I'm playing catch up so this might be a long post...
*Lemoncake*, on 24 January 2012 - 10:59 AM, said:
I'm glad you said this; it's good to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. I'm not excusing Sansa here; I was Stannising (read: grinding my teeth) in frustration with her as much as anyone. But at the same time, I've always felt that GRRM was really overdoing it here, and trying too hard to beat us over the head with how naive Sansa is and how she lives in a detached dream world. Perhaps he was doing it so that it would be even more powerful when she's smacked in the face by brutal reality just a few chapters later, idk.
But, for whatever reason, I do personally think he went too far here. Tbh, the first time I read this chapter, it took me a little out of the story. I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to buy that even someone as naive and good at self-delusion as Sansa could go this far.
Upon rereading, I felt the same way actually. I think this over the top depiction of naivety to the point of stupidity in this one chapter is why people so adamantly hate Sansa. Honestly, I'm not sure Sansa's complete obtuseness here is at all consistent with her later development where she's really observant, sharp, and a generally good judge of character. I get that she really fits events into her preconceived notions but a handful of her father's men were just murdered and Ned himself was almost killed, just escaped with a torn up knee. It would have been more realistic if Sansa had had a moment of uncertainty where it seems she's seriously doubting Joff and Cersei and starting to see the danger of KL, but then was provoked by another event, maybe something Arya does, into sticking with her previous position.
I agree with you that the motivation to a lie, or any action for that matter, is really important. That does subtly differentiate Ned spilling the beans to Cersei, and Sansa spilling the beans to Cersei, and many of the lies previously mentioned. Ned, through naivete that's comparable to Sansa's, tells Cersei about his discovery because he wants to give her a chance to flee. He doesn't think it's right that she should just die. He is very very naive in thinking that she's going to take his advice, but his action is pretty selfless. Sansa tells Cersei about their escape plans because she doesn't want to be wrenched away from KL; the nature of the motivations is different.
However, I disagree with you about Ned's willful ignorance of Robert's true nature, and Sansa's willful ignorance of Joff and Cersei. Ned and Robert were foster brothers from a really young age, eight I think. I have an extremely hard time believing that Robert never showed any of his lesser tendencies before he became King. He was certainly a master whorer since he was old enough to want sex and get it, which in Westeros seems to be around 13 or 14. While his youthful indiscretions probably weren't enough to make anyone think he's a bad person, Ned should have seen that Robert is a coward when it comes to conflicts off the battle field. He walks away from everything, and doesn't often take the honorable path. It was only when Robert condoned and built his throne on the murder of children, that Ned had any major falling out with him, and even then, the passage of years made him forget Robert's true nature. I think this is really similar to Sansa's reaction against Cersei after Lady's death, with her trusting Cersei again a few weeks or months after. The two are really similar in this sense.
I read this chapter after the discussion for it had already started, so the little positive bits in an otherwise angsty chapter really stood out to me. I liked that after Sansa notes that Jeyne's crush on Dondarrion will come to nothing because of her low birth, she notes that "It would have been unkind to say so, however, so Sansa took a sip of milk and changed the subject." She's acutely aware and has an excellent memory for all things related to heraldry, but she's still quite considerate of people's feelings, at least when she's in a good mood.
This part also made me laugh. I thought it was really cute:
" 'Are there any lemon cakes?' Sansa did not like being interrupted, but she had to admit, lemon cakes sounded more interesting than most of what had gone on in the throne room....The kitchen yielded no lemon cakes but they did find half a cold strawberry pieand that was almost as good. They ate it on the tower steps, giggling and gossiping and sharing secrets, and Sansa went to bed that night feeling almost as wicked as Arya."
I was more of an Arya myself when I was really young, but I can still understand how much it sucked for Sansa to think she was suddenly going to leave all that. In Winterfell must seem like a really bleak place after KL, little chance for merryment and dressing up, and three brothers (not counting Jon at the wall) and a sister who might as well be a brother.