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From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa II

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Brashcandy's Last Chapter review and Analysis from thread one.

AGOT – SANSA III

Summary

The third Sansa chapter sees her still engaging in the storybook discourse of monsters and true knights. Sharing a cold supper with Jeyne, she’s upset that her father did not send Ser Loras after Gregor Clegane for his terror campaign in the Riverlands. Ned chose to send Beric Dondarrion instead, but Sansa laments the loss of seeing a true story come to life:

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Her father’s decision still bewildered her. When the Knight of Flowers had spoken up, she’d been sure she was about to see one of Old Nan’s stories come to life. Ser Gregor was the monster and Ser Loras the true hero who would slay him. He even looked a true hero, so slim and beautiful with golden roses around his slender waist and his rich brown hair tumbling down into his eyes.

Her fantasy dashed, she remembers expressing her displeasure to Septa Mordane upon leaving the gallery about her father’s judgement. The Septa scolds her, but Petyr Baelish intercedes and agrees that some of Lord Eddard’s decisions “could do with a bit of questioning.” Commenting on Sansa’s wisdom and beauty, he engages her further by asking her just why she would have sent Loras instead. Sansa explains her ideas about heroes and monsters, and LF utters one of his infamous lines in the series:

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The king’s councillor smiled. “Well, those are not the reasons I’d have given, but…” He had touched her cheek, his thumb lightly tracing the line of the cheekbone. “Life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that one day to your sorrow.”

His comment makes Sansa feel uneasy, so she decides not to share this part with her friend. Jeyne thinks that Ned should have sent Ilyn Payne, but Sansa believes he’s basically a “second monster” and thinks of how much he creeps her out: “He made her feel as though something dead were slithering over her naked body.” When Jeyne goes on to talk about Ser Beric, Sansa notes to herself that Jeyne’s crush on the man is hopeless. She’s of too low birth and very young, but Sansa decides that voicing these objections would be unkind.

The conversation shifts to talk of Prince Joffrey, with Sansa sharing her hopes that he’s the one to kill the white hart on the hunt with the other nobles. She tells Jeyne that she dreamt it, admitting to herself that it was only a wish, but it was more convincing to claim it was dream which everyone accepts are prophetic. Jeyne mentions that she has seen Arya in the stables that day walking on her hands, but Sansa has no desire to wonder about what Arya has been up to, and continues relating what happened at court that day. She tells Jeyne about the disgusting appearance of the Night’s Watch man, Yoren, and admits to pitying her half-brother Jon if this is really what the Watch is like.

In the morning, Sansa gets up early to watch Beric and the other men heading off to capture Gregor Clegane. She is excited by what is happening and thinks that it was like a song coming to life. Going down to breakfast, she is pleased to encounter Arya, given the general desertion of the Tower of the Hand, and proceeds to fill her in about why the place is so empty. Arya wants to know what Gregor has done, but asserts that Jaime Lannister and the Hound should also be made to pay for their crimes. This sparks a heated dispute:

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It’s not the same,” Sansa said. “The Hound is Joffrey’s sworn shield. Your butcher’s boy attacked the prince.”

“Liar,” Arya said. Her hand clenched the blood orange so hard that red juice oozed between her fingers.

“Go ahead, call me all the names you want,” Sansa said airily. “You won’t dare when I’m married to Joffrey. You’ll have to bow before me and call me Your Grace.” She shrieked as Arya flung the orange across the table. It caught her in the middle of her forehead with a wet squish and plopped down into her lap.

“You have juice on your face, Your Grace,” Arya said.

It was running down her nose and stinging her eyes. Sansa wiped it away with a napkin. When she saw what the fruit in her lap had done to her beautiful ivory silk dress, she shrieked again. “You’re horrible,” she screamed at her sister. “They should have killed you instead of Lady!”

At this outburst, Septa Mordane orders them both to their chambers and promises Lord Stark will hear of the argument. Sansa is livid, tearing off her dress and hurling it into the cold hearth before collapsing in tears on the bed and falling asleep. Around mid-day, Septa Mordane comes to her room to announce that Ned wants to see her. Waking from her sleep, Sansa has a fleeting thought that Lady is in the room with her, but remembers that she was only having a dream of them running together, but she can’t recall the rest.

She goes to her father, and Arya arrives as well. Anxious to avoid his censure, Sansa blames the argument on Arya, saying her sister started it first, but Ned is in no mood to entertain the fight. Seeing her father’s displeasure, Arya offers an apology to Sansa, and suggests that she could wash the dress to try to remove the stain. All this is forgotten though, when Ned announces that he’s sending them both back to Winterfell. Devastated, Sansa immediately states she doesn’t want to go, and so does Arya, although she seems to be willing to accept if Syrio is allowed to go North with them.

Sansa, however, is inconsolable. She tells her father that she loves Prince Joffrey “as much as Queen Naerys loved Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, as much as Jonquil loved Ser Florian. I want to be his Queen and have his babies.” Ned replies gently that Joffey is not the one for her, but when she is older he will make a match with someone worthy, “someone brave and gentle and strong.”

When Sansa insists that Joffrey is the only one she wants and that she will give him a son that is as brave as the wolf and proud as the lion, Arya is derisive, telling her this won’t happen if Joff’s the father, and besides that he’s a stag not a lion. Sansa enraged, declares that Joff is nothing like his old drunken father, thereby inadvertently giving Ned the final piece of the puzzle surrounding the Lannisters’ treachery. Advising the girls to tell no one of their plans, he sends them off. Arya attempts to comfort Sansa, telling her that it will not be so bad, and that they’ll get a chance to be with everyone again, Bran, Robb, even Old Nan and Hodor. However, this only serves to increase Sansa’s anger:

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Hodor!” Sansa yelled. You ought to marry Hodor, you’re just like him, stupid and hairy and ugly!” She wrenched away from her sister’s hand, stormed into her bedchamber, and barred the door behind her.

Analysis

Wow. If I had to find a name for this chapter it would be Sansa Surprises, but not really. The last two chapters have seen her at various times upset, frightened, unsettled, excited and happy, but this one has all of that plus the added whopper of a rage and anger directed primarily at her sister. I have to say that I was largely disappointed with Sansa’s behaviour in the chapter, and somewhat surprised by what seemed like an even more entrenched belief in a fantasy world, where true knights go to slay monsters. I can see why Martin would have wanted his early characterization to be consistent, and I completely agree with the value of this given what Sansa has to experience later on, but it’s still a bit perplexing to the extent that we see her naivete here, at least to me. Given the events on the road with Lady’s death, the revelation by the Hound, and then the first hand witnessing of Gregor’s terror at the tourney, I would have thought to see a girl that is slightly more aware of the dangers around her, and that what she thought happened in fairytales doesn’t function the same way in real life.

And yet I can see why she would, or at least I can understand why she comes to think that all of this is playing out like one of her songs. Maybe the reverse becomes true oddly enough. The conversation with Sandor, Lady’s death, and Gregor’s near assault of Loras at the tourney, have convinced her that yes, monsters do exist in the real world, and they need to be defeated in order for the story to have a happy ending. Who better to defeat a monster but a “true knight”? Sansa has indeed modified her initial thoughts in light of what Sandor tells her, but this modification has not made her any more enlightened or “smarter” about what life is really about. If anything, it seems to have convinced her that there’s a need for true knights more than ever, and hence her displeasure with her father’s decision not to send Loras.

This view results in the sage warning of Littlefinger when he learns the real reason why Sansa wanted her father to dispatch Ser Loras instead of Beric. Their exchange is quite revealing, and really highlights two things which become clearer (and more disturbing) in ASOS/AFFC:

  • LF’s desire for Sansa – the stroking of her face is in direct contrast to the Hound’s rough grabbing of her cheek to get her to look at him.
  • He’s not only interested in manipulating her, but “schooling” her as well – He is genuinely interested in finding out why she wanted Loras sent, and is unimpressed by her answer. I think we see this later on when he asks her questions to gauge if she is thinking analytically, but in this early exchange, he can only issue some advice, which sounds ominously like a warning.

The latter quality is certainly what Sansa takes away from the conversation, and she feels disconcerted enough not to share it with Jeyne. LF’s “warning” is nonetheless prescient, but there is an uneasiness that Sansa feels around him that is firmly established in these initial meetings.

And now onto what really disappointed me concerning Sansa in the chapter: It wasn’t her emotional outburst at the end when she tells Arya she’s ugly and hairy and stupid just like Hodor – although it wasn’t her finest moment in light of her sister’s efforts to comfort her; but rather one minor detail and a fairly big one:

  • The throwaway comparison of Alyn to Jory on the morning she wakes to see Beric and the men heading off to on the hunt for Gregor:

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The next morning she woke before first light and crept sleepily to her window to watch Lord Beric form up his men. They rode out as dawn was breaking over the city, with three banners going before them; the crowned stag of the king flew from the high staff, the direwolf of Stark and Lord Beric’s own forked lightning standard from the shorter poles. It was all so exciting, a song come to life; the clatter of swords, the flicker of torchlight, banners dancing in the wind, horses snortng and whinnying, the golden glow of sunrise slanting through the bars of the portcullis as it jerked upward. The Winterfell men looked especially fine in their silvery mail and long grey cloaks.

Alyn carried the Stark banner. When she saw him rein in before Lord Beric to exchange words, it made Sansa feel ever so proud. Alyn was handsomer than Jory has been; he was going to be a knight one day.

It’s really an insignificant observation, but I think it shows Sansa’s utter lack of awareness on the danger that is facing these men, and the comment about Alyn being handsomer than Jory made me want to scream: “Jory’s dead!! Wake up, Sansa! This is life and death we’re talking about, not maidens and monsters!” It’s one of the only or very few times when I was completely exasperated with Sansa’s naivete, and wanted to reach into the story to shake her physically.

The major disappointing moment in the story comes when she asserts that Mycah was the one to attack Prince Joffrey. I’m in the camp that thinks this isn’t a mismemory, but a wilful attempt to deny the truth in order to discredit Arya’s opinion that the Hound should have been beheaded for murdering Mycah. Indeed, in this very same chapter we’ve seen that Sansa isn’t above lying to make her case more convincing: telling Jeyne that she dreamt Joffrey would be the one to take the white hart, when in truth she was only expressing a wish. If I had been Arya I would have wanted to throw something at her too (although Arya’s immediate reaction in violence is concerning once again).

There is a lot of symbolism attached to the blood orange splattering on Sansa’s white dress. One of the things that struck me was the similarity in responses between now and later when Sansa gets her period for the first time and reacts in terrified panic, trying to burn the evidence. In this scene, she storms to her room, tears off the dress and flings it into the hearth, although there is no fire going. If we take the coming of a girl’s period to signal growing up, coming into maturity, then it suggests that Sansa’s experiences will be painful and bloody.

Her absolute misery over her father’s declaration is even more understandable given the events in this chapter. Sansa has told two lies in support of Prince Joffrey, the one to Arya more grievous than the one she tells to Jeyne, and with this kind of troubling investment in the relationship with Joffrey, it’s not surprising that she reacts with such despair to her father’s decision. What is new however, is the force of her reaction. Tears, yes, but also complete rage at Arya in the end. I suppose as well that her father’s tentative allowance of Syrio to join them probably seemed to her that he was favouring Arya’s needs, and not her own. Arya too surprised me in the chapter. I wouldn’t have thought to see her offering to console Sansa and help cheer her up with thoughts of home, but it was nice to see this aspect of her character, and her understanding of her sister’s unhappiness.

There is irony again in Sansa’s comparison of her love of Prince Joffrey to the love Naerys felt for Aemon the Dragonknight – considering this was an illicit romance – but I also found her insistence on having Joffrey’s babies to be revealing. Although earlier she bragged to her sister about how she would be Queen and Arya would have to bow to her, she mentions none of those aspirations to her father, and I think this is where we see her real innocence being highlighted through this kind of “girlish” dream of having babies and living happily ever after. I think it reinforces the idea that Sansa’s desire to be with Joffrey isn’t so much about herself, or any self important wish to be Queen, but rather rooted in family life, simplistic notions of romance and marriage, and the idea of giving Joffrey children he can be proud of.

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Last post from the last thread by Revenge of the Starks

snapback.pngRaksha the Demon, on 24 January 2012 - 12:31 AM, said:

I'm still surprised, believing as they did that the Lannisters killed the previous Hand, that Ned and Catelyn decide to bring their very young and innocent little girls into a Lannister-dominated court. Ned could have agreed to the betrothal and said that Sansa was not ready to come to court; he would send her in a year or two; or when she was flowered; I don't think Robert would have cared; the Stark he wanted in King's Landing was Ned.

I have a very vague memory that Cat, in either one of her or Ned's POV's, argued quite vehemently for them going down to KL. I know she certainly advocated Ned taking the position of Hand because that would advance the standing of her family, and increase the prospects for her children. For some reason I seem to recall that for this reason she also wanted the girls, but probably mostly Sansa, to go South and experience court life.

Edit: she was really upset about Bran going, and would miss all her children, but is it correct that she thought that girls going was for the best? I don't have my book right now.

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In their defense, I don't think Cat and Ned ever fathomed what the hell would happen. I think Robert felt that through past connections Robert would be a sort of safety net. Even Ned realizes too late the mess Robert has become and that there was no safety and nothing was for sure in KL.

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I said:

I agree with this reason to send Loras, and I rather think that's what Littlefinger was after. But you see, that's so devious. I think LF was more curious not necessarily on Sansa's ability to reason, but perhaps on ferreting out what sort of nature Sansa has. Is she a bit quick and wicked like him, or not? He find out right away what she believes in, and that she is more naive. He then goes in, touches her, and says the line about songs. To me this says he might have been disappointed on an intellectual level, but his 'sentimental' nature was activated. Actually the more I think about it, I think the gesture was our first glimpse of Petyr vs. Littlefinger. As they always are, the natures coexist in this moment, but the disappointment was LF's and the urge to touch and almost bemused yet sad advice was all Petyr.

I may be wrong but this is how I see it!

Revenge of the Starks:

I know! He is SO devious! You just made me think of something else. What if this is the moment where LF first starts to put together the plan to get Sansa out of KL and all to himself? We know he plays a long game, he was planning Ned's downfall for a while. He went in with that one seemingly irrelevant conversation point with Sansa, guaged what kind of person she was, how best to manipulate her and gain her trust, and used that later to lure her into the Godswood with her "Florian," give her the hairnet, frame her for regicide, and have her under his power. Sorry if this is cracked pottery, but i spend a lot of time on the heresy thread....

You just blew my mind :)

Haha, isn't he? I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn it started then. His specifics in manipulating her, especially "Florian" was something he got from her interests. THAT SAID... we learn in later books that Sansa's likes and dislikes aren't heavily guarded. When the Tyrells invited Sansa to dinner in ASOS, they already knew to have lemoncakes as those were Sansa's favorite.

But who told? I suspect maids probably were paid for small bits of information, but then who paid? Anyone who needed to know about Sansa to manipulate her. Which primarily is LF, and at that time, the Tyrells were sniffing around for a marriage.

All in all it's fascinating on the re-read to realize where something got its start.

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I have a very vague memory that Cat, in either one of her or Ned's POV's, argued quite vehemently for them going down to KL. I know she certainly advocated Ned taking the position of Hand because that would advance the standing of her family, and increase the prospects for her children. For some reason I seem to recall that for this reason she also wanted the girls, but probably mostly Sansa, to go South and experience court life.

Edit: she was really upset about Bran going, and would miss all her children, but is it correct that she thought that girls going was for the best? I don't have my book right now.

This is the relevant passage:

“Rickon is very young,” he said gently. “He should stay here with you and Robb. The others I would take with me.”

“I could not bear it,” Catelyn said, trembling.

“You must,” he said. “Sansa must wed Joffrey, that is clear now, we must give them no grounds to suspect our devotion. And it is past time that Arya learned the ways of a southron court. In a few years she will be of an age to marry too.”

Sansa would shine in the south, Catelyn thought to herself, and the gods knew that Arya needed refinement. Reluctantly, she let go of them in her heart.

I think Ned had a point here that if he didn't take the girls, that would have been suspicious.

I really wish there were a few more chapters in AGOT showing the life of the Stark family before Ned left for KL. Those we have are really effective in conveying plenty of info about the Starks and the relationship between them in limited pages, but a few more would've been much better. A scene with Sansa and her brothers, for example. Or Catelyn with her daughters.

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i totally agree that more scenes with the starks before jon arryn died would've been great. when we do get little shots into their lives (jon's recollections of playing with robb; bran playing with his brothers in the crypts; sansa remembering arya and bran attacking her with snowballs) it all seems so sad and bitter. they were a warm happy family, all good people, but such qualities couldn't been allowed to propser in a world like westeros. the lannisters, LF & lysa, robert had all to interfere and now the starks are all dead to the world and scattered around...

as for sansa's chapter, yes she was in her least admirable role here, but if i put my self in her shoes i can get why she does the things she did and said. i am not so sure though if she was still very much in love with joff at this moment or not. maybe she wasn't as much as she was at first, but had thought that in time she would make joff a better person and would live forever happily. but then to haver her father tell her she won't have that opportunity, she just did what her nature compelled her to do: over-react. i wouldn't mind that much the things she says to arya here if i didn't know this is i think like the last or second to last time they'll see each other.

LF may have begun at this point to started scheming regarding her. he IS plotting against ned, and i think he knew that ned wouldn't like his whole proposition about letting joffrey rule and if he misbehaved then they could put renly in the throne. so when he tells ned, "marry your daughter to joffrey..." i think he either knew ned would refuse or wasn't that bothered with sansa marrying joff, thus he couldn't have started planning her escape then.

and as for sandor, i like how sansa sort of defends him against arya. & i also love hos she declares she'll love joff as much as queen Naerys loved the dragonknight, when in reailty naerys had to marry the king, whom she didn't love, while in love with a member of his kingsguard. seems to me like the whole sansa/joffrey/sandor triangle resembles it.

and jsut to wrap this up, i am (until GRRM proves me wrong) 100% convinced that when ned tells sansa he'll get her a man who is strong and gentle and kind- that will mean that in the end sansa did married a man with the qualities her father wanted to: the Hound! <3 she is constantly mentioning how gently he touches, her; we know he is brave and strong as well, so...

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Don't get me started!

How many references between the Hound and Sansa is there of "gently" or "not ungently?"

Just another whoah...did I just read that...again moment.

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<<Rewind! Only because I was asleep while you were all debating it.

IMO LF doesn't disregard Sansa as a possible training candidate because he sees the potential in her naiveity. Meaning, he can manipulate her and mould her in the the pawn he wants. He immediately recognises what she is about (story books and songs) and the dollar signs flash up in front of his eyes.

Its a double whammy for him because she looks like cat, feels like cat - mmmmmm mini cat.

EDIT > From another post of mine;

Lysa Arryn killed Ned and the Starks, by buying into LF's game. If she hadn't been so arse over leaking tits for LF she would not have murdered her husband and sent Catelyn the letter about Lannisters killing Jon Arryn. Robert would never have had to go find another hand and the Starks would still be in Winterfell. LF used Baratheon as a weapon to destroy Ned Stark by encouraging him to find out about the truth of Cersei's children.

LF encoraged Jon Arryn to do this digging because he knew that Jon Arryn had no where else to go to but to NED STARK, LF knew exactly what he was doing. The Lannisters simply flew into damage control. The goal the whole time was revenge aimed at the Starks, winning Cat from Ned and when he realised he would never have Cat (pretty standard in Catelyn's chapters when she arrives in KL) he spotted Sansa sussed her out and left Cat to her death. LF is going to try to do with Sansa what he never ever got to do with Catelyn which is take over the world mwuahahahahahahaha!

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All in all it's fascinating on the re-read to realize where something got its start.

:) Agreed. Your point about the whole "Florian and Jonquil" inspiration was great too. That's where LF must have gotten his idea from originally.

I also tend to think that Ned may have been able to explain to the girls a lot better about why they had to leave, but he gets distracted by Sansa's comment and then quickly dismisses them.

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The behaviour in this chapter is annoying as Sansa behaves like a spoilt teenage brat while Septa Mordane valiantly pursues her quest to win worst Septa of the Year award.

Sansa’s inability to grasp the seriousness of the situation is galling. Despite the death of three men, one of whom she would have known well, and being in the gallery and hearing the gruesome details of what happened to the people in the villages she does not seem that perturbed (although Arya and Jeyne don’t seem bothered by the deaths either). Indeed she is more upset that Loras has not been choosen to go and fight Gregor and the main concern for both her and Jeyne when it is discussed seems to be which spike Gregor Clegane’s head will go own. I think these facts along with her rather naive view of the Winterfell men and Lord Beric riding out of KL demonstrates how unaware of the brutalities of life she is at this point. Hearing of men’s deaths or seeing men going off to fight seems to be just another song or tale. She is completely emotionally distanced from them as real events with consequences for real people.

This fairytale aspect is also highlighted in her description of Yoren and how she thought the Night’s Watch were like her Uncle Benjen and how in songs they were called black knights of the wall and her feeling sorry for Jon if they were actually like Yoren. Given that Jon too was unaware of the harsh realities of the Wall, it seems Ned was not terribly good at preparing either child for the truth about the realities of life in general.

Her romanticising of Joff would also fit into the previous discussions of her being a rationaliser and rather than analyzing the facts about Joff, she tweaks her world view to accommodate his behaviour, such as in the wish that he kills the White Hart for her.

Her outright lie about Mycah is also galling and curious as Arya’s statement suggested Jaime and Sandor should be beheaded, but Sansa defends the Hound’s actions as being different to Jaime’s. Why she should do this when he threatened to kill her and scared the life out of her is puzzling.

Her most important meeting in the chapter though is the discussion with Littlefinger. His interest in her opinions and reasoning demonstrate that he is trying to figure her out. Also given his proximity and the surprise of Septa Mordane that he was there, seems to suggest he was following her. I thought her explaining about monsters and knights was rather than a fail, a demonstration to LF that although she had childish ideas, she did have at least a reasoning process behind it. Given his history with Brandon, I’m sure he’d have given a similar answer at her age. Certainly he seems to be assessing her in this scene. Her reaction to him is that again she is uneasy around him and doesn’t seem to know if he is being complimentary or mocking. She also doesn’t tell Jeyne about this because it makes her uneasy to think about talking with him. Even this early on she seems to sense a duality in him and certainly a mistrust.

Edit: Also when she explains about monsters, she talks about Gregor, and I wonder if this will give LF the impression from her description that she would regard both brothers as such. Certainly her Loras infatuation seems to be something he later uses to try and persuade her about Harry.

One thing this chapter also continues to highlight is Sansa’s growing disobedience.

Although I found the part about her and Jeyne giggling awfully sad given what is about to happen to both their lives.

they did find half of a cold strawberry pie, and that was almost as good. They ate it on the tower steps, giggling and gossiping and sharing secrets, and Sansa went to bed that night feeling almost as wicked as Arya.

The Septa was horror-struck…..”I swear, of late you’ve been near as bad as your sister.”

Also the funniest line award should go to Arya for “Not if Joffrey’s his father”. Although Sansa’s comment before that not only made me want to roll my eyes, but made me wonder if it is foreshadowing, of Tyrion becoming King and her staying married to him. Ugh!

I’ll give him a son with golden hair, and one day he’ll be the king of all the realm, the greatest king that ever was, as brave as the wolf and as proud as the lion.

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The behaviour in this chapter is annoying as Sansa behaves like a spoilt teenage brat while Septa Mordane valiantly pursues her quest to win worst Septa of the Year award.

Oh yes, poor Septa Mordane, tired from standing all day long. Instead of simply scolding Sansa about questioning her father's decision, she needed to do a better job of explaining the seriousness of it all. Why is it that the most inappropriate people - LF and the Hound - are constantly picking up the slack of the adults in Sansa's life?

She is completely emotionally distanced from them as real events with consequences for real people.

I was disappointed in her for sure, but I wonder if Martin didn't overreach in his attempts to portray her as so naive and distanced from the gravity of the situation in KL. Granted it seems like the girls lived a relatively sheltered life in the Tower of the Hand whilst at court, but they've still been exposed to a lot of the violence and intrigue going on in KL. Particularly Sansa at this point - having lost Lady, seen the death of Hugh of the Vale, heard the Hound's story, later witnessed Gregor's near murder of Loras and is in the gallery that day to hear of how the Lannister men terrorized the villages in the Riverlands. I tend to think at this point that it's a bit of wilful blindness coupled with genuine naivete. She missed the real lesson in the Hound's tale, and now his mocking laughter seems a lot more appropriate in light of this chapter.

This fairytale aspect is also highlighted in her description of Yoren and how she thought the Night’s Watch were like her Uncle Benjen and how in songs they were called black knights of the wall and her feeling sorry for Jon if they were actually like Yoren. Given that Jon too was unaware of the harsh realities of the Wall, it seems Ned was not terribly good at preparing either child for the truth about the realities of life in general.

Indeed. In fact, wasn't it the sight of Yoren that also sparked Jon's early dismay with the NW? During the journey to the Wall in Tyrion's chapter, he notes:

Tyrion noticed Jon Snow watching Yoren and his sullen companions, with an odd cast to his face that looked uncomfortably like dismay. Yoren had a twisted shoulder and a sour smell, his hair and beard were matted and greasy and full of lice, his clothing old, patched, and seldom washed. His two young recruits smelled even worse, and seemed as stupid as they were cruel.

So on this issue, it seems Jon and Sansa shared the same reaction at least.

Her romanticising of Joff would also fit into the previous discussions of her being a rationaliser and rather than analyzing the facts about Joff, she tweaks her world view to accommodate his behaviour, such as in the wish that he kills the White Hart for her.

And the bit about Joff only liking to hunt to kill animals, but not having a part in the murder of Jory etc. Talk about irony given what we know of Joff's sadistic experiments on animals, not to mention his ordering the hit on Bran. But again we see Sansa's naivete here:

Sansa was certain her prince had no part in murdering Jory and those other poor men; that had been his wicked uncle, the Kingslayer. She knew her father was still angry about that, but it wasn't fair to blame Joff. That would be like blaming her for something that Arya had done.

Sigh... Besides the fact, unbeknownst to Sansa, that if it wasn't for Joff attempting to have Bran killed, none of this would have happened, she completely misunderstands the dymanics of the royal family and the seriousness of what is happening in general - the fact that she cannot ignore the consequences of the incident that will have dire effects on her relationship with the Prince.

Her outright lie about Mycah is also galling and curious as Arya’s statement suggested Jaime and Sandor should be beheaded, but Sansa defends the Hound’s actions as being different to Jaime’s. Why she should do this when he threatened to kill her and scared the life out of her is puzzling.

Yup. She wanted to protect Joffrey, so defending the Hound of all people was the best way to do so. That we get no reflection on this in her POV is very curious as well. When she tells Jeyne that she dreamt Joff took the white hart, we see her admitting to herself that it's a lie, but we get no similar thoughts on what she tells Arya, even after she goes to her room in a rage and crying. Is this then evidence of a real mismemory, so engrained because she desperately wants to believe in Joff's innocence?

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A bit off topic but not appropriate for any other thread! I want to know;

Q - why did Septa Mordane die? No one batted an eyelid at the fact a woman who is basically a nun had her head lopped off... WHY? (except Sansa a little bit)

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I was disappointed in her for sure, but I wonder if Martin didn't overreach in his attempts to portray her as so naive and distanced from the gravity of the situation in KL.

I'm glad you said this; it's good to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. I'm not excusing Sansa here; I was Stannising (read: grinding my teeth) in frustration with her as much as anyone. But at the same time, I've always felt that GRRM was really overdoing it here, and trying too hard to beat us over the head with how naive Sansa is and how she lives in a detached dream world. Perhaps he was doing it so that it would be even more powerful when she's smacked in the face by brutal reality just a few chapters later, idk.

But, for whatever reason, I do personally think he went too far here. Tbh, the first time I read this chapter, it took me a little out of the story. I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to buy that even someone as naive and good at self-delusion as Sansa could go this far.

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But, for whatever reason, I do personally think he went too far here. Tbh, the first time I read this chapter, it took me a little out of the story, because I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to buy that even someone as naive and good at self-delusion as Sansa could go this far.

Precisely. Fine, I accept her characterisation the way it is, but to have the previous two chapters - where very serious and sobering things happen to her personally, from Lady's death to the attack on her father, this chapter just seems a bit overdone, and like the author really wants us to dislike Sansa as a "mean girl" when hitherto that's not the vibe we got from her portrayal - at least I didn't.

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EDIT - (fuck I can talk some shit, especially stuff that doesn't make sense!)

So I remove previous post and replace it with something that makes sense!

It could just be she actually is that hardcore dimwitted and naive as portrayed, I hated her guts when I read her the first time. I think the whole point is to show that KL is not a place for children and certainly not for dreams and fantasies, you cant get that across without smashing most of them.

Also if she didn't undergo such trauma and her childhood dreams being smashed to nothing she wouldn't grow up to be very strong. I think the exageration was necessary to place her firmly in a kind of redemptive arc. Just like others did their version of evil, Sansa is in the process of doing hers.

Seriously, if she wasn't this dense she would never in a billion years have gone to Cersei to dob on Ned she would have kept her mouth shut or waited till Robert was sober. She tells us that it was Cersei's fault Lady died but goes right on in there anyway. I think she needed to be very dense at the time.

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By the way, is this chapter the last time Sansa and Arya have any significant interaction?

If so, it makes me both sad and hopeful. Sad, because things between them were left in such an awful state. But also hopeful, because perhaps it means GRRM intends to reunite them some day so they can hug it out. And form a badass sister combo to eliminate their enemies and restore the Starks to Winterfell, of course. Obviously.

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Maybe that is the point? To show that when Sansa believes in something she will take it as far as she has to in order to make it work in her favor. Including making others complicit by changing the facts (the deliberate witholding of info or lying) ect.

I agree that this probably was the point. It's still seems a bit out of place though, because I could believe that this would be the case with someone still sheltered and protected from a lot of the realities of her environment, but that's not so with Sansa. It's like the experiences don't fit with the characterisation until that final moment when Joff reveals his true colours. Is this what it took for Sansa to finally get it? Well perhaps.

A bit off topic but not appropriate for any other thread! I want to know;

Q - why did Septa Mordane die? No one batted an eyelid at the fact a woman who is basically a nun had her head lopped off... WHY? (except Sansa a little bit)

I guess to show that during times like this the innocent can die with the guilty just as easily, if not more so, and a woman like the Septa who has no political or personal value to anyone isn't going to be spared when the bloodlust is upon the soldiers. Look at what happens to Jeyne - she's just the daughter of a minor employee in the Stark household, and had it not been for the Lannisters' plot to involve her in the Boltons' treachery, she would have been disposed of long ago or at least left in LF's brothel to service clients. War has awful awful consequences for great and small alike.

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Good posts on the re-read, but going over in-depth analysis of Sansa really shows me why I disliked her character so much. It probably does not help that Arya is my favorite character in the entire series (though Tyrion was my favorite for this book, along with Ned), and in comparing Sansa and Arya its very clear (to me) how much stronger, and in general a better person Arya is over her sister. Much like Jaime, Sansa starts off as such a Non-Stark type character (perhaps read as Non-Ned type Stark) in these early books but grows into a better person as the series evolves. Though I grow to like her alot better in the later novels, her actions in AGoT are pretty atrocious:

(keeping list on-topic)

Lying about Mycah attacking Joff

Still swooning over the scumbag Joff

Revealing Neds plans to Cersei (As crude and base any label you could place on Sansa, the term "stupid bitch" seems so apt here, remember your fucking wolf?! Why would you ever talk to Cersei EVER again outside of formal social events? Go spill your guts to LF if you need a 'confidant', or I dunno, just keep your mouth shut? Her swooning over scumbag Joff plays such a huge role here, but again, a more intelligent person would understand he is trash)

Without trying to start another debate about Sansa's actions causing the death of a loved one....would anyone here deny that she is in part to blame for Neds capture/death? Stupid stupid stupid.

All that said, I grew to like Sansa as she began to see the truth in the world around her, and while I would hope that she does not become a Player (as the title of the thread suggests, only because is see the Players as bad guys), I do hope she remains strong and distrupts LF plans and eventually becomes of Queen of the North, or some other important role.

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The Feast at the Tourney was the first time after the incident at the Trident that Joff spoke to Sansa. Had she actually spoken to him again since this? I think that is part of the romantizising, she doesn't really know Joff at all.

Also I agree that she it written to be almost delusionally naive in this chapter. The fact that Jory's death or their father's attack has left neither her or Arya that upset or in Sansa's case more aware is slightly unrealistic. Also neither girl wishes to leave KL, it is only when Arya finds out she can keep Syrio that she is happy. She did try to comfort Sansa though and Sansa was very rude in her response.

I wonder if the lying about the Mycah incident was peer pressure at this point. In the chapter where Ned arrives with the girls at KL, Varys says something along the lines of hearing about the troubles on their journey and how everyone is praying for Joff to heal.

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@Mindrot - It's actually clear on re-read just how much Sansa is like Ned, and Arya is like her mother IMO. Think about it - the accusations that you levelled at Sansa for her behaviour in these early chapters are directly paralleled with Ned's:

- Sansa's going to Cersei - so does Ned, except his revelations are much worse and much more idiotic

- Sansa swooning over Joff - basically Ned refuses to see the truth about his Robert for a long time and delays to his demise

When you think about it, the things that disappoint us in this chapter about Sansa have no effect on anything outside of her relationship with her sister. Her behaviour doesn't cause any negative impact until later, and that is absolutely mitigated by Ned's folly in telling Cersei of his own plans. As for her naivete shown during the gallery session, isn't Ned's naivete arguably even worse?

Ultimately, playing the blame game can't work - whilst we can recognize and discuss each character's weaknesses, Ned and Sansa were too naive and unprepared for a game of thrones that chewed them up and spit them out mercilessly.

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