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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa V

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Is that why Ellaria is presented in such a favourable light, even though she apparently was "near a whore when Oberyn found her" (as Shae put is)?

yes but Ellaria's sexuality is presented as loving-she didn't have sex with Oberyn to get ahead, but because she loved him and loved sex.

Same with Chataya and Alayaya

Where as Shae uses sex to get ahead (ie her motive for sex is money not love).

On the Baelor front, I two considered him to be a deranged fanatic, but perhaps their views on this deranged fanatic show difference in character

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yes but Ellaria's sexuality is presented as loving-she didn't have sex with Oberyn to get ahead, but because she loved him and loved sex.

Same with Chataya and Alayaya

Where as Shae uses sex to get ahead (ie her motive for sex is money not love).

On the Baelor front, I two considered him to be a deranged fanatic, but perhaps their views on this deranged fanatic show difference in character

Regarding Shae vs Sansa, looking at the text, it's pretty obvious that Shae is setup to betray Tyrion from the start. Tyrion keeps going on about how he should not feel for her but he still does and deludes himself into thinking they have something real. Just like he deluded himself about how he and Sansa could possibly have a happy marriage.

I'm also really doubtful how anyone can see this as something positive in Tyrion's character since I always read it as a straight forward description of his weakness. Of course, it's from his point of view, but he basically doing a Jamie ("The things I do for love") all through the Shae debacle. They are similar in that they delude themselves and correct reality to fit with what they want. Tyrion's self destructive behaviour, his bitterness and drunkenness in ADWD is a great illustration of that he still refuses to stare reality in the eye. As of the end though, I'd say he is in the process of learning just that. And of course you have Penny, which is the Shae-opposite, being so naive and in essence kind hearted with no ambition what so ever. Shae seems to be the symbol of his downfall, and Penny a symbol of his rising again, a better person. Can you imagine ASOS Tyrion with Penny? He would have dismissed her almost as badly as Lollys.

As you guys have stated upthreads, it's also clear that Tyrion has a problem controlling himself and he lets his mouth run away with him, very unlike Sansa in this situation. However, Sansa has had Joff, Cersei, Meryn Trant and Boros Blount to give her a crash course in STFU or else.

It's clear Sansa has a natural affinity for dealing with people and shows an amazing quickness of mind for someone so young. I would not call her "politically astute" though, as that assumes that she has a grasp of the bigger picture which she is lacking at this time. That's not a failing, she is simply too young and has not been exposed to enough information to know. What she does do is pretty good though, so I think LF will be having an easy time with this protege.

On Baelor, I always figured this bit was more a hint that Oberyn is not a stupid man, and he let Tyrion know that he wasn't, plus of course it's a bit foreshadowing that Oberyn will share Tyrion's view of Joff's murder since he's not gullible. Ellaria being nice to Sansa I also always took as another lesson Sansa has to learn: high birth does not equal a good person, and that even bastards can stand proud. As for whether or not Ellaria had any ambitions of just simply loved Oberyn selflessly, that seems like a stretch. Ellaria is not a stupid woman, I'm sure she had a notion of why Oberyn would be a good man to love and keep, even if her feelings for him are true. To assume she is completely without ambition seems to do her a disservice.

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I disagree, for reasons I'll get into shortly. However, before I begin, I just wanted to point out that I think there is a crucial difference between demonstrating political savvy and natural astuteness and being a fully fledged political player in every sense of the word.

I am going to have to continue to respectfully disagree with you I'm afraid. Regarding the words in bold, I fully agree that there is a key difference between the two. I know that Sansa is not a fully fledged political player, that she's not even close, but nor do I think she has demonstrated political savvy so far. The terms are not interchangeable, I agree, but as I understand it political savvy is demonstrated by how you interact with politics and Sansa does her best not to. It may come down to nitpicking over terminology but I cannot recall any politically astute actions or observations on her part. She may be naturally astute and shrewd but in my opinion, she hasn't applied this to politics.

You seem to see Sansa as less an individual who has shown natural political savvy than a victim (or survivor) who has tried to make the best of her circumstances. As I noted, I started out with that exact view, however, taking a closer look I can see how Sansa's interactions with her environment demonstrate an unusually sophisticated, apparently innate understanding of politics and interpersonal relations. (Two things that are linked more than most people realize.)

It seems that the view you started out with is the one I am still inclined to maintain. I don't think she has an innate understanding of politcs, or if she does, I do not believe there has been evidence of it. I do think she is trying to survive but I consider her behaviour and interaction with her environment to be one of common sense for a girl who is frightened for her safety and frightened that her escape plans may be discovered. I don't see unusually sophisticate behaviour, I see courageous and composed behaviour that hides her escape plan, not any political intentions.

In fact, as I noted, she seems better able to control her behavior and act with discretion than do some of the generally praised and lauded players of the game-- Tyrion Lannister, for instance. Perhaps if Tyion would have had Sansa's discretion and politeness, he may have not ended up blamed for the murder of the nephew he made no secret of hating and threatened publicly on occasion.

I think a fundamental difference between Sansa and Tyrion in respect to this debate is that Tyrion is a player and Sansa is not, in my view. Therefore I don't see it as comparing like for like. Tyrion may not be a very good player and he may not hide what he thinks/does, but he is playing.

As for her being "mostly passive" and not figuring out how to get out of her situation herself-- I think she handled it remarkably well. She found the right people to help her, met with them in secret, concealed her activities remarkably well, and hid behind a mask of courtesy and blandness that you (and many others) appear to dismiss as mere survival.

She did handle the situation well but she was led step by step. She did not find the right people to help her as that certainly would have required political savvy. Instead, the people found her and told her what to do. Her actions, as I have said several times, did require courage and discretion, but the political savvy was done by Petyr and Olenna.

Also, I do not 'dismiss' or belittle what Sansa does. I think she was incredibly brave and strong and I willingly give credit where it's due. I don't believe she should be accredited with political astuteness but this does not mean I admire her any less or think her actions were any less impressive given her circumstances.

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I am going to have to continue to respectfully disagree with you I'm afraid. Regarding the words in bold, I fully agree that there is a key difference between the two. I know that Sansa is not a fully fledged political player, that she's not even close, but nor do I think she has demonstrated political savvy so far. The terms are not interchangeable, I agree, but as I understand it political savvy is demonstrated by how you interact with politics and Sansa does her best not to. It may come down to nitpicking over terminology but I cannot recall any politically astute actions or observations on her part. She may be naturally astute and shrewd but in my opinion, she hasn't applied this to politics.

I must say this debate seems to be perfectly timed given the stage we're at now in the re-read :) I think there are good arguments being made on both sides, but I do believe that some of it is as you said Avicella, "nitpicking over terminology." The entire concept of being a "player" in the GOT seems to imply being active in some way, or controlling/manipulating events to suit one's desires. In this case, people like Littlefinger and Varys are the paramount players, operating on a level above everyone else, even the ones whom we consider to be very shrewd and cunning, like Tywin and Tyrion. However, to my mind, there is room for another kind of definition of player. One who by circumstances isn't able to plot or plan, but is involved in the game nevertheless, and who does have to make conscious choices about how they're going to survive in that environment. Sansa spent a great deal of time as a pawn - being "played" around by others whilst in KL, but the text does show her making keen observations and actions that directly relate to politics:

She never knew why she got to her feet, but she did. "Don't be afraid," she told them loudly...

"I will remember, Your Grace," said Sansa, though she had always heard that love was a surer route to the people loyalty than fear. If I am ever a queen, I'll make them love me.

If you thanked him for making you a fool, he'd make you a knight again," Sansa said sharply

Sansa had nothing to make the commons hate her, no more than Margaery Tyrell had done to win their love.

Brave. Sansa took a deep breath. I am a Stark, yes. I can be brave.

He laughed ... and when the king laughs, the court laughs with him.

What these examples show IMO is that whilst Sansa may be trapped in a volatile situation, she is still making conscious/instinctual decisions on how to behave and observations and judgements about what is happening around her. As a prisoner, she cannot make the grand plots and schemes deciding her fate, but this doesn't mean that she does not play within her means as well. I don't think that because one is a pawn that it cancels out one's ability to play. Going from pawn to player is like a baby learning how to walk. Gradually the baby begins by crawling, standing, falling, and then finally walking. All of what is learnt and observed along those stages is significant. A person does not jump into player status immediately. So I think that the point Queen Cersei is making, and it is one that I have to agree with as the textual evidence shows, Sansa does show an increasing level of political awareness and astuteness, and she isn't merely a victim struggling to survive her captivity. She doesn't come to LF as a blank slate in the Vale, and as Raksha noted in an earlier thread, she's had many teachers throughout her short life. She's learnt and applied these things in KL, and by doing so, she's been able to not only survive in this world and deceive those considerably older and more experienced than her, but to grow as a character as well.

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I think the thing about this chapter and the passed ones from ACOK onwards sees Sansa develop the main skills that are necessary to become an astute political player: namely observational skills, empathy, understanding what others want and self control. Although it is not the game of thrones, she has been playing a game since she got the note to meet someone in the godswood. She has endured to achieve the end goal. Given how quickly the Redwyne Twins' escape plan was discovered, we have to recognize that it was an amazing achievement for her escape to be pulled off. True it was orchestrated by LF and helped by Ser Dontos, but Sansa played her part in keeping it secret, and that required more than just not letting it slip. Her behaviour had to betray nothing of her intent.

Although they were not motivated by politics, the rescue of Ser Dontos and the rallying of the women at the BBW were both aspects of quick thinking and bending someone (Joff) to see things your way, and leadership. Keeping calm under pressure is an invaluable skill.

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A little late on the discussion, but I have to share my thoughts on Shae and her behaviour with Tyrion.

As other posters have said, Shae was born in a poor family with an abusive father, she had to get away from it and her only option was to prostitute herself to survive. As it happens, prostitutes have to learn being fake, it is part of their job, the best they are at it, the more money they’re going to make.

As an open minded person who won’t judge people who had different lives (and much more difficult) then me, I don’t see how anyone can perceive Shae negatively. To me, she acts exactly as I would imagine a young prostitute would, in her situation, trying to get out of the poverty she’s used to.

She did “lie” to Tyrion, making him believe that she loved him and missed him, but that’s exactly what he paid her for.

He did purchase her as an object as I remember; Bronn brought her to him after he asked him to go “shop” for him. All the remaining prostitutes were old and ugly, so Bronn had to take her by force from another soldier or knight, I don’t remember. That’s how the Tyrion/Shae relationship started, I don’t see how, after that Shae is expected to look beyond the fact that she is sort of like a product for Tyrion. Even if she would’ve had any chances of ever falling in love with him, I don’t think she would have let herself go because she knew that as an objet, she was disposable.

To compare Shae and Sansa’s value to one another, let’s just say that what Shae has to offer won’t last: beauty and youth. Sansa not only can offer those too, but also has a name and a claim that will last a lifetime. A man (in this world) won’t change wife really often, but can change whore/lover every night if it makes him happy.

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However, to my mind, there is room for another kind of definition of player. One who by circumstances isn't able to plot or plan, but is involved in the game nevertheless, and who does have to make conscious choices about how they're going to survive in that environment. Sansa spent a great deal of time as a pawn - being "played" around by others whilst in KL, but the text does show her making keen observations and actions that directly relate to politics:

What these examples show IMO is that whilst Sansa may be trapped in a volatile situation, she is still making conscious/instinctual decisions on how to behave and observations and judgements about what is happening around her. As a prisoner, she cannot make the grand plots and schemes deciding her fate, but this doesn't mean that she does not play within her means as well.I don't think that because one is a pawn that it cancels out one's ability to play. Going from pawn to player is like a baby learning how to walk. Gradually the baby begins by crawling, standing, falling, and then finally walking. All of what is learnt and observed along those stages is significant. A person does not jump into player status immediately. So I think that the point Queen Cersei is making, and it is one that I have to agree with as the textual evidence shows, Sansa does show an increasing level of political awareness and astuteness, and she isn't merely a victim struggling to survive her captivity.

Perhaps it was a little hasty of me to say she had made no politically astute observations as mainly your 2nd, 3rd and 6th quote are examples of just that. I can't really argue with textual evidence. Also, I agree with you in that just because you are a pawn does not mean you cannot play because I'm sure there are many so called 'players' who are actually other people's pawns.

However, the several quoted observations aside, I just don't think I can agree that Sansa's behaviour and actions are indicative of any increasing political awareness and astuteness. From the start of ACOK to Joffrey's death especially, her behaviour doesn't change - she is always guarded, courteous and quiet and this behaviour is dictated by fear and common sense. I maintain that it is these two things that govern her actions, not political astuteness. Furthermore, I do see her as a victim struggling to survive. She has realised that, as expected, staying off the Lannister radar and lying low is the best way to avoid hurt and humiliation and so consequentially, she is surviving quite well.

Also, I'm not sure I agree with the line in bold either. I don't consider Sansa to be playing at all in any political way. I think my (and people's in general) understanding of political astuteness/savvy etc definitely affect how Sansa and her actions are perceived.

From Rapsie:

I think the thing about this chapter and the passed ones from ACOK onwards sees Sansa develop the main skills that are necessary to become an astute political player: namely observational skills, empathy, understanding what others want and self control

I think I agree. Sansa is acquiring skills that will help her if/when she becomes a player. I think that only once these are applied to politics can I start to assess her political savvy etc.

I think it's really interesting how one character can elicit such different responses. Different takes certainly encourage me to think harder about why she does what she does. It's a good debate.

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[mod] This is NOT -- I repeat -- NOT a general "what do you think of Sansa" thread. It is a chapter-by-chapter re-read of the character. Please keep to topic. Thank you. [/mod]

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Thank you, Xray.

Let me just reassure the others that the offending post from the offending poster was deleted. This has always been a thread to focus on Sansa's development chapter by chapter, not to repost opinions from other places which reflect preconceived opinions on the character.

I have been very happy with the quality of analysis that this thread has fostered, and I hope to see it continue.

The next chapters will be posted by Rapsie on Monday and if anyone has any further questions please PM either myself or Rapsie.

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This quote by GRRM is puzzling to me honestly. We know that Sansa goes to Cersei because she's upset that her father wants to send her away from Joffrey, but I never got the impression that she was privy to so many details about the journey. Just why would Ned have confided those details anyways? And about knowing where Arya was, I would figure that Sansa would be the last person who would know this, considering the sisters were not close. Didn't Sansa believe Arya was genuinely taking "dancing" lessons? Besides, I never got the impression that Arya's activities were a closely guarded secret either.

Rapsie:

Yes, I wondered about this too. If the plan didn't work out then what would have been her alternative been at this point to end her torments other than suicide? She had no more allies in the Red Keep she could depend on, and she doesn't know about the plot to murder Joffrey.

When I read that and as I posted it here I spent an hour actually mind debating as Ned and Sansa and not once did I let out total details to her, I kept it at it's dangerous for my girls and be here at noon ready to go, no ship name no numbers ( though I guess cersei could count) so the only thing I can think of at the moment, is George is going to drop something on us :eek:

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When I read that and as I posted it here I spent an hour actually mind debating as Ned and Sansa and not once did I let out total details to her, I kept it at it's dangerous for my girls and be here at noon ready to go, no ship name no numbers ( though I guess cersei could count) so the only thing I can think of at the moment, is George is going to drop something on us :eek:

Well, anyway even if Ned had told Sansa the name of the ship, the exact time they were leaving, the number of men that would go with them, I don't really see how it would have changed anything.

The girls were at the castle, they only had to catch them and lock them in their room, that's it.

It's not like if they were already gone and Cercei had to recapture them.

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Well, anyway even if Ned had told Sansa the name of the ship, the exact time they were leaving, the number of men that would go with them, I don't really see how it would have changed anything.

The girls were at the castle, they only had to catch them and lock them in their room, that's it.

It's not like if they were already gone and Cercei had to recapture them.

Precisely, this is what strikes me as so bizarre about GRRM's statement. And is Ned really the kind of man to confide all these details to his daughters? I can see him telling Septa Mordane, but why Sansa and Arya? It just makes no sense to me. And didn't Arya have her dancing lessons in the small hall? Surely her whereabouts weren't a big secret.

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When I read that and as I posted it here I spent an hour actually mind debating as Ned and Sansa and not once did I let out total details to her, I kept it at it's dangerous for my girls and be here at noon ready to go, no ship name no numbers ( though I guess cersei could count) so the only thing I can think of at the moment, is George is going to drop something on us :eek:

Also I found it odd that before Ned did his big Throne "lets take on Cersei thing" that he hadn't confirmed the girls had got away safely.

As for the GRRM reveal thing, I note that we hear Sansa remembering what happened between her and Cersei that morning, rather than the scene played out in front of us. Perhaps it was another faulty memory? But then the rest of the statement doesn't make sense, as GRRM does say others played their part too.

Also on a side note, can I say I second BrashCandy's post above and if you have any queries, please PM either of us. :)

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A little late on the discussion, but I have to share my thoughts on Shae and her behaviour with Tyrion.

As other posters have said, Shae was born in a poor family with an abusive father, she had to get away from it and her only option was to prostitute herself to survive. As it happens, prostitutes have to learn being fake, it is part of their job, the best they are at it, the more money they’re going to make.

As an open minded person who won’t judge people who had different lives (and much more difficult) then me, I don’t see how anyone can perceive Shae negatively. To me, she acts exactly as I would imagine a young prostitute would, in her situation, trying to get out of the poverty she’s used to.

She did “lie” to Tyrion, making him believe that she loved him and missed him, but that’s exactly what he paid her for.

He did purchase her as an object as I remember; Bronn brought her to him after he asked him to go “shop” for him. All the remaining prostitutes were old and ugly, so Bronn had to take her by force from another soldier or knight, I don’t remember. That’s how the Tyrion/Shae relationship started, I don’t see how, after that Shae is expected to look beyond the fact that she is sort of like a product for Tyrion. Even if she would’ve had any chances of ever falling in love with him, I don’t think she would have let herself go because she knew that as an objet, she was disposable.

To compare Shae and Sansa’s value to one another, let’s just say that what Shae has to offer won’t last: beauty and youth. Sansa not only can offer those too, but also has a name and a claim that will last a lifetime. A man (in this world) won’t change wife really often, but can change whore/lover every night if it makes him happy.

Good points but the reason I don't like Shae is because she is very heartless. I understand she has not had a great life experience and as a lowborn she does not have much else to fall back on but using her looks and her sex. I don't begrudge her having to use sex to get ahead in the world she lives in. But she is vicious. Look at the last Tyrion chapter we just analyzed, the morning of the wedding when Tyrion meets her by the dragon skulls. She suggests that Tyrion give Sansa dream wine so that she will pass out and they can have sex in bed right next to Sansa. She's also made pretty heartless comments about Lollys, like so she was just raped is all. And that scene in ACOK just before the BBB, when Sansa leaves the sept to go to the castle and she finds Shae and the Stokeworths trying to get Lollys to go into the castle, Shae has a look on her face like she wants to throw her over the edge.

Compare this with Sansa on the other hand. I know Sansa has the benefit of being high born and from a loving family who didn't abuse her, but she has suffered terribly at the hands of the Lannisters, yet still manages to help Lancel when he is badly injured after the BBB, and she tries to help Lollys over the bridge into the Castle. She would have been in her rights to do nothing for them, Lancel especially, yet she does. She even is upset when Joffrey is killed thinking that it was terrible. She has a good heart as Lady Tanda mentions to her. I don't think you can say the same for Shae.

There's also the example of Ellaria Sand that we have just been introduced to. She comes off as a very decent person despite her position and occupation.

That's why I took issue with the comment that Tyrion is wrong to be bitter about his rather "ridiculous sexual nicknames" being revealed in court in my earlier post. As I said then, it was not Tyrion who came up with them or forced Shae to call him Giant of Lannister. Shae came up with it on her own as we see in the Tyrion chapter I just talked about, when he meets Shae by the dragon skulls.

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However, the several quoted observations aside, I just don't think I can agree that Sansa's behaviour and actions are indicative of any increasing political awareness and astuteness. From the start of ACOK to Joffrey's death especially, her behaviour doesn't change - she is always guarded, courteous and quiet and this behaviour is dictated by fear and common sense. I maintain that it is these two things that govern her actions, not political astuteness. Furthermore, I do see her as a victim struggling to survive. She has realised that, as expected, staying off the Lannister radar and lying low is the best way to avoid hurt and humiliation and so consequentially, she is surviving quite well.

:) Yes, but my argument is that fear and common sense are indicative of some political astuteness. When Cersei displayed a notable absence of those two qualities in AFFC was she still not a player? Obviously Sansa doesn't have that kind of power or authority, but consider if Tyrion had shown some more fear and common sense when he was mouthing off to Joffrey and alienating Cersei. Or if he had been in more control of his libido whilst at court, and sent Shae away. IMO, it is impossible to separate the personal from the political in this debate, and Sansa's personal strength in character and discipline shows an awareness of the politics going on around her. She knows that she's in peril and commits to one course of action throughout her time there, with a few notable exceptions involving Dontos and the Hound. In terms of her being a victim struggling to survive, well yes, she is, but this is not the sum total of her condition whilst there. She's a victim, but also a survivor, a friend, confidante, and at one point, she acts like a Queen.

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Perhaps it was a little hasty of me to say she had made no politically astute observations as mainly your 2nd, 3rd and 6th quote are examples of just that. I can't really argue with textual evidence. Also, I agree with you in that just because you are a pawn does not mean you cannot play because I'm sure there are many so called 'players' who are actually other people's pawns.

However, the several quoted observations aside, I just don't think I can agree that Sansa's behaviour and actions are indicative of any increasing political awareness and astuteness. From the start of ACOK to Joffrey's death especially, her behaviour doesn't change - she is always guarded, courteous and quiet and this behaviour is dictated by fear and common sense. I maintain that it is these two things that govern her actions, not political astuteness. Furthermore, I do see her as a victim struggling to survive. She has realised that, as expected, staying off the Lannister radar and lying low is the best way to avoid hurt and humiliation and so consequentially, she is surviving quite well.

Also, I'm not sure I agree with the line in bold either. I don't consider Sansa to be playing at all in any political way. I think my (and people's in general) understanding of political astuteness/savvy etc definitely affect how Sansa and her actions are perceived.

From Rapsie:

I think I agree. Sansa is acquiring skills that will help her if/when she becomes a player. I think that only once these are applied to politics can I start to assess her political savvy etc.

I think it's really interesting how one character can elicit such different responses. Different takes certainly encourage me to think harder about why she does what she does. It's a good debate.

If Sansa was always quiet, courteous, staying under the radar, then she would never have spoken up to save Ser Dontos; or even accepted the Tyrell's offer of marriage to Willas - both actions brought Sansa into more intense scrutiny. In the case of Sansa's trying to save Ser Dontos, she was knowingly risking physical harm, since she knew the usual consequences of opposing Joffrey.

It can be argued that Sansa's move to save Dontos was not a political move; but a Sansa-move, an impulse borne of intense compassion, to save a life that had no particular value to her from Joffrey's cruelty. Sansa's acceptance of the betrothal to Willas was a decision both personal and political on Sansa's part - though I don't think that Sansa was thinking of it as a political maneuver, though she definitely made the decision with far more maturity than she had once accepted the betrothal to Joffrey. Also, and this is worth noting, Sansa did make the decision to accept the betrothal to Willas herself; she did not consult with Ser Dontos or anyone else; or say that she needed to wait on making the decision. Actually, marrying Willas Tyrell would have been a good move for Sansa; I wish we could have actually seen the Tyrell heir.

It can be said that Sansa is less a political player, even an embryonic one, in ACOK-ASOS, than an increasingly politically knowledgeable pawn. She is no longer the blind, hapless and totally naive pawn of AGOT; she has a greater understanding (still incomplete because of geographical limitations, as a prisoner, and her extreme youth) of human nature (crucial in any political game!) and the political landscape of King Joffrey's court and the forces that affect it.

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Lots to discuss to discuss :) Lady clearly means a lot to Sansa even though she hadn’t really that much time with her so the fact that she is dreaming about her in a way reinforces her connection with the North. About the dream two things: she is currently at times dreaming of lady who was her guardian, but we will soon see her dream with someone who might be lady’s replacement, so hopefully that’s another hint for san/san fans… and I’m sure one of the reasons her dream had to do with Winterfell is cause she was going home the following day so… but even so, she knows Winterfell is now in ruins due to theon so when she is planning on going home what specific location did she had in mind? And it was brave of her to still put herself in Dontos hands after the red wedding happened cause now she truly has no immediate family to run to. Sure, there’s lysa and Edmund and the blackfish, but how could she know Dontos was taking her to one of them..?

As for shae ( I prefer her in the book and Jeyne W. as well) her comment about what a nice it would be to live in a castle made of gold clearly shows that what she wants is to be as rich as she can. In the series she seems to be someone of higher birth than she really is, but that would mean that she was also seeking some way to regain political power or something, whereas the one in the books only wanted gold and the man who could give it to her. and she seems to admire ellaria’s sand, so… but it’s scary that I sort of agree that she may have killed sansa one day in order to get herself rid of her! also, I do think sansa may have killed herself if she had had to remain married to Tyrion, but though she has contemplated suicide before, I am sure that if Tyrion managed to get her with child before this, sansa would endure whatever fate had in store for her in this marriage just for her child’s sake: this can represent her future role as queen or simply how brave she always is when putting other’s problems above her own. Another reason why if no baby had occurred, I think sansa may have tried to kill herself: to think she can’t bear to learn how her mother and brother died cause she is now married into house which probably constructed her family’s downfall would have been soooo stressful and horrible. (though not as bad as being joff’s queen). When she mentions how joff kept throwing her looks during the wedding breakfast, and when she wished for joff to die, it would have just been the worst family for her to marry into.

Queen Cersei I, I agree with you that cersei understood sansa at some specific points. But she must have also felt contempt towards her. in her minds eye she has always been a brave lioness, whereas sansa is just a foolish silly girl, so that could be a reason why she never tried to comfort sansa a little bit.

Welcome Avicella!

Brashcandy, I really liked your observation about having the litter that Tyrion & sansa climbed into as a parallel of sorts to how oppressed she was feeling then. It’s unfair that sansa can’t even enjoy a pleasant day cause she has to recall that the family she has now “Married into” isn’t so popular among the common people, and so she has to suffer the consequences from it. & of course I also noticed how easily sansa could understand in the way what the hound needed at moments while with Tyrion, well, it’s the opposite.

& I know there are tons of Pod/sansa fans, & I am sorry if I misjudge his character, but I don’t think he had a thing going on for sansa. He is nervous and stammering around with many people, so it would have been awesome to actually loosen up his opinions around her, but even when he meets brienne in AFFC we have him following her to get to the Imo, not to save sansa purely. But I am generally of the theory that if he is the one destined for sansa then it may be all for the best seeing as pod seems to be growing into being a good honorable man. I gather I have the same opinions about sansa with pod as I do with sansa as a dragon’s rider. Both theories are very good, but I personally don’t see them happening…

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I think the thing about this chapter and the passed ones from ACOK onwards sees Sansa develop the main skills that are necessary to become an astute political player: namely observational skills, empathy, understanding what others want and self control. Although it is not the game of thrones, she has been playing a game since she got the note to meet someone in the godswood. She has endured to achieve the end goal. Given how quickly the Redwyne Twins' escape plan was discovered, we have to recognize that it was an amazing achievement for her escape to be pulled off. True it was orchestrated by LF and helped by Ser Dontos, but Sansa played her part in keeping it secret, and that required more than just not letting it slip. Her behaviour had to betray nothing of her intent.

Although they were not motivated by politics, the rescue of Ser Dontos and the rallying of the women at the BBW were both aspects of quick thinking and bending someone (Joff) to see things your way, and leadership. Keeping calm under pressure is an invaluable skill.

It can certainly be said that the characteristics that Sansa exhibits from ACOK-ASOS (that Avicella says make her an excellent survivor) would make her a naturally better player than say Tyrion or Cersei.

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After reading all the opinions on whether Sansa is displaying political savvy/playing the game yet, I would have to say that besides your view depending on your personal definition of political savvy, it also depends on what behaviors you categorize as qualifying as political savvy. I guess mine are somewhat broader than some posters', because I definitely see political savvy in Sansa's behavior towards the end of her time in KL.

Perhaps the best way for me to explain it is in contrasting Sansa's choices and behaviors with some other firmly accepted "players." Tyrion has always been seen as a major player. Yet his utter lack of self control and self knowledge are his undoing repeatedly. As has been mentioned already, if he had kept his mouth shut about his true feelings for Joff and learned to parrot the proper phrases (as Sansa did), he would have been far less likely to be accused of Joff's murder. He could still have accomplished all the scheming and manipulating, but in a more personally beneficial manner. He makes no secret of his personal dislikes and prejudices, and it ultimately costs him everything.

Similarly, if Cersei had ever learned to put on a mask of public courtesy and ladylike behavior, as Sansa does, she could have saved herself from worlds of trouble. She has never bothered to hide her anger, her determination and ruthlessness, her extreme hatred of Robert, her dislike of the Tyrells; all of her uncontrolled emotions are constantly on display. Therefore it was not much of a stretch for people to believe it when she was accused of conspiring at Robert's death, incest/adultery, and plotting against Marg. Imagine for a moment that instead, she had followed Sansa's pattern of firmly keeping her true feelings hidden, being courteous and polite, behaving with either indifference or some facsimile of respect toward Robert, hidden her feelings of rivalry with Marg. If the face she presented to the world was that of the calm and contented queen, people would have been far more likely to dismiss the accusations against her (or they never would have been made in the first place). She cost herself everything politically by being incapable of doing what Sansa did daily.

I could go on with these type of examples, but you get the point. In its own way, by being her only path to freedom, Sansa's very inaction became her political action. Her firmly maintained armor of courtesy and quietness were her ways of manipulating those around her, and she was extremely good at it.

Here is a counterfactual to consider, as well: Say Sansa had not been savvy enough to recognize that the Tyrells were at best fickle and no true friends, or at worst potential enemies, once she was married to Tyrion. What if she had gone running to them, her "friends," begging for help? She would have been at minimum coldly rebuffed, possibly reported on to the Lannisters, and probably earned herself a locked room to live in. But she WAS smart and savvy enough to recognize that there was no longer any relationship there, if there ever had been.

If she was insanely blind politically (and able to bring herself to do it) she might have pretended to be happy to be Tyrion's wife, hoping that bearing him a child might win her some status or better treatment. She recognized that to the Lannisters, she was only the gateway to Winterfell, and that with a child of hers (especially male), they would have no further need for her. So she did her best to keep the walls up between herself and Tyrion, resisting any fleeting feelings of empathy or compassion. There was always the chance that he might take her anyway, and I believe that in the end he would have (given time enough), but she knew she only had to keep him at arm's length for so long ...and did a masterful job of maintaining miles of distance between them, while never giving any cause for him to take offense.

Movements and plays do not have to be open or active to count as political. LF himself prefers to always be seen as a pawn of someone's, rather than ever letting it become known what he is doing behind the scenes or how much influence he really has. As a result, most people see him as a garden variety social climber with a talent for managing finances. It would never occur to anyone that he was the mastermind behind Joff's death. Just as no one suspected Sansa of being capable of escape, because she was content to let them go on thinking her naive and easily gulled.

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