Arya to find? Are the Stark sisters in this together, or are they both being played? Has Brienne been banished to the South so she can't defend either sibling? And what horse does Littlefinger have in this race? Many questions have been posed. Let's try and get to the bottom of this.
Sansa Was Reminded That Brienne Isn't Loyal Only To Her
The seeds for Sansa's suspicious actions were planted in "The Spoils of War," just before Arya and Brienne began to spar. When Arya approached Brienne to discuss training, Brienne offered to fetch the Master of Arms. Arya stopped her short, saying she specifically wanted to train with Brienne. All the while, Sansa and Littlefinger watched from a balcony, Sansa's face revealing a mix of interest and worry.
One particular line caught Sansa's ear: "You swore to serve both my Mother's daughters. Didn't you?" With this reminder, Arya reminded both Brienne and Sansa that Brienne's loyalties are not to her, but to all members of the Stark family. Sansa can't rely solely on Brienne's loyalty if a threat to her life comes from her own sister.
Is Sansa Worried Brienne Would Protect Arya Over Her?
Maybe watching Arya and Brienne spar made Sansa worried the two deadliest women in all of Westeros would bond with each other far better than either of them had with her. After all, Sansa has little in common with Brienne, and, despite their shared parentage, she and Arya never seemed to be cut from the same cloth. In the episode, Arya once again expressed her displeasure at Sansa's affinity for "pretty dresses" and her desire to be the Lady of Winterfell.
So where does Sansa stand? She may be worried Arya and Brienne are likely to team up against her (and Littlefinger). Judging by their courtyard fight, we know which duo would come out on top there.
Sansa's Protecting Arya From Littlefinger's Plan
A lot of Reddit users think Sansa has anticipated Littlefinger's shady machinations and is playing him right back. One Redditor thinks that Sansa believes Brienne is a part of Littlefinger's plan, so by sending her to King's Landing, she's taking her out of the equation.
Littlefinger mentioned that if Arya or Sansa attempted to hurt each other, Brienne would be honor bound to intercede. Why say that? No stranger to his manipulations, Sansa might be wise to Littlefinger's efforts to sow discord between the two sisters. By removing Brienne from the situation, she's staying one step ahead.
Maybe Everyone's Playing Littlefinger
Just because Arya and Sansa haven't discussed Littlefinger's plans on screen, that doesn't necessarily mean they haven't had private conversations. Many users on Reddit think that Sansa and Ayra are working together, and they're anticipating Littlefinger's next move. SnapcasterWizard and Ol_Meadster certainly seem to think the Stark sisters are planning a long con to sweep the rug out from under Petyr Baelish's feet.