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Sansa Stark


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#1 Winter's Knight

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 06:36 PM

Found this lovely article analysing Sansa in GoT.

 

Admittedly, Sansa does not enter this series with guile and armored awareness, but she does immediately showcase her ability to use what she has been taught in high pressure situations. She is a problem solver, provided that she has the tools to do so. Early on in A Game of Thrones, she handles the potential fiasco of people being terrified of her direwolf Lady with grace and charm. She plays along with Renly’s game, using her knowledge and courtesy and etiquette to do so without angering her betrothed, the already volatile Prince Joffrey:

He smiled at her. “Now, wolf girl, if you can put a name to me as well, then I must concede that you are truly our Hand’s daughter.”
Joffrey stiffened beside her. “Have a care how you address my betrothed.”
“I can answer,” Sansa said quickly, to quell her prince’s anger. She smiled at the green knight. “Your helmet bears golden antlers, my lord. The stag is the sigil of the royal House. King Robert has two brothers. By your extreme youth, you can only be Renly Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End and councillor to the king, and so I name you.”
Ser Barristan chuckled. “By his extreme youth, he can only be a prancing jackanapes, and so I name him.”
There was general laughter, led by Lord Renly himself.”

While Sansa does not yet understand that she is playing the game of thrones, she is an excellent judge of character, and adept in using her knowledge and social graces to convince people to like her and comfort her.

 

 

 

Thoughts?



#2 Florina Laufeyson

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:52 PM

Sansa is observant to begin with, but doesnt really use this to her advantage until well after the events of GoT. During that book, shes bumbling like a blind person in the dark and just plain making a mess of things. In ACoK and onward, Sansa wises up and realizes she can use some of her powers of observation for her own sake and others. She will become a political force to be reckoned with for sure. Shes NOT quite there yet but shes getting closer and closer. 



#3 grand old duke of stark

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:58 PM

Sansa is smart and observant, but in the first few books she sees surfaces but doesn't see through people.  Whether it's Cersei or Ser Dontos or Marg and Olenna, she tends to take people and their words at face value and almost never considers their ulterior motivation.  She has certainly started wising up and by the end of ADwD has come a long way.  Early on her cleverness and understanding had been part of the social niceties she was taught.  Once she was married to Tyrion as a pawn in Tywin's Game play, she caught on that she too is part of the Game.  And now that Littlefinger is teaching her tactics and strategy (albeit also using her as a pawn), she is becoming a formidable player n her own right.



#4 RedChick

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:56 PM

Fantastic article!

Honestly my mind boggles over the vilifying toward Sansa and how people talk about how naive and stupid she is because I always felt that she acted exactly like her father (especially in AGOT). Like Ned, she clung onto the delusion that Joffrey was her Prince Charming similar to how Ned clung onto the delusion that King Bob was a fair and just king; plus both of them made the mistake of trusting Cersei as far as I'm concerned. All in all, she's definitely obtaining knowledge throughout the series and I sincerely look forward to where her arc goes.

 

Sansa is smart and observant, but in the first few books she sees surfaces but doesn't see through people.  

 

Meh, some of her observations about some characters had been on point though. She notices that there's something off about LF when she sees him at the tourney and she doesn't find Shae trustworthy (she refers to how Shae casts her "insolent looks"). 

 

 



#5 Newstar

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:40 PM

she is an excellent judge of character

 

Yeah, not so much. If she were an excellent judge of character, things would have turned out decidedly better for her. Sees Joffrey hurt Mycah and turn on Arya? She's immediately alerted to his true nature, vouches for Arya's version of events instead of staying neutral, end of story. Ned tells her that Joffrey's no good and that he'll find her someone else? Sansa's 100% on board with that assessment and never goes to Cersei in the first place, fully aware that Cersei is also bad news and can't be trusted. And so on.

 

I was inclined to say something more generous about how Sansa becomes a better judge of character in later books, but now that I think about it, she easily falls under Margaery's spell even though Margaery gives her no reason to trust her, blithely ignores Dontos' correct assessment that the Tyrells are Lannisters with flowers, and is shocked--shocked!--when they use her as a drug mule to poison Joffrey. She also seems to be warming up to "Petyr," whom she views as "warm, funny and gentle," despite having seen him murder someone before her very eyes.

 

Sansa is many things, but an excellent judge of character she is not. Anyone who can describe Sansa--who thinks that the Hound would never hurt her not too long before he presses a knife to her throat--as an excellent judge of character, or even a good judge of character, really needs to reread the books.


Edited by Newstar, 08 November 2013 - 11:50 PM.


#6 Florina Laufeyson

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 12:27 AM

 

Meh, some of her observations about some characters had been on point though. She notices that there's something off about LF when she sees him at the tourney and she doesn't find Shae trustworthy (she refers to how Shae casts her "insolent looks"). 

I think he means that Sansa cannot see through people's falsehoods. LF made Sansa feel like, in her words, "like she wasnt wearing clothes." So yeah, shes going to be like "dude, ewww." Sansa has some trouble seeing beneath what is presented at the beginning of the story. Right now, shes actually sitting on a pedestal of ambivalence. She is not really reacting (save for that moment with Randa) and just sort of taking things in stride. She seems like she put Lysa's murder out of her head, but im pretty sure its not gone from her mind. Im pretty sure Sansa remembers what LF said and the whole plot. She just hasnt a use for that information just yet. Sansa is gauging the political situation in the Vale. She is not kosher with the Harry the Heir plot, but she hasnt begun hatching a way to do anything about it. 

 

Yet. 

 

As appearing as a naive girl who winds up getting a lot of juicy bits of information, Sansa can kick a lot of fucking ass. Her story is about learning this. Its about how having no agency fucking sucks. Its about idealistic viewpoints getting knocked down and trampled into dust. Its about taking charge of her own destiny and not relying on others anymore. That last part is where im pretty sure her arc is going.



#7 Newstar

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 02:03 AM

Sansa is gauging the political situation in the Vale.

 

Mmmm, not so much. I could see how readers might have this impression if all we knew of Sansa in the Vale was a Littlefinger POV as opposed to a Sansa/Alayne POV--since Sansa is a reserved character, still waters run deep and all that--but we have the benefit of Sansa/Alayne's inner thoughts, and they don't show that Sansa/Alayne is "gauging" much of anything. She seems content to go along with what Petyr tells her, accept that Petyr doesn't tell her what he doesn't want her to know without worrying about it too much, and not think too much about the bigger picture. Now, you can fanwank Sansa's lack of political awareness or interest in the bigger picture as a self-preservation mechanism, but there's nothing in the books to suggest that Sansa is just carefully biding her time, monitoring the political situation in the Vale with a keen eye, and constantly reassessing the situation until a better option presents itself. Reading her arc that way seems like an attempt to create some sort of political genius Sansa out of thin air. If you want to look at a character who's constantly gauging the political situation and keeping an eye on the bigger picture, there are POVs like that, but Sansa's isn't one of them and frankly, the contrast between those characters' and Sansa's level of political awareness is striking.

 

 

 

She is not kosher with the Harry the Heir plot

 

Hard to say. First off, it's fair to say she wasn't keen on the marriage itself at first, but Sansa's resigned herself to many things she had initial misgivings about, so just because she doesn't like it doesn't mean she won't ultimately go along with it despite her feelings on the subject. She wound up going along with a lot of things in the series she didn't want, as  circumstances required it. Second of all, she wasn't keen on the marriage itself, but we don't know her reaction to his whole reveal-Sansa-Stark-at-her-wedding-and-win-her-back-her-birthright scheme in its entirety. We might assume that she won't go for it, based on her dislike of being used for her claims, political marriages (and marriage in general, it seems), desire to be married for love, etc. etc., but we don't know. GRRM left Sansa's reaction to the entirety of the scheme as a cliffhanger. Maybe it's because her reaction to the scheme won't be the one that we think we'll get.

 

 

 

but she hasnt begun hatching a way to do anything about it

 

Even if Sansa isn't kosher with the Harry the Heir plot, who's to say she'll do anything about it? Sansa's going to have to come up with a way to save herself to get out of this mess, and saving herself is not Sansa's strong suit. Also, Sansa is pretty risk-averse by this point, not surprisingly given her experiences and near misses with death. I don't think she'll do anything to go against Littlefinger, on whom she has realized she is utterly dependent; her survival instinct is too strong. Rather, she'll just go along with it until she no longer has to do so, rationalizing it to herself however she needs to.

 

That isn't to say that Sansa won't get out of the Harry scheme, but if she does, it will be through the actions of a third party rather than any deliberate actions or scheming on her part.


Edited by Newstar, 09 November 2013 - 02:12 AM.


#8 Asha Greyjoy:Feminist Icon

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 02:49 AM

Lovely little Sansa Spark Notes piece. I appreciate the focus on what were, for me, two big eye-openers right off the bat in AGOT. I came to the series post-S03 GOT and so I had gone through a similar progress with the character that I gather many readers do - albeit through very different pivotal points. I was able to see the false dichotomy set up through Arya/Sansa right off and while it is almost impossible not to like Arya immediately, I didn't really fall into the Tomboy Heroine vs Pretty Pretty Princess trap (my sister and I have equal parts of both somewhere in our identities, with Booknerd, Wanton Slut and lots of other lady-tropes mixed in for spice.) I didn't turn on Sansa during the shit at the Trident, as that was so clearly a moment of Royal Family Assholery that even if ShowNed hadn't bothered to explain the political nuances to Arya later*, I doubt it would have ever occurred to me to somehow blame Sansa or Arya for what happened to Lady or Mycah. I was sad when she burned Ned on the whole doll thing, but that was so very relatable to me...cause kids are the worst. She doesn't do whatever Sansa-the-Snitch thing on the show - an event that, even having really tried to understand, still doesn't make sense to me as a somehow Ending The Ned moment in ASOIAF history. BookSansa did...what, exactly, to expedite the downfall there? She doesn't seem to be adding a single thing to the details of Ned's own pre-declared move that made any difference in how it all went down. If I mentally remove that action, do the events still go down the same way without any logical plotholes? Turns out...that's what happens in S01. That thing where Sansa totally betrayed Ned's whole plan somehow? Lifts right out. 

 

No, I hated ShowSansa for dissing Septa Mordane. I guess they decided to recoup whatever lost fandom hate that the fauxbetrayal generated by instead making Sansa be an outright bitch to an awesome old lady. (Full Disclosure: I think all old ladies are awesome old ladies. Old dudes too. Old folks in general just get my awwww up and I want to condescendingly protect them like some people do babies, I guess.) I never once thought the character was terrible or irredeemable or anything. I just kinda wrote her off as a less-interesting person despite the upticks here and there. It wasn't until I saw Sophie Turner's portrayal of sheer terror and strength through season 3 that it turned me back toward the Sansa+ end of the spectrum. I wrapped S03 mostly ambivalent, but trending up. 

 

So I expected her AGOT chapters to be really frustrating. I didn't want to revisit the girl I'd disliked in S01 on an even more detailed level. I assumed I'd hate her more and lose my gains in those three seasons. But my ears pricked up as she handled the situation in her first chapter. To be able to even manage her own fears at encountering Ilyn Payne and The Hound, plus the added complication of Being Laughed At that literally every one of us has felt during adolescence, this alone is impressive to me. But to then To smoothly soothe mounting tensions between adults in this moment...that is something else entirely. As someone in education I can assure/remind you all that even the most precious-est of middle schoolers doesn't often pull this kind of thing off.

 

Then there was the scene with Ser Hugh's death at the tourney. A more difficult one to parse my first time through and more interesting, as this additional facet to her inner self defied what I was expecting this girl to represent. I feel like it's is a solid take on the way we are still learning to process life, death, finality and emotional connections during our earlier years. It isn't necessarily the case that we always understand the sight of death as being evocative of loss in the way that Sansa describes the scene. We also don't have all of our wires for empathy aligned just yet either. And yet Sansa seems to not just recognize her own stoicism in the face of death, but work to establish the human connection that she knows belongs between the two. (A connection much more tenuous for her little sister. Though somewhat understandably so.)

 

I hadn't been totally sold on the series until I read Sansa's walk home with The Hound. I remember calling my girlfriend just so excited about the chapter, how well-written it was and how brilliantly subversive of traditional romantic moments. But mostly how much of a dramatic difference I'd found between the Sansas, Book and Show. I loved her, I proclaimed, to her complete bewilderment. (She did fall into the trap of Tomboy Heroine vs Pretty Pretty Princess...because she believes she is the former and doesn't want to admit it's the latter. Meta-irony: I love it.)

 

But I have loved Sansa chapters from the first one I read and I understand this is less than common. The way I came to each character through the show has altered the way I might have otherwise felt about them. And like Jaime Lannister, Theon Greyjoy and Queen Bitch Cersei herself...I love Sansa Stark. I never had a chance. 

 

 

*On this...I'm rereading AGOT for the first time - first ever on page, not audiobook - and caught this overlooked line in Eddard III (almost certainly because I was still laughing at Renly's sarcastic "Lion's Tooth" line the paragraph before):

Ned had heard her version of the story the night Arya vanished. He knew the truth.  

 

So which truth is this? The true truth? Or does he believe that Sansa truly doesn't remember? Because Ned doesn't strike me as the type to just buy the "I don't remember..." explanation from his teenage daughter - especially not while another daughter remains missing as a direct result of this incident. I assume that Ned means the true truth...again, because I find it hard to accept that after several days he wouldn't press for more information, as Arya stays unrecovered. I also don't belie that Sansa herself would lie to Ned in the first place. At this point she's a well-established poor liar and has been raised in the kind of idyllic family environment that wouldn't lend itself easily to parental distrust.

 

I assume he knew.

 

Now whether he expected her to deny deny deny when directly questioned is up for more debate. But wouldn't he press it further on the spot if he knew the truth and heard Sansa circumvent that? I guess I could see some version of the "why she had to do that" discussion with Arya actually being an event that BookSansa had (sadly offscreent) with Ned instead. Suggesting a slightly savvier Ned inasmuch as his daughters' lives are concerned. Foreshadowing!

 

Third option, though less interesting to me: Sansa's inexperience with wine makes the whole thing legitimately a jumbled memory. Meaning she doesn't remember - and that is the true truth. 



#9 James Arryn

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:02 AM

Fantastic article!
Honestly my mind boggles over the vilifying toward Sansa and how people talk about how naive and stupid she is because I always felt that she acted exactly like her father (especially in AGOT). Like Ned, she clung onto the delusion that Joffrey was her Prince Charming similar to how Ned clung onto the delusion that King Bob was a fair and just king; plus both of them made the mistake of trusting Cersei as far as I'm concerned. All in all, she's definitely obtaining knowledge throughout the series and I sincerely look forward to where her arc goes.
 

 
Meh, some of her observations about some characters had been on point though. She notices that there's something off about LF when she sees him at the tourney and she doesn't find Shae trustworthy (she refers to how Shae casts her "insolent looks").

Ummm...do you know ANYONE who doesn't grasp that there's something a bit off...all the way past ''completely untrustworthy'...and on up to 'he would burn all the world if it made him king of ashes'...about LF?

Edit, and on the first part: Ned would disobey his father, in a clear time of crisis, and run to his obvious adversary, tell them everything he knows about his father's plan in an effort to thwart those plans so he could get what he wanted out of the situation? That's Ned-like behaviour, in your mind?

Or side against his family and lie because the truth threatened, again, what he wanted?

Ned is the opposite of Sansa in GOT, he does everything out of loyalty, honour and duty, and never puts his selfish wants ahead of, well, everything.

Edited by James Arryn, 09 November 2013 - 03:08 AM.


#10 Tetrarch42

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:09 AM

Ummm...do you know ANYONE who doesn't grasp that there's something a bit off...all the way past ''completely untrustworthy'...and on up to 'he would burn all the world if it made him king of ashes'...about LF?

Edit, and on the first part: Ned would disobey his father, in a clear time of crisis, and run to his obvious adversary, tell them everything he knows about his father's plan in an effort to thwart those plans so he could get what he wanted out of the situation? That's Ned-like behaviour, in your mind?

 

Eddard Stark and Cersei certainly didn't. And Tyrion, a better judge of character and altogether more politically adept than either of them only began to recognize it after Littlefinger's leveraging Stannis' letter about the incest into a counter-smear attack on Stannis and his wife.



#11 James Arryn

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:16 AM

Eddard Stark and Cersei certainly didn't. And Tyrion, a better judge of character and altogether more politically adept than either of them only began to recognize it after Littlefinger's leveraging Stannis' letter about the incest into a counter-smear attack on Stannis and his wife.


Eddard Stark absolutely mistrusted LF. He just had few options, and mistrusted others more.

#12 Cloud

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:17 AM

Fantastic article!

Honestly my mind boggles over the vilifying toward Sansa and how people talk about how naive and stupid she is because I always felt that she acted exactly like her father (especially in AGOT).

 

 

If Ned ever saw person-X hurting an innocent bystander (Butcher's boy) and then see that same person-X trying to murder his own sister for trying to stop the act, I'm pretty sure Ned would come to the conclusion that person-X is a scumbag, despite what previous opinions he had.

Furthermore, he would not try to shift the blame onto his sister for the loss of his direwolf (hypothetically assuming he had one). 

 

Quote from Sansa AGoT (during the Hand's tourney):
 

 

When Prince Joffrey seated himself to her right, she felt her throat tighten. He had not spoken a word to her since the awful thing had happened, and she had not dared to speak to him. At first she thought she hated him for what they'd done to Lady, but after Sansa had wept her eyes dry, she told herself that it had not been Joffrey's doing, not truly. The queen had done it; she was the one to hate, her and Arya. Nothing bad would have happened except for Arya.



#13 Sansa_Stark

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:22 AM

Ned never blindly believed in Robert.

 

Ned calls out the man on all of his bullshit. Starting from Aegon/Rhaenys/Elia.

 

Even as early in AGOT, Ned could not deny how much the man hated the Targaryens and even called him out on his bullshit.

 

He did it again with Daenerys too.

 

In fact, here is a quote.

 

"When I know the truth, I must go to Robert." And pray that he is the man I think he is, he finished silently, and not the man I fear he has become."

 

Also, you must also consider that Sansa knows that Jaime killed Jory and presumably....is the one who broke her father's leg(most likely).

 

She still sided with the Lannisters after that.


Edited by RandSedai, 09 November 2013 - 03:29 AM.


#14 Tetrarch42

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:22 AM

Eddard Stark absolutely mistrusted LF. He just had few options, and mistrusted others more.

 

If he absolutely mistrusted LF he wouldn't have placed any stock in him at all. How could he even mistrust somebody else more than mistrusting them absolutely?



#15 James Arryn

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:30 AM

Yeah, honestly...Sansa's not dumb, but she rarely shows the kind of intelligence you need to show often if you're to be considered 'definitely going to be a major player' or w/e. She's getting better as she gets older, but I think people are saying certainties when I see hopes.

For a recent example, she was certainly outwitted by Myranda Royce in spite of being specifically warned against her doing exactly what she did with Sansa. Is Myranda Royce a brilliant mind destined to become a major player?

#16 Winter's Knight

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:30 AM

Geez, since Ned absolutely mistrusted LF, that makes dumber than his eleven year old daughter-she believe Cersei was on her side, Ned didn't and still continued to...trust him?



#17 James Arryn

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:32 AM

If he absolutely mistrusted LF he wouldn't have placed any stock in him at all. How could he even mistrust somebody else more than mistrusting them absolutely?


I meant it like he absolutely did mistrust LF, not like he mistrusted LF absolutely.

#18 Sansa_Stark

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:34 AM

 

If Ned ever saw person-X hurting an innocent bystander (Butcher's boy) and then see that same person-X trying to murder his own sister for trying to stop the act, I'm pretty sure Ned would come to the conclusion that person-X is a scumbag, despite what previous opinions he had.

Furthermore, he would not try to shift the blame onto his sister for the loss of his direwolf (hypothetically assuming he had one). 

 

Quote from Sansa AGoT (during the Hand's tourney):
 

 

Wait, so she starts to hate the queen during the hand's tourney and still went to her?

 

WTF.

 

The brother hurt your father and kills some of his guards, and the sister killed your pet wolf and you hate her and she still sides with them?

 

Seriously?


Edited by RandSedai, 09 November 2013 - 03:37 AM.


#19 James Arryn

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:36 AM

Geez, since Ned absolutely mistrusted LF, that makes dumber than his eleven year old daughter-she believe Cersei was on her side, Ned didn't and still continued to...trust him?


As explained, huge differences.

Ned didn't have people around he could trust...pretty much everyone was working against him...but his role and duty meant he had to trust some people. If Jon Arryn and Maester Luwin had been options, he'd certainly have taken them.

Whereas Sansa chose to place her trust in Cersei Lannister over Ned Stark, of all people, which is a horrible call even if he weren't, you know, her father.

#20 Tetrarch42

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:37 AM

I meant it like he absolutely did mistrust LF, not like he mistrusted LF absolutely.

 

Ah, I see. Thanks for clearing that up for me.