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Cavendish

Sansa is Weak

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Now i'm far from the most avid supporter of Sansa, hell i can barely stand her character, but i don't believe she's genuinely weak. Not particularly bright, perhaps, but not weak. Maybe by comparison to characters like Bran or Jon, but compared to how the average person would handle the butchering and destruction of essentially everything she ever loved and cared about, i'd say she's doing quite well.


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I agree with you about quantifying strength and that there are different kinds. I didn't say she wasn't strong. Making any sort of comparison of such a subjectively defined thing such as "strength" is always going to be messy and highly contentious because there are too many other variables that play a role such as the completely different situations the characters are in including the people they are surrounded by, the ages, social statuses, knowledge base, genders, or any number of other things. That is in addition to the huge differences in the ways people define strength and the weights they give to certain aspects of it.

Remember that I was responding to somebody making a claim stating that they think Sansa is possibly the strongest out of all the kids. Due to the nature of her situation I just don't see enough in story evidence myself to come to any sort of conclusion about her "strength" relative to her siblings. We know how Sansa reacted in her very specific type of situation which required a certain kind of strength and a lot of passivity. I think due to circumstances there is a greater variety of situations Sansa's siblings had to deal with that required a greater variety of responses. I think there is more overall in story evidence for most of her siblings, but it doesn't mean I think Sansa handled her situation poorly or would just give up if she found herself in others' situations.

You know, different subjective perspectives.

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I feel like the OP should be banned for using a trolling/clickbait title twice within the space of a few days, and both are very clearly targeting a specific group of people.


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Well, Yes, Sansa is smart, but i don't think she'll ever be match to LF and Tyrion.

That's very easy to think given Sansa's current status. She does feel like a REALLY slow learner at times.

However, consider Littlefinger's origin story. The thing that seemed to catalyze him as a character was when he challenged Brandon for Cat's hand. Implying that, at that time in his life, he believed:

1) His love for Cat (or his passion, or something) would somehow allow him to defeat someone much stronger and more skilled than he, and

2) This win would somehow allow him to be with Cat, even though she'd shown no interest in him before and he was far too low-born for her anyway.

Sounds like little Petyr Baelish had some pretty naive romantic notions. And now look at him. So I don't think there's any reason to think Sansa could not become a freakin' force of nature as a game-player.

I've always thought that there's no one more cynical than a disabused idealist.

Nah, Arya and Bran were equally naive/idealistic. Bran had all the notions of chivalry and becoming a knight and believed Old Nan's stories.

And in aCoK, when Yoren says they could go to Harrenhal, Arya thinks, "Yes, there are knights at Harrenhal and knights protect people". Even when she leaves Sandor to die, she says he should've saved her mother, because presumably that's what knights do.

I agree with this. I think that all of the Stark children display roughly equal degrees of strength and naivete.

- Rob. I mean, I don't think I even have to explain that. King in the North, husband of Jeyne "I totally just lost you this war" Westerling.

- Sansa. Keeps her shit together like a boss. Takes three fails to realize white knights are not going to save her.

- Arya. Will cut a bitch. Always assumes she can get her own way despite being consistently wrong.

- Bran. Greatest potential Greenseer in generations. Spends five books thinking he can be a knight despite being a paraplegic.

- Rickon...I dunno, hard to say with Rickon.

In terms of comparing Arya and Sansa, I feel like Arya started out thinking she was in a YA adventure novel and Sansa started out thinking she was in a romance novel, and they have both slowly learned that they're wrong. The world is dark and full of hard grown-up truths.

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I agree with you about quantifying strength and that there are different kinds. I didn't say she wasn't strong. Making any sort of comparison of such a subjectively defined thing such as "strength" is always going to be messy and highly contentious because there are too many other variables that play a role such as the completely different situations the characters are in including the people they are surrounded by, the ages, social statuses, knowledge base, genders, or any number of other things. That is in addition to the huge differences in the ways people define strength and the weights they give to certain aspects of it.

Remember that I was responding to somebody making a claim stating that they think Sansa is possibly the strongest out of all the kids. Due to the nature of her situation I just don't see enough in story evidence myself to come to any sort of conclusion about her "strength" relative to her siblings. We know how Sansa reacted in her very specific type of situation which required a certain kind of strength and a lot of passivity. I think due to circumstances there is a greater variety of situations Sansa's siblings had to deal with that required a greater variety of responses. I think there is more overall in story evidence for most of her siblings, but it doesn't mean I think Sansa handled her situation poorly or would just give up if she found herself in others' situations.

I agree with you, and I also had problem with such statement regardless that it is about my favorite character. As I have said, trying to pinpoint who is strongest is kinda impossible. All of them faced some dangers and situations that exacted some rather different answers. Overall, I feel it is pointless discussing who among them is the weakest, but generally speaking, the horrors they have been through put all of them very high on the strongest characters list.

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Come now, lets not get carried away. Sansa will exploit LF's weakness maybe, but that doesn't put her the level of masterminds such as LF, Tyrion or Varys.

not at 13,14,16 if she makes it to her 20's then bets are off in my opinion, one reason for the gap that never was.

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So?

ETA: This shit pisses me off not even for the Sansa hate, but because you folks will win. Because of your endless whining GRRM will have to have Sansa go Godzilla on something soon, just that this stupid bitchin about her being subpar finally stops. I for one would be much more happy if Sansa could have just stayed that naive, "weak", non-badass, somewhat simple girl, because I like her that way.

don't get too upset, GRRM was surprised of how much hate Sansa got, and just recently stated Sansa has her wits just like LF has, so he most likely planned something big for her.

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Hi, Cavendish. I can see by the number of posts by your name that you and I are both less experienced on the forums than some others. It is not considered good form to create a controversial topic heading to get attention. Consider it akin to "clickbait" in other areas of the interwebs. But also note that a thought-provoking topic does not need an provocative title to get input. I think simply putting Sansa's name in the topic header will garner much feedback.

I like your question; however, I didn't like the title so I almost skipped it. I know there are many posters here who have years of experience reading, discussing, and dissecting topics like this. I have not read many of them yet but, while opinions seem to cover the rainbow on other topics, I am confident you will receive representation from every perspective. I haven't even had time to read all of the posts on this thread yet. But my initial thoughts are these: I think all of the characters, Sansa included, are like us - a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, positives, negatives, and neutrals. Most of the characters are not in stasis: life means change, whether we are growing or decaying. So, some people are strong at certain times in certain ways while others are strong in other ways and times.

Sansa is a 12-year-old girl child from a remote Northern home. There is not even a real town where she lives. She has been told since the cradle that her only goal is to become a lady in a beneficial marriage, but she has years of training remaining before she will be ready for that. I think it is crucial to note that each of the children draws measurable strength from the direwolf bond...except Sansa. She lost something important with Lady's death. But I do think she will recover part of that loss at some point.

Good luck with your reading and with future posts. I am trying to learn better search methods to find existing threads on topics so you may want to try that too.

ETA: what the heck formatting

the link did not work I assume you sent the OP this: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/97271-from-pawn-to-player-rethinking-sansa-xxi/

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Alright, honestly, and before this thread gets closed (?), i feel the character of Sansa was a child that was put in a very bully-like situation. Such so the only way she'd be able to maintain living is by abiding by those above her. I think her character has undergone a huge evolution throughout the 5 books we have so far, and her transformation, and willingness to become something more than someone being pushed around and beaten shows her ability to cope and heal rather well.



That being said, the irony of it all, is that she may or may not be in the same exact predicament with Petyr Baelish (he is, in fact, using her), but the cat an dmouse game remains, whether or not SHE takes control above even him, in the next book or two.



To reiterate, she was weak because she had to be, her ability to get over it (im sure she's traumatized, but still) shows her growing strength, and once she gets in her positionof power, i think her trauma-like past may have an effect on her that makes her a tad.. tyrannical? Thats probably the wrong word. More so as perhaps a, lack of sympathy/empathy, for those beneath her. Definitely not Cersei-level, perhaps more Daenerys.


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There are some ways her actual character, is stronger than even Arya's; i.e., Sansa's ability to accept and cope, runs circles around a little girl throwing a tantrum all over braavos, reciting the people she's going to beat-up on a list.


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To reiterate, she was weak because she had to be, her ability to get over it (im sure she's traumatized, but still) shows her growing strength, and once she gets in her positionof power, i think her trauma-like past may have an effect on her that makes her a tad.. tyrannical? Thats probably the wrong word. More so as perhaps a, lack of sympathy/empathy, for those beneath her. Definitely not Cersei-level, perhaps more Daenerys.

I would disagree with this conclusion because empathy remains one of Sansa's strongest qualities. She spent a year being beaten and humiliated and she was rather emphatic to numerous people in KL - from Lancel and Margaery, Stokeworths and Tyrion. Even when she occupies the position of power in Eyrie - basically being Lady of the castle, she remains rather connected with everyone in her surrounding. So, I don't see lack of sympathy/empathy in her storyline plausible.

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Well said!

I like to imagine how Arya would've handled being in Sansa's place and Sansa in hers. I think the answer is, they'd both be dead. Strength doesn't have to mean physical toughness. Strength can come in many forms. Brienne says of Cat that she has a "woman's courage" and the same may be said of Sansa. Her ability to maintain composure in the midst of all she's put through is proof of her mental strength. Just because she doesn't yell and fight at every turn does not mean she is weak.

:agree: I relate more to Arya than Sansa, but Sansa is still one of my faves, especially after AGoT. I feel as if so many readers and show viewers just don't understand her. The girl survived a den of Lannisters when even her father, who doesn't get half the crap she does, didn't.

She is perceived as week because she is naive and very passive.

She is pretty strong actually, even though she is passive.

She also has a coldness to her unlike the more fiery female characters who are considered strong such as Arya, Dany, Cersei or even Cat. That is not weakness though, it is a strength.

Yes, yes! Sansa is definitely the iciest female POV character we've met so far. Have no idea where her story is going, but it's all building up to something.

I feel like the OP should be banned for using a trolling/clickbait title twice within the space of a few days, and both are very clearly targeting a specific group of people.

Agree, but I'm too new to have such opinions. It just seems like some groups of fans get trolled by these types of posters more than others, though, which itself isn't fair...

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I would disagree with this conclusion because empathy remains one of Sansa's strongest qualities. She spent a year being beaten and humiliated and she was rather emphatic to numerous people in KL - from Lancel and Margaery, Stokeworths and Tyrion. Even when she occupies the position of power in Eyrie - basically being Lady of the castle, she remains rather connected with everyone in her surrounding. So, I don't see lack of sympathy/empathy in her storyline plausible.

it's weird, because youre exactly correct. and i was about to debate you that wasn't true, and refer to the beginning when she was "look at me im a spoiled pretty pretty princess" and didnt care about anyone.

yet that in itself, proves how much she's evolved as a character. her openness to, said individuals.

i think one thing can be said though: she was weak, closed, selfish at one time. Her experiences at King's Landing, have since changed her. She's well on her way though. I wouldnt consider her strong, (yet), but she's certainly not what she once was.

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Sansa isn't weak. And saying she is weak because she didn't exit KL Rambo style is about as stupid as saying a POW is weak because he didn't Rambo his way out of captivity. It's just pure horseshit.



Also, she has made some mistakes, but so has every other character.


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Sansa isn't weak. And saying she is weak because she didn't exit KL Rambo style is about as stupid as saying a POW is weak because he didn't Rambo his way out of captivity. It's just pure horseshit.

Yeah, she has made some mistakes, but so has every other character.

Tell em, you!

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Sansa is not weak, but she has been weakened.



Sansa is not strong, but she has been strengthened.



She's overcome physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. She's the anti-Arya, so it is easy to think her weak by comparison. And it isn't wrong to think so. Arya is far more independent, and a Lysa Arryn would have been dead before she ever opened the Moon Door if that were Arya instead of Sansa.



Sansa's wolf was murdered, and that has weakened her. And Sansa has after all admitted being weak: when she built the snow model of Winterfell, and noticed she felt stronger within its walls.



Now that those walls are gone, she is undoubtedly weakened. But, she's survived this long and other Starks show their own weaknesses as well.



Robb was weak when it came to oaths of betrothal. Bran has been led like a dog on a leash to Bloodraven. Arya's weakness is her need for vengeance. Rickon's a babe and it's hard to say, but his weakness may well be mental stability (probably gets it from his mom LOL)... Last, there's Jon, who's weakness may yet prove to be his strength.


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So?

ETA: This shit pisses me off not even for the Sansa hate, but because you folks will win. Because of your endless whining GRRM will have to have Sansa go Godzilla on something soon, just that this stupid bitchin about her being subpar finally stops. I for one would be much more happy if Sansa could have just stayed that naive, "weak", non-badass, somewhat simple girl, because I like her that way.

I wouldn't say GRRM would write something like that about Sansa just because of some readers opinions. I wish I had a link to the interview where he said he had once thought about changing something in a book and decided not to. He said, this is not a democracy. Also, the books are the books and the show is the show. I put my faith in George. He will tell the story the way he wants it told.

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Don't bring age as argument. GRRM really did fuck up there. 14 year old boys and 15(?) year old girls are already leading armies. Show did a lot better in that case. In my head I picture the characters in the books older too.

In Medieval times, nothing was thought of a 14 year old noble leading men into battle. Since most people died in their 30's then, men and women had to grow up and resume responsibilities far far earlier. Teenagers were most likely far more responsible back then.

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In Medieval times, nothing was thought of a 14 year old noble leading men into battle. Since most people died in their 30's then, men and women had to grow up and resume responsibilities far far earlier. Teenagers were most likely far more responsible back then.

Statistics are difficult: Just because the average age of death was mid-thirties, people didn't die mostly in their thirties. Child mortality was very high, but if you made it past five years, you got a good chance to become 60 or older.

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Your title made me mad... then I read the OP.


I think it's reductive to think of Sansa as only a weak or strong person.


If we're just talking from a literary perspective, the Sansa character, to me, has always been strong because her struggle of family values vs prestige, her tendency to self edit to avoid unpleasant realities was both fascinating and mind-boggling to me. Sansa is not stupid, and has never been, it's just that (especially in AGOT) she refuses to let go of dreams because she is scared of facing reality so she pushes away anything that doesn't fit in her paradigm. Think about the way she responds to Arya's unwillingness to conform. She doesn't reject her and not talk to her, she constantly tries to make her behave and buy into the ideals forced upon them. I found that so interesting, especially in the form of this girl who, for most of her life, has probably almost always gotten what she wanted and been encouraged and rewarded. Her almost control freak attitude towards what doesn't fit into her picture of her ideal life (not only lying for Joffrey but then interacting with Arya as if his version of events truly happened, as well as her pretending not to notice Joffrey's psycho streak and reassure herself thinking "oh, he only hurts animals") is interesting especially because I really want to know where it came from.



As a person, she has to deal with a horrifying situation that nobody ever prepared her for, the adults were not prepared for the situation for heaven's sake! No one was expecting the chaos that followed Ned's arrest.


It's more a question of what power she has to impact the situation she is in, and the response is very little. What can she realistically do without getting in a worse situation? The control is out of her hands, and not because she lost it so I don't think it's fair, or accurate, to judge her "stength" based on her situation. She is lost, alone and realised that everything she once thought had little value was the most important and that her dreams were built on quicksand. Do I wish her desire to escape the Red Keep is pursued in a more active manner? Yes, but when weighing her chances for survival, I can understand her hesitating to make any sudden moves. She has not been taught to play the Game, in fact she didn't even know there was one. Her adjusting is only natural. Her problem is she has problems understanding personal dynamics beyond, houses and sigils and rules. That's what crippling her, and I think she will get there. She is really quick at understanding rules and consequences but know she will learn how to anticipate behaviours. She has no choice, it's sink or swim and she believes to be the last person able to help restore her family and get revenge on the Lannisters.



I am not a Sansa, none of my friends are Sansas so there will always be some gap of understanding of how she views the world (also probably because she hasn't necessarily found a definite way yet) but empathising with her is very easy. She doesn't deserve even 1/100 of what is happening to her and she remained sane and still has a good heart; that shows how mentally strong she is, and has always been. I really want her to be okay by the end and I believe in her making it happen for herself.



Honestly the problem I had with Sansa was not her being weak or stupid (didn't think either were true) but that she might be cray-cray. Her rewriting history tendencies freaked me out because that is a sign that a person can do whatever and trick themselves into believe it's ok. I was really scared she would become a mini-Cersei in the future. I honestly believe that if not for Ned being beheaded, she genuinely would have been on that path. Life in delusions is a dangerous prospect. Her desperation to keep her dream of being Queen alive might have led her to make awful choices with terrible unseen consequences and thoughtless evil is the most destructive (not saying she would've been evil but that her deeds could have severely bad consequences for her family/others/the Kingdoms). Imagine all the damage the Lannisters could've done to the Starks with a cooperative Sansa who doesn't even realise the value of the information she is giving...NOT GOOD.


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