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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VI

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This is a prime example of how what POV characters say can't be taken for fact.

This is a great point. I think the 3rd person limited structure of the books is often overlooked in analysis. It's easy to forget that with the POV structure we are only given limited information as to what really happens and that everything we see/hear is filtered through that particular POV. You have an example here with Lollys where taking Tyrion's POV at face value leads to an incorrect conclusion. Similarly, to correctly understand what happened around the death of Lady means reading multiple POVs - even Jaime's in AFFC. Similar, we can contrast the impressions that Tyrion and Dany have of Brown Ben Plumm. In other words, we, as readers need to step out of the page for a moment and challenge what we are reading. That means looking at the actions of others, questioning character assumptions, and constantly evaluating the past as new information becomes available.

I don't think the above actions happen within the fandom as much as it could and it sometimes seems that the use of the 3rd person limited is not as understood as it should be. In fact, my awareness of this structure grows with each re-read as I better understand just how much it influences my thoughts and perceptions and I find over time that it grows easier to question what I'm reading.

I've come close to starting a thread on how the POV structure of the series influences reader perceptions but haven't figured out how to start of discussion without it sounding like I'm lecturing.

It's interesting because what we're seeing is a unity between Sansa's personal and political objectives. Just as she thought of ruling through love and not fear, it's clear that she wants to have that same love in her intimate relationships. How she will go about achieving this harmony is the question for us to think about :)

Perhaps we can take each female "role model" she comes into contact with and discuss what she learns from them with quotes and a little analysis?

I think this is a great idea! I'll take a couple characters if others are up to do this.

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I think this is a great idea! I'll take a couple characters if others are up to do this.

Great! Using the categories you gave:

They are married, unmarried, paramours, bastards, and widows.

Married

Catelyn

Margaery Tyrell

Unmarried/Paramour

Kella

Mya Stone (bastard)

Shae

Ellaria Sand

Widows

Queen of Thorns

Lysa Tully

Cersei Lannister

Randa Royce

Have I missed anyone?

ETA: Some of these women belong in two or more categories :)

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So Kittykatknits has already volunteered to a look at a few women, any other takers?

Or would you all like me to make assignments :devil:

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I don't think the above actions happen within the fandom as much as it could and it sometimes seems that the use of the 3rd person limited is not as understood as it should be. In fact, my awareness of this structure grows with each re-read as I better understand just how much it influences my thoughts and perceptions and I find over time that it grows easier to question what I'm reading.

:agree: I think the general misunderstanding of the 3rd person limited leads to overall misunderstanding of the text. It was actually browsing through some of the Sansa reread threads that helped me better understand how to interpret characters and actions. We learn via other POVs that Sansa is a snobby, dimwitted liar and that's sort of what I initially felt about her. But the reread threads helped me piece together what others say and think about her vs what she actually does. Understanding the 3rd person limited has helped me in understanding other characters I've found myself invested in further studying.

I've come close to starting a thread on how the POV structure of the series influences reader perceptions but haven't figured out how to start of discussion without it sounding like I'm lecturing.

I think this is a great idea. I'll think on some ideas and send them your way if I come up with anything.

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So Kittykatknits has already volunteered to a look at a few women, any other takers?

Or would you all like me to make assignments :devil:

I think this is a great idea (as usual), but I don't think I ought to offer to do any of the write-ups given that I am about to leave the country again (my lil' sister's wedding, yay!) and if I am honest with myself I know I just won't have the time....sigh.

I look forward to reading what you wonderful insightful people have to say on the subject though! :)

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We can surmise a few things already:

1. She doesn't want to be married for her claim

2. She can appreciate sex outside of marriage if there is love between the couple

3. She's not willing to have sex out of "duty"

4. She values honesty, strength and loyalty in a man

5. She still desires intimacy and love in a relationship

It's interesting because what we're seeing is a unity between Sansa's personal and political objectives. Just as she thought of ruling through love and not fear, it's clear that she wants to have that same love in her intimate relationships. How she will go about achieving this harmony is the question for us to think about

Perhaps we can take each female "role model" she comes into contact with and discuss what she learns from them with quotes and a little analysis?

I think that in her personal life the choices she makes thanks to the things you’ve mentioned above will have to be related to the bittersweet ending George mentioned. If Sansa either refuses to marry for political benefits, or refuses to give up the chance to know love with a man she wants and desires, she will have to sacrifice something one way or the other. And so regarding her love life it might be sad for her to think of the young girl who wanted to have a husband she loved, but who ended up only knowing love out of wedlock and having to keep it as discrete as possible...

About the analysis of the women Sansa has encountered and how they have changed her, though the thought of not doing it full justice crosses my mind, i would love to be able to do one of those!

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About the analysis of the women Sansa has encountered and how they have changed her, though the thought of not doing it full justice crosses my mind, i would love to be able to do one of those!

Don't worry about that Caro! :) Honestly, it's not about doing some intensive essay at all. Just a short analysis (with relevant textual evidence) of what Sansa may have learnt from the particular woman and how it could impact on her future decisions. Is there any one person in particular you would like to tackle?

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Don't worry about that Caro! :) Honestly, it's not about doing some intensive essay at all. Just a short analysis (with relevant textual evidence) of what Sansa may have learnt from the particular woman and how it could impact on her future decisions. Is there any one person in particular you would like to tackle?

thanks! well, i think i would like to try the married category.. the paramour/unmarried one is also very alluring, but i'll do married :) is there a due date?

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I'll try my hand with Lysa and Olenna. I'll do it tomorrow though, since it's already midnight.

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thanks! well, i think i would like to try the married category.. the paramour/unmarried one is also very alluring, but i'll do married :) is there a due date?

Ok cool. Let's communicate by PM so as to not clog the thread any further.

I'll try my hand with Lysa and Olenna. I'll do it tomorrow though, since it's already midnight.

Great, thanks Lady Lea :)

Any other volunteers - please PM me, or I'll make requests via PM as well. Thanks!

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I'm definitely up for analysing somebody! Also a suggestion: shall we put Septa Mordane up for possible analysis? And maybe Jeyne Poole? (As examples of earlier influences on Sansa's thinking, pre-evolution of character that is.)

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I certainly haven't done enough character analysis on one read-through, but think this is a very interesting idea and I look forward to seeing what's produced!

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Don't worry about that Caro! :) Honestly, it's not about doing some intensive essay at all. Just a short analysis (with relevant textual evidence) of what Sansa may have learnt from the particular woman and how it could impact on her future decisions. Is there any one person in particular you would like to tackle?

Great idea, guys(and girls :)).I`ll take QOT, Margaery and Ellaria Sand...

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I'm definitely up for analysing somebody! Also a suggestion: shall we put Septa Mordane up for possible analysis? And maybe Jeyne Poole? (As examples of earlier influences on Sansa's thinking, pre-evolution of character that is.)

Septa Mordane should definitely be in there. Even if she was never married and never could be, she seems to have had a larger influence on Sansa's view of life than almost any other woman, barring her mother. I have lots of stuff on Cat already so could post some on her.

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Sansa glanced at the woman curiously. She was baseborn and unwed, and had home two bastard daughters for the prince, but she did not fear to look even the queen in the eye. Shae had told her that this Ellaria worshiped some Lysene love goddess. “She was almost a whore when he found her, m’lady,” her maid confided, “and now she’s near a princess.” Sansa had never been this close to the Dornishwoman before. She is not truly beautiful, she thought, but something about her draws the eye.

This was written just as simple description of the new persona at the court. But, look at the two of them. Sansa is noble, maiden, well-mannered, and not as nearly as exotic as Ellaria. Sansa knows the rules and she blindly follows them. Her dreams are the same. Get married, be in love, have children. She`s naive, innocent and pure. Ellaria, on the other hand, is exotic and erotic, as only Dornish women can be. She wasn`t thought like Sansa, she isn`t trueborn, she is just a bastard, who was lucky to be bedded with a Prince. Sansa`s purity and innocence are drawn to Ellaria`s exotic appeal like a moth to a flame. But, more importantly, how Ellaria has influenced on Sansa? First, Sansa understand that life isn`t black and white, there are only shades of grey, and bastard being honored as Ellaria, makes her think of her own position. She, who was supposed to become a Queen, is now lesser and less powerful than a mistress of Dornish Prince. And at last, Ellaria made impact also on her behavior as Alayne. Because, Sansa finally saw that it isn`t important who are your parents, are you of noble House, or even just a maiden, it is important what you do of your life and how to fight to gain what you want.

P.S. Sorry if I made any grammar mistakes, English isn`t my first language, hope you understand :)

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The section about Ellaria is interesting for a couple of reasons:

Sansa seems more interested in Ellaria than judging, despite Ellaria being bastard born. There is almost admiration in the "but she did not fear look even the Queen in the eye". This indicates an admiration for someone who is breaking social conventions. It could also indicate that Sansa appreciates someone who can stare Cersei down, perhaps, something she wishes she could do herself? Maybe this is one of her role models for later when Alayne is "bastard brave"? Ellaria certainly seems to be "bastard brave" and doesn't let her illegitimate birth stop her from taking her rightful place at court and at Oberyn's side, despite not being married to him.

It's interesting to note as well that Ellaria is rather nice to Sansa and is the one to explain that Oberyn is making a joke about Baelor the Blessed. Sansa also seems to recognise that there is something striking or interesting about Ellaria, and that she's not traditionally beautiful. We also see later on in Arianne's chapter that Ellaria is quite a smart and astute woman, who prefers peace over vengeance, even when Oberyn has been killed.

Shae's comment seems to be more self interested since that is what she herself wants to become, as Ellaria's father was a noble (Lord Uller).

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great points on ellaria. oberyn was very lucky to meet her, and it was good that he was able to see her true worth. the first time i read the third book i thought ellaria would be like lord merryweather's wife, but by Dances we see that her main concerns are keeping her children safe and that she indeed loved oberyn. i think that sansa can perceive that this is a strong good woman, and in the end i can see both of them wanting to keep their children safely out of the game. something a woman like cersei who, even though she loved her children, was still power-crazed and was meaner by nature compared with ellaria and sansa, and so sansa feels something akin to awe when a bastard woman looks at cersei, the woman whose been taunting sansa, with no fear...

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Sansa's interest in Ellaria Sand also goes against people's reading of her as bratty and shallow. She seems to genuinely see bravery and justified pride in Ellaria, and doesn't condemn her for being bastard born. It seems she views her more with fascination than anything like distaste.

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Agreed, Ellaria definitely helps Sansa start to question her bastard stereotypes and her ideas about unmarried women in society.

Now for my piece on Myranda Royce:

At first glance three things strike one straight away when one reads about Myranda:

1) She doesn't conform to the Westerosi idea of 'perfect beauty' ideal insomuch as she's described as

Lord Nestor's daughter proved to be a short, fleshy woman, of an age with Mya Stone, but where Mya was slim and sinewy, Myranda was soft-bodied and sweet-smelling, broad of hip, thick of waist, and extremely buxom. Her thick chestnut curls framed round red cheeks, a small mouth, and a pair of lively brown eyes.

(Interesting to note at this point that whenever GRRM describes a woman as other than pretty/beautiful, he always says something nice about her eyes as an afterthought? See: Brienne)

Could it be that Randa not being super pretty could be another example of the done to death: a woman can either be ugly or clever stereotype or merely another example of the Sansa arc leading to a rejection of superficial appearances in favour of intrinsic value? That would depend on how their friendship develops, it's too early to judge as yet, but I think Randa's plainspokenness might be some kind of alternative to LF's scheming insomuch as she admits to wanting to be wicked and jokes about it, while LF smiles a lot but really is deadly serious in his wickedness - again the whole appearances can be deceiving motif.

Kind?" The older girl gave a laugh. "How boring that would be. I aspire to be wicked.

2. She talks about sex. A LOT. Whether it be her own sex life (husband/Marillion) with detailed descriptions of her husband dying inside her (ew, also surprising how untraumatised she is by this), Mya's (the squire) or the size of Littlefinger's finger she seems to have no scruples discussing as she so unashamedly puts it 'fucking'. Sansa/Alayne is blushing like crazy all the time, and she's just going on and on and on ('Do you know what goes on in the marriage bed?' etc.) And she makes comments about Alayne's breasts and the general value of breast size wrt breastfeeding.

This is probably her most obvious role in the book, as an initiator of the sexual development of Sansa/Alayne - which could prove to be potentially dangerous if well-meaning Randa took upon herself the task of finding Sansa/Alayne some nice hunky man to deflower her thus leading to an impossibility of a divorce from Tyrion. Or on the other hand it could lead to a deeper realisation of Sansa's feelings for Sandor with some preliminary girlishness along the way. (- Hey, Randa I'm having sexy dreams about this man who took a song and a kiss and left me with nothing but a bloody cloak! - Omg, seriously Alayne? Has he ravened you yet? Have you ravened him? Don't be the first to raven him, you'll look needy! aka Basically the typical teenage silliness she missed out on while being tortured by Joff in KL)

3. She is very plain spoken in general and seems shrewd and intelligent. She keeps her father's household in order (just like Alayne does for LF) and does it competently and well. She's very well informed about the goings on in Westeros both in political terms (Siege of Storm's End vol 2.0/Riverrun yielding), gossipy terms (Harry's bastards/Lyn's married life/Bronze Yohn's melee) and weird trivia (Jon Snow is a bastard and he's LC of NW!). The one thing she doesn't seem to be aware of is Lothor Brune liking Mya Stone... Why should this be - she clearly knows pretty much everything else there is to know about the girl and she seems a good and shrewd observer of people - why shouldn't she notice Lothor?

Aside from that, she knows how to make conversation with some bastard girl she's never met before, while riding down a mountain in the freezing cold and manages to make her like her enough in the process to agree to share her bed. She also knows how to flatter Sweetrobin, telling him how big he's grown when se sees him - clearly she always knows exactly what to say.

This shrewdness in Randa reminds me a lot of the Queen of Thorns, as does her sense of humour which definitely brought to mind echoes of the old QoT for some reason. I'm not suggesting they're connected in any way ,but maybe this quality, coupled with the possibility of Sansa/Alayne still having the hairnet might result in some clever plotting to assassinate LF? (OK this is a bit of a stretch, we don't even know if she's trustworthy yet, although as regards sheer brain capacity, yes I think she is clever enough to poison LF if she put her mind to it, and Sansa/Alayne presented good reasons for her doing so. Crackpotting here, so I'll stop now.)

One last thing - I wouldn't put it past Randa to be the one to overhear something inappropriate between Sansa/Alayne and LF, either some evidence of his creepy attraction and kissing or some conversation when one of them slips up and reveals her Sansa identity. (Although I'm more inclined to think the former) In these cases she could turn either threat or ally depending on how the story progresses, but somehow I just don't see such an intelligent character being introduced just to talk about sex a lot. Also Sansa/Alayne thinks to herself 'You'll get no secrets from me.' in response to Randa's wanting to learn her wicked secrets and that just seems like famous last words to me. But I don't know, at this point my guess is as good as anyone's.

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