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Anyone want to talk about Sansa?


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#1 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:05 PM

So based on another thread from earlier today I've noticed that a lot of people feel like Sansa has had a lot of personal growth, and is considered by many to be one of the better characters in regards to progression. I'll admit that that I've never been a fan of her, but generally like the Starks, and I really want to like her. Someone suggested I look into the Sansa reread threads, which I did, for further insight. After skimming through them (no way I can read every single response to all 7 of those threads) I must admit that I was being a bit unfair to her character. Here are my updated thoughts after taking some things into account, and I'm just curious if anyone can elaborate further on her character to help change my mind a little more.



Edit: this is my first start of a topic and somehow posted it before I was done. Sorry

Anyway I definitely wasn't taking into account her age, gentle upbringing, etc. in regards to her naivety. I also realize that she has been making small steps towards growing out of her hopefulness of a fairy tale life. That being said, I still don't see the "growth" that everyone is talking about.

In my opinion she has just been forced/dragged kicking and screaming towards adulthood and progression in general.

I agree that her character has potential to become very interesting, depending on how her arc continues, but I just don't see what the fuss is about so far especially considering how GRRM is about throwing curve balls in his storylines/characterization.

Anyway, not trying to bash her or anything, just looking to have a little back and forth to help me understand why she is such a likable character. Thanks, and again I apologize for posting half a topic early. Hopefully I'll get the hang of this shit soon.

Edited by Hutch, 21 July 2013 - 08:18 PM.


#2 King Joffrey's Revenge

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:20 PM

i think what everyone means about "growth" is how she isnt always stuck in fairyland anymore, and how she is seen taking charge around the Eyrie and with the care of sweetrobin.
before, she wouldnt have been able to handle the responsibilitys or the presure of playing the "game" with littlefinger.

Edited by King Joffrey's Revenge, 21 July 2013 - 08:25 PM.


#3 Florina Laufeyson

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:22 PM

Here's a short summary of how i feel about Sansa at the moment.

You know in like, kung fu movies, theres always that little guy who hangs out and does fuck all for most of the movie? He just sits there watching while everyone is busting out badass moves? Hes just chillin', gauging the situation, seeing who's side does what and calculating everyone's moves. You keep thinking "dude, go kick ass already!" but hes not budging.

Not until the final act of the film, that is.

Things are looking bad for both ends in the movie. Everyone is getting their asses kicked by each other. The Big Bad looks like he might actually win. But then, Little Dude gets up and saunters over and busts out with incredibly badass kung fu move that leaves the Big Bad defeated and everyone going "HOLY SHIT" including the audience. Yeah? That trope. That trope right there.

Sansa is that trope. At least i feel she is.
Shes gotten tugged around as a load for most of the story. She's sat on her laurels for a good while, only getting up every once in while to do something kinda cool. Shes been led around, beaten, smacked around, dragged through shit and back, and now is hiding her very identity. Shes in the clutches of one of the Big Bads of the story, Littlefinger. Shes hearing his side of things as well as the Lords Declarant. She sees Lysa fly, sees Sweetrobin's situation, sees LF's plan for her to get the Vale via Harry The Heir. She's hearing about Jon becoming LC of the NW. Shes listening to everything. Its only a matter of time before she actually makes a move. And when she does, it will be awesome. Shes gonna get up and bust out with her own brand of Kung Fu and make the audience go "duuuuuude...."

What is that move you ask? Well that depends. But i think it has Littlefinger and possibly Harry The Heir meeting Chekhov's Hairnet. Our baby girl isnt gonna stay sweet forever. Shes gonna put on her special Saving The World Boots on and take matters into her own hands. I think she will end up with the Vale. She has a claim there even if it is by marriage. If she disposes of Harry The Heir, the Vale is hers without a marriage. Robb's will disinherits her from Winterfell but that wont matter too much if she can get her paws on another hunk of land and bannermen. Mwahahahahahahahh.

#4 Dr. Pepper

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:26 PM

I think the best threads to check out are the Pawn to Player threads. There is a lot of stuff discussed in those threads, but the first post of every new thread includes several resource links. They are currently on the 20th version of the thread and it can be found here. It would take hours and days to read all 20 threads, even just to read all of the posts linked in the resources. But they do work really hard to make sure that links are kept organized to make finding certain things easier.

Some of my favorite posts in those threads:
Jon and Sansa
The serpentine steps
Agency through erotic power

They also link to threads that are Sansa specific. Two of my favorites:
Snow castle
Arya and Sansa names


Those in the PtP threads love talking about Sansa and they are really nice and can direct you quickly to certain passages in the text that give a lot of insight into Sansa. I think they've done an amazing job at cultivating meaningful Sansa discussion or, at the very least, encouraged people to take a second look at Sansa just to see if opinions about her will change.

I generally enjoy Sansa's arc. Though, I find I have to be in the mood to really sit down and dig into some of the analysis. I love forward to seeing what is going to happen to her and I'm glad I took a second look at her character.

#5 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:29 PM

Here's a short summary of how i feel about Sansa at the moment.

You know in like, kung fu movies, theres always that little guy who hangs out and does fuck all for most of the movie? He just sits there watching while everyone is busting out badass moves? Hes just chillin', gauging the situation, seeing who's side does what and calculating everyone's moves. You keep thinking "dude, go kick ass already!" but hes not budging.

Not until the final act of the film, that is.

Things are looking bad for both ends in the movie. Everyone is getting their asses kicked by each other. The Big Bad looks like he might actually win. But then, Little Dude gets up and saunters over and busts out with incredibly badass kung fu move that leaves the Big Bad defeated and everyone going "HOLY SHIT" including the audience. Yeah? That trope. That trope right there.

Sansa is that trope. At least i feel she is.
Shes gotten tugged around as a load for most of the story. She's sat on her laurels for a good while, only getting up every once in while to do something kinda cool. Shes been led around, beaten, smacked around, dragged through shit and back, and now is hiding her very identity. Shes in the clutches of one of the Big Bads of the story, Littlefinger. Shes hearing his side of things as well as the Lords Declarant. She sees Lysa fly, sees Sweetrobin's situation, sees LF's plan for her to get the Vale via Harry The Heir. She's hearing about Jon becoming LC of the NW. Shes listening to everything. Its only a matter of time before she actually makes a move. And when she does, it will be awesome. Shes gonna get up and bust out with her own brand of Kung Fu and make the audience go "duuuuuude...."

What is that move you ask? Well that depends. But i think it has Littlefinger and possibly Harry The Heir meeting Chekhov's Hairnet. Our baby girl isnt gonna stay sweet forever. Shes gonna put on her special Saving The World Boots on and take matters into her own hands. I think she will end up with the Vale. She has a claim there even if it is by marriage. If she disposes of Harry The Heir, the Vale is hers without a marriage. Robb's will disinherits her from Winterfell but that wont matter too much if she can get her paws on another hunk of land and bannermen. Mwahahahahahahahh.


The Kung fu analogy is probably the best explanation I've heard yet, thanks for that as it had me laughing. So I also agree that she could very well do something great. My problem is that I don't think she has done fuckall yet. I hope she does. I think she might. But GRRM being who he is I could easily see her getting offed for no apparent reason. Hypothetically if that happens, what is her legacy or contribution thy everyone loves up to this point?

#6 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:32 PM

I think the best threads to check out are the Pawn to Player threads. There is a lot of stuff discussed in those threads, but the first post of every new thread includes several resource links. They are currently on the 20th version of the thread and it can be found here. It would take hours and days to read all 20 threads, even just to read all of the posts linked in the resources. But they do work really hard to make sure that links are kept organized to make finding certain things easier.

Some of my favorite posts in those threads:
Jon and Sansa
The serpentine steps
Agency through erotic power

They also link to threads that are Sansa specific. Two of my favorites:
Snow castle
Arya and Sansa names


Those in the PtP threads love talking about Sansa and they are really nice and can direct you quickly to certain passages in the text that give a lot of insight into Sansa. I think they've done an amazing job at cultivating meaningful Sansa discussion or, at the very least, encouraged people to take a second look at Sansa just to see if opinions about her will change.

I generally enjoy Sansa's arc. Though, I find I have to be in the mood to really sit down and dig into some of the analysis. I love forward to seeing what is going to happen to her and I'm glad I took a second look at her character.


Thank you very muchfor those, and I will definitely check those out.

Edited by Hutch, 21 July 2013 - 08:32 PM.


#7 thepooperthatwaspromised

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:34 PM

there was recently a thread about "who would you defend no matter what" and like a curious dork i kept a running tally. sansa was the undisputed winner; i think because her arc is real; so it is open, it is fluid, it is organic - you may not know exactly where it will go but it is moving towards something compelling and great.

ETA: spelling

Edited by thepooperthatwaspromised, 21 July 2013 - 08:35 PM.


#8 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:38 PM

there was recently a thread about "who would you defend no matter what" and like a curious dork i kept a running tally. sansa was the undisputed winner; i think because her arc is real; so it is open, it is fluid, it is organic - you may not know exactly where it will it will go but it is is moving towarrds something compelling and great.


I really hope everyone is right in that assumption, and in all honesty I do see a chance for her to have a great ending. I guess I'm just confused as to the overwhelming support her story has up to this point. I was hoping that maybe I missed something, but I guess it's more that the support is coming from what she might do, and not what she has done?

#9 Florina Laufeyson

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:39 PM

I think she might. But GRRM being who he is I could easily see her getting offed for no apparent reason.

If any Stark survives the series, i think its Sansa. Shes got a purpose. Shes a lynch pin in some master plan laid out by GRRM. If she was killed off especially before doing anything awesome, there really would be no point to her arc. I think shes the ONLY one who can really dispose of Littlefinger. That dude has got to go for obvious reasons. How sweet would it be that he gets offed by the very one he tried to possess?

#10 butterbumps!

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:42 PM

Anyway, not trying to bash her or anything, just looking to have a little back and forth to help me understand why she is such a likable character. Thanks, and again I apologize for posting half a topic early. Hopefully I'll get the hang of this shit soon.


Well, this is really a bit broad. Are you asking why fans of Sansa like her?

I can point to a moment where I deeply fell for her. During Blackwater, Cersei is being, well, drunken Cersei, and tells Sansa that to be queen, you must make people fear you. Sansa thinks how this seems wrong, and that "If I am ever a queen, I'll make them love me." This, to me, is Sansa.

To elaborate a bit, she maintains a sense of self, rightness and dignity no matter what she faces. Her growth is subtle, because, well, let's face it, she's not exactly in a situation in which she has complete agency except over how she sees herself and how she controls herself. But the evolution is unmistakably there, to the point that by FFC she's taking "I'll make them love me" to new levels wrt giving LF what he wants to hear, all the while highly aware of who she really is and not entirely unaware of LF's untrustworthiness. To round it off, she's also extremely kind, especially to those others want to toss away, like Lollys.

But this topic is so broad, the links Dr. P provided are must reads if you're really interested in figuring her out better.

Edited by butterbumps!, 21 July 2013 - 08:43 PM.


#11 WeirwoodTreeHugger

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:49 PM

She didn't have a chapter in ADWD. GRRM has not released a gift chapter or done a reading of a Sansa chapter in TWOW. That makes me think her story is about to get very interesting. She is for sure going to be a twist on the damsel in distress trope.

#12 Kittykatknits

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:50 PM

Awesome kung fu post of awesomness.

Thank you Flo, I loved reading this.

The Kung fu analogy is probably the best explanation I've heard yet, thanks for that as it had me laughing. So I also agree that she could very well do something great. My problem is that I don't think she has done fuckall yet. I hope she does. I think she might. But GRRM being who he is I could easily see her getting offed for no apparent reason. Hypothetically if that happens, what is her legacy or contribution thy everyone loves up to this point?

If I could reduce Sansa's character development to one word it would probably be "subtle". The challenge when reading her chapters is the big events, the ones where she does something often are hidden in single lines and off-hand comments. Her thoughts take up much of the space on the page so stuff gets missed. Martin laid the hints with her character all the way back in Game on who she is and what Sansa can do. She tends to get labeled as naive, which is true, but that can cause someone to miss what else is going on. The first big hint of Sansa's skills come in her very first POV when she easily identifies Renly and Barristan. It doesn't appear to be a big moment but it's our first clue that Sansa has a natural talent for courtly life and the ability to charm. She's stoic when Ser Hugh is killed whereas Jeyne Poole is taken away. Martin makes us work to understand exactly what each of these moments truly reveal about Sansa's character. It's small stuff, not immediately obvious.

This keeps going on, such as casual comments she makes about court life, displaying insights that others seem to miss. She's suspicious of LF's grab for Harrenhal for example. She charms Kevan and Lancel during the PW and Tyrion notices it. Later in the Vale, Sansa has a couple throwaway lines about the political situation. I notice that most readers tend to miss what she's telling us here. Sansa, by herself, put together an accurate political picture of the Vale.

Sansa can lie, hide her emotions, her internal thoughts and she does it really damn well. Even more, she's getting better and better at reading people and situations. She managed to deceive pretty much everyone in KL, including Tyrion and is now doing the same with LF. It's not obvious and it's not dramatic but it is going somewhere.

So, that's what people are talking about when they mention her character growth.

#13 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:53 PM

If any Stark survives the series, i think its Sansa. Shes got a purpose. Shes a lynch pin in some master plan laid out by GRRM. If she was killed off especially before doing anything awesome, there really would be no point to her arc. I think shes the ONLY one who can really dispose of Littlefinger. That dude has got to go for obvious reasons. How sweet would it be that he gets offed by the very one he tried to possess?


I also agree that she has a role to play surely. I also thought the same about Robb and Cat though, and we all know how that turned out. I definitely think that her taking Littlefinger out would be some ironic justice awesomely dished out by Cats little girl. I've also learned though that most of my theories blow up tragically in my face, and I could see her being used as a tool to further illustrate just how evil Littlefinger is. Hope not, but you never know in this series.

#14 Florina Laufeyson

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:53 PM

Well, this is really a bit broad. Are you asking why fans of Sansa like her?

I can point to a moment where I deeply fell for her. During Blackwater, Cersei is being, well, drunken Cersei, and tells Sansa that to be queen, you must make people fear you. Sansa thinks how this seems wrong, and that "If I am ever a queen, I'll make them love me." This, to me, is Sansa.

To elaborate a bit, she maintains a sense of self, rightness and dignity no matter what she faces. Her growth is subtle, because, well, let's face it, she's not exactly in a situation in which she has complete agency except over how she sees herself and how she controls herself. But the evolution is unmistakably there, to the point that by FFC she's taking "I'll make them love me" to new levels wrt giving LF what he wants to hear, all the while highly aware of who she really is and not entirely unaware of LF's untrustworthiness. To round it off, she's also extremely kind, especially to those others want to toss away, like Lollys.

But this topic is so broad, the links Dr. P provided are must reads if you're really interested in figuring her out better.

Sansa is gonna kill em all with kindness. You are on to something there. The Lords Declarant wanted to declare for Robb initially, but Lysa was all "NOPE". Sansa, as Alayne, may subtly woo the LDs. If shes unmasked, they may actually declare for her outright. Littlefinger does have plans to unmask her when the time comes. But i think its Sansa that will do the unmasking herself. Her total lack of agency for most of the story points to her taking control of her own fate. Her distaste with the idea of Harry the Heir speaks a lot of volumes. She doesnt want this to be a thing. It also mirrors Lyanna's reaction to Robert. Lyanna may have taken matters into her own hands as far as we know. Sansa also seems to be very ambivalent to the whole Littlefinger using her as a puppet thing. Luring him into a sense of security due to her sweetness.

In the end, i believe the Vale will come to adore her if she does do what i think she'll do. Any "naughtiness" she may do will be done behind closed doors. The image of the shining Lady of the Vale is a satisfying one.

#15 The Last Lion

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:02 PM

One thing I love about Sansa is how she essentially is a stand-in for a certain type of ASOIAF fan, but actually living inside the book. She basically is a rules-following, polite, privileged, well-meaning, slightly spoiled naif who has the perfectly reasonable expectation that she will be able to pursue her personal dreams and marry someone of her choosing when she is ready . . .

She's basically your typical American college freshman, of either gender. Unfortunately that perspective does not prepare her a bit for suddenly have to deal with the life-of-death consequences of daily interactions with a series of complete sociopaths. So it's really not surprising she keeps screwing up for the first three books in horrific fashion.

While most readers fantasize about being Jon or Arya, 99% of us are Sansa. And GRRM both lets us see the reality of what that would be like, while giving us just a taste that Sansa is starting to get ahead of the learning curve in the last two books. If that doesn't create a psychological cliffhanger for the remainder of the series that's certainly as exciting as any heroic corpse animation up North, I don't know what good fiction is. And I do.

Edited by The Last Lion, 21 July 2013 - 09:03 PM.


#16 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:03 PM

Thank you all for your input. This thread has done just what I'd hoped for, in giving me some different looks at her. I guess I'll have to take all of this into account on my next reread. Also thank you to Dr. Pepper for the links which I intend to check out for further analysis. That's what I love about this forum, you all are persuasive and informed enough to to sell an Eskimo a freezer.

#17 thepooperthatwaspromised

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:07 PM

I really hope everyone is right in that assumption, and in all honesty I do see a chance for her to have a great ending. I guess I'm just confused as to the overwhelming support her story has up to this point. I was hoping that maybe I missed something, but I guess it's more that the support is coming from what she might do, and not what she has done?


hey hutch! on a light note, i've found it somewhat dangerous to talk about WHY sansa has the support she has on these threads. so i'll only try to explain why i support her, and, the overlapping arguments for dany as well, as the are both of a similar age, and have some parallel predicaments.

they both start off as relatively naive, uninformed girls, due to their upbringing.

as women of the world in which they live, which is a largely "might makes right" world, they are both women who need, and choose, to learn and live, and lead through a "feminine" perspective, which means they have to come into their own "sexual" and "political" prowess to reach their apex. they must and are both coming into their own power through learning to wield an external power which supercedes and translates externally.

both have grown in this manner, both have grown exponentially since the 1st book in this manner and both show no signs of plateau-ing this progression. so it is not solely what they will eventually achieve but is also what the have already achieved, i think, which is makes fans love them so.

Edited by thepooperthatwaspromised, 21 July 2013 - 09:08 PM.


#18 Hutch

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:16 PM

hey hutch! on a light note, i've found it somewhat dangerous to talk about WHY sansa has the support she has on these threads. so i'll only try to explain why i support her, and, the overlapping arguments for dany as well, as the are both of a similar age, and have some parallel predicaments.

they both start off as relatively naive, uninformed girls, due to their upbringing.

as women of the world in which they live, which is a largely "might makes right" world, they are both women who need, and choose, to learn and live, and lead through a "feminine" perspective, which means they have to come into their own "sexual" and "political" prowess to reach their apex. they must and are both coming into their own power through learning to wield an external power which supercedes and translates externally.

both have grown in this manner, both have grown exponentially since the 1st book in this manner and both show no signs of plateau-ing this progression. so it is not solely what they will eventually achieve but is also what the have already achieved, i think, which is makes fans love them so.


Very articulately put, and thanks for the warning. I can't say that I actually hate any character, and definitely don't want to start any Internet wars with anyone. I was just looking for some different perspective on her, which everyone has been great with sharing, so thank you much.

#19 bbstark

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:19 PM

Here's a short summary of how i feel about Sansa at the moment.

You know in like, kung fu movies, theres always that little guy who hangs out and does fuck all for most of the movie? He just sits there watching while everyone is busting out badass moves? Hes just chillin', gauging the situation, seeing who's side does what and calculating everyone's moves. You keep thinking "dude, go kick ass already!" but hes not budging.

Not until the final act of the film, that is.

Things are looking bad for both ends in the movie. Everyone is getting their asses kicked by each other. The Big Bad looks like he might actually win. But then, Little Dude gets up and saunters over and busts out with incredibly badass kung fu move that leaves the Big Bad defeated and everyone going "HOLY SHIT" including the audience. Yeah? That trope. That trope right there.

Sansa is that trope. At least i feel she is.
Shes gotten tugged around as a load for most of the story. She's sat on her laurels for a good while, only getting up every once in while to do something kinda cool. Shes been led around, beaten, smacked around, dragged through shit and back, and now is hiding her very identity. Shes in the clutches of one of the Big Bads of the story, Littlefinger. Shes hearing his side of things as well as the Lords Declarant. She sees Lysa fly, sees Sweetrobin's situation, sees LF's plan for her to get the Vale via Harry The Heir. She's hearing about Jon becoming LC of the NW. Shes listening to everything. Its only a matter of time before she actually makes a move. And when she does, it will be awesome. Shes gonna get up and bust out with her own brand of Kung Fu and make the audience go "duuuuuude...."

What is that move you ask? Well that depends. But i think it has Littlefinger and possibly Harry The Heir meeting Chekhov's Hairnet. Our baby girl isnt gonna stay sweet forever. Shes gonna put on her special Saving The World Boots on and take matters into her own hands. I think she will end up with the Vale. She has a claim there even if it is by marriage. If she disposes of Harry The Heir, the Vale is hers without a marriage. Robb's will disinherits her from Winterfell but that wont matter too much if she can get her paws on another hunk of land and bannermen. Mwahahahahahahahh.


I love this so much!! I needs to be requoted, dammit /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />
I've highlighted the part that people imo tend to take issue with Sansa. Yes, she's been beaten, stepped on, threatened, mocked, moved like a pawn, 'dragged through shit and back', so why didn't she do anything? Is it really because she's a 'polite lady' and we are expected to believe (or possibly being force fed that notion against our better judgement) that it's somehow a bad thing.
Well, no.
The word that most often comes to mind when thinking about Sansa is "agency". Sansa's capacity for action and exertion of her inner power and strength is quiet, but it's growing. She is learning, and like Flo, pointed out, she's gonna come out of nowhere and act upon her power, because she was unyielding and defiant.

To me the true heralding of Sansa's return to power is when she builds her Snow Castle. It is both beautiful and cathartic, because she finally feels like she has escaped the clutches of her captors. However it also feels like she's making a to-do list, and before getting around to it, she wonders what it is she truly wants.
That is one of the richest chapters in the book, in terms of foreshadowing, as well as thematic symbolism. There's a thread on it, Dr. Pepper has kindly provided the links. I highly recommend that particular thread if you are new to understanding Sansa (hence you might have to work backwards)
I also agree with butterbumps and Kittykatknits, in their interpretations of Sansa. /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

And while the Snow Castle is my favorite Sansa chapter, the true point of no return, when I knew that I loved her, was when she point blank said to Joffrey "or maybe he'll give me yours"
that's a lot of cheek for a 'naive and polite lady' /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

#20 lifefullofwords

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:21 PM

I still don't see the "growth" that everyone is talking about.

In my opinion she has just been forced/dragged kicking and screaming towards adulthood and progression in general.


I assume (please let me know if I'm wrong) that by "kicking and screaming" you mean that Sansa's character growth is due to the horrible shit she's been through. I actually agree. But that's also true of the other characters that are coming of age. And I don't see why that makes her growth any less valid. Many novels (as well as movies and TV series) have arcs that involve the character growing up after facing great hardship.

Also, I'm glad you were able to open your mind up about Sansa. Some people are very unfair to her. That said, maybe she's just not your cup of tea. Nothing wrong with that.

While most readers fantasize about being Jon or Arya, 99% of us are Sansa.


So true! Sansa is painfully ordinary. That's actually my favorite thing about her, and ironically what makes her such an original character. Fantasy novels are full of characters like Jon and Arya. Characters like Sansa? Not so much.