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Rapsie

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa II

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The funny thing is that, at least in my experience on this board, that many of the same posters who hate Sansa for being passive, are the most enthusiastic in bashing her for some of her most important actions. Going to Cersei against her father's wishes in AGOT is of course the most obvious example. Of course Sansa was wrong to do it, but how come nobody ever says "It was a mistake, but at least she was active and took action which was against the conventions of Westeros". Then there's her refusal to kneel for Tyrion at the wedding - most of the bashers instead of applauding her for standing for herself, complain how poor innocent Tyrion was mistreated.

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The funny thing is that, at least in my experience on this board, that many of the same posters who hate Sansa for being passive, are the most enthusiastic in bashing her for some of her most important actions. Going to Cersei against her father's wishes in AGOT is of course the most obvious example. Of course Sansa was wrong to do it, but how come nobody ever says "It was a mistake, but at least she was active and took action which was against the conventions of Westeros". Then there's her refusal to kneel for Tyrion at the wedding - most of the bashers instead of applauding her for standing for herself, complain how poor innocent Tyrion was mistreated.

Why is this at all remarkable? It's SOP for haters to rip their objects for any faults real or imagined and for fans to deny that those same faults exist. See damn near any thread on Sansa, Catelyn, or Tyrion. And if not for those posts the forum would be 40% smaller.

(And 80% of all statistics are made up.)

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Why is this at all remarkable? It's SOP for haters to rip their objects for any faults real or imagined and for fans to deny that those same faults exist. See damn near any thread on Sansa, Catelyn, or Tyrion. And if not for those posts the forum would be 40% smaller.

(And 80% of all statistics are made up.)

The surprising issue is not that Sansa has fans or haters, or that her actions stir up controversy; it's that many people act as though she did absolutely nothing in the books to either resist her confinement or spare herself pain. This is an opinion that flies in the face of direct evidence to the contrary.

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Sandor and Serwyn of the Mirror Shield is a spot on comparison. From the wiki

The sigil of LF's house is the Titan of Braavos, or it could be a reference to UnGregor.

Another hero she might probably meet is the last hero: identity under debate(my opinion its Jon). If R+L=J is true then it would be quite ironic, given she wnated a prince, yet had one live under her own roof her whole life and referred to him as "my half-brother".

What if Littlefinger is the giant she has to kill, seeing as how his family's sigil is a giant/titan? That would tie in nicely with the "you can't run from your past" theme running through the books. I like Sandor as Serwyn, saving her from LF before she pushes him out the moon door. Maybe she'll do this when she finds out how he manipulated her mother and betrayed her father.

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Should we care about what they think? Should all the characters being proactives? Are we all proactives? Are we all the same?

NO!!

It is silly believe that all the characters must be skilled warriors or death machines. I don´t like what others like (i.e.: Daenerys´ POV) but I don´t force to others to have my same oppinion. One really good thing about these books it is that they have so many POV, so many characters that if you want you can focus in the ones that caught your attention.

I am one of the ones that look always previously for Sansa POV, not boring at all. (It was a small deception that in ADWD it wasn´t any Sansa/Aleyne chapter).

In addition, they are forgeting that to rule a kingdon it is need not only warrior skills but also it is necesary to use diplomacy (where Sansa is really good at).

Anyway: Sansa and Arya are the opposite and, in addition, complementaries. What one has, it is messing to the other. Both together (as they will get to help Rickon rule the North, crackpot) they will be unstoppeable!

I do my best to defend her!!!!! I bring my Light saber to the rescue ( sorry I probably really get killed by a sword)

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No say sorry (I must apologize not only of the many English mistakes that I make but also cause when I read it sounds harder that the way I think it).

It is good to defend her, but many times people doesn´t want to change mind. And these people that only want to stablish their way only will focus on their impressions.

I must say that at the beginning I love Sansa chapters, but not so much Sansa character. After these rereading (that I´m loving it) I realize that I like and understand more Sansa. At this very moment she is my favourite Stark (at the begining I hadn´t any).

And I feel sorry to all these people that are missing Sansa, but to someones it is going to be impossible that they caught Sansa actions cause she is not wearing a sword and she is less letal with weapons. In addition, they loose the strength inside Sansa.

But when somebody tells that is bored with Sansa character I can´t say nothing, that it is a personal feeling. Completely different will be if they speak about actions of Sansa and they judge her, them I will defend when it is necessary, I will agree if it is a true statement (at my own opinion).

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And I feel sorry to all these people that are missing Sansa, but to someones it is going to be impossible that they caught Sansa actions cause she is not wearing a sword and she is less letal with weapons. In addition, they loose the strength inside Sansa.

I do find it hilarious that so many (male??) fans only like the female characters who have been equipped with a sword - Herr Freud would have many interesting things to say about that ;)

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One thing that I was thinking and that I post in another post (Sandor Clegane´s) is that Sansa keeps all her feelings (her inside feelings and thoughts) close even to the reader, While in others POV you can see what they think, here you see more what it is happening.

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One thing that I was thinking and that I post in another post (Sandor Clegane´s) is that Sansa keeps all her feelings (her inside feelings and thoughts) close even to the reader, While in others POV you can see what they think, here you see more what it is happening.

I think that's why I like her POVs. You get to figure out what's happening by observing and making your own deductions, much more so than with some other characters' mental diarrhea. She's not nearly as focused on her own mental drama as you'd expect from an abused hostage who has lost most of the people who have been important in her life.

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One thing that I was thinking and that I post in another post (Sandor Clegane´s) is that Sansa keeps all her feelings (her inside feelings and thoughts) close even to the reader, While in others POV you can see what they think, here you see more what it is happening.

:agree: :agree:

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I think that's why I like her POVs. You get to figure out what's happening by observing and making your own deductions, much more so than with some other characters' mental diarrhea. She's not nearly as focused on her own mental drama as you'd expect from an abused hostage who has lost most of the people who have been important in her life.

:agree: (incidentally, that's why I've found Tyrion's chapters almost unbearably boring reading since book 2, Jon was always boring :leaving: )

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I think that's why I like her POVs. You get to figure out what's happening by observing and making your own deductions, much more so than with some other characters' mental diarrhea. She's not nearly as focused on her own mental drama as you'd expect from an abused hostage who has lost most of the people who have been important in her life.

This is so true. She experiences things, and can be greatly affected, but her thoughts aren't consumed by a "woe is me" mentality, which is peculiar as you noted for a girl in her situation. And her POVs are a wonderful challenge because they provide an exercise for the reader as we are made to wonder just what she's feeling about certain people and events. I think her empathy is evidence of this mindset - she's often focused on things and people outside of herself and can therefore respond in ways that bring comfort to them.

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I don't think it's worth the effort to try and make people see what they don't want to see. It's perfectly obvious that most of the things Arya does are unbelievable and thinking that a 13 year old like Sansa could escape from a castle where she's being constantly watched is simply absurd.

There is something else about Arya: her looks, she is a skinny kid and when she has her hair cut she looks like a boy. She looks insignificant and doesn't attract attention. This would be impossible for Sansa. If we add the fact that ...

  1. Sansa was being watched (they even kept her prisoner in her room when he told Cersei about Ned's plans for them to flee KL)
  2. and that she didn't have Syrio Forel to defend her in a really badass, but let's face it, unbelievable way,
  3. or that she didn't have the incredible amount of luck Arya had for being found and helped by Yoren after getting away alive when most of her father's people were killed...

... it's unreasonable to think Sansa could have done more than what she did.

I like strong female characters as much as anyone but I can't believe Arya's story arc more often than not.

Other readers can continue liking their favourite characters and I'll choose the ones I like. If other readers don't share my views, I couldn't care less. :dunno:

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ACOK - Sansa VI

Summary

Sansa is still in the Queen’s Ballroom. She notes that despite the silvery light reflected off the wall scones there is a darkness in the people in the room. She sees it in Ser Ilyn’s eyes, hear it in Lord Gyles’ cough and in the tone of Osney Kettleback.

Osney is whispering to the Queen, but Sansa can hear what he is saying. It’s a report of the battle: some archers had got across the river, but the Hound had killed them and Tyrion has had the chain raised. There is drunken rioting in flea bottom. Lots of citizens have gone to Baelor’s Sept to pray. The Queen asks about Joff and Osney says he went to the Sept to get the High Septon’s blessing and is walking the walls with Tyrion, and bolstering the moral of the troops.

The Queen has her cup filled and Sansa notes that she is drinking heavily, but that it seems to make her more beautiful.

Her eyes had a bright, feverish heat to them as she looked down over the hall. Eyes of wildfire, Sansa thought.

There are many entertainers and the fools on hand to try and take everyone’s mind off the battle and people are laughing but Sansa thinks it

it was a joyless laughter, the sort of laughter that can turn into sobbing in half a heartbeat. Their bodies are here, but their thoughts are on the city walls, and their hearts as well.

More food is brought out but no one feels like eating. She notes Lord Gyles is coughing more, Lollys is shivering wife fear and the bide of a young knight is weeping. Cersei has Maester Frenken put her to bed with dreamwine.

“Tears,” she said scornfully to Sansa as the woman was led from the hall. “The woman’s weapon, my lady mother used to call them. The man’s weapon is a sword. And that tells us all you need to know, doesn’t it?”

Sansa says that men must be brave to fight, but Cersei responds that Jaime had said that the only time he felt alive was in battle or in bed. Sansa notes that the Queen is not eating, but drinking.

Cersei tells her

“I would sooner face any number of swords than sit helpless like this, pretending to enjoy the company of this flock of frightened hens.”
Sansa points out that the Queen had invited them and Cersei tells her that certain things are expected of a Queen, and Sansa best learn that, and that although she considers the women nothing, their men are important and if they prevail the women will tell their menfolk stories of how the Queen helped them to bolster their spirits and keep them safe.

Sansa asks what should happen if the castle falls and Cersei rebukes her saying she knows Sansa would like that to happen. Cersei muses that her own guards might betray her and because the women in the hall are high born, they may escape rape and murder, but that the servings girls might not. She remarks that even the ransom money they are worth might not save them as men often want flesh after a fight more than gold. She points out that people such as Shae will likely be raped. She says that enough alcohol ill make even ugly women seem as attractive to men as Sansa.

Sansa is startled by this and questions her by going “Me?” Cersei scolds her and tells to stop being a mouse. She says if any other man were trying to take the castle, she might seduce them but that it won’t work with Stannis. Sansa is shocked by this admission and Cersei calls her a fool and tells her that

“Tears are not a woman’s only weapon. You’ve got another one between your legs, and you’d best learn to use it. You’ll find men use their swords freely enough. Both kinds of swords.

The Kettlebacks then come back into the hall. Sansa notes that they are both popular in the castle with low and high born alike and especially the serving wenches.

Of late Ser Osmund had taken Sandor Clegane’s place by Joffrey’s side, and Sansa had heard the women at the washing well saying he was as strong as the Hound, only younger and faster. If that was so, she wondered why she had never once heard of these Kettleblacks before

Osney tells the Queen that the whole Blackwater is awash with wildfire. The Queen’s only concern is for her son. Osney tells her that he’s at the Mud Gate with Tyrion and the Kingsguard and is giving men tips on how to use a crossbow. Osney says he’s brave and Cersei retorts that he’d best stay alive. Osfryd then reports that two maidservants and a stable boy have been caught with horses trying to escape the castle. Cersei nochalently calls them the first traitors of the night and sends Ser Ilyn to see to them, saying that their heads should be put on spikes outside the stable as a warning to others.

She then turns to Sansa and tells her that if you are gentle with people in times such as these, you will have treason sprouting up everywhere and tells her that the only way to keep people loyal is through fear. Sansa says she will remember that but thinks

love was a surer route to the people’s loyalty than fear. If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me.

More food is served. Lollys is sick and Ser Gyles cough’s more. Cersei expresses her disgust at Ser Gyles and says the gods are mad to have wasted manhood on the likes of him.

Osfryd returns and tells Cersei that rich merchants are asking for shelter in the Castle. Cersei says they are to return to their homes and if they do not go, the archers are to kill a few so that they get the message and that she won’t have the gates opened for any reason. She then tells Sansa she wishes she could cut their heads off herself.

She then says that when she was little she and Jaime were so alike that they could not be told apart and would sometimes dress in each other’s clothing and pretend to be each other. She was always surprised how differently Jaime was treated compared to her. She recalls when Jaime got his first sword, she got nothing. She says

He was heir to Casterly Rock, while I was to be sold to some stranger like a horse, to be ridden whenever my new owner liked, beaten whenever he liked, and cast aside in time for a younger filly.

Sansa responds that she was Queen of Westeros, but Cersei says a queen is just a woman.

Cersei refuses a refill of wine as she wants to keep a clear head.

Osney then appears and tells the Queen that men are on the Tourney grounds and that Tyrion has gone out to face them. The Queen mocks Tyrion’s ability and then queries where Joff is. Qsney says he is at the Trebuchets hurling Antler Men into the river. Cersei demands that he be brought into the Castle. Osney tries to say that Tyrion had given other orders but Cersei demands he be brought inside or she will send both Kettleback brothers out in the next sorties.

The meal is finished and some of the guests request permission to go to the Sept. A singer is brought in to entertain those who are left. He sings about Jonquil and Florian, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight and Nymeria’s ten thousand ships. Several women begin to dry and Sansa herself is on the verge of tears. Cersei tells her she should practice her tears for Stannis and then tells Sansa she knows about her treason in the Godswood.

Sansa says she only goes to the Godswood to pray but thinks

Don’t look at Ser Dontos, don’t, don’t, Sansa told herself. She doesn’t know, no one knows, Dontos promised me, my Florian would never fail me.

Cersei asks why else she would pray to her father’s Gods if it weren’t for the Lannister’s defeat. Sansa nervously says she prays for Joff and Cersei mocks her.

“Why, because he treats you so sweetly?” The queen took a flagon of sweet plum wine from a passing serving girl and filled Sansa’s cup. “Drink,” she commanded coldly. “Perhaps it will give you the courage to deal with truth for a change.”

She makes Sansa down the wine, which makes her head spin, and then tells her that she should know the truth about why Ser Ilyn is here. The Queen beckons Ser Ilyn over and Sansa realizes she hadn’t even noticed him returning to the hall. He has her father’s sword and it is covered in the blood of the maidservants and stable boy he has just beheaded. She thinks about how her father took care of Ice and would clean the blade in the Godswood after he had taken a man’s head. Cersei asks Ser Ilyn to tell Sansa why he is there and Ser Ilyn rattles ot a sound from an emotionless face.

“He’s here for us, he says,” the queen said. “Stannis may take the city and he may take the throne, but I will not suffer him to judge me. I do not mean for him to have us alive.”

Us? “You heard me. So perhaps you had best pray again, Sansa, and for a different outcome. The Starks will have no joy from the fall of House Lannister, I promise you.” She reached out and touched Sansa’s hair, brushing it lightly away from her neck.

Analysis

I came to the conclusion a while ago that many people don’t like Sansa and therefore do not fully read her chapters and skim read them instead. I think this is why they are suddenly shocked in AFFC when reading Cersei’s POV and discover she’s not very smart. It is quite apparent from Sansa’s interactions with her that she isn’t very good at playing the game.

Cersei talks about how people will say she lifted the women’s spirits, but she does not interact with them at all and instead is scathing about all the terrified people, whilst slowly getting drunk. She imparts her “wisdom” to Sansa, who is actually seeing first hand, how not to act. Sansa notes the difference between love and fear and her thought

love was a surer route to the people’s loyalty than fear. If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me.
shows that she is already more astute in terms of how to rule than Cersei is, but then she did have her father and mother’s example as well.

Cersei’s talk about a woman’s weapons being tears and sex was also interesting as Sansa is very adapt in using her “courtesy armour” for defense, but has yet to go on the offensive in the game. Oddly this is an important lesson for her to learn. Certainly it gives us a possible insight into how Joanna controlled Tywin.

Tyrion is mentioned frequently in the chapter, but Sansa never once thinks about him. She does however think about Sandor.

Of late Ser Osmund had taken Sandor Clegane’s place by Joffrey’s side, and Sansa had heard the women at the washing well saying he was as strong as the Hound, only younger and faster. If that was so, she wondered why she had never once heard of these Kettleblacks before
Sansa has previously mentioned gossip at the well and I get the impression, that no one speaks to her apart from Ser Dontos, Sandor and Cersei. Any information she has is overheard gossip. She also seems to doubt the gossip as she is aware that the best fighters are widely known about and is there possibly some mental defence of the Hound’s abilties going on in her mind?

Ser Ilyn is yet again a constant threat and menace. Cersei is incredibly cruel and does scare her with the threat of execution. As well as admitting and mocking how she is treated by Joff. This admission would also seem to suggest that even after the stripping incident, she is still being ill treated and nothing is being done about it. There is a certain arrogance and unfeeling nature to the Lannisters as given Cersei and Joff’s behaviour to her, Tyrion’s quip in the previous chapter about her being sent away for safety seems particularly callous, as he could have helped her but didn’t bother. Again she is not on his radar.

Joff’s immaturity also comes out in this chapter while men are fighting and dying, he is like a child flings toys into the river for his amusement, only in this instant the toys are people. People who have not even had a trial.

We also see how bitter Cersei is about her life and that her marriage to Robert was particularly poisonous.

I was to be sold to some stranger like a horse, to be ridden whenever my new owner liked, beaten whenever he liked, and cast aside in time for a younger filly.
The beaten whenever he liked part, also suggests that domestic violence was more common in their marriage than other areas of the text would indicate.

Again we also have the songs, Florian and Jonquil and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. Nymeria's ships is a new one to Sansa's grouping and always seemed to have more to do with Arya than her. It could however signal the idea that some bridges once burnt can not be gone back to.

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Nice review, Rapsie.

These chapters are really helping to establish the fundamental contrast between Cersei and Sansa. The former strives on fear and intimidation, and believes her only weapons are forced tears and sex by which to entrap and manipulate. Whereas Sansa, though innocent to the idea that men could see her as a sexual object, believes in winning the hearts of people through love, and compassion, and displays real sincere emotions when she hears the music playing.

I do agree with you that on re-read it's kinda not hard to see the Cersei of AFFC in these early chapters. There's a recklessness to her behaviour that seems hard to fathom even now. I think what we see here is her complete selfishness when it comes to her children, particularly Joff. She knows that Joff being visible during the battle will help inspire his men, but she simply doesn't care. I have always understood Cersei's character, and her fury at a world where men are given opportunities to excel and advance in battle and politics whilst women are required as mothers and bedmates, but her way of dealing with these struggles has turned her into a monster. She sits there looking flushed and beautiful, but as Sansa notes, her eyes are like wildfire.

I thought Sansa's determination to rule through love was an important benchmark in her development as well. She's making a conscious choice to reject the example and the advice given by Cersei and to adopt her own strategy that she has learnt from her parents and others. Her observation really stood out because as we noted earlier we rarely see Sansa doing a lot of reflection on what she hears from others, so for GRRM to have her assert this appears to be credible foreshadowing of her future role as Queen.

And yes, clearly Cersei has never heard of the courtesy armour! :) No surprise there really, but it makes you wonder about the type of woman Johanna Lannister really was. Ironically, Cersei expresses such anger and frustration over not being treated the same as Jaime, and not being given the same avenues for power and advancement, but all of her weapons that she touts to Sansa actually work to weaken and discredit women in power, rather than assisting them to be taken seriously or respected. Sansa might still be a naive girl, but she has a better grasp on what it is that will ensure a successful reign than Cersei ever did.

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Thanks for the excellent summary and analysis, Rapsie! The thing that stands out for me in this chapter is Sansa's incredible composure. She is acting much more like a queen than Cersei is, despite Cersei's deliberate cruelty, mockery, and attempts to get Sansa drunk and scare her out of her wits. It is Sansa who helped cajole Lollys into the castle. It is she who has the discipline to keep her teeth shut on the secret of her purpose in the godswood, even when she's mentally running in circles at Cersei's pointed remarks.

Sansa observes the people in the hall and gauges their mood and needs far more closely and accurately than Cersei does. Cersei's only real concerns are herself and Joff, and how much wine she can pour into herself, and she treats Sansa cruelly in a twisted attempt to make herself feel better, smarter, and wiser. Sansa, fortunately, seems to see right through her, and while wisely keeping quiet, notes where Cersei is mishandling her people. Cersei's statement to Sansa about dealing with truth is incredibly ironic, because it is Cersei, not Sansa, who is running from important truths, such as her ability to control a situation and her effect on the people who are supposed to depend on and look up to her.

I also found Sansa's description of the effect of Cersei recalling Joff educational. Sansa thinks about how the king's retreat to safety must affect the morale of the men who are told to stay and hold the gate. I doubt Cersei even gave a second thought to how Joff's leaving would impact the city's defense. And even if she had, she wouldn't have cared.

In the way she values other people, keeps her head in a crisis, and analyzes the larger picture, Sansa shows herself to be a better person and a better queen than the woman who purports to give her advice.

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And what's ironic as well is that we know Sansa is about to face a very real threat to her life (and innocence?) in the very next chapter, and had she responded with Cersei's "advice" she could have lost both.

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Sansa's description of Cersei's eyes being like wildfire is commented on later in AFfC, when Jaime thinks

Their father had been as relentless and implacable as a glacier, where Cersei was all wildfire

Cersei is often compared to wildfire which consumes and destroys everything it touches. Cersei's fascination with wildfire is also compared by Jaime to Mad King Aerys's.

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Not sure where else to put this:

okay so some person, sometime ago was saying that Sansa was the typical heroine: sweet, romantic, defenceless, who loves embroidery and feminine and beautiful but basically empty.

Obviously this person has never read a novel published after Northanger Abbey asides from Charles Dickens and Stephanie Myers.

From the introduction of Northanger Abbey, Penguin classics:

/begin quote/

Foregrounding her unusual contract with us, Austen launches on the novel by way of a quick checklist of the fictional conventions she supposes us used to: heroines's exceptional beauty; the difficulties they are likely to meet; the failures of the standard guardian figures, parents, chaperones, and marriagable men.

... later on page XVIII of the introduction:

These books are written says Johnson,

chiefly to the young, the ignorant, and the idle, to whom they serve as lectures of conduct, and introduction into life. They are the entertainment of minds unfurnished with ideas, and therefore easily susceptible of impressions; not fixed principles, and therefore easily following the current of fancy; not informed by experience, and consequently open to every false suggestion and partial account.

Sure enough, Catherine somewhat exhibits each of these defects. To a sophisticated reader of novels and about novels, she plays the archetypal simple reader, a hostile caricature of oneself. In much the same way, she acts like the giddy girls rebuked in another rambler essay.

Also all though this was published long after Northanger Abbey and Johnson's critiques

http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/42607/ George Elliot's description of this kind of heroine is pertinent. (also worth noting that Sansa, like Catherine Morland but unlike the heroine which Elliot decries, reads her culture's equivalents to romance novels.

Back to Northanger Abbey intro

Fifteen years after Johnson's death, his severity about the potential dangers of romance was being sturdily challenged, by proponents of what was by 1799 the high tide of an overwhelming romance revival. After Thomas Warton's History of English Literature to 1603 (1774-81) and Clara Reeve's philosophical dialogues. The Progress of Romance (1785), the reputation of the novel became enhanced by its claim of descent from medieval and classical romance, and thus a history going back to the Greeks. Reeve's arguments peters out disappointingly, but as set up it makes the rousing feminist case that women have their own ancient literary genres, implying women's presence from the outset, as creators and audience, in cultural traditions based on primitive pre-literate forms.

Joanna Baillie, in her sixty-page Introductory Discourse to her Plays on the Passions (1798) and WIlliam Godwin, in a long-unpublished essay, "of History and Romance' (c. 1797), follow Reeve in capitalising on the association of both romance and novel wwith women writers and readers, rather than apologizing for it. They argue that epic and formal history are by contrast, the superseded genres of archaic, militaristic cultures,. The modern reader, is typically a domesticated person-and thus, it is hinted, a woman. She will prefer historical novels, centred on people, to the history of external events (Godwin), and domestic drama, based on the passions generated by personal relationships, to high tragedy orepic (Baillie). to use the generic word preferred by Reeve, Godwin and Baillie, the modern age is seeing the return of roamnce, but in a sophisticated rather than a regressive form, for which writers of both sexes may take credit.

Austen challenges us to pick up her text's play of allusion; anyone who does not, but reads the scene [beechen Cliff] at the level of the beginner Catherine, has lost a layer of ironic comedy, and a key cross-reference to current claims for women's place in culture as readers and creators of genres of their own. IF that case goes by default, it becomes natural to assume, as most critics do, that Henry prevails over Cahterine in the Beechen Cliff conversation-merely because he champions 'grown up' history. On the contrary: the first round goes to Eleanor, Catherine's knowledgeable ally, for defending the use of fiction (that is of invented speeches and trains of thought) by some older historians.

But though 'female' romance scores first, Henry successfully counter-attacks from the masculinist side when the sensible, well-read Eleanor believes she hears Catherine announcing shocking new from London.

/end quote/

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/begin quote from page XXIII of introduction of Northanger Abbey/

The novels listed in I, v (Burney's Cecilia, 1782, and Camilla, 1796, and Edgeworth's Belinda, 1801) are all stories featuring the dangerous entry into the adult world of an inexperienced, vulnerable heroine. So for that matter is Richardson's Sir Charles Grandison (1753), dismissed by Isabella in vi. The same plot, with its stereotyped dangers amplified and psychologized, occurs in Radcliffe's historical romances The Sicilian Romance (1790), Romance of the Forest (1791) and Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). Henry skillfully weaves together key episodes from all three in the parody Gothic with which he entertains Catherine on their drive to Northanger.

From the mid nineteenth century until late in the twentieth century, Romantic Gothic was often decried, both as pasteboard, gimcrack architecture and as a sensational sub-genre of fiction deliberately aimed at a semi-educated readership.

Radcliffe's principal Gothic novels were by no means put by contemporaries into the same category.

Radcliffe bases her action and setting on convetions established by Horace Walpole in The Castle of Otranto (1764), and developed by several successor, which typically centre on the figure of the cruel tyrant, and use his vast prison-like fortressas the setting for his crimes. But she also moves far beyond routine, mechanical deployment of Walpole's devices, and shifts the emphasis in significant ways. She divertsthe readers's attention from the compelling but stagey villain to the heightened, paranoid, consciousness of his female victim, that is from event to the the reception and interpretation of event. This degree of internalization lessens or atleast complicates what is in Walpole and in Radcliffe's challenger Mathtew Gregory Lewis a somewhat obvous political allegor, whereby the feudal baron stands for domination and political injustice in the family and in the state.

The Radcliffe heroine is isolated and surrounded by strangers, enemies or equivocal friends. Her parents are dead, possibly dead, or not certainly known-the last, an equally powerful, more suggestive indicator of her alienation. At the nodal point or points in her story she comes to a building which may provide a seeming refuge by day but becomes a threatening, haunted maze by night.

When the Radcliffe heroine resolves to explore the hidden nocturnal world she simultaneously tries her courage and reveals her immaturity. Terror of the dark belongs to her childhood self, which she has barely left behind. By mastering fear and opting for rationality she chooses the world as it is, a state of civilization committed to order and reason. Though Chesterfield gibes at women as "children of a larger growth", Radcliffe shows her heroines emerging from dependency and irrational fear to self-reliance; by implication , qualifying themselves for a modern daylight society on the same terms of citizenship as men. Adeline and Emily take charge of their own destinies, and in so doing put behind them the injustice, superstition and abject dependence of history's medieval shadowland.

Radcliffe's plot concerning an individual women's rite of passage to maturity cna also be read, then, as a historical and civic allegory. The values of Protestant self-reliance have replaced, but not everywhere, or not within eveyrone, the values of the old aristocratic, Catholic world order.

Much of the best modern criticism of Radcliffe has shown, excitingly, how modern she seems. She teaches her successors, Austen included, how to give the reader access to a heroine's conscousness.

For post-Freudians, the settings suggest the landscape of the Unconscious, while the plots of parental violence, guilt and suffering re-enact the repressed traumas of infancy. This imagery speaks across time of women's fear of sexually active men, whether stranger's lovers, or fathers.

That modern sympathetic version of Radcliffe is thought provoking when we read her novels; but though AUsten responded imaginatively to her contemporary, she never understood her by quite this light. She indicates otherwise in her three imitations, arguably parodies, in Northanger abbey:...

Catherine does not imagine a sexual motive for the General's supposed crime, though the Radcliffe heroine lives in fear of rape, and lust is always at the root of evil in the violent, primitive and passionate Radcliffean past. Austen never allows the dark shadwos of the past to encroach on the present, either in a political form, as despotism, or psychologically, in the return of a tragic or traumatized subconscious.

Austen does, however, encourage readers to merge Radcliffe's symbolic plot with her own-though with striking substitutions. Eleanor, atleast, repeats the Gothic stereotype of a young womanhood. Passive and pensive, isolated and repressed, she endures from an unfeeling father daily constraints not far from imprisonment, and has never got over the loss of her mother. But once her foolish Radcliffean hypothesis is dismissed, Catherine is free to tackle Eleanor's unhappiness in a more appropriate and natural manner, by intuiting her grief and her need to tlak. Her sister-like friendship with Eleanor, a delicately drawn, subtly emotional but unsexual relationship, in fact comes to share the central narrative space with Henry's courtship of Catherine.

The literary relationship which emerges between Austen and Radcliffe is by no means obvious, atleast to modern readers, who often take Austen for the the champion of modernity. In fact the Protestant Radcliffe approaches the Catholic past critically; by contrast, Austen, though wedded to an exact modern setting, has also inherited the Tory leaning, more Catholic than Reformed, lightly asserted in her juvenile Histories of England. Northanger Abbey itself will imply she respects village England and its unwritten customs as a source of law and the constitution, the church and the clergy back to monastic times for their social commitment. Ironically then it is Austen of these two who is 'ancient' in her sympathies.

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