Queen Cersei I, on 25 May 2012 - 10:51 PM, said:
Actually, quite a few people not only take the Tyrion/ Sansa “relationship” seriously, they are offended by Sansa’s rejection of him (both sexually and otherwise) and hold it up as evidence of her shallowness. Interestingly, it is often noted sardonically (by many people) that “Sansa only likes pretty boys.” (Apparently, it is forgotten that Tyrion, ugly himself, will only sleep with young and beautiful women, mocks all ugly females, even after they’ve been raped, and that his primary reason for “loving” Sansa is her beauty.) Some people often argue that Sansa’s “Moral turnaround/ redemption” can and will come around by her putting her "shallow standards" aside, and coming to love Tyrion, who clearly deserves to be loved by a gorgeous young girl.
According to this line of thinking, her sexual rejection of him is something she must rethink, and will, once she grows up/ matures/ grows less shallow. (Again, no words on Tyrion’s shallowness; apparently ugly guys can be shallow, hate all ugly females, and simultaneously hope/ expect gorgeous teen girls will look past their own ugly male demeanors, and see the worthy lover within.) In other words, Sansa will “grow up” and “redeem herself” by giving up all her sexual and romantic standards (which are, once again, no more shallow than Tyrion’s or other countless male characters) and giving love and sex to the ugly male character that countless readers relate to.
However, I do think he is, to a certain extent, responsible for a portrayal of Sansa as somewhat “shallow” in her preferences; though she is in fact far less so than Tyrion, who will only consider pretty girls, but whose preferences are always presented as normal/ natural. For instance, in the first book Sansa’s attraction to the beautiful Joffrey is, at best, portrayed with a highly condescending indulgence; Sansa is made to look silly, childish, naïve, and rather insipid for loving joff for his looks. (As one Sansa hater put it, “She betrayed her father for a dreamy prince.”) However, Tyrion’s “love” for Shae for THE EXACT SAME REASONS at the age of 25 or so is portrayed with great sympathy. Regardless of whether or not one personally agrees with how sympathetic Tyrion came off, I’d argue that GRRM portrays his feelings with earnestness and sympathy, and not a hint of condescension or distain. With Sansa, these feelings are all over the place.
First, I completely agree with everything you say.
Proponents for the marriage between Sansa and Tyrion seem to have either two basic arguments, they should stay together for political reasons or that when Sansa is "older,wiser, less shallow" she will see that Tyrion is a good guy and will want to be with him. As to the first point, there is quite a bit of evidence in the text to show this not to be the case. In fact, I'd say that Martin does a pretty decent job of showing how arranged marriages, especially forced ones, are not all that effective. An alliance of Stark and Lannister via their marriage would do very little for Westeros as a whole or the North and Westerlands specifically. As to the second point, you dispute those reasons wonderfully.
SerMixalot, on 25 May 2012 - 11:21 PM, said:
I believe you mischaracterize GRRM as gently mocking sansa's love interests. I find them charming and adorable because I never lose sight of Sansa's youth and innocence. She hasnt experienced enough life to develope more sophisticated interests in the opposite sex so she is attracted to the embodiment of the stories that she grew up with. That seems healthy and normal to me. Especially when compared to the warped view of sexuality and interpersonal relationships that Tyrion expresses.
From comments made on this board on a regular basis, you are a minority. Sansa is mocked for falling for the pretty prince and vilified as being stupid for it.
brashcandy, on 25 May 2012 - 11:50 PM, said:
Tell this to the legion of fans who criticise her for not being able to see through Joffrey, and for being a foolish girl in love. I guess some of us might still be able to appreciate Sansa's characterization in AGOT, but I do think Queen Cersei made a legitimate point about GRRM being a bit too heavy handed at times in his portrayal, especially as it relates to the opposite characterisation of Arya, who eschews feminine pursuits and is definitely NOT interested in marriage. One scene in AGOT that always makes me raise my eyebrows is after Ned's attack when Jory is killed, and Sansa seemingly has no real reaction to this; she's much more interested in looking at Jory's replacement and is annoyed that her father didn't send the handsome Ser Loras to capture the Mountain. It was like GRRM was bending over backwards to paint Sansa as REALLY shallow, and it doesn't jive with what we actually know of her IMHO.
Yes to the bolded part!!!
I seem to be a little late to the discussion but I'm butting in with a couple thoughts anyways.
The most hated characters in the entire fandom are Sansa, Cersei, Dany, and Catelyn. No male character receives even a fraction of the crititcism that these four do. They are also the four that stray the farthest from the warrior princess trope commonly found in the science fiction and fantasy genres as well. The "hot chick who can kick-ass" is a large part of popular culture right now. Off the top of my head, I can think of Buffy, Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series, and the Resident Evil movies. Superficially, these are women who are capable of killing the bad guys and protecting themselves - just like the warrior princess. But, I find them to be non-threatening characters to patriarchy. They are beautiful women who choose to fight in masculine ways. They assimilate to masculine values rather than try to make change. This is why characters like Briene, Asha, and Arya receive so little criticism. Shouldn't Asha go home to her husband, after all she was married to him, it should't matter that it was against her will? Why isn't Brienne doing what her father says and getting married?
In the past 24 hours alone, I have seen posts stating that Cersei deserves to be raped, Catelyn is responsible for the war of the five kings, Dany is a slut, and Sansa is a horrible person for not kneeling at her wedding to Tyrion. The only other characters who receive even close to this level of hate are Daario and Darkstar and even those comments are made with a level of mocking and humor.
On the whole, I do appreciate that Martin has included such a wide variety of female characters in his books. In many ways, I think he does a great job at portraying his characters with compassion and sympathy where it is deserved. However, I think he came up short when it came to Tyrion, Sansa, and Cersei. We all know that Tyrion is Martin's favorite character, in fact Martin has said that Tyrion is very easy for him to write. Yet, he is written in such as way that his wit and self-pity tend to spawn only sympathy from readers with only a superficial condemnation of his many terrible actions at best. As to Cersei, I admit she has done many horrible things. I also believe she is guilty of many crimes and should be punished for them. But, reading her POVs in AFFC leads many to vilify and demonize her for her sexuality. She receives very little sympathy for being the victim of sexual and domestic violence from her husband. Cersei also shows us how the male-dominated martial society of Westeros can victimize women yet many readers fail to take note of this fact. As for Sansa, all of you have done a great job already of explaining the shortcomings on how she has been written, I don't rally have anything to add other than my total agreement.
Also, for the record, I actually love Buffy. A lot.