I’ve written something about Sansa and warging, yes, in relation to the old blind dog at Petyr’s keep, and you can see it here. I also have some minor commentary in the tags here, and replies here and here.
But to expand a bit: As a given, Sansa is a Stark, and does have skinchanging potential. (Note, the term “warg” technically applies only to skinchangers who bond with wolves.) Also, the general process of skinchanging/warging seems to be:
- an emotional bond with the animal, where they feel your feelings (and express them even if you repress them) and defend you
- dreams of yourself within the animal’s mind/body, passively experiencing what they experience
- actual control/guidance of that animal’s actions.
All 6 Stark children (including Jon) have gone through step 1; we know Arya, Jon, and Bran have experienced step 2; and Bran for sure has done step 3, possibly Arya as well. (It’s possible to skip straight to step 3, especially if you’re a powerful skinchanger, but the fight for control is much harder, and the animal may hate your presence within its mind.)
Now, like her siblings, Sansa had begun the skinchanging process, emotionally bonding with her wolf, but Lady’s death put an end to that for her. (Perhaps a psychically traumatizing one? Hard to tell, but since Bran uses Sansa’s losing her wolf as an excuse for her emotionally lost behavior, he may know something instinctively.)
It’s notable, though, that after Lady’s death, Sansa does not interact significantly with any animal while in the Red Keep. (Excluding, of course, the Hound, but I’m going to leave actual humans out of this for now.) Not the cats there, nor any dogs, not even the little birds we’re told ladies keep as pets. Even if her skinchanging potential was active, there was nothing for her to form a bond with. (Although she does go out hawking with Margaery once, but I think only once.)
But the moment Sansa does get a chance to interact with an animal, the old blind dog, she forms a bond almost immediately. “When she patted him he whined and licked her hand, and after that they were fast friends.” Within a week of her staying at the keep, the dog is already sensitive to her emotions (much like Lady), and tries to defend her, even as old and sick as it is. Unfortunately, she soon leaves Petyr’s keep for the Eyrie, and then we hear nothing of her interacting with any animals again. (Excluding Mya’s mules, I suppose.)
So… it’s likely Sansa has a lot of potential for skinchanging, but little to no opportunity. But the Gates of the Moon seems to be a much more socially active castle than the Eyrie, and perhaps she will get a chance… another dog, perhaps, or maybe a bird of her own. Sansa is strongly textually connected to both dogs and birds, so I believe there’s a strong possibility for her to form a bond with one or the other (perhaps both). I think it would be very interesting if she interacted with a maester’s ravens… that could also be a way for Bran to communicate with her, come to think of it…
(As for humans… well, we don’t know if anyone’s capable of that except the very strong skinchangers, like Varamyr and Bran. And human minds fight the mental control of another person, much harder than animals do, to the point of committing suicide if they can. And it’s notable that Bran only controls a human who can’t mentally fight that well, and it’s… really not a good thing. And despite his various sobriquets, Sandor Clegane is obviously not a dog in truth, so I don’t think Sansa’s connection to him had anything to do with her skinchanging potential. Note, it’s an interesting idea to explore, but I’d be very surprised if anything happened that way in the books themselves.)
Anyway, I really look forward to Sansa’s TWOW chapters. I hope we do get some of her storyline shifting from the political to the magical — so far she’s the only living Stark who’s remained almost entirely on the political storyline, and I can’t see that lasting forever. And seeing her bond with a dog, or find freedom in the skies as a bird, would be absolutely fascinating.
Some quotes, btw, that may or may not have future significance:
Dogs were the easiest beasts to bond with; they lived so close to men that they were almost human. Slipping into a dog’s skin was like putting on an old boot, its leather softened by wear. As a boot was shaped to accept a foot, a dog was shaped to accept a collar, even a collar no human eye could see. Wolves were harder. A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf. “Wolves and women wed for life,” Haggon often said. “You take one, that’s a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you’re part of him. Both of you will change.”
“Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won’t like what you’d become.” Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. “Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in the clouds and you never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who’ve tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they sit moony, staring up at the bloody blue.”
He wished Robb were with them now. I’d tell him I could fly, but he wouldn’t believe, so I’d have to show him. I bet that he could learn to fly too, him and Arya and Sansa, even baby Rickon and Jon Snow. We could all be ravens and live in Maester Luwin’s rookery. That was just another silly dream, though.
Ooh, this is very nice.