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Sansa + Ned: What’s the Difference?

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All it would take was a shove, she told herself, He was standing right there, right there,smirking at her with those fat wormlips, you could do it, she told herself. You could. Do it right now. It wouldn't even matter if she went over with him. It wouldn't matter at all.

"here girl." ....

The moment was gone.

That is exactly the opposite of trying to kill someone. That is called literary hesitation. She is trying to talk herself into pushing him, it is made clear that she had a moment where should could have killed him, but failed to do so.

I admit that I overlooked the part where he said he knew the Truth, sorry butter, but you cannot expect a reader to make the leap that Cersei had no way of knowing that Lady was dead, just because she was not given the Pelt. Cersei is soo petty she would have absolutely, unequivocally, known that Lady had been smuggled out alive. It should not even be questioned honestly.

But really, why Sansa more contemptible for falling for Joffrey than Ned is for trusting in Robert? Keep in mind that Sansa NEVER saw Jof's ugly side before the Trident. Right afterward, he was sweet to her once more. Then her father announces that they will be parted.

Because she is such a prat about it.

What is it about these two that makes us see them so differently?

Motive.

I am not suggesting that Ned and Sansa don't make similar choices, but you keep asking why the reader view them differently. I answered your questions over and over. Motive .... You can have two people make the exact same choices and be viewed completely different because motive is that important. Why someone does something is just as important as what they do.

The term Justifiable Homicide comes to mind.

the problem in your argument is that "motive" is not an argument. Are you saying they have different motives? or the same? or that one has a motive and the other doesn't?

also, I personally like butterbumps' argument that they have largely the same motive, read it here:

But largely, Sansa's behavior is motivated by duty as well. According to her worldview, being the queen is both the highest honor and duty a woman can make. She's torn between duty to her future husband and that of her family. Yes, she speaks like a smitten little girl, and it's easy to pass off her thoughts as trivial, but she plainly states that she wants to marry Jof to have his heirs, which is about "woman's duty." It's a combination of duty and personal interest in her motivations.

please either discuss in detail how this is not the case, or elaborate on your point. You're actually not being clear at all, and it would help move the argument along if everyone is more thorough.

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That's it, isn't it? She acts out of an adolescent crush and is considered stupid. Ned with reason and insight does the same thing and is honourable.

One wonders why.

Its not that it is stupid so much as it is self serving and self centered. Where as need does some of the same things but it is the opposite of self serving and self centered. Does not make either any less stupid, but it certainly makes one more justified.

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Motive.

I am not suggesting that Ned and Sansa don't make similar choices, but you keep asking why the reader view them differently. I answered your questions over and over. Motive .... You can have two people make the exact same choices and be viewed completely different because motive is that important. Why someone does something is just as important as what they do.

I think bumps has laid out how in essence Ned and Sansa share the same motive, that of duty. How they each interpret this virtue varies and is attributed largely to differences in age and gender.

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the problem in your argument is that "motive" is not an argument? Are you saying they have different motives? or the same? or that one has a motive and the other doesn't?

also, I personally like butterbumps' argument that they have largely the same motive, read it here:

please either discuss in detail how this is not the case, or elaborate on your point. You're actually not being clear at all, and it would help move the argument along if everyone is more thorough.

Lol she is not acting from a sense of duty.. thats total rubbish, Sansa's choices are all about what Sansa Wants as in desires. as in her MOTIVES are self serving and all about her selfish wants.

Ned's MOTIVES are serving the realm, and his duty to his king, and are done with no thought of himself.

BBstark choices and outcomes do not equal motive.

mo·tive noun \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\
: a reason for doing something
I think it is safe to say that, most readers see Ned and Sansa having completely different reasons.
Ned's are selfless
Sansa's are selfish.
Edit: Thank you BBstark for point out that my comments were not clear. I looked back and realized, crap I cant make any sense of my posts either. Sometimes I forget to put down what I am thinking comepletely. I see it in my head, but for some reason it does not make it to print lol

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I think bumps has laid out how in essence Ned and Sansa share the same motive, that of duty. How they each interpret this virtue varies and is attributed largely to differences in age and gender.

No. We might be able to consider that point if we had not had POVs from Sansa in which she never even considers her "duty" to Joff. its all about her selfish desires.

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Mourneblade, it might be useful to take a time out for a second.

All it would take was a shove, she told herself, He was standing right there, right there,smirking at her with those fat wormlips, you could do it, she told herself. You could. Do it right now. It wouldn't even matter if she went over with him. It wouldn't matter at all.

"here girl." ....

The moment was gone.

That is exactly the opposite of trying to kill someone. That is called literary hesitation. She is trying to talk herself into pushing him, it is made clear that she had a moment where should could have killed him, but failed to do so.

I admit that I overlooked the part where he said he knew the Truth, sorry butter, but you cannot expect a reader to make the leap that Cersei had no way of knowing that Lady was dead, just because she was not given the Pelt. Cersei is soo petty she would have absolutely, unequivocally, known that Lady had been smuggled out alive. It should not even be questioned honestly.

But really, why Sansa more contemptible for falling for Joffrey than Ned is for trusting in Robert? Keep in mind that Sansa NEVER saw Jof's ugly side before the Trident. Right afterward, he was sweet to her once more. Then her father announces that they will be parted.

I think you're tripping over "tried" versus "intended."

Sansa unequivocally intended to kill Jof. You keep appealing to motive/ intention to write off Sansa about the other things, so to be consistent, her intention to kill Jof is important.

Secondly, Ned most absolutely certainly did not give Cersei any proof of that wolf. She asks for the pelt and he specifically sends the body off in order to prevent Cersei from having any piece of it. His word to Robert is the "proof" here.

Lol she is not acting from a sense of duty.. thats total rubbish, Sansa's choices are all about what Sansa Wants as in desires. as in her MOTIVES are self serving and all about her selfish wants.

Ned's MOTIVES are serving the realm, and his duty to his king, and are done with no thought of himself.

BBstark choices and outcomes do not equal motive.

mo·tive noun \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\
: a reason for doing something
I think it is safe to say that, most readers see Ned and Sansa having completely different reasons.
Ned's are selfless
Sansa's are selfish.

Yes, Mourneblade, in fact their motives are very similar. I'm asking not only why we see their actions differently, but see their motives differently as well, despite the fact that much of their motive comes back to honor and duty.

I gave a digested explanation here:


There's truth to this, and I agree for the most part.

But largely, Sansa's behavior is motivated by duty as well. According to her worldview, being the queen is both the highest honor and duty a woman can make. She's torn between duty to her future husband and that of her family. Yes, she speaks like a smitten little girl, and it's easy to pass off her thoughts as trivial, but she plainly states that she wants to marry Jof to have his heirs, which is about "woman's duty." It's a combination of duty and personal interest in her motivations.

It's also important to keep in mind that Sansa is an overachiever. That is, she overachieves at all those womanly arts and duties because she wants to achieve the highest honor a woman can hope to achieve in this society. Making Jof and Cersei love her is part of that goal. Now, as modern readers, I think most of us scoff at the notion of marrying the king as a goal worth achieving, and the goal itself ought to be criticized. But the point stands that Sansa's desire for Jof is actually a symptom of her overachievement at pursuing the highest position available to women. It's not all that different from the way going to a good school and landing a prestigious job and getting rich is the big goal for many of us-- that is, the way we're told to work hard, get into the perfect school and one day achieve something great. Again, the goal Sansa is working toward is flawed, but it's a very similar principle to the modern example.

As a final point, given that both are more or less doing their duty in terms of motive, and trip over similar issues, is it truly fair to overlook Ned's actions and call Sansa "stupid" for believing in the world of song? (I hasten to add that this isn't geared toward you, just something that spun off from your response) It seems to me they made the same errors in judgment, believing people to be as noble as they are in the legends rather than reality.

The fact of the matter is that "loving Jof" and getting Jof and Cersei to love her too is very much EXACTLY what her duty as a woman entails.

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Mourneblade, it might be useful to take a time out for a second.

I think you're tripping over "tried" versus "intended."

Sansa unequivocally intended to kill Jof. You keep appealing to motive/ intention to write off Sansa about the other things, so to be consistent, her intention to kill Jof is important.

Secondly, Ned most absolutely certainly did not give Cersei any proof of that wolf. She asks for the pelt and he specifically sends the body off in order to prevent Cersei from having any piece of it. His word to Robert is the "proof" here.

Yes, Mourneblade, in fact their motives are very similar. I'm asking not only why we see their actions differently, but see their motives differently as well, despite the fact that much of their motive comes back to honor and duty.

I gave a digested explanation here:

The fact of the matter is that "loving Jof" and getting Jof and Cersei to love her too is very much EXACTLY what her duty as a woman entails.

I agree with your assessment of them walking almost the same path.

But I cannot agree with your take on killing Joff. I get the exact opposite feeling. That she is seriously trying to talk herself into performing an action. No where else, in any of the books, do we see anything like her inner monologue on this.

I could entertain that she merely chose her duty to joff over her duty to her family if we did not have her own POV that says nothing of her supposed duty to Joff, and everything about her personal desires and fantasies.

Her POVs are her own worst enemy when it comes to the readers making judgments.

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Lol she is not acting from a sense of duty.. thats total rubbish, Sansa's choices are all about what Sansa Wants as in desires. as in her MOTIVES are self serving and all about her selfish wants.

Ned's MOTIVES are serving the realm, and his duty to his king, and are done with no thought of himself.

BBstark choices and outcomes do not equal motive.

mo·tive noun \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\

: a reason for doing something

I think it is safe to say that, most readers see Ned and Sansa having completely different reasons.

Ned's are selfless

Sansa's are selfish.

I am not certain whether we can say that Ned was totally selfless... Honor is a big deal for Ned, we all get that, but what about his family's safety in KL? He blindly went into snake's nest because that is what his honor and duty commanded him to do. But, then he forgot his primary duty - to his family. If Ned for a single moment stepped back, and, said "Damn my honor and my duty, I have two girls to take care of", the result would be much different. Yes, Sansa was in love, and Ned acted out of sense of honor and duty. But, the former is not completely selfish, and latter is not completely selfless. Jorah Mormont had amazingly accurate point when he spoke about Ned and his "precious honor". We saw that Sansa see her entire status as being a Queen, and when Ned is imprisoned, she actually considers talking to Joffrey, making him believe in Ned's innocence. So, even in her love, Sansa wasn't totally selfish. When Ned was imprisoned and the Small council surrounded her like vultures, she constantly repeated that Ned was innocent and that she should be allowed to speak with Joffrey. And as bumps perfectly said, Sansa, as overachiever to things that are being regarded as of highest honor (just remember how Tyrell girls pitied her for not marrying Joffrey) saw her duty as becoming Queen. So, arguing that acts of honor are selfless and acts of love are selfish are, IMO, flawed.

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...

Why does she come across as a “betrayer,” while Ned remains our “core hero”?

In many ways, I believe Sansa is written almost as Ned’s “patsy” throughout aGoT: a character that attracts our ire for Ned’s mistakes, allowing us to continue viewing him as an unquestioned “core hero.” From the outset, Martin crafts the impression that Starks are “good” and sympathetic, and that everyone who is opposed to them are the “bad guys.” Martin aligns Sansa with the “bad guys” via her desire to be loved and accepted by the Lannisters, and seemingly eschewing the rough and tumble “Starkness” we associate with “good.”

In some ways, Sansa is crafted almost like an antagonist to Ned; her actions are largely set up as rebellions against her father. Which is damning in terms of character perception, because Ned is our great sympathetic good guy. Yet, in objective truth, Ned is the one Stark who continuously puts Robert and the Lannister interests ahead of his own family. There’s an extremely interesting dynamic going on here: Ned constantly goes against his own family unintentionally, which comes across as heroic and sympathetic, while Sansa goes against Ned, and it comes across as evil and disloyal.

For further thought, given that we’ve had 4 more books that expand Sansa’s character, revealing her to be deeply loyal to and proud of her “Starkness” and Winterfell, draws strength from her memory of the North, and even rebuilds a replica of the broken castle, is this early negative impression of her as “more Lannister than Stark” part of a long con Martin’s playing? A kind of subversion of expectations that the Stark who seemed least interested in her heritage may be the one to restore it?

Ned remains the "core hero" because his mistakes and failures are the result of his selflessness (as well as naivete, poor judgement etc). On the contrary, Sansa's motives in the beginning are about herself (plus Ned's flaws, naivete, poor judgement etc). Not that she should be viewed as a "betrayer", though. Being a little bit selfish is not a crime, especially when talking about children.

Reading carefully Sansa's early chapters, you see a young teenager, a very "modern" at that. Her aspirations and worldviews belong to the context of her "time", however the feelings and the way of thinking are very modern IMO.

All adolescents pass through a rebellious phase, it's necessary to start questioning the parental authority, infallibility etc, it's a part of the maturation proccess. Kids of that age are also very self-centered, it's natural. They outgrow this trait, as Sansa does.

Only, the risk for most modern kids is limitted to a few bad grades at school and one or two months of "broken heart" and for the parents, to the occasional nervous collapse. In Sansa's world, kids are held captives, abused, murdered and parents lose their heads.

I believe that a lot of work has been put in portraying Sansa as an eleven year old girl, naive, overprotected and a little bit spoiled, and entering the difficult (and dangerous) stage of puberty. I believe we are supposed to understand her, not to channel there any ire for Ned's failures. GRRM himself was surprised for the Sansa hate, no?

So no, I don't think it was intentional. To me, it seems more of a case where a writer leaves a lot to the reader's perspective. I believe that the impression one gets from Sansa's early chapters depends a lot on the readers age, personal experiences, if they have children etc. Personally, I am certain that me, at 15, would have a very different understanding of Sansa's character than what I have now at 40.

Accordingly, her early portrayal, IMO, is not some kind of play. I view her arc as a story of maturation, from young teenage girl to woman. A difficult and dangerous path to that, for sure... She *has* to start like that in order to give emphasis to the proccess and the change.

*edited for typos

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I could entertain that she merely chose her duty to joff over her duty to her family if we did not have her own POV that says nothing of her supposed duty to Joff, and everything about her personal desires and fantasies.

Her POVs are her own worst enemy when it comes to the readers making judgments.

cool, I think we're not that far off on this then.

I tend to agree-- it's definitely written in a way that kind of encourages us to see her as selfish and trivial about this. We get a few hints that she does see this as a duty-- the overachieving business, the way she speaks to wanting to have Jof's babies, and in general, we know the office of queen is the highest position a woman can achieve, and that it entails much duty and honor.

But I do agree that her POVs are skewed in a way that makes this seem more selfish. I suppose, where does the selfishness end and duty begin in assessing her motives? Can they be separated? I have some thoughts about it, and why we react this way (myself included, admittedly), but I figured I'd pose the question to others...

Butterbumps posts are so thought out and thought provoking... Keep it up even if we disagree :thumbsup:

lol, thanks. maybe there's room for a Roose-Sansa coalition lol

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Ned remains the "core hero" because his mistakes and failures are the result of his selflessness (as well as naivete, poor judgement etc). On the contrary, Sansa's motives in the beginning are about herself (plus Ned's flaws, naivete, poor judgement etc). Not that she should be viewed as a "betrayer", though. Being a little bit selfish is not a crime, especially when talking about children.

Reading carefully Sansa's early chapters, you see a young teenager, a very "modern" at that. Her aspirations and worldviews belong to the context of her "time", however the feelings and the way of thinking are very modern IMO.

All adolescents pass through a rebellious phase, it's necessary to start questioning the parental authority, infallibility etc, it's a part of the maturation proccess. Kids of that age are also very self-centered, it's natural. They outgrow this trait, as Sansa does.

Only, the risk for most modern kids is limitted to a few bad grades at school and one or two months of "broken heart" and for the parents, to the occasional nervous collapse. In Sansa's world, kids are held captives, abused, murdered and parents lose their heads.

I believe that a lot of work has been put in portraying Sansa as an eleven year old girl, naive, overprotected and a little bit spoiled, and entering the difficult (and dangerous) stage of puberty. I believe we are supposed to understand her, not to channel there any ire for Ned's failures. GRRM himself was surprised for the Sansa hate, no?

So no, I don't think it was intentional. To me, it seems more of a case where a writer leaves a lot to the reader's perspective. I believe that the impression one gets from Sansa's early chapters depends a lot on the readers age, personal experiences, if they have children etc. Personally, I am certain that me, at 15, would have a very different understanding of Sansa's character than what I have now at 40.

Accordingly, her early portrayal, IMO, is not some kind of play. I view her arc as a story of maturation, from young teenage girl to woman. A difficult and dangerous path to that, for sure... She *has* to start like that in order to give emphasis to the proccess and the change.

*edited for typos

Yeah, I agree. Sansa does a ton of growing in the books, especially in clash she learns a ton. I find it odd that people can consider a young girl so evil for, well, for acting like any young girl would in her situation. Sansa is most definitely NOT a villain, or someone we are supposed to root against. I actually like sansa more then Ned tbh, I find her more relatable, and while I would never insult ned I enjoy Sansa way more. It should be easy to sympathize with both characters, and I think the premise in the op is fascinating, why is it that ned is universally loved while people(not everyone) find sansa horrible?

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I am not certain whether we can say that Ned was totally selfless... Honor is a big deal for Ned, we all get that, but what about his family's safety in KL? He blindly went into snake's nest because that is what his honor and duty commanded him to do. But, then he forgot his primary duty - to his family. If Ned for a single moment stepped back, and, said "Damn my honor and my duty, I have two girls to take care of", the result would be much different. Yes, Sansa was in love, and Ned acted out of sense of honor and duty. But, the former is not completely selfish, and latter is not completely selfless. Jorah Mormont had amazingly accurate point when he spoke about Ned and his "precious honor". We saw that Sansa see her entire status as being a Queen, and when Ned is imprisoned, she actually considers talking to Joffrey, making him believe in Ned's innocence. So, even in her love, Sansa wasn't totally selfish. When Ned was imprisoned and the Small council surrounded her like vultures, she constantly repeated that Ned was innocent and that she should be allowed to speak with Joffrey. And as bumps perfectly said, Sansa, as overachiever to things that are being regarded as of highest honor (just remember how Tyrell girls pitied her for not marrying Joffrey) saw her duty as becoming Queen. So, arguing that acts of honor are selfless and acts of love are selfish are, IMO, flawed.

I see where you are coming from, and I do not necessarily disagree, but there is enough of a difference to explain the answer of the OP's question.

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I believe that a lot of work has been put in portraying Sansa as an eleven year old girl, naive, overprotected and a little bit spoiled, and entering the difficult (and dangerous) stage of puberty. I believe we are supposed to understand her, not to channel there any ire for Ned's failures. GRRM himself was surprised for the Sansa hate, no?

So no, I don't think it was intentional. To me, it seems more of a case where a writer leaves a lot to the reader's perspective. I believe that the impression one gets from Sansa's early chapters depends a lot on the readers age, personal experiences, if they have children etc. Personally, I am certain that me, at 15, would have a very different understanding of Sansa's character than what I have now at 40.

Accordingly, her early portrayal, IMO, is not some kind of play. I view her arc as a story of maturation, from young teenage girl to woman. A difficult and dangerous path to that, for sure... She *has* to start like that in order to give emphasis to the proccess and the change.

*edited for typos

First of all, this thread is excellent. Second, I tend to agree here that the sympathetic viewpoint for Sansa is there in the books, but how it is perceived lies with the reader. GRRM has done an excellent job of making his characters very human, complex and conflicted but these forums prove time and again how differently we readers view them. If I had read these books in my 20s or younger before I had children, I may have had a more negative reaction to Sansa too. I think of it in how I often view my feelings on Arya's story arc as emanating from my having a daughter that is Arya's age and imagining her experiencing what Arya experiences.

I think you are onto something with part of Sansa's desires to be in love and have her fairytale mixing in with her sense of duty. I find her more forgivable b/c of her age and naivete; whereas Ned really should have known better. But it's also easy to forgive Ned b/c he's gone and paid the ultimate price for his mistakes.

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I could entertain that she merely chose her duty to joff over her duty to her family if we did not have her own POV that says nothing of her supposed duty to Joff, and everything about her personal desires and fantasies.

But, you know, Ned assigned to Sansa the duty of being Joffrey's future wife - and he did not relieve her of that duty after Joffrey revealed himself to be a monster and his mother to be his doting enabler. He did not break up the betrothal. He carried out the King's order to kill Lady (which was Cersei's wish) - which was pretty much condoning Cersei's command. Never did he explain to Sansa the danger she was in through the betrothal he'd made and refused to break. Never did he sit down with Sansa and clarify what she'd done right or wrong in Arya's trial and what she should do in the future regarding her dealings with the royal family.

Basically, he left Sansa to figure out what she had to do on her own. And Sansa had a choice about what attitude she could take. She could either believe that her own father had betrothed her to a monster and his enabler and wasn't going to lift a finger to get her out of such an unhappy marriage because HONOR...or she could believe that Ned's silent condonation of the Royal Family's misdeeds meant that those misdeeds really weren't so bad and all a big misunderstanding, and a happily-ever-after marriage was still a possibility. I can see why she would prefer to believe that her marriage was going to be happily-ever-after - she's TWELVE, and it wasn't like Ned ever clarified that he expected her marriage to be miserable but that she must bear up for his honor's sake.

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I think what's ultimately at play here is that we're conditioned to receive early Ned and Sansa as we would if they existed in some other work of pop culture. What I mean is, most media we consume is relatively lazier than ASoIaF, and will send out strong earlier signifiers about who we're supposed to hate and who we're supposed to root for that do end up carrying through for the rest the story. ASoIaF is wilier than this, although there are some characters that look evil at first blush and are evil, or look good and are good, first impressions are wielded misleadingly by GRRM in the case of many other characters.



So the first words we hear from Ned are about 'the old way' and the man who passes the sentence swinging the sword, we get the genuine wisdom that the only time a man can be brave is when he's afraid. These things scream hero. We're primed to like him based on our experience with other media, this guy is the kind of guy we're used to having as our hero. And in Ned's case, we're right in this impression in large part, he is basically good. But he's not our hero, as it turns out at the end of the book. We've been hoodwinked.



Our first major experience with Sansa, on the other hand, is really the trident incident. We see her romanticizing Joffrey (who has already been signaled as pure evil, accurately in this case, with the training yard scene to which Sansa is not privy), and then feigning ignorance when called to testify on the Mycah incident. She doesn't come off well here, and if this took place in a lot of other media we're used to consuming, we'd probably be quite correct in taking this early incident as a signal of what Sansa's character really is. She'd probably continue to do things like this and we'd have several more things to dislike about her as the story goes on. But we get to spend a lot more time with her, and it turns out that this signal has mislead us, this isn't who Sansa is. By Storm of Swords she's risking her wellbeing and happiness to tell the truth about Joffrey and warn Margaery not to marry him, even though she's overjoyed that she no longer has to marry him and this could screw that up for her.



My point, to reiterate and to take another pass at expressing it clearly, is that in quite a bit of media first impressions are meant to signal what our views towards characters ought to be going forward, even if the first impressions are really quite small things, like some wise words or a refusal to speak against a dickish prince. But in ASoIaF we have to be more discerning than that, because GRRM plays off our expectations with regard to the normal weightiness of first impressions and can trick us with them sometimes if we don't make the effort to take a step back and reanalyze characters.


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Yeah, I agree. Sansa does a ton of growing in the books, especially in clash she learns a ton. I find it odd that people can consider a young girl so evil for, well, for acting like any young girl would in her situation. Sansa is most definitely NOT a villain, or someone we are supposed to root against. I actually like sansa more then Ned tbh, I find her more relatable, and while I would never insult ned I enjoy Sansa way more. It should be easy to sympathize with both characters, and I think the premise in the op is fascinating, why is it that ned is universally loved while people(not everyone) find sansa horrible?

Sansa is not a villain, but it can be frustrating to continuously root for her only to see her go from one bad situation to another, knowing that she did have better choices.

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I believe that a lot of work has been put in portraying Sansa as an eleven year old girl, naive, overprotected and a little bit spoiled, and entering the difficult (and dangerous) stage of puberty. I believe we are supposed to understand her, not to channel there any ire for Ned's failures. GRRM himself was surprised for the Sansa hate, no?

So no, I don't think it was intentional. To me, it seems more of a case where a writer leaves a lot to the reader's perspective. I believe that the impression one gets from Sansa's early chapters depends a lot on the readers age, personal experiences, if they have children etc. Personally, I am certain that me, at 15, would have a very different understanding of Sansa's character than what I have now at 40.

Accordingly, her early portrayal, IMO, is not some kind of play. I view her arc as a story of maturation, from young teenage girl to woman. A difficult and dangerous path to that, for sure... She *has* to start like that in order to give emphasis to the proccess and the change.

I really like your perspective on this-- essentially that Martin may have underestimated the amount of wrath Sansa's behavior would inspire, and maybe soliciting this reaction wasn't his intent.

I think you are onto something with part of Sansa's desires to be in love and have her fairytale mixing in with her sense of duty. I find her more forgivable b/c of her age and naivete; whereas Ned really should have known better. But it's also easy to forgive Ned b/c he's gone and paid the ultimate price for his mistakes.

Thank you, and I agree all around. Personally, I find both of their actions highly forgivable and wouldn't call either guilty of betrayal or or the like.

But, you know, Ned assigned to Sansa the duty of being Joffrey's future wife - and he did not relieve her of that duty after Joffrey revealed himself to be a monster and his mother to be his doting enabler. He did not break up the betrothal. He carried out the King's order to kill Lady (which was Cersei's wish) - which was pretty much condoning Cersei's command. Never did he explain to Sansa the danger she was in through the betrothal he'd made and refused to break. Never did he sit down with Sansa and clarify what she'd done right or wrong in Arya's trial and what she should do in the future regarding her dealings with the royal family.

Basically, he left Sansa to figure out what she had to do on her own. And Sansa had a choice about what attitude she could take. She could either believe that her own father had betrothed her to a monster and his enabler and wasn't going to lift a finger to get her out of such an unhappy marriage because HONOR...or she could believe that Ned's silent condonation of the Royal Family's misdeeds meant that those misdeeds really weren't so bad and all a big misunderstanding, and a happily-ever-after marriage was still a possibility. I can see why she would prefer to believe that her marriage was going to be happily-ever-after - she's TWELVE, and it wasn't like Ned ever clarified that he expected her marriage to be miserable but that she must bear up for his honor's sake.

Exactly-- perfectly stated. Given that Ned had not lifted the betrothal until very late meant that marrying Jof was her main duty (to both her family and king), and that pleasing him and his family was a sub duty to that end. Rejecting Jof prior to Ned's announcing the broken betrothal would have been the opposite of dutiful. She originally wanted to go to Robert about this (she thought Ned hadn't told anyone the marriage was off, and as she was still Jof's betrothed, she had a conflicting duty to the king, it would seem).

snip

I agree with your post, and want to expand on it when I get more time-- there's an issue I have about these stereotypical perceptions that keeps nagging me, so let me come back to it, but I completely agree.

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My point, to reiterate and to take another pass at expressing it clearly, is that in quite a bit of media first impressions are meant to signal what our views towards characters ought to be going forward, even if the first impressions are really quite small things, like some wise words or a refusal to speak against a dickish prince. But in ASoIaF we have to be more discerning than that, because GRRM plays off our expectations with regard to the normal weightiness of first impressions and can trick us with them sometimes if we don't make the effort to take a step back and reanalyze characters.

You're right, in general. The funny thing is, my first impression on Ned was awful. The man's first action was to behead the poor guy who run away out of very justifiable fear... And the "don't look away, father will know" quote, addressed to the 7-year-old boy didn't help either... It took me Cat's chapter to love Ned, seeing him through her eyes made him human.

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I really like your perspective on this-- essentially that Martin may have underestimated the amount of wrath Sansa's behavior would inspire, and maybe soliciting this reaction wasn't his intent.

Thank you, and I agree all around. Personally, I find both of their actions highly forgivable and wouldn't call either guilty of betrayal or or the like.

Exactly-- perfectly stated. Given that Ned had not lifted the betrothal until very late meant that marrying Jof was her main duty (to both her family and king), and that pleasing him and his family was a sub duty to that end. Rejecting Jof prior to Ned's announcing the broken betrothal would have been the opposite of dutiful. She originally wanted to go to Robert about this (she thought Ned hadn't told anyone the marriage was off, and as she was still Jof's betrothed, she had a conflicting duty to the king, it would seem).

I agree with your post, and want to expand on it when I get more time-- there's an issue I have about these stereotypical perceptions that keeps nagging me, so let me come back to it, but I completely agree.

I think Martin made a point of Sansa being interpreted by the readers the way she has been in AGoT. It serves the purpose to contrast the rest of the Stark children who still have their wolf as well as to show a realistic contrast to the Disney Fairy tales. His background is as a writer for Beauty and the Beast. I cannot overlook this.

It is much harder to have sympathy for Sansa, because of the contrast in Arya, I think Sansa is written with very human traits, but those traits begin an end with her superficial nature. Most readers, including myself, want to see her break out of this, to realize her mistakes, and learn from her experiences. Saving Ser Dontos showed us a glimpse of this. but her arc has been a slow and frustrating experience for the reader. I think this also by design. She has no wolf and her actions can be expected of a child where as Arya's actions rise above the average, for good or bad.

Once again we see someone trying to justify her actions based on interpretation, trying to give her the benifit of doubt, instead of evidence to the contrary from Sansa's own POVs. If we never had Sansa's POVs I would absolutely consider the duty aspect of her actions. It is thought provoking and rationalizes two sides of the duty coin. But those conclusions melt in the face of Sansa's own petty, self interest, expressed in her POVs

I certainly agree that GRRM plays off our expectations and stereo types, but Sansa is written this way in Stark (heh see what I did there lol) contrast to Arya. This is done to show how amazing Arya handles this at her age by comparison and once again shows us the actions of two children in desperate situations, one having the ability to draw strength from her wolf (a point made clear with how Bran survives), and one who does not.

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