This question is about the TV show only.

In the books, Sansa is still with Littlefinger and everything that happens between Sansa and Ramsay in the show actually takes place between Ramsay and Jeyne Poole in the books.

However I don't recall why Littlefinger sends Sansa north. Apparently, in the books, it's safer to keep her traveling. So why did he do it in the show?

  • I'm voting to close my own question, as I just noticed it may very well be a duplicate. With all this spoiler avoidance it's becoming hard to search this site ... Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 22:12

4 Answers 4


While KyloRens answer is more out of universe, I'll try and give a more in universe answer.

Its hard to answer without spoilers, so be warned...

As of S6E4 it seems like Petyr planned all of this

as a valid cause to rally an army of the Vale and march against Boltons. And perhaps to occupy the North.

Here's how the story goes according to Petyr

Petyr and Sansa were traveling to Petyr's home. On their way to the Fingers they got ambushed by large force of Boltons, and Sansa was kidnapped. That's how Petyr explains the marriage of Sansa and Ramsey. After telling his story, Petyr plays Robert Arryn into forcing lord Royce to call banners and march north, for saving Sansa from Boltons.

  • Petyr might even use it to solidify his position in Vale and neutralize Lord Royce. He might even have Lord Royce killed via puppet Robin.
    – user65648
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 13:40
  • This comes close to a sound in-universe explanation, but it still seems very random. Commented May 25, 2016 at 6:52
  • @user1129682 Well, chaos is a ladder.
    – Evpok
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 19:12

The GOT producers explained here why they ventured away from the book plot line.

Sansa is a character we care about almost more than any other, and the Stark sisters have from the very beginning been two characters who have fascinated us the most,” said showrunner David Benioff. “We got very lucky in casting because it’s so hard to cast good kids. Even if they come in and do a great audition, it’s so hard to know if they’re going to quite literally grow into the parts. With Sansa and Arya in particular, their storylines have become quite dark. It was such a gamble and the fact that they’ve both become such great wonderful actresses is a bit of a miracle.

And goes on to explain why they deviated from the book plot further due the fact that they wanted her to have a bigger part and if they stuck with the books, she would still be at the Vale and does not get much book time. Also Ramsay would have been married to a insignificant person, as you stated.

We really wanted Sansa to play a major part this season,” Benioff said. “If we were going to stay absolutely faithful to the book, it was going to be very hard to do that. There was as subplot we loved from the books, but it used a character that’s not in the show.

So from a TV show point, my thoughts are that Littlefinger was trying to gain more power by marring Sansa to Ramsey to solidify his position in the north being that the Bolton's are the second strongest family in the North and with the backing of the Vale he would certainly think he was doing the right thing. But as stated below, it seems he did not realize that Ramsay was cruel and that his plan may actually backfire.

Littlefinger, arranged for the long-suffering teen to wed the ex-bastard of Bolton, whose family controls her former home of Winterfell. (Littlefinger, it seems, is not aware of Ramsay’s cruelty.)

  • 9
    I think you may be right, and if so I think it seems implausible that Littlefinger wouldn't know what a monster Ramsay is: it seems like he is the sort of person who always knows that sort of thing. If he does know, and he is a bit in love with Sansa as a sort of "proxy Catelyn", it seems very out of character for him to give her over to certain torment. So, it seems like a bit of a hole to me. Commented May 23, 2016 at 15:03
  • 1
    "“Sansa is a character we care about almost more than any other" - well I'm glad the show-runners care about her because until this season, nobody else has had much reason to. Commented May 23, 2016 at 18:48
  • @TheEvilGreebo agreed, she is a pretty girl, but was and for the main part still is a rather annoying naive spoiled kid. Though I still feel pity when Ramsay rapes her, as he is just the biggest jerk after Joffrey.
    – Thomas
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 14:17
  • I can see all the out-of-universe explanations, but apparently in-universe we are all lost. LF seeking to gain more power in the north seems utterly random, as he still has to solidify himself as Lord Paramount of the Trident. IIRC Lord Frey had this title taken so that it could be given to LF and LF hasn't done anything yet to befriend what's left of the Tullys or the current Lord of Riverrun, who is some Lannister, I think. Commented May 25, 2016 at 6:50

It is done to keep the show compact.....In GRRM world its up to GRRM how he wants it done, how he sees fit, he introduced numerous characters, some major character and some minor character, and he plays around with that, killing some major character off.

However the show have some time limit, a number of episode within which the show have to narrate the story, plus the fact that too many characters on the show would just confuse the audience, hence what the show usually do is

  • either scrap some of the minor scenes which wont affect the whole story arc or
  • merge the scene with some other character, that way the show won't have to introduce another character and the scene will still be included.

With Sansa scene, the show only showed Jeyne Poole(Friend of Sansa Stark) in one episode in Season 1, so basically she was just an extra. Therefore, it would be really weird if the show had to re-introduce her again for the Bolton scene, hence the show had to merge Jeyne Poole story arc with Sansa.


The lords of Vale didn't trust him, so he needed something over them if he was going to be able to use the Vales military forces without having to worry about them talking Robert out of it.

So he organised for Sansa to go to the Boltons, and convinced Robert that this was the fault of the Lords, not him. This meant he effectively now got the Lords under his thumb, he could convince Robert at any time to have any of the Lords killed. So the Lords are now at Littlefingers disposal, along with the full force of the Vale.

He needed the Lords for their knights to take Winterfell. As to why he wants Winterfell, same reason he wanted anything. Littlefinger now has Harrenhall and the Vale and the fingers. If he is able to play his hand right in the North, he could even end up as Sansa's husband. In such a position he would effectively have 2 kingdoms, and then some, and certainly would no longer be under the thumb of the Lannisters, but close to, if not, the most powerful man in Westeros.

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