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The Stark Sisters II - an anlyses of survival reflexes


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I regret not having sufficient fluency in English to respond with the quality you deserve. But the whole question for me is: Sansa, at first, had an external value as a Stark, but in oneself she was not identified as such. Now, the external value of her identity as Stark disappeared, because she is seen by all as a bastard. Inside herself, however, she begins to strengthen her identification with House Stark and northern values. If we're talking about survival, I believe that Sansa's depends on how she will deal with this conflict - for example, if she kills or help Littlefinger kills Robert Arryn, which would be something unStark, I believe that her fate will be sealed by such act. In the case of Arya, she escapes from King's Landing because she isn't identified as a Stark and all the attitudes that endanger her are based on her acting on values ​​that she sees as fitting the values ​​of her family. Only when it comes to making decisions that are questionable in light of such values (the ones her father taught her) is that her survival prospects increases. To free Rorge, Biter and Jaqen, for example, was not an honorable act, because they were all dangerous criminals. Furthermore, the way she cheated Jaqen is not an example of honored conduct, it is more compatible with a Littlefinger act than a Eddard Stark act. Anyway, If she actually is incorporated into the Faceless Men, her survival will depend on leave behind her family memory and the values ​​that her father taught her.

I think you equate the Stark way too much with a very limited outset of honour. Ned's honour (that often goes overboard to the stupid side) shouldn't be taken as the all-and-out Stark trait.

There's Lyanna: Ned thinks of her as being more Stark than himself, and yet certain parts of her story we know, would go against exactly the honour-type you're talking about. He thinks of Brandon in that way too - more Starkish than he himself is. ETA: And let's not forget about Brandon who was supposed to be the Lord of WF (not Ned) who liked to seduce maidens. Ned's honour has been put forward as a trap for the reader as a Stark trait, because he's the sole Stark of the elder generation you ever really get to know. Benjen we know only for a few pages.

One can take honour as 'the law is the law' - as in behead a NW deserter regardless of what he says in his defense - or one can take honour as 'be merciful and give people a chance' - as in tell Cersei you know her kids aren't Robert's children to give them a chance.

You seem to judge Arya's actions to save Rorge, Biter and Jaqen as dishonorable becayse it doesn't fly with 'the law is the law'. But I would also argue that this take on the 'law is the law type of honour' doesn't really fly... sure they were criminals, but they were on their way to the Wall to make up for that. They're not under a death sentence anymore, so why should Arya allow them to die by fire? It's not just being empathic... it's smart. They're under attack and she, Hot Pie, Gendry and Lommy are trying to escape (by the order of Joren). Why waste the fighting power of 3 men while under attack? They'll have to fight for their lives just as well.

As for giving Jaqen his own name. Why is it cheating? Arya is not doing something that is against the rules of the 3 names, nor is she lying. She is simply using all the power that Jaqen handed to her - give me three names in exchange for the 3 lives you saved. One of the three lives she saved was him, she therefore has the power to unsave, and he gave that power to her himself. He just didn't expect her to be that smart. Plus she takes back his name in exchange for something else than 'kill someone'. Sure, Ned wouldn't have done such a thing, but what about Lyanna who most likely was the Knight of the Laughing Tree at Harrenhall?

Identity are two different things: the shallow form of identity (name, looks) and the psychological-personality kind. In psychological terms identity means the chore of your personality that you're born with - extraversion versus introversion, perceiving versus judging, sensing versus intuition, thinking versus feeling. Personality is like an onion, built throughout life, layer after layer, but environment and experience can't alter the chore on which this onion is built. This chore is called 'identity'. People who end up trying to alter and function differently than their psychological hardwired identity end up having an identity crisis. That doesn't mean a dominant feeling personality must act against reason or act foolish all of their lives. It just means that in order to retain their identity, while they learn to be smart, they will also include their feeling into the equation. When people learn through life to widen their options in how to deal with issues on top of their innate identity make-up that doesn't mean they lose their identity. Instead they learn to balance things, without losing it. It's when people completely ignore their inner identity and try to replace it with the opposite that they lose it.

In that way 'values' taught by your environment as a child are part of personality, but not identity. The identity does not come from what people teach you. It's innate, what you're born with.

I agree that what the FM guild requires of Arya could lead to the latter in theory. They want to make Arya into an empty vat without an identity chore to replace it with whatever type is handy for the job. But is that what Arya is doing? No. Instead she clings and preserves that inner identity. Instead she uses the FM training to broaden her adaptability. But adaptibility is not the same as loss of psychological identiy. And actually, for a person's survival loss of identity is psychological death. So, I'd argue that it's key to Arya's survival to retain Arya Stark's identity chore, which is exactly what she's doing. And Arya has been in a way armed against identity assaults, because her identity was already under assault by Septa Mordane, Sansa, and everyone else desiring, demanding and requiring her to be someone else than she was born like pretty much all of her childhood. She's been fighting for her identity since she was a toddler already. The guild only puts her in a situation where she learns to use a different tactic: it used to be open faced defiance, and now she's acquiring subterfuge.

(BTW no apologies needed for being non-native speaker. I'm a non native speaker myself. I'm Belgian and my mother tongue is Dutch :-) )

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