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butterbumps!

Sansa + Ned: What’s the Difference?

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Simple as that

Both are stupid.

But Sansa cares about Sansa and Ned cares about his friends/family.

It might behoove you to read the full thread (ETA: I mean in terms of looking at what others have said about this issue and coming back to see if you might agree with it). Mambru in particular has explained why Sansa's actions are not merely motivated by selfishness, but are in the context of a larger duty to both her father and king-- she has to marry Jof, whether she likes it or not. Yes, she seeks to gain, but just as much she is trying to intercede on behalf of both her family and future family to rectify the situations for everyone.

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I think we should not do this, I'm sorry. Sansa-Ned is enough to handle for one thread, but yes, in general this applies as well. Just not here.

I am so sorry... I thought of your equation, and the influence their POVs have on it, not debate in general...

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Good thread.



Honestly I feel that for many reason the more traditionally feminine characters just can't win. Sansa choose her own interests instead of these of her family once and that's unforgivable, way worse than even cold-blooded murder given how that fandom has embraced Tyrion, Jaime, Arya, etc. On the other hand, Catelyn for example was utterly devoted to her family, sacrificed herself for them time and time again, but still the same readers for the most part hate her too.


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I honestly think that our values and ethics today are not what they were in the early 90's and definitely not what Martin grew up with from the 50's and 60's. Marrying a Prince was completely accepted as a fairy tale goal back then lol.

oh, lol. I think I see what you mean. The "Disney Renaissance" was in full swing back then.

Are you saying that maybe Martin hadn't expected so much ire toward Sansa for aGoT, in part, because the notion of decorum and fairy tale endings were so much a part of the zeitgeist at the time, and he thought it might seem much more forgivable? That's actually kind of an interesting point.

Still, I think there's a lot of current angst toward Sansa for the points raised in the OP. I think reflecting on our "baggage" like this helps put it into perspective.

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I do not believe this is the case, but I do like the idea :cheers:

I'll have a Sam Adam's spiced pumpkin, what would you like? :)

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oh, lol. I think I see what you mean. The "Disney Renaissance" was in full swing back then.

Are you saying that maybe Martin hadn't expected so much ire toward Sansa for aGoT, in part, because the notion of decorum and fairy tale endings were so much a part of the zeitgeist at the time, and he thought it might seem much more forgivable? That's actually kind of an interesting point.

Still, I think there's a lot of current angst toward Sansa for the points raised in the OP. I think reflecting on our "baggage" like this helps put it into perspective.

I think our ire for Sansa was intended, but yes I think you are right, probably intended to be more forgivable. I know you want this book only related, but I do think the TV show purposefully softens some of Sansa's more critical actions from her book character. I think it is not lost on D&D that had they shown the book Sansa on screen she would appear much more unforgivable.

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Ned's blind trust in Robert is more similar to Robb putting trust in Theon. The latter is more criticized than Ned. It's probably because unlike Robert Theon tried to kill Starks. Joffrey also tried to kill Starks twice-Arya and Bran. Both of them paid for picking the wrong person as their best friends.



ETA: As for the Cersei thing Ned is often called dumb for that. He's not hated by the majority but he does get criticized.


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Ned is in denial, yet he still thinks about his duty.

I'll agree with the fact that he was in denial...he sure was in denial after Lady's death that he could deal with the Lannisters' machinations at KL when even his BFF King Bob wouldn't back him up or listen to him about Lady, or about curtailing Crown expenses, or about making Jaime Warden of the East, or about...anything, really. He thought he could manage to help King Bob when Bob refused to let him do so, all while investigating a murder he thought the Lannisters were responsible for. And finally he was in denial about the fact that he could NOT deal with the problem Cersei posed without making his hands dirty in some way and compromising his precious honor. He refused Renly's help because that would be dishonorable. He refused to take children prisoner because THAT would be dishonorable. He refused to flee KL with his children because THAT would be dishonorable. He gave Cersei warning of his intentions, because he thought THAT was honorable, and he neglected to make his children safe from her before he did it, even though he believes this woman is a murderess and his children would be very handy hostages for her (and he has no good reason to overlook that, he's kept a hostage himself). Basically, IMO, Ned's obsession with his duty to behave honorably led him to neglect his duty to keep his children safe. And I don't think he did it consciously, I think it was denial from beginning to end. And I think Sansa is definitely Ned's daughter, with her inherited talent for denial.

Woman think about everything all the time.

So basically, you think ALL women are incapable of denial? Weird.

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I'll agree with the fact that he was in denial...he sure was in denial after Lady's death that he could deal with the Lannisters' machinations at KL when even his BFF King Bob wouldn't back him up or listen to him about Lady, or about curtailing Crown expenses, or about making Jaime Warden of the East, or about...anything, really. He thought he could manage to help King Bob when Bob refused to let him do so, all while investigating a murder he thought the Lannisters were responsible for. And finally he was in denial about the fact that he could NOT deal with the problem Cersei posed without making his hands dirty in some way and compromising his precious honor. He refused Renly's help because that would be dishonorable. He refused to take children prisoner because THAT would be dishonorable. He refused to flee KL with his children because THAT would be dishonorable. He gave Cersei warning of his intentions, because he thought THAT was honorable, and he neglected to make his children safe from her before he did it, even though he believes this woman is a murderess and his children would be very handy hostages for her (and he has no good reason to overlook that, he's kept a hostage himself). Basically, IMO, Ned's obsession with his duty to behave honorably led him to neglect his duty to keep his children safe. And I don't think he did it consciously, I think it was denial from beginning to end. And I think Sansa is definitely Ned's daughter, with her inherited talent for denial.

So basically, you think ALL women are incapable of denial? Weird.

Uhg no, she can be in complete denial, but she would still think about it.

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Uhg no, she can be in complete denial, but she would still think about it.

Dude, denial is by definition unconscious. So if someone consciously thinks about something, sees its unpleasant true aspect and consciously decides NOT to think about it (thus having the process appear in that person's written POV, which is a record of their conscious thoughts), that's not denial. So you would NOT see someone think about a thing they were in denial about.

denial, in psychology, an ego defense mechanism that operates unconsciously to resolve emotional conflict, and to allay anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality.

So when you say "Women think about everything ALL the time" you are kind of saying that women are incapable of denial, because denial means REFUSING to think something. IMO, everyone's capable of denial; men, women, AND children like Sansa - children especially, because denial is more common among the immature.

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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.

I think you're mixing up honor here. There's honor as "the right thing to do," morally correct & then there's honor as "honorific" or status, or achievement.

Becoming a queen would be an honorable position, but if doing so one commits crimes, then that is not honorable.

But yes, the different in intention between Ned/Sansa with respect to intended outcomes is I think something you need to address in this OP.

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Mother of Mini Dragons:

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.

^Agreed...

... Onion & Milady's observations about chapter order are REALLY key to this conversation. I've recommended ASoIaF to so many people, and those who have chosen to read it in a non-traditional chapter order have SUCH different opinions about the characters - Ned and Sansa in particular.

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Dude, denial is by definition unconscious. So if someone consciously thinks about something, sees its unpleasant true aspect and consciously decides NOT to think about it (thus having the process appear in that person's written POV, which is a record of their conscious thoughts), that's not denial. So you would NOT see someone think about a thing they were in denial about.

So when you say "Women think about everything ALL the time" you are kind of saying that women are incapable of denial, because denial means REFUSING to think something. IMO, everyone's capable of denial; men, women, AND children like Sansa - children especially, because denial is more common among the immature.

Sansa's denial would be her negative role in all this.

She would not deny the duty part as it could excuse some of her actions.

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I see Sansa as her Fathers Daughter. Both have a deep sense of Duty and Honour. However age and experience affect their perspectives, each sees their own decisions as the right choice. Additionally, neither have any idea of the dishonesty/weakness/cruelty of those surrounding them until it is too late.



I am not sure how Ned could have sent Lady back to WF/North without it being noticed. Lady may have been the most 'gentle' of the Direwolf pups but I doubt she would have left 'quietly' without Sansa. Ned stating Cersei would not have the pelt, I believe, means she would not be given the chance for Payne to kill and skin her and for Cersei to 'parade' Ladys pelt as another method to show her 'power' over Sansa/Ned/Arya/The North etc.



King Bob was already in so much debt to the Lannisters, he couldn't afford 'rock the boat'. Again, Sansa and Ned believe in Honour and Duty when the Southerners only believe in Politics.


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I think you're mixing up honor here. There's honor as "the right thing to do," morally correct & then there's honor as "honorific" or status, or achievement.

Becoming a queen would be an honorable position, but if doing so one commits crimes, then that is not honorable.

But yes, the different in intention between Ned/Sansa with respect to intended outcomes is I think something you need to address in this OP.

Well, hang on-- "honor" isn't synonymous with "moral." "Honor" is about codes of conduct that typically align with moral rectitude, but not always; Arthur Dayne was "honorable" by standing by his king's enormities, but that was a case where "honor" =/= "moral." And sometimes there's conflicting codes of honor: Ned behaved "honorably" to Robert by killing Lady, but it was dishonorable to his family, and arguably immoral since he knew the party was innocent.

I don't believe there's actually much difference in Ned and Sansa's motives here; that's the issue. They are both trying to be honorable and dutiful, and commit regrettable mistakes in service to that.

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WOOOOOOO! *Thwomps into thread*


Uagh!



Alrighty then. Lets get this party really started! :smug:



First things first: OnionAhaiReborn made an interesting point.




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.



Ok. What this is, and yes, yer right, its happening, is taking a base and very common fantasy trope. And then proceeding to rip it into pieces. Then, the diabolical GRRM thought process takes those pieces and puts them back together again. The result isnt Humpty Dumpty, but some other creature. This is the process of Trope Deconstruction and Reconstruction. He takes Ned and constructs him as our Protagonist. In fact, we are led to believe initially, that Ned is our Main Hero. Our minds immediately think he has plot immunity. He'll make it out, hes the good guy! Right? Right?



WRONG!



Ol' Ned doesnt make it out. Ned is the Deconstruction of the Main Hero archetype. So where does Sansa come into this? Well very quickly. Sansa is set up to be the Classic Princess archetype. Shes pretty, feminine, a little silly, loves stories and songs, and a complete foil to her younger sister. Over the course of the first book, we see this whole idea come crashing down. Sansa is deconstructed to show us what happens when you live in a world a little too much like our own history, and are Princess Classic. Shes introduced almost, like bumps said, as if she were to be taken negatively. We see her through the eyes of Arya mostly. Sansa looks like annoying, vapid little brat. And when she gets her POV, she still looks like an annoying, vapid little brat. Yet she mirrors her father in a lot of ways. Sansa never speaks of how awesome it would be to have a lot of power as queen. Save once. And that is a child's fancy of ordering her sister (whom Sansa sees as really bratty) around. Thats the only time we see Sansa go "Man, if i were queen, id do this thing! UAWAHAHAHAH!" So evil, right? lawl. As the first book ends and Ned is dead, Sansa's true deconstruction begins and she becomes so sympathetic, we cannot help but wonder why we didnt like her in the first place.



GRRM knows what hes doing.








In the TV show she leans, after hesitation, yes, this is designed to soften the fans reaction that they had in the books. The same goes with the TV show not including Sansa betraying her family to the Queen. Just as Sansa's interactions with Tyrion, on the TV show, she starts to like him, only to be given the news of Robbs death. In the books she is boarder line cruel to him.



The Sansa painted in the TV show is much easier to sympathize with than the written Sansa.




Yes and the reason for that is because of POV structure. We cant see Sansa's head in the TV show so she comes off as just naive and derpy. Not malicious. Her thoughts in the first book border on outright insipid, and this is why so many think of her poorly. Some people seem to ignore the Deconstruction process.



As for Ned and Sansa being the same at the core, i agree. Its just all in the manner of introduction. They both have flaws and Sansa's are just highlighted more.


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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.

But "duty as a woman" doesn't mean a woman outside the context of family. There's a conflict between family and position here that I don't see getting addressed. Her duty as a woman doesn't mean merely achieve the highest position available to women in the society. Women (and men) are operating in a moral environment that places protecting your family above most (all). The Mother can fight as fiercely as the Warrior to protect her children and all that.

While in some ways she's set to be family to Joff and Cersei, she's not family with them yet. Her family is still the Starks. So sacrificing her Stark family just to be queen seems to be going against these in-world virtues you seem to be mentioning.

Parents & children have a different obligation to their family, ofc. But I don't think completely abstracting "being queen" as a woman's highest duty is that constructive to understanding Sansa's conflicts in AGOT.

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Well, hang on-- "honor" isn't synonymous with "moral." "Honor" is about codes of conduct that typically align with moral rectitude, but not always; Arthur Dayne was "honorable" by standing by his king's enormities, but that was a case where "honor" =/= "moral." And sometimes there's conflicting codes of honor: Ned behaved "honorably" to Robert by killing Lady, but it was dishonorable to his family, and arguably immoral since he knew the party was innocent.

I don't believe there's actually much difference in Ned and Sansa's motives here; that's the issue. They are both trying to be honorable and dutiful, and commit regrettable mistakes in service to that.

Of course there is a difference in Motive or this would not be such an interesting thread :cool4:

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First of all congratulations for the thread. I agree that Sansa and Ned follow similar paths in AGOT but concerning only the topic "going to confront/ tell Cersei":






But, at the end, does it really matter? The entire "love vs. duty" debate in ASOIAF is extremely powerful, and many times character's decisions are based on what they think is right, love or duty. Even, when Aemon asks that question, we got half-answer from Jon. What is "the right thing"? I doubt that Ned can be absolved because he was acting on by his sense of honor and duty. There are many instances where doing the duty is not the best course of action: we got Jaime, Theon, and even Ned having that debate. So, I am not that convinced that Ned is objectively better because he is doing out of honor. Because (if R+L=J is true) then he knows that honor and duty aren't the only right way there is.





It matters for me because I don't see it as a "love vs duty" situation. I think a important distinction between their actions is that Ned acted out of mercy and kindness in that situation. IMO we are reducing his MO to only duty and honor while he warning Cersei has more to do with mercy than honor and duty. Duty and mercy are often in conflict and that was a situation like that. He had a duty to his king and in a way he was going behind his king back because he didn't want the kids and even Cersei to get hurt. He is already making very difficult decisions, questioning what is right and wrong in that situation, trying to repress his own feelings of revenge against the Lannisters, facing more moral responsibility than any other character in the present moment but I admit he makes a huge blunder when he doesn't send his daughters to a safe place. Ned is so naïve about his daughters' safety that Varys has to remind him that she is in danger while in the dungeons. It would be callous and careless if Ned in the next scene hadn't put everything (his honor, his lorship, his life, his family name, his king, his duty, etc.) below Sansa's life. In AGOT Sansa doesn't make a sacrifice like that.



Butterbumps!'s take on Sansa's actions, that she was also guided by duty and honor, was interesting, but I still think it was at least just as motivated by self interest and her intention of living her dream. Anyway, there's no innocent's lives at stake in Sansa's mind so Ned's actions were motivated by mercy and entirely selfless while Sansa's were not. Call him an irresponsible father but the fact is that he had a lot of tough decisions to make and he genuinely thought Cersei would flee with their children based on how she claimed to love them.



Not a Sansa's hater but I don't have as much sympathy for her in AGOT as I do for Ned for the reasons stated above. I'm not claiming her action are not understandable for a kid in her age and I know she would never willingly put her family or her friends in danger but in the end she was a little selfish and Ned was just naïve IMO. That is why I think his actions were objectively better in said situation.



On the account that Sansa's hatred is overblown I completely agree.


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But "duty as a woman" doesn't mean a woman outside the context of family. There's a conflict between family and position here that I don't see getting addressed. Her duty as a woman doesn't mean merely achieve the highest position available to women in the society. Women (and men) are operating in a moral environment that places protecting your family above most (all). The Mother can fight as fiercely as the Warrior to protect her children and all that.

While in some ways she's set to be family to Joff and Cersei, she's not family with them yet. Her family is still the Starks. So sacrificing her Stark family just to be queen seems to be going against these in-world virtues you seem to be mentioning.

Parents & children have a different obligation to their family, ofc. But I don't think completely abstracting "being queen" as a woman's highest duty is that constructive to understanding Sansa's conflicts in AGOT.

Yes, it does though. Sansa was no longer just a Stark; she was now operating within the realm of duty to Robert's family. A duty bestowed on her by her own father.

If Hoster Tully attacked Ned, which side would Catelyn be required to honor? Whichever side was right would be my guess, but what if she doesn't know who was at fault? This is essentially Sansa's predicament here, as she's trying to navigate between the families she's supposed to both honor, with the additional problematic imperative that Robert is the king and has authority over her father, all the while no one tells her what's going on.

I may have not stated this clearly, and if so, I apologize. I'm calling Sansa's marriage to Jof a duty, and calling marrying a king the highest honor and most prestigious position a woman can achieve. In their society, a woman must perform her duty admirably in order achieve queenship.

Of course there is a difference in Motive or this would not be such an interesting thread :cool4:

I wouldn't say "of course" there is, lol. I really think it's a perceptual issue that make this honor and duty seem so different.

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