Oh gosh, am I really going first? FML.
I'll be honest, I felt a lot of trepidation picking Ned as the person I wanted to analyze with Sansa, let alone me completing an analysis at all. I think that you all are so much better at it. In the end, though, I trudged on, and I hope that my points will be of interest, and can facilitate a healthy little discussion. This father and daughter dynamic, their similarities, their divergences; they were quite fun to explore.
So, for Sansa, and for Winterfell, read on!
An Analysis of Sansa & Ned
by: CandaceIn our modern society, father-daughter relationships are characterized in a few ways. We can begin with the image of the nuclear family: father, mother, one sister, and one brother - a quartet of familial perfection. Ofttimes, the children will each be a clone of one parent, and each parent is always represented. Sometimes you get a daughter like the father, other times (it seems more frequent) that the girl is portrayed with the looks and qualities of the mother. There is also that warm concept of a "daddy's little girl," a princess who is the apple of her patriarch's eye and is given everything by him. This portrayal is typically not that the daughter is similar to the father, but rather that she is beloved by him. It knocks at the door of gender roles, suggesting that due to the sex of the family members, the daughter is beneath the father, cannot aspire to be like him, but is patted on the head for being a sweet little girl.Those are the modern ideals, oddly. However, things are slightly modified as they appear in this saga, even from the very beginning, in AGoT.From the start, it would appear more that the role of Daddy's little girl is taken up by Arya. She has Ned's look, and he is quite fond of her to boot. Early on, Sansa remarks, during their trip down the Kingsroad, that Ned does not ever punish Arya for running wild in the mud and the swamps, but rather thanks her for the flowers she gathers in those places. Sansa's older model is her mother, Catelyn, as at this time, Sansa is invested in learning the ways of being a proper lady, and it's only natural that she would look to her mother for guidance, as well as her septa, too. Some of Sansa's interests however, and her nature are very reminiscent of her father, even then.Bran I, AGoT, Kindle Version Page 12:
A large subtext in Sansa's character arc has been the stories and songs of Westeros. Granted, Ned is no bard, but knowing that he would sit around the fire with his children and tell them stories, it does seem to hint at where her initial interest might have been sparked. Ned puts stock in his gods more than he does "nursery tales" but he doesn't have to believe in them to tell them to the kids, and Sansa from a young age probably would have listened to everything a parent said, and been in wonderment of it.Apart from just flights of fancy, this event in her childhood, as well as being a part of Ned's persona, is the ability to know many things and to recite them. Ned knows his bannermen, he knows the tales from wars and histories, and it seems that he has imparted at least some of those to his offspring. If we take into account outside examples, not every noble was brought up to be so mindful of the past and of the interpersonal dynamics of various houses.Yet, Sansa for one is always expounding about these sorts of tidbits in her POV. She pays attention to people, which in the end contributes to her compassion, empathy, and social skills. Her father was not a savant as far as courtly social games and politicking, but he did possess the other traits - a good heart, and ability to notice others. Luckily for Sansa, she is Ned 2.0 in the fact that she has taken these graces to a whole new level of acumen, and she can use them to further herself and protect herself in the world. She is far better at expressing herself and taking note of things than Ned was. Though, I will say, that was developed over time, and is due to some tutelage, indirect or otherwise, by persons in her life like Sandor and Littlefinger. I'll leave that to those who are analyzing them, though.Bran I, AGoT, Kindle Version Page 12:
He had a grim cast to his grey eyes this day, and he seemed not at all the man who would sit before the fire in the evening and talk softly of the age of heroes and the children of the forest.
So many characters in ASOIAF wear two or more identities, faces, masks. Sometimes it is literally a new face, as in the case of the FM and Jaqen. Other times it is that the character must masquerade as another, such as Jeyne Poole as "Arya Stark," Sansa as "Alayne Stone," or Tyrion as "Hugor Hill." Finally, the new face can be a subconscious split, as if two people are housed within one body - Petyr vs. Littlefinger, Ned vs. Lord Stark. Indeed, identity is one of those overarching themes of the series, and so it is unsurprising to see it played with in two central characters such as Ned and Sansa. From the above quote courtesy of Bran, we learn that the Stark children's father has a personal and a "professional" side to him.Ned's personal side can be argued to be like his heart, and his professional like his brain. He is a loving father in truth, but his other truth is that he is Lord over a great domain, and must rule. He seems to understand that the two are exclusive, and he has adapted a second persona to cover all bases. This is one of the lessons on the path to adulthood, that there are times and situations where one must modulate their behavior, whether one likes it or not.Sansa undergoes this lesson in her arc, starting from the King's Landing period when she builds her shield of courtesy to hide behind, and she becomes the obedient little bird trapped in a cage. She takes this to new heights with her adoption of Alayne Stone, a mask that she grows and entwined with more and more as time passes, to where her current chapters are headed as Alayne, and the writing within refers to her as such. Instead of professional necessity, Sansa’s other face is one she requires for survival. Because, to be Sansa Stark at this time in the novels is a questionable thing, and it's a dangerous name to wear.
He had taken off Father's face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell.
However, as we have read, there are times when both Sansa and Ned creep out from behind their masks. We have Ned in his later days, dreaming of home and wishing he had never come to King's Landing. That all he wants is to be at home with his wife and children, in Winterfell. We have Sansa, declaring inwardly that she is not LF's daughter, but the blood of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, and she also builds her castle in the snow, nostalgic of home. I find it intriguing that both father and daughter seem to have simple wants and needs. Even when Sansa was young, naive, and dreaming of Joffrey, she did not want to marry him so much for the power as for him and the beautiful children she could envision them having. The only times that Sansa directly seemed in awe of the Queenship were occasions such as the fight at the meal table with her sister, whereupon she screeched that Arya would have to bow to her and call her "Your Grace" and subsequently got pelted with an orange for her outburst.
This is not to say, however, that Sansa is unaware of class. One of her personal themes that is built upon within the books is the relationships between class, honor, and true nobility. This can be seen in her dealings, early on, with characters like Jeyne Poole, who she is careful to point out is of low status, and thus is not given the opportunity of things like marrying a lord (such as Jeyne was interested in, with Beric Dondarrion). Another early character is Jon, whom she classifies as "half-brother." I would argue that these primary dealings are from the period when Sansa's role model was her mother, and that later on, as she realizes that true nobility is not in name, that Sansa comes closer to her father's beliefs in that sector. Ned is aware of those around him, also, but he does not have the same hard lines as other nobles would. He also seems the type to ferret out people with true merit, and not just those of high birth.AGoT, Catelyn II:
Robert would never harm me or any of mine. We were closer than brothers. He loves me. If I refuse him, he will roar and curse and bluster, and in a week we will laugh about it together. I know the man!”
Ned shook his head, refusing to believe. “
"I can't go. I'm supposed to marry Prince Joffrey. I love him and I'm meant to be his queen and have his babies."
One common failing of both Sansa and Ned's personalities is that they are naive about those around them, seeing the good in people (which is not necessarily a horrible thing) but not seeing the bad underneath, the "knife in the dark" so to speak. Even once burned - Sansa and the "Lady" incident, Ned and the Kingsroad incident, these two cling to their perceptions. Maybe not out of ignorance so much as out of self-preservation. Sansa is set to marry Joffrey, it would be hard to reel against him for her. Ned's brick wall is that Robert is his King.
Still, there are characters out there who would rebel anyway, and there is the distinction - these characters do not, and they are alike in not taking that action, but keeping their concerns internalized. This is the starting point. Herein, I would also argue that Sansa has surpassed her father while not losing his essence. She sees good in people where it is merited, even though she is jaded by the present point in the books. However, whereas Ned did not learn from his earlier setbacks, and went on to make more and more (trusting LF, confronting Cersei...), Sansa gradually evolved, forming her own strategy. She kept everything internal during her tenure in King's Landing, and learned how to say the things that wanted to be heard in order to protect herself.
Here though, I have to raise an important point. It is my belief that Sansa was only able to do this because she is female, and a child still.
After all, even after Lady's passing, Sansa did take more unfortunate action. She went to Cersei about their family leaving the capitol, in one prominent example. In sum, she makes more mistakes, so she does not learn from her setback straightaway. It takes her time. However, due firstly to her gender, she is not seen as big a threat as Ned was, as a man, a lord, and someone in power. She cannot wield a sword. She is not the immediate heir to her family seat. She is underestimated as all-around less treacherous because she does not have a penis. And then there is her age. She is a minor, and she holds no position of authority. For that she is considered tractable, and others can make decisions for her. Whoever holds Sansa gets to make those decisions. Because of those reasons, and also her birth and possibility at being an heiress, Sansa lives to see another day.
Past AGoT, she wises up, and the point is moot. It's lucky that Sansa gets that borrowed time, because she figures out how better to conduct herself for the future, for survival.
Finally, I wish to say a brief thing about the Faith. Following her persona transformations, Sansa seems to lean increasingly toward the Old Gods rather than to the Seven. Several poignant moments spring to mind: refusing to sing in the Sept for Joffrey during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, meeting Dontos in the Godswood while planning escape, and Sansa's note that the Vale soil is not rich enough to support a Godswood. And she is not the only one doing so. Bran, who started off the series wanting to be a knight (attributed to the Seven Faith) is now en process of becoming a tree, Rickon would appear to be in a place that touts the Old Way, and then there's Arya, who is playing around with the god of the FM. In short, Ned's offspring are coming around to the beliefs of the father that they have lost.
To finish, a summary list of potential questions:1
Once she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his mother, the queen. They had repaid that love and trust with her father's head. Sansa would never make that mistake again.
. What does it say about the culture of the North and the Starks that Sansa, as she aged and survived, grew more and more to be like her father, moving away from some of the traits she had previously shared with Catelyn?2
. What of her mother does she retain even now, and has that helped her?3
. Does Ned possess something that Sansa has yet to learn or adopt that will be of benefit?4
. What level of culpability does Sansa really have in her father's execution? Given that they both made similar mistakes in trusting where they shouldn't.5
In his youth, Ned had fostered at the Eyrie, and the childless Lord Arryn had become a second father to him
In a manner of speaking, Sansa/Alayne is currently fostering at the Eyrie, and err, LF has taken on the role of her second "father." Discuss anything about this that provokes you. I personally have to wonder how the solitude there impacted both father and daughter during their stays. Also, what impact does each person's foster parent have on their development? After all, Jon Arryn surely taught Ned some very different things than Littlefinger teaches Sansa. Ultimately the different teachings may have impact on the survival of the pupil and on their adult behavior.6
"When you're older, I'll make you a match with someone who's worthy of you. Someone who's brave and gentle and strong."
Oh those words, oh if Sansa had taken them to heart when Ned spoke them. What do we think? Does Ned have a good idea of the traits that would best suit his eldest daughter in a partner? (After all, Ned, believed Arya could be happy
wedding a great Southron Lord, and I think we all know how true that is....) How much are these traits like Ned's own nature?7
. Anything else concerning Ned and Sansa that you would like to bring up that I have talked on, or that I have overlooked?