Here is the Post that was Promised discussing some of the very interesting things that Sansa heard just before Aunt Lysa went flying out the Moon Door. I feel this is often missed, first, because of the dramatic tension in the Lysa/Sansa/Petyr interaction and Sansa’s near escape from death; second, because we have had little to no follow-up thoughts from Sansa on the subject. When her mind returns to the scene it is always focused on Lysa’s murder and her own near-miss.
“NO!”…”You can’t want her. You can’t. She’s a stupid empty-headed little girl…”
Here we see another person who underestimates Sansa. It’s the same refrain: “stupid,” “empty-headed,” “little girl.” Lysa is deranged with jealousy and wants to belittle her supposed rival, but it’s interesting the terms she used.
Petyr, on the other hand, is more wary. After Lysa spills her story about the moon tea and aborting Petyr’s child, Petyr says, “You ought not to talk so much. We don’t want Alayne to know more than she should, do we?”
But Lysa throws caution out the Moon Door. After reminding Petyr that she had persuaded Jon Arryn to give him his first post, Lysa is “sobbing hysterically
” – she is beyond seeing sense.
“No need for tears…but that’s not what you said in King’s Landing. You told me to put the tears in Jon’s wine, and I did! For Robert, and for us! And I wrote Catelyn and told her that the Lannisters had killed my lord husband, just as you said! That was so clever…”
Whoa. The beans have been spilled, and how! Littlefinger reacts very coolly, reassuring Lysa that he would always love her and stay by her side. He ignores Sansa, who is still in Lysa’s clutches on the threshold of the Moon Door. Petyr commands Lysa to let her go, and Sansa “crawled from the Moon Door on hands and knees and wrapped her arms around the nearest pillar. She could feel her heart pounding.”
The import of Lysa’s words does not register with Sansa right now, because Lysa nearly killed her. She’s in a state of numb shock. Then a few more falsely reassuring words from Petyr, and Lysa flies. Petyr, cool as a cucumber, asks Sansa if she is okay, then tells her to let the guards in. “This singer [Marillion, a silent witness to the whole event] has killed my lady wife.”
So there it is in all its glory: Lysa poisoned Jon Arryn and told Catelyn that the Lannisters did it on Petyr’s orders. Petyr has murdered her aunt and framed Marillion. Sansa now has some real dirt on Petyr. What can, or will, she do with it?
Nothing, right now. Sansa is terribly aware that she is in a very bad position, personally and politically. To the Lannisters and their allies, she’s a wanted woman. To the North, she’s persona non grata as “Lady Lannister.” She thinks all of her siblings are dead. She is terribly, dangerously dependent on Petyr and she knows it. In her first chapter – notably, from the POV of Sansa, not Alayne – she is worried about having to lie to Lord Nestor Royce about Marillion killing Lysa. And she insists in her mind that she is not Alayne, but “Sansa Stark, Lord Eddard’s daughter and Lady Catelyn’s, the blood of Winterfell.”
But she knows that “If not for Petyr Baelish it would have been Sansa who went spinning out the cold blue sky to stony death…”
She continues to contemplate that in King’s Landing, “Littlefinger had never lifted so much as his little finger for her.”
Instead, Tyrion, Sandor, and Garlan Tyrell were the ones who went out of their way for her. And now she was with Petyr and there was nowhere left for her to go: “I have no place but here, Sansa thought miserably, and no true friend but Petyr.”
As she collects her wits preparing to lie to Lord Royce and comforting Sweetrobin, Sansa recalls the conversation but blames Lysa: “She was mad and dangerous. She murdered her own lord husband, and would have murdered me…”
Sansa remembers what she heard but blames Lysa for being “mad.” I think right now she is too traumatized from her own near-murder and is desperately trying to cover her own butt to have had the fact that Lysa murdered Jon Arryn on Petyr’s orders sink in. Plus there is the power of denial – Littlefinger is her only friend and refuge. She can’t think of him as a cold-blooded murderer. As I see it, given what she’s been through and what her current position is, she is dissociating
, which many victims of abuse and trauma do in order to save their own sanity.
However, there is some subtext here, and it is about the power of singers and storytellers to spread damaging rumors. Recall that Edmure Tully hated minstrels because one made fun of his bout of “whiskey dick.” When the Vale lords come to the Eyrie to hear the accusations against Marillion, they complain he has made up derogatory songs about them.
Well, guess who loves to sing? Guess who is now the protégée of the master of the well-placed word? If Sansa wants to, she could use the power of song and story to undermine her opponents. People underestimated Littlefinger all his life (short, weak, poor, cheerfully self-deprecating) just as they have been underestimating Sansa (silly little girl, stupid, weak). Later in this chapter Petyr says to Sansa, “You see the wonders that can be worked with lies and Arbor gold?”
Sansa is not a swordfighter. She is not a battle queen with dragons. But she is intelligent, charming, and has learned how to lie and how to cover up her true emotions behind an icy wall of courtesy. She is already learning fast; she has observed that if Petyr “were removed, or…killed,” “Lord Nestor’s claim to the Gates will suddenly be called into question. It was clever of you to see it.”
And in a later chapter, she susses out that Lyn Corbray is working on Petyr’s payroll without him saying anything.
Throughout AFFC, when Sansa’s thoughts turn back to the Moon Door Incident, it’s always around the fact that she narrowly escaped with her life, and that her aunt had died. But the facts revealed by Lysa before she went flying are there and ticking away like a time bomb. Meanwhile Petyr is not as cautious around her as he should be – partly because he underestimates her like everyone else, and partly because Sansa with her resemblance to Catelyn, is his one weakness.
I predict that Sansa will be able to use the power of words and intellect – which, after all, was what got Petyr into his position of power – to establish her own agency and power and to do what she wants to do. She overheard that damning conversation for a reason and it will be interesting to see where she goes with it. I do think it is important.
And the fact that she is learning to be a tactician rather than a battle commander is revealing how she will get her power back. I am confident that she will end the story as Sansa Stark of Winterfell - whether she is Queen of the North, regent for Rickon or Sweetrobin, Lady Clegane, Lady of the Formerly-Known-as-the-Dreadfort (it would be interesting to see if she could rehabilitate and rename that place) or purveyor of wool and mutton to the lords of Westeros.
Another reason why I don't think she will marry HtH and lead an army from the Vale to take back the North - leading an army is not her style, but using words and cleverness and persuading people to help her and take her part, is. I think she will take Littlefinger down and he won't know that the trout he has caught has turned into a wolf and is about to eat him alive until it's too late.
Edited by KittensRuleBeetsDrool, 03 August 2012 - 04:53 PM.