Lord Littlefinger, on 27 March 2012 - 05:50 PM, said:
Now. you raise some valid points about Petyr. Unfortunately, you can’t have your cake and eat it to. We see that grown men, Jamie, Tyrion, Tywin, Theon, Sanodr, ect see Sansa as sexually attractive. From a strictly biological context apparently Sansa is sufficiently mature to be considered an object of desire. Petyr’s like for Sansa is obviously the least appealing aspect of his character. However, I do not see Petyr’s planning in terms of Catelyn, or that he has an obsession with Catelyn and or Sansa.
It totally is about Sansa as a replacement Catelyn; when he sees Catelyn for the first time in years he shows that he finds it hard to believe that Catelyn could be happy in Winterfell (and this is subtly alluded to when he tells Sansa that he always imagined Winterfell as cold) which imho shows his delusional tendency to imagine that Catelyn loved him and gave him her maidenhead. His first reaction to seeing Sansa is to say that she looks like her mother, when she talks about Loras being sent off to fight against Gregor Clegane as being like a song, he says that life is not a song (and I think he is reminiscing over his dual with Brandon Stark over Catelyn Tully), then when Sansa is before Cersei, Pycelle accuses Sansa of having Stark's "Traitor blood" which Petyr counters by saying that Sansa is like Catelyn Tully and not a thing like treacherous Ned Stark (not exact words) even though it was Catelyn who arrested Tyrion (on his misinformation) and also shows his tendency to solipsize Sansa into being purely like Catelyn (whom he likes to imagine loved him) and not the daughter of Ned Stark (who took Catelyn from him). Then when Petyr and Sansa next interact in late ASOS, he says it's because he loved her mother, who gave him her maidenhead. Petyr's new identity for Sansa is that of his daughter Alayne (the daughter he could never have with Catelyn). Then of course there is "only cat" just before Petyr murders Lysa. (see this is why Sansa's chapters bear a close reading).
As a SanSan shipper, sure I have nothing against Sansa as being sexually attractive-though Westerosi culture (like real life Medieval culture) frowns upon actually consumating with a girl of Sansa's age. Which is why Sandor didn't kiss Sansa: because when she sung to him, he realised that she was a child, and he ran off in shame and horror when he realised that even by kissing her, he would be crossing a moral event horizon.
No, what Petyr has in common with Humbert Humbert is not his depraved lust for young girls (Humbert prefers girls aged 9-13, whilst Petyr is clearly waiting for Sansa to be older, like atleast 14 but possibly 15, the age that Catelyn was when he 'loved' her) but their tendency to solipsize the objects of their desire.
Both Catelyn/Annabel Leigh are envisioned as the perfect woman, with whom they were denied the chance to screw. Whilst Sansa and Lolita who resemble Catelyn/Annabel Leigh are the second chance, with whom Petyr/Humbert pretends to be the father of, whilst trying to shape the objects of their desire into perfect women.
In the first case, Humbert fails: Lolita resists Humbert by continuing on being a crass little American right to the end and never "vibrates beneath him
" and cries herself to sleep every night, whilst Petyr is succeeding in shaping Sansa into a sort of mini-Petyr (see her interest and comprehension of Petyr's political lessons) but she to will never love Petyr (because his solipsizing is fated to fail) and is, I suspect fated to use those political lessons that Baelish teaches her to destroy him (out of revenge, ironically the same motive Petyr had to destroy the Tully's and Starks, only since Petyr's crimes are worse that Hoster and Brandon's crimes this will not be petty vengence but justice).
As to what I mean by solipsizing, well I am going to be a lazy person and copy and paste from the wiki article on Lolita
In his essay on Stalinism
"Koba the Dread," Martin Amis
proposes that Lolita
is an elaborate metaphor
for the totalitarianism
that destroyed the Russia of Nabokov's childhood (though Nabokov states in his afterword that he "[detests] symbols and allegories
"). Amis interprets it as a story of tyranny
told from the point of view of the tyrant
. "Nabokov, in all his fiction, writes with incomparable penetration about delusion and coercion, about cruelty and lies," he says. "Even Lolita
, especially Lolita
, is a study in tyranny."
Critics have further noted that the novel gives very little information about what Lolita is personally like, that in effect she has been silenced. Nomi Tamir-Ghez writes "Not only is Lolita's voice silenced, her point of view, the way she sees the situation and feels about it, is rarely mentioned and can be only surmised by the reader...since it is Humbert who tells the story...throughout most of the novel, the reader is absorbed in Humbert's feelings".
Similarly Mica Howe and Sarah Appleton Aguiar write that the novel silences and objectifies Lolita.
Christine Clegg notes that this is a recurring theme in criticism of the novel in the 1990s.
Actor Brian Cox who played Humbert in a 2009 one-man monologue show based on the novel stated that the novel is "not about Lolita as a flesh and blood entity. It’s Lolita as a memory" and concluded that a stage monologue would be truer to the book than any film could possibly be.
Elizabeth Janeway writing in The New York Review of Books
holds "Humbert is every man who is driven by desire, wanting his Lolita so badly that it never occurs to him to consider her as a human being, or as anything but a dream-figment made flesh".
Clegg sees the novel's non-disclosure of Lolita's feelings as directly linked to the fact that her real name is Dolores Haze and (in the novel but not the film) only Humbert refers to her as Lolita.
Humbert also states he has effectively "solipsized" Lolita early in the novel.
Eric Lemay of Northwestern University writes "The human child, the one noticed by non-nymphomaniacs, answers to other names, "Lo," "Lola," "Dolly," and, least alluring of all, "Dolores." "But in my arms," asserts Humbert, "she was always Lolita." And in his arms or out, "Lolita" was always the creation of Humbert's craven self,....The Siren-like Humbert sings a song of himself, to himself, and titles that self and that song "Lolita."...To transform Dolores into Lolita, to seal this sad adolescent within his musky self, Humbert must deny her her humanity."[size="2"]
In 2003 Iranian
expatriate Azar Nafisi
published the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran
about a covert women's reading group. In an NPR interview Nafasi contrasts the sorrowful and seductive sides of Dolores/Lolita's character. She notes "Because her name is not Lolita, her real name is Dolores which as you know in Latin means dolour, so her real name is associated with sorrow and with anguish and with innocence, while Lolita becomes a sort of light-headed, seductive, and airy name. The Lolita of our novel is both of these at the same time and in our culture here today we only associate it with one aspect of that little girl and the crassest interpretation of her." <snip>
For Nafisi, the essence of the novel is Humbert's solipsism
and his erasure of Lolita's independent identity
. She writes: "Lolita was given to us as Humbert's creature [...] To reinvent her, Humbert must take from Lolita her own real history and replace it with his own [...] Yet she does have a past. Despite Humbert's attempts to orphan Lolita by robbing her of her history, that past is still given to us in glimpses."
So I think Petyr basically makes the same mistake when it comes to Sansa/Alayne, only whilst Humbert's solipsizing of Delores/Lolita serves to highlight his tyranny/his cruelty/his evil/his villainhood. Petyr's solipsizing of Sansa/Alayne is also an error of judgement/stupid as well as being evil/tyrannical destruction of another's identity. At the end of the day Humbert and Delores/Lolita where just private individuals, whilst Petyr and Sansa/Alayne are not: Petyr is a political giant, and Sansa is the daughter of the Lord of Winterfell, who Petyr betrayed on his march of political giantdom.
Petyr by getting wrapped up in his fantasy of Sansa/Alayne, basically forgets that Alayne (who if she were his real daughter would have every reason to love him), is really Sansa (who has every reason to hate him).
The fact that Petyr doesn't have a real daughter (to marry off to the Heir to the Vale) is because, as you say, he is not aiming for children/isn't playing the birds and bees game, but he aims at political status/he is playing the game of thrones. The problem is, by ignoring the game of birds and bees, he actually makes a crucial error in judgement: instead of having a loyal child to use as a pawn and sell off to the Lord of the Eyrie, he is trying to use the daughter of one of his enemies. As well as the fact that because Petyr is not playing the birds and bees games, he plays far more aggressively (with less regard to the long term/less regard for society as a whole)
Now, if Petyr had been sterile (like Varys the eunuch) or more rational (though a totally rational thing to do would be to use his own child). I suppose that he could've picked up any pretty girl off the street (like he picked off Jeyne Poole) to use as his pawn ie be a 'fake Sansa" or the daughter of his sister, or somebody who had a genuine reason to love him and be loyal to him, to marry off to the Heir to the Eyrie. Then poison Harry the Heir after his real daughter/or fake Sansa had given birth to a son or two, and thus use the Vale's armies to make himself King (somehow, not really sure if this plan would work, but you seem to believe that Petyr is aiming to become king, so lets say that's the plan).
But because Petyr, at his heart is not truly rational (ie he is not rationally aiming to become king)... instead of selecting a pawn who would be genuinely loyal to him: like a biological daughter, a niece, or an orphan whose life he had saved and who genuinely loves him.
Instead Petyr the irrational picks Sansa to be his pawn, because she fits into his particular fantasy: her resemblance to Catelyn, and Petyr's obsession with Catelyn is what causes him to destroy Ned Stark/destroy Hoster Tully/destroy everything else that Sansa cared about.
Sure Petyr would rationalise this and say that it is better to use the genuine daughter of Ned Stark and thus be able to claim the North and Riverlands into the bargain (since his niece or biological daughter would have no claim to either, whilst an orphan/fake Sansa would always risk discovery).
But then why teach her to be a player? Petyr might reply that he teachers her his game to make her a better pawn (or to turn his pawn into a Queen by dragging her across the board)? Any fool can tell you that making the daughter of the man you betrayed, into a Queen (the most powerful piece on the board) is one step away from making her into another player. And if he is genuine about arranging her marriage to Harry the Heir, then he has made her a player by default, a player who through his tendency to confide in her, knows an awful lot about the real Petyr Baelish.
Now Petyr would say that Sansa was an orphan whose life he saved, and thus she should be incredibly grateful to him for saving her life, and thus she should come to love him and serve his interests. To which Sansa would say that she wouldn't have needed rescuing from Kings Landing if he hadn't betrayed her father, started a war that destroyed her family in an effort to avenge himself on Brandon Stark and Hoster Tully-, skuttled her marriage plans to Willas Tyrell and caused her to marry Tyrion and helped the Tyrells frame her for murder. Furthermore, Sansa would say, Petyr wasn't terribly grateful to Brandon Stark for sparing his life, infact this act so enraged Petyr that he set out to destroy House Stark (because Brandon humiliated Petyr simply by winning) so why should Sansa be truly grateful to Petyr?
Also the fact that he confides in Sansa so much is further evidence of his solipsizing of her into Alayne: he wouldn't confide in Sansa so much if he remembered that she was really the daughter of Ned Stark, but because he is so wrapped up in his fantasy of Sansa as Alayne that he allows himself to forget that she has a history and an identity and that history and identity is that of the daughter of Ned Stark.
To my mind its just as likely Petyr wants to be king. The reason Petyr pits Stark against Lannister is because of preexisting amenity between them and vulnerability of the Riverlands, particularly should the support of the Vale be withheld. Should Ned have problem more pliable I think Petyr would have been happy to leave the Starks and Tullys be as long as they supported his future plans. He destruction of them I merely an incidental bonus on his path Iron Throne, he doesn’t particularly care about them, he doesn’t particularly think about them with the exception of a visceral dislike for their condescension. More like, note to self, if I ever get a chance to fuck the Starks and Tullys up the ass, do so.
I think you are ascribing far too much rationality to Petyr
. Sure he might want to be king but what drives him to have such an obsessional amount of ambition? In the end it comes down to Petyr's inner dysfunction, namely his desire to screw the Stark's and Tully's over and his visceral dislike of their condescension comes from the fact that they rejected his suit of Catelyn Tully (Well Hoster rejected his suit, and the Starks got her hand instead) .
Now that being said, is it petty? Well ok. That’s not the word I’d use but ok. The problem is, the whole fucking game of thrones is petty. Generally speaking wanting to have power over others for the sake of having it is petty. From my point of view that is a given of the feudal system. Given that we’re reading about that game, and as I’ve said, I am. The issue is who is the best at playing that game, not what is the most moral thing to do. The most moral thing to do is not play the game at all. Any moral person will at an inherent disadvantage playing the game.
Sure, if I were truly altruistic in the game of birds and bees, I would be petitioning all the ladies in Mensa to let me have their ovaries, have them fertilised by noble prize winners, and let me be the surrogate. but since I am not truly altruistic, but am more or less motivated by my desire to see a bunch of mini voodooqueens: 127, 128, 129, 130 etc. run around and go to private schools, read books, go to university and have successful careers... I won't. Honestly such extremely altruistic behaviour is to opt out of the game of life completely. And I am suspicious of people who want to opt out of the game of life, and terrified of people who want others to opt out of the game of life.
So when it comes to the game of thrones: if you're born in the position, that Eddard, Tywin, Tyrion, Robb, Sansa, Mace, Margaery, Quentyn, Doran, Stannis, but above Daenerys were born into, you have no choice but to play the game of thrones, without opting out of life completely, because failure to play the game of thrones will result in your own demise (or atleast a significant loss of your income and the lives of the people you rule over)
This becomes more complex when we come to warfare:
The reason so many characters within the text, hold Doran Martell in comtempt is that they think he is a coward for not avenging himself on behalf of Elia(though we the readers know this is not true). Now it actually seems rather mad and petty to avenge oneself by going to war on a whole nation over a single rape and murder (revolting as that rape and murder maybe on a purely visceral level). After all the Austrians are generally considered to have been rather petty and vengeful for basically declaring war on Serbia over the Franz Ferdinand assasination
However Westeros, is much further back in history than 1914 on the eve of WW1.
For starters, guns, gas... technology generally, make warfare far more expensive, and shifts the focus from individual knights to large scale armies of peasants/the working class, not to mention the complex alliance system, make modern warfare far more costly than medieval warfare (and Brienne's chapter's demonstrate that Medieval warfare is still costly). Since this technological advancement is only possible if one already has capitalism, so it comes that governments, to finance these ridiculously expensive wars, are forced to tax people much more. and when people are highly taxed they demand government representation far more loudly, so it is that people like Franz Ferdinand are basically less relevant, because government has switched from inherited power (Franz Ferdinand) to elected power (people like Lloyd George and Winston Churchill-although Churchill was still a member of the aristocracy). Only because the Germans and Austrians were behind the times in terms of democracy, they still acted like it was the Middle Ages, and therefore that the assasination of heir to the throne merited WW1.
Needless to say,because the Austrian and German royal familys failed to realise that it was no longer the Middle Ages (and because of Austria and German's unfortunate geographic location, it's nearly impossible for them to win wars anyway, plus they keep on trying to invade Russia), and therefore Franz Ferdinand didn't merit WW1, they no longer remain in power (even as constitutional monarch like Britain and Australia).
But because Westeros is in the Middle Ages, then executing the lord of Winterfell, and his heir, raping and murdering the sister of the Prince of Dorne, does merit a war, because these people are parts of the government. This is why characters within Westeros, view Doran as a coward. Because they think that he, by failing to avenge Elia and her children is basically allowing a massive insult to Dorne go unpunished. It would be like Hilary Clinton and her daughter were visiting Australia on a state visit, then China happened to invade Australia (because the Chinese PM and the guy most likely to be his heir had been viciously tortured to death by an insane Australian prime minister) and in the process they raped and murdered Hilary Clinton and murdered Chelsea Clinton, then America failed to do anything about it... The Americans would be seen as weak and people would be likely to try far more nasty stuff to other American politicians.
Only because Dorne is not like America, but more like Spain, Doran has to get his revenge by convincing a more powerful nation to get his justice for him. Which he is more or less plotting to do.
Same with Robb: he had no choice (well one always has a choice) but to go to war after Ned's execution, and the only reason he lost was the indefencebility of the Riverlands (since the North is sort of like Russia and the Riverlands are basically as indefinsible as Germany or Poland) and his dishonourable decision to sleep with Jeyne Westerling, then break his word to the Freys, though fortunately for the Stark cause, the Freys were so disproportionate in their response, that everyone now hates them) .
But for people like Petyr (on his level of society) I would say that yeah, it is pointless to seek extreme power (like becoming a king) in a vicious and aggressive way, since his life doesn't depend on it and any children he might have only need money to prosper. Actually by seeking kingship he more or less ensures that his children are just as trapped playing the game of thrones that Ned Stark was, since the only way his children will be able to survive is that they continue on playing the game of thrones, because well you win or you die.. Having said that It's not wrong for people to seek power, though it is preferable for society that good people seek power (remember by that I include people like Margaret Thatcher, who once said "I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.")
but even people less altruisticly inclined than Margaret Thatcher should be able to seek power, but not to destroy people or whole countries, which is really just silly.
IMHO the only reason Petyr seeks power is to assuage his pride, his obsession and revenge.
That is the reason I said Ned was stupid. You can’t be moral and play the game. Or at least not a moral absolutist. I’m only looking at ability of the individual characters to play the game. Not welfare of the society as a whole, except as a secondary consideration as being overly ruthless will make a Lord intolerable. As an objective player of the game, then I would evaluate that my actions can be perceived to be as bad as Tywin Lannisters and still be acceptable to the other lords and populace.
If you're aiming at long term success (ie that your children will benefit from your actions after you have died), then you have to be a public servant (like Ned), rather than have the public serve you (like Tywin). If we read AFFC, we see that Tywin's failure to be a public servant (and failure as a parent) ie his insistence that the public serve him, begins to destroy the Lannister cause after his death, whilst ADWD shows that Ned's success as a public servant (the way Northerners view it) means that people are willing to go out of their way to help his children and their cause.
This seemingly altruistic behaviour on the part of the Northern lords is actually selfish, since they would all rather be ruled by the good public servant Starks, than by crazy psychopaths like Ramsay (who expects the public to serve him by allowing him to rape and flay their daughters).
Basically if we are born into a position of power (like Ned) and want our children to inherit our position of power, then it is generally advantageous to be moral, unless we are dealing with psychopaths, since for most subordinates , it is better to live under a moral leader than immoral one. Or put negatively: the only people who benefit from having people like Tywin in charge, are people like Gregor.
Having said that it advantages the lord to be moral (a moral lord is a public servant, a bad lord expects the public to serve him), imagination and cunning are still necessary attributes, and Ned's failure is largely a failure of imagination.
Now granted I'm one of the HBO people, I came to read Game Of Thrones the series after watching season 1, and never would have started reading something called A Song of Ice and Fire. So complaining about Petyr Baelish killing lords in Westeros is like complaining about Omar killing drug dealers on The Wire. As far as I'm concerned those assholes deserve whatever they get.
For a lot of readers this generally applies more to Tyrion (who is increasingly villainous) in your case, (and please let this not come out like a personal attack)I think it also applies to Petyr, since Petyr is Humbert Humbert+politics:
One of the novel's early champions, Lionel Trilling warned in 1958 of the moral difficulty in interpreting a book with so eloquent and so self-deceived a narrator: "we find ourselves the more shocked when we realize that, in the course of reading the novel, we have come virtually to condone the violation it presents [...] we have been seduced into conniving in the violation, because we have permitted our fantasies to accept what we know to be revolting."
Because you seem to view lords to be on the same level as drug dealers who deserve to be terminated by Petyr, who you view as being like Omar (who I am guessing is a cop). Therefore to paraphrase Trilling...
I would say you have been seduced into conniving with Petyr's desire to avenge himself on the Tullys and Starks , because your own nightmares about the aristocracy have caused you to see people like Hoster Tully and Ned Stark as revolting, and therefore you have virtually come to condone Petyr's destruction of much of Westeros, since you do not fundamentally realise that Petyr's goals and the actions that grow out from those goals are actually the things that are really nightmarish and revolting.
Obviously, in real life, you wouldn't go out and destabilise a whole society just to get rid of its aristocrats (aristocracies are naturally occuring: Australia has what we jokingly refer to as a squatocracy, and America has all those people that Edith Wharton wrote about) but you have been seduced when it comes to this particular character.
You have also been seduced by Brienne, ironically enough, who is the direct opposite of Petyr in everyway, in that she is more or less heading for saint-hood.
I like to think that this speaks about who you truly are, since we have Brienne's POV and we know who she truly is which is basically Westeros's answer to Joan of Arc+cynicism, and that you like her means you basically like Brienne's altruistic worldview^. This also causes me to hope that if we had Petyr's POV, and it confirmed my suspicions about him, you would find yourself trying to reach through the pages of the book to reemerge in Westeros for the explicit purpose of beating Petyr Baelish to death with a red hot poker. See just as we lack Lolita's Pov in Lolita
and due to Humbert's solipsizing of her, and thus we have little idea of her true personality, so it is ironically enough with Petyr Baelish.
We have very little information about what Petyr Baelish is really like on the inside, since he is so rarely honest, so it's hard to guess his point of view and the way he sees things. It is only rarely, and generally in Sansa's POV chapters*, where glimpses of Baelish's true personality are given to us. Even then, since the reader is absorbed in Sansa's feelings, we still learn very little about Petyr's true feelings. Unfortunately, if for whatever reason we find Sansa's chapters boring and thus avoid reading them closely, we might have a tendency to fit Petyr into our own fantasies (that Petyr is some sort of ubermensch player of the game of thrones who is sticking it up to stuffy aristocrats with their outmoded and silly notions of honour by his completely rational realpolitik) but on the basis of the rare glimpses afforded to us (in Sansa's POV chapters), it can be surmised that Petyr Baelish is basically a petty man obsessed with avenging himself on the people who wronged him when they rejected his suit at the age of 15, with rise to greatlordship and ambition just being means to gain that revenge and from late AGOT onwards: shape Sansa into Alayne and thus work out his Catelyn issues.
I am willing to bet money on it: Petyr is not meant to be a hero and like all villains he is motivated by something deeply irrational
(lustful obsession congealed into petty vengefulness, despite being otherwise a genius
), and this deeply irrational core is revealed in Sansa's POV chapters. (actually one of beauties of Sansa's POV chapters is that Sansa is almost all about the inner life and so it's fitting that this fundamentally dishonest character more or less only reveals his inner life in her chapters.)
^If Brienne were a man, with black hair, preferably with green, or brown eyes, I too would be seduced by Brienne. Though since Brienne's personality is all chick, I am not sure how we would go down, but generally since I like female company, I think I would like Brian's personality...
* Although Ned, and Tyrion observe his political personality and Catelyn thinks that Petyr is like her little brother, It is Sansa who comes closest to observing Petyr's inner life.
With respect to Sansa. I don’t think his relationship with her is horrible….by Westerosi standards. But I don’t think it’s believable for him to tell her so much. Perhaps he truly is delusional which would make sense with respect to explication. But were his level of dysfunction really that high don’t believe he’d be as successful as he’s been. I think instead its device to convey information to readers without giving Petyr a POV. Which can’t be done because he knows too much.
Hmn, it could be a device, but I think the device is also a manifestation of Petyr's inner character and what little that is revealed about Petyr's character, reveals something dysfunctional which explains the device (ie the device is his tendency to confide in Sansa, and the dysfunction explains his tendency to confide)
I think it's possible to be brilliant the way Petyr is, and still be as dysfunctional as I think he is.
Petyr is simply a genius when it comes to politics, he could've still been a genius without the dysfunctional core, although without the inner dysfunction, he wouldn't have pressed himself so far.
Lastly, yes Petyr’s insecurities and/or Sansa will ultimately be his doom. As it was for Theon, as is often the case for all but the most skilled people of this character type.
Yup Westeros is not real life, and there is much foreshadowing that Petyr, as a villain, will be destroyed for ASOIAF to fulfill the purpose of literature, which is catharsis. By foreshadowing I mean this:
"I dreamt of a of a maid
at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow."
This giant could refer to either Petyr, Tyrion, or Ser Robert Strong. Since Tyrion is in Essos, Robert Strong is a giant and Sansa is a little girl, so really it has to be Petyr by default. Though perhaps she could somehow end up killing all three, which would be boss for me as a Sansa fan.
But I would say that not only does Petyr's demise have to happen, because destiny says
that all villains must die or be defeated in works of literature. But I do believe that Petyr's demise at Sansa's hands will happen organically and as part of his character.
and his character is
1=obsessional lust for catelyn tully
now 1 times 2 is 2.
and to 2=petty desire to avenge self on Starks and Tully's
and 3=complete disregard for others/lack of empathy/tendency to solipsize/thievery/corruption/not planning for his children's future/deinvested in society as a whole/psychopathy or moral insanity/ tyranny/ evil/ villainhood/ absence of good.
because of these character traits 2 and 3, he has more or less played the game of thrones without shackles and therefore has been extremely successful in achieving vast amounts of power in the short term.
But because 2 more or less comes from 1, which is obsessional lust, he has a tendency to solipsize Sansa into Alayne, and because Alayne, this imaginary daughter of himself and Catelyn Tully, would have every reason to love him if she were real, he therefore does not treat Sansa as the daughter of Ned Stark whom he betrayed (and he betrayed Ned Stark over 2). This manifests itself in a tendency to confide in her and also in his desire to teach her to become a player and his plan to organise her marriage to Harry the Heir.
But because solipsizing another person's identity is always destined to fail (ie obsessional lust and fantasy do more to revolt the object of desire than gain their love), and because it is more or less impossible to commit the perfect crime (and Petyr thinks he has committed the perfect crime in his destruction of the Stark's and Tullys) because in the end, someone always tells (Petyr tells Sansa an awful lot about himself, but Jeyne Poole or Sandor could expose a few other things) and someone always figures it out.
In this case it is has to be Sansa, since otherwise there would be no reason for her to be in the Vale with Littlefinger, she could've run off with Dontos, met up with Sandor, and lived happily after when they rode Stranger off into the sunset.
See there would be no reason to make Sansa a POV character if all she was just a damsel in distress or just a victim (though that can be interesting, in the same way that Franz Kafka's the Trial is interesting).
See each POV character is more or less a hero in their own novel, and the beauty of ASOIAF is that we get to read several novels all entwined with each other.
The problem with Sansa's arc, is that she is more or less the heroine in an Ann Radcliffe novel (or a very dark horrifying version of Northanger Abbey-for instance Sansa in AGOT could be like Catherine Tilney in the Bath section of Northanger Abbey) with politics added, and because the entwining factor means that stories have to progress much more slowly, we are more or less stuck with Sansa midway through her character arc, as if the Mysteries of Udolpho or Romance of the Forest were cut off about halfway, when the heroines were still terrified and helpless and only just starting to piece together the clues that will enable them to expose the villain.
With the added problem that each chapter of Mysteries of Udolpho or Romance of the Forest* was interspersed with chapters of Sir Walter Scott's Waverley, A tale of Two Cities, Heart of Darkness, White Fang, Silas Marner, The Red and the Black, Kim and so on.
BTW that’s not a sidetrack. That is the track. This is the side track:
Well you should have said that instead of that you have mommy parts. Of course having children decreases the destructive tendencies of human nature and of men in particular. And unattached males are typically more destructive. This is the real reason polygamy is generally outlawed because low status males are compelled to foment revolution in order to get access to vaginas hoarded by the aristocracy.
Had you simply said that, I would have agreed with you and stated that I am speaking in regard to the interests of the individual and not society as a whole. And I did tell you that I do not expect individuals to act in the best interest of society.
Absolutely, because I have a completely irrational, selfish desire to see a bunch of little voodoqueens (127, 128, 129, 130 et) running about, and for them in turn to have even more little voodooqueens (131, 132, 133).
It means I have to think about society as a whole. Otherwise life will be miserable for (128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133). So I have a deep suspicion of people who don't want to see mini versions of themselves, because I fear that they will basically not care about the future/society as a whole.
I cynical person might say that by the elite hoarding all young women, thus causing low-status men to have a terrible hankering for vagina, they are inciting those young men to go out and conquer other countries (to acquire the women there), thus spreading that culture to a great many people.
Failing that, the low status young men can always be used as suicide bombers, thus furthering the interests of the elites (if you consider Bin Laden to be a member of the elite).
And your problem is with the political system in Westeros and not with Petyr. If you’re going to through the trouble of engineering broad reaching rebellion, you might as well make yourself King rather introducing democracy. Otherwise the return on the effort invested isn’t worth it.
Actually I don't have a problem with the political system of Westeros (it's the Middle Ages after all), but I do have a problem with people like Petyr.
You see I don't want a broad reaching revolution for Westeros: Or atleast going on the basis of real world experience I would say that broad reaching revolutions always end up being far worse than the aristocrats that they superseded: Louis XVI vs Jacobins, Czarist Russia-Communist Russia (with the Mensheviks being a footnote), Mandarin China vs Maoist China (the gap here is a bit more significant), King Norodom Sihanouk vs the Khmer Rouge (with Lon Nol being a footnote).
Imposing democracy on pre-literate peasants never works anyway. The only two revolutions that have ever worked (ie brought long term prosperity to their people) have been England's Glorious Revolution and America's War of Independence.
What these two Revolutions have in common, is that they were just about getting rid of disliked regimes(James II and the British respectively), though their reasons for wanting to be rid of these regimes were ideological (James II was Catholic, the British were taxing the Americans but not giving them much say in government).
In their desire for regime change, the Glorious and American Revolutions are not dissimilar from the Tudor's superseding the House of York, the House of York getting rid of the House of Lancaster, the Lancaster's getting rid of Richard II, Isabella the She-wolf getting rid of Edward II, Edward I getting rid of the Welsh Royal family... Though the objections of course, were not usually ideological, but personal, although these personal reasons were usually sensible rather than petty: Richard III murdered his nephews, so Elizabeth Woodville cut a deal with Margaret Beaufort that Henry VII would marry Elizabeth of York and thus get rid of Richard III, Henry VI was crazy and made a terrible king, Richard II was a narcissist. The only two that can be described as petty personal, would be Isabella getting rid of Edward II (though he was a bad king, she seems to have disliked him because of his sexual disinterest in her, his lack of skill as a monarch was presumably how she was able to gather support to stage a coup and have him murdered though) and Edward I getting rid of the Welsh Princes (they betrayed him and Edward was simply power hungry).
Worth noting that most of these medieval dynasty changes were accompanied by the murder of the previous royal family to a lesser or greater degree, which is not dissimilar to the Revolutionary tendency to execute or murder the Kings and Queens that they overtook (Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed whilst their son died of neglect, the Romanovs were murdered).
For example the Tudors were willing to murder most surviving Yorkist claimants (generally those not descended from Elizabeth of York), just like Tywin was willing to murder the Targaryen children to ingratiate himself with Robert, and the Communists murdered the Romanovs.
Since it is self evident that Stalin was worse than the Czar, I don't feel the need to discuss that example indepth. (Though Russian's like Average Cheese love to point out that without Stalin, WW2 would not have been won, which might be true, but I think that Stalin could've achieved that without the crazy purges and mass starvation).
Yet the Tudors are remembered as the dynasty that presided over the Renaissance and Reformation in England. Where as Robert will be remembered in Westeros as the many who tolerated child murder, spent a lot of money and was cuckolded by his wife, thus leading to a massive war. Joffrey will most likely gain an epithet like "Joffrey the Cruel", since his lack of mercy and cruelty brought about his own destruction. Tywin will be remembered as a child murderer and as a generally horrible person: now of course that will be 95%history is written by the winners/Targaryens/Tyrion, Samwell, or Sansa (these are the only POV characters with a fondness for books, though only the former could presently be described as intellectuals, whilst Sansa might become an intellectual when she is significantly older).
But there is an element in Tywin (which we see 'sharpened' in Joffrey) of needless brutality and sexual dysfunction. Sure he personally doesn't like being brutal (finds the red wedding to be overkill, and wonders why Armoury Lorch didn't just smother Rhaenys) or commit rape (that we know of). But his willlingness to use and tolerate brutality created a huge number of enemies for his house. Whilst his sexual dysfunction-which I have previously dubbed as a whore madonna complex-manifested itself in a fondness for ordering sexualised punishments for women whom he had categorised as 'whore'. Fittingly enough, since his sexual dysfunction/whore madonna complex was the most irrational part of his character, his ordering the gang rape of Tysha brought about his own death.
In contrast I wouldn't say that Henry VII was needlessly brutal, a spendthrift, sexually dysfunctional, even though history is written by winners.
Looking at the two most hated Tudor monarchs Henry VIII and Mary were willing to murder people as part of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Whilst the generally beloved (except in Ireland) Elizabeth I ,who even though she was even more of a Protestant than her father (who died thinking he was a good Catholic), "didn't want to make windows into men's souls".
Yet by the time Elizabeth died, England was far more Protestant than it had been on her accession, even though she generally only executed Catholics when they threatened her (like after her execomunication, and yes I am exaggerating her religious tolerance for the purposes of argument). So why is it that Elizabeth was able to achieve widespread religious revolution without resorting to Inquisition/burning/Renaissance equivalents to the Gulag or re-education camp?
Well I would say she was imaginative enough to be able to play the game of "force people to accept your particular brand of sky fairy" without resorting to mass violence:
Building on her brother Edward VI's efforts, she made church attendence where the services where in English mandatory, she encouraged Bible study and Bible reading. This had the unintended consequence of increasing literacy: Apparently
neither of Shakespeare's parents were literate, whilst Shakespeare learnt to read at a school
more or less funded to enable it's pupils to read the Bible in English
Even though her successes weren't all that keen on building on her work (asides from James I, the Stuarts kept on marrying Catholic Princesses), by making access to education widespread, she was able to set the ball rolling for widespread religious change, so that by the time that Catholic James II came to the throne, the English people were willing to support the Glorious Revolution just to get rid of him (since they feared he would be another Mary I).
So widespread, positive social change, isn't achieved by violent revolutions but by minute reforms and changes in a society over a significant period of time. Come to think of it I could've probably made a simpler and much less controversial argument about the end of feudalism as well: although the Black Death is regarded as beginning of the end of feudalism
, it was still a long time until serfdom vanished in England (a gradual process where economic changes demanded legal changes), and as some boarders pointed out to me, in some places it didn't end till the 19th century.
As to why I think the American Revolution was successful (in that America is the thriving democracy we all know and love and didn't decend into The Terror Y'all) I think because the American Revolution, like the Glorious Revolution, was more or less instituted by a reasonably literate and prosperous population simply to get rid of a disliked regime, rather than creating some sort of utopia. The Revolutions that sought to create utopias are the ones that descended into hell on earth.
What follows is a long detailed analysis of why I think that is so. I have put it in spoiler tags because it's not especially relevant, but since I typed it up, I can't bring myself to delete it
So whilst I think that the Westerosi feudal system needs to change, it doesn't need to change by means of a broad reaching revolution, but by slow and gradual legal reforms and economic liberilisation. Thus rendering the murder of aristocracy quite unnecessary, since as Westerosi society moves forward (rule of law makes capitalism possible, capitalism creates middle class, middle class demands political representation), the aristocracy simply loses their previously terrifying levels political power but is still left alive to contribute** and you would be foolish to think that they have nothing to contribute.
For instance the British aristocracy: makes huge contributions to the British military (for instance, when the officer class was especially hard hit by WW1, the aristocracy was rather hard hit, which shows their contribution the armed forces) and British political life (Winston Churchill, whilst he had an American mother, was an aristocrat, David Cameron is descended from King William IV). Simply put, aristocrats are bred to rule, lead and fight and they can usually do this even when their terrifying amounts of political power is taken away from them:
For instance the Japanese abolished their caste system as part of the Meiji restoration, but a survey done in the 1970's showed that the descendants of the Samurai and other high caste people revealed that their descendants were still doing exceptionally well. For instance Princess Masako (wife of the crown prince) was from a samurai family and was a successful diplomat before her marriage.
*Like the Howards/Dukes of Norfolk, have inherited the position of Earl Marshal, which used to be a hugely powerful position but has now descended into organising state funerals, coronations and the opening of parliament. So the Howard family went from organising rebellions to organising coronations...
P.S. I think the women in the Iron Island have more freedom as well and they're more war like. Its hard to tell exactly, but based on Asha and her mother, who leaves Balon, at least.
Saltwives? Honour crimes? Sounds like Saudi Arabia. I think the Iron Islands are the worst place for women in Westeros after Wildling society (Which I think of as being like a cold Sierra Leone).
I would see Asha and her mother as being exceptional: mostly because, for all his other faults , Balon seems to be one of those men who genuinely likes women (or atleast likes both Asha and Alannys) and thus is willing to give both those women freedom to be themselves. Or atleast he is happy for Asha to be herself, because he loves her. And even if he doesn't like Alannys, he realises that if he had made Alannys stay with him, her insanity would have gotten on his nerves, so he just let her leave (it's almost "I want my beloved to be happy thing", which nobody would have suspected of a cantankerous fool like Balon)