It’s time to put this “theory” to rest alongside the body of our least favorite Northerner.
If you spend enough time tracking down and reading Game of Thrones theories – book or show-based – you’ll eventually run into one that is an annoying mix of unkillable and nonsensical.
Since the moment HBO released photos for season 6, the rumors about Sansa Stark being pregnant with the devil spawn of Ramsay Bolton have been simmering. There was an image of Sansa in her new costume, which was well-insulated for Northern weather, leading some to believe that she was sporting a baby bump. It wasn’t a baby bump, but rather a less-than-flattering angle. Then there was a conversation mid-season between Sansa and Littlefinger, in which she states that she can still feel what Ramsay did to her. This was taken by some to mean the growth of a human fetus inside her, but was really just a woman talking about the lingering physical effects of sexual abuse. Which brings us to this week, in which Ramsay tells Sansa that he’s still part of her before he is unceremoniously shredded by his own dogs. The interpretation is that Ramsay somehow knows that Sansa is carrying his child and that despite her telling him otherwise, the Bolton bloodline will live on.
To be fair, I can understand how one might reach some of these conclusions. For years, we’ve operated as an audience under the assumption that there is no throwaway line in Game of Thrones. Every little detail matters and every little detail could mean something huge in the future. We also know that the show has eschewed subtlety quite a bit in season 6, foreshadowing any number of things – from The Knights of the Vale showing up to Daenerys’ other two dragons being conveniently unchained and ready for the big battle. If they continue to allude to some part of Ramsay still being inside Sansa, how is that not setting up some kind of pregnancy?
There are a number of things working against this theory. Some were outlined by Jason Concepcion in his most recent (and excellent) Ask the Maester column at The Ringer. I’d like to go deeper on a few points, as I’ll not be satisfied until the earth below this theory is good and salted.
1. A Sansa pregnancy doesn’t serve the show’s forward momentum.
What is to be gained with Sansa having Ramsay’s baby? As she explains to him in his final moments, her goal isn’t just to watch him die. She wants him to understand that his family line, the whole of Boltondom, is going to be wiped from the face of Earthyros. We’re also staring down the barrel of the final 13–15 hours of Game of Thrones following next week’s episode. Do we really have time for a Bolton baby storyline with The Night King and his army rolling south with a vengeance?
2. Don’t forget about Moon Tea.
Even if the show is alluding to a pregnancy, let’s give Sansa some credit here. She’s not about to allow another Bolton child to enter this world, per her scorched earth speech at the end of “Battle of the Bastards.” In Westeros, there is an herbal tea known as Moon Tea that is basically a medieval Plan B pill. In the books it was used by the women of the Riverlands to abort the children fathered by known philanderer Tom of Sevenstreams, a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners who once stole Edmure Tully’s girlfriend. In the event of an unwanted pregnancy, Sansa is a few cups of Moon Tea away from solving the Bolton problem for good.
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3. The timeline doesn’t add up.
The show’s timeline is a bit of a mess these days, to the extent that we cannot consider all of this to be happening in real time. Some things – Daenerys’ journey from Vaes Dothrak back to Meereen and the Greyjoy trip to Essos, as examples – are being compressed considerably for the sake of efficiency. But we do know that it’s probably been months since Sansa and Theon parted ways following their escape from Winterfell. Theon had time to ride a horse back to the sea, sail to the Iron Islands, reconnect with his sister, attend the Kingsmoot, escape to the other side of the world, stop in a brothel for a pep talk, then treat with the dragon queen in Meereen. That’s months worth of stuff. Assuming the Battle at Winterfell is taking place within the same moon cycle as Theon’s chat with Tyrion, it’s safe to say that Sansa would be full-blown preggers. Not just a baby bump.
4. Sansa has bigger, even less savory problems ahead of her.
A baby would complicate things for Sansa. That’s a safe assumption. But as I explained above, it’s an easily solved problem. What’s not easy to solve? The fact that she held back information that cost the lives of hundreds of her brother’s men. By not telling Jon that she’d called in a favor with Littlefinger, she put him in direct danger. It was more dramatic for the show’s purposes, but it’s also the kind of move that is always paid back in full per the rules of Thrones. She also has to deal with Littlefinger, who is going to want something major in return for saving the day. This is where things probably get creepy again for Sansa, as we know Littlefinger has a thing for Tully women. She’ll have a political war on two fronts: the half-brother she betrayed and the uncle-in-law that probably wants to be husband number three.
5. It’s more fun to assume that Ramsay was sterile.
There’s little to support this, but I want to move forward with my life with the belief that – as my Storm of Spoilers co-host Joanna Robinson suggested – Ramsay was firing blanks. He has been one of the show’s most sexually active people – right up there with Tyrion – taking to bed both Myranda and the girl he eventually fed to his dogs. Neither of them, at least to our knowledge, became pregnant. That’s all to say that Ramsay was no Robert Baratheon.
This is my plea to you, dear readers, theorizers and lovers of crackpotitude: let’s bury this Sansa pregnancy theory alongside what’s left of Ramsay’s body. It’s time for the wide world of Westeros to move on from the Boltons and turn its attention to the great War of Ice and Fire. In this new future, where ice zombies will be dragon food, there’s no room for a Bolton baby conspiracy.
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