In Last episode of Season 6

Jon Snow became "King in the North".

Sansa is a true-born daughter of Ned Stark while Jon Snow is the bastard son of Ned Stark.

Why does a male bastard have a stronger claim than a female true-born daughter? Why did Sansa not become the "Queen in the North"?

  • 7
    Technically Robb Stark legitimized Jon before he died, so Jon has a more valid claim than Sansa, but I'm not really sure how many people know that. But realistically, it's because he had the military power to take it and people were willing to follow him.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 14, 2016 at 15:59
  • 9
    Power resides where people think it resides.... yada yada yada
    – Skooba
    Jul 14, 2016 at 16:00
  • 3
    Related question on SF&F: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/134151/…
    – Skooba
    Jul 14, 2016 at 16:17
  • @KutuluMike - How was Robb legitimized?
    – Mazura
    Jul 16, 2016 at 5:44
  • 3
    @Mazura as "king in the north", Robb has the authority to legitimize any bastards. Same way Joffrey or Tommen (I forget who) legitimized Ramsay Bolton. He crafted a document saying so, and specifically naming Jon his heir, before one of his big battles. In the books Cat makes a big deal out of it because she hates Jon Snow but I'm pretty sure even in the show they mention it. The problem is, I'm not sure if anyone alive ever saw that document.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 16, 2016 at 10:41

4 Answers 4


I wrote a really long answer on this over on the other site... to summarise:

  • Sansa doesn't want to rule. Littlefinger tried and failed to talk her into staking her claim in the previous episode, so we know she knows she could, but she at this point she wants safety, not power, and Monarchs of the North don't have the best life expectancy. Since season 1, she's not had the best time from being in the middle of power games.
  • Jon can be talked into ruling because a) Sansa's a good manipulator now and b) Jon isn't (you know nothing, Jon Snow). Jon's not keen either, having had not the best of experiences with power games recently too after that whole "being murdered" thing; so in Jon and Sansa's conversation on the battlements, we see them both try to convince the other to step up and rule. Sansa wins.
  • Rules only matter if someone enforces them. Or as Varys would say, "Power resides where men think it resides", but I'm getting tired of writing that now (seriously, though, it's the answer to most GoT questions). No-one's going to stand in front of a room of cheering lords and force a gentle lady who doesn't want to rule to take the place over a popular, near-legendary, kinda-Stark-if-you-squint hero who showed incredible stupidity bravery in battle, just because a strict interpretation of the rules says so.
  • Westeros doesn't have a Supreme Court to enforce rule of law. When the impassioned speeches are made and the mood in the room swings towards Jon Snow, it's in no-one's interests to challenge it, so no-one does. Just like how no-one contradicted King Joffrey when he broke protocol, exceeded his powers and sacked Barristan from his vows in season 1, and like how no-one responded to Greatjon Umber proclaiming Robb Stark to be the first King In The North for centuries by asking if he'd completed the requisite paperwork. It's clear where the consensus is among the powerful here.

That's the short version. For the (very) long version with quotes from dialogue, see here: About the claim of Jon Snow

  • Lady Mormont helps the cause too.
    – user25738
    Jul 14, 2016 at 18:19

Why does a male bastard have a stronger claim than a female true-born daughter? Why did Sansa not become the "Queen in the North"?

Theoretically, a true-born unmarried daughter would take precedence. And practically, if she were married to a strong ally, she and/or her husband could take precedence.

But Sansa's been married once or twice, depending on whether or not non-consummation can be perceived as an official annulment (in our world, it wouldn't. It's grounds for an annulment, but it still has to be granted by the church). So, at the moment, she's actually either a Lannister or she's Lady Bolton. And neither Tyrion nor Ramsay would be considered rightful Lord of Winterfell either by the Northerners or by Sansa herself.

If she is Lady of the Dreadfort (since Ramsay Snow pretty much eliminated all the other successors), then she is, in her own right, a bannerwoman of the North to Winterfell, much like Lyanna Mormont, and should now control any of Ramsay's surviving forces.

If her marriage to Tyrion is still valid, then she's a Lannister, which doesn't exactly further her claim, although it could open up some interesting connections for the North with Dany in future.

Remember, too, that "King in the North" is a very old title, one that was revived from before the Targaryen Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. As the title goes back before Aegon I's arrival in Westeros, it's quite possible there's never been a Queen in the North, so it might not occur to the Northerners to have one now. If even Lyanna Mormont isn't considering a female ruler, why would all the older men do so?


Another thing to consider, being King in the North doesn't make you Lord/Lady of Winterfell. Sansa is still Lady of Winterfell, but Jon is King in the North.


Here is the simplest answer:

Because the North made him king.

Any new King in the North (Robb or Jon) are technically against the laws of the 7 Kingdoms anyway, but since the North chose to rebel and crown it's own King the North also got to choose. And they chose for reasons other than Stark family succession. And probably in no small part because Jon was raised by Ned Stark, lead the fight against the Boltons, and already had a leadership position as Lord Commander.

  • Tautologies make for really poor, annoying answers. Your answer begs the question "Why did the North make him king and not Sansa?" Which is the same question as the first! You haven't answered the question.
    – J Doe
    Aug 10, 2017 at 21:36

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