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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VII

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(Previous thread found here, as well as further links to the original rereading threads which started it all)

This is the start of the 13th Pawn to Player thread overall, and it's really been an enriching experience to be part of a thread series that's fostered such enlightening discussion and analysis of Sansa's character and her arc throughout the novels. This thread wouldn't be so successful, informative or provocative were it not for the brilliant minds who dedicate so much of their time and effort to critiquing this character, and offering new and often surprising insights. After 13 threads you would imagine that you've heard it all and read it all, but that never seems to be quite the case :)

So thanks to everyone - the established posters and the new ones joining us everyday - for sharing your love and your critical appreciation for Sansa Stark.

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Towards the end of the last thread, we started to analyse the female characters Sansa has come into contact with, exploring how she interacts with these women, her opinion and treatment of them, and how they have impacted/will impact on her development overall through the lessons/advice they've imparted. The influence of other women is a major part of Sansa's storyline, so this recent exercise has been quite revealing.

Posters still to contribute:

Lyanna Stark --- Catelyn

Kittykatknits --- Cersei

Caro 99 --- Mya Stone

Dr. Pepper --- Lollys

Queen Cersei I --- Shae

KRBD --- Septa Mordane

Brashcandy --- Jeyne Poole/Kella

Please feel free to carry on the discussion from the last thread! There's no rush on the analyses.

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Regarding Myranda Royce's sincerity (after a very good post by Queen Cersei I and another by brashcandy).

Myranda's intentions with befriending Sansa: Like you, I think she does have an ulterior motive. She wants to befriend Sansa because "Alayne" is Littlefinger's daughter and Myranda both seems to want information and perhaps manage to get close to LF through Alayne. Myranda seems dead set on getting another husband.

However, what is interesting is that Myranda seems also to want to pre-empt her father just finding someone. She seems to be intent to at least to some degree be involved in that choice, which seems to be why she is interrogating Sansa about Littlefinger (and his "little finger" :drunk: ). We do know that Myranda's previous husband was old, which may indicate Myranda now wishes to find someone more suitable her own age, and make the necessary "arragnements" to get someone more to her tastes this time. LF looks pretty good on the surface. He is neat, he is powerful, he was devoted to Lysa, he's not unfit, he's clearly able to father children (a bastard daughter) and if Myranda had heard anything about Lysa's and LF's wedding, she will also know that he is supposedly good in bed.

Alayne also seems to have impressed Myranda somewhat with how she dealt with Sweetrobin. After she crossed the landsaddle, Myranda remarks that she is not only pretty, but brave too. Was that only flattery? Or was Myranda sincere? I guess we'll see. Myranda does seem clear that she does not view Alayne as a threat though due to her status as a bastard. Personally I hope that Alayne and Myranda can be friends, just as I hope Alayne and Mya Stone can since female friendship is rarer than pigshit in ASOIAF. It would also be nice to see more sisterhood and fewer hostilities. The last interesting female friendshiplike interactions we saw were between Cat and Brienne.

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Alayne also seems to have impressed Myranda somewhat with how she dealt with Sweetrobin. After she crossed the landsaddle, Myranda remarks that she is not only pretty, but brave too. Was that only flattery? Or was Myranda sincere? I guess we'll see. Myranda does seem clear that she does not view Alayne as a threat though due to her status as a bastard. Personally I hope that Alayne and Myranda can be friends, just as I hope Alayne and Mya Stone can since female friendship is rarer than pigshit in ASOIAF. It would also be nice to see more sisterhood and fewer hostilities. The last interesting female friendshiplike interactions we saw were between Cat and Brienne.

About that friendship note...Sansa has proven to be wrong when those are in question. Remember how she trusted Cersei, just remember Margaery...Margaery was seen in Sansa`s eyes almost as big sister...Sansa was indiscret about Joffrey`s behaviour just to protect Margaery, when she was offered to marry Willas, she gladly accepted (she was a little bit blurred, but she was glad someone looks at her as possible Lady of Highgarden). Unfortunately, we found out how pure Margaery`s intentions were, so I believe Sansa won`t trust the first girl she meets like she did with Margaery. She even said to herself that Myranda won`t find out her secrets. I don`t doubt that Myranda is a decent and very nice woman, but Sansa is now playing the Game, and she has to be cautious...Friendships haven`t been easy for her, she has already trusted the wrong people, and now is the time to be smarter...Friendship between Sansa and Myranda will soon be tested and I don`t think it`ll be Sansa who`ll decide what comes next...

@brashcandy, don`t forget the second part of Olenna and Margaery...

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Oh, I completely agree that Sansa won't spill the beans to Myranda any time soon, if ever. She's definitely learnt her lesson the hard way. That will hopefully not prevent her from becoming friends of sorts with Myranda and Mya though, since it can be based on other things than telling them all the secrets of her past.

EDIT: Wow, I have breached the magical 20k posts wall. Maybe I should go into seclusion now for a year or something. :uhoh:

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About that friendship note...Sansa has proven to be wrong when those are in question. Remember how she trusted Cersei, just remember Margaery...Margaery was seen in Sansa`s eyes almost as big sister...Sansa was indiscret about Joffrey`s behaviour just to protect Margaery, when she was offered to marry Willas, she gladly accepted (she was a little bit blurred, but she was glad someone looks at her as possible Lady of Highgarden). Unfortunately, we found out how pure Margaery`s intentions were, so I believe Sansa won`t trust the first girl she meets like she did with Margaery. She even said to herself that Myranda won`t find out her secrets. I don`t doubt that Myranda is a decent and very nice woman, but Sansa is now playing the Game, and she has to be cautious...Friendships haven`t been easy for her, she has already trusted the wrong people, and now is the time to be smarter...Friendship between Sansa and Myranda will soon be tested and I don`t think it`ll be Sansa who`ll decide what comes next...

@brashcandy, don`t forget the second part of Olenna and Margaery...

Oh, I completely agree that Sansa won't spill the beans to Myranda any time soon, if ever. She's definitely learnt her lesson the hard way. That will hopefully not prevent her from becoming friends of sorts with Myranda and Mya though, since it can be based on other things than telling them all the secrets of her past.

EDIT: Wow, I have breached the magical 20k posts wall. Maybe I should go into seclusion now for a year or something. :uhoh:

At this point in the series, I think the relationship between Brienne and Catelyn is the only positive female friendship we've seen so far. I can't think of any other that has been depicted on page.

I felt really bad for Sansa when it came to Margaery and the rest of the Tyrells. It took courage to open up to the woman who would one day be Joff's queen when she hardly knew her. Sansa did eventually figure it out though and what I liked about her in this situation is that she still managed to feel pity and worry for Margaery during the wedding feast despite that.

I agree with everyone who says that Randa has her reasons for wanting to foster a friendship with Sansa. Her questions about LF were rather pointed and direct. Even though we've only seen one interaction between the two of them so far, my takeaway with Randa is that Sansa should take the good and leave the rest. In other words, she can learn from Randa without necessarily trusting her too. I don't see her opening up to Myranda anytime soon as she has already revealed that she has an agenda, one that Sansa will figure out soon if she has not already.

Right now, when it comes to trust, I think Sansa's thoughts regarding Bronze Yohn show how much trust she will place in anyone in the Vale. Out of all the people she has come across, I'd say he is the closest to being someone she could trust (not saying that she should!) but the fact that she chose not to says how difficult it will be for her to trust anyone. Sansa has already been fooled with false friendship from Margaery, I don't think she will make that same mistake with Myranda again. But, she can still learn from her and I hope that Sansa figures this out. One last thought, I think the individual that Sansa is most likely to trust or open up to in the Vale rigt now is Mya Stone but I'm not sure about that yet either. But, I'll save further discussion on that until it is time.

ETA: @Lyanna Stark, congratulations on the 20K mark!! But, you are not allowed to take a hiatus. :)

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@brashcandy, don`t forget the second part of Olenna and Margaery...

Ah yes, Mladen, thanks for the reminder! Post anytime you're ready.

EDIT: Wow, I have breached the magical 20k posts wall. Maybe I should go into seclusion now for a year or something. :uhoh:

What is dead may never die but rises .... you know where this is going :) Congratulations, those are 20k posts of pure genius, but winter is coming, and the Starks have to endure. ;)

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Women have very little power in this setting unless their men die. This after all is how Cersei derived much of her power. Others have some power through their power to sway their husbands or relatives such as we have seen through Catelyn persuading Ned of his need to go to Kings Landing and her ability to sway Robb so some extent, it was also said that Joanna ruled Tywin at home. This may be at the heart of the friendship between Miranda and Sansa. Just as I believe Cersei was being used by Taena Merryweather as a means to her own ends (Orton being named the Kings hand and a friednship between Tommen and her son would have many advantages) I believe Sansa is being used in such a way. Miranda is likely using Sansa as a way to get closer to Little Finger possibly to wed such as Lyanna Stark suggested or maybe for some other purpose, maybe for a reason she doesn't yet know, simply because being friends with a person in a rich or powerful family has multiple benefits that reveal themselves over time as the need arises. That's not to say that a real friendship won't come out of this.

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On the unkiss again:

I was thinking of how Sansa's first period was such a traumatic experience: she has a terrible dream of being stabbed in the stomach during the riots, wakes to blind panic at the sight of so much blood and what it means for her relationship with Joffrey, and proceeds to try burn the evidence before it can be discovered. What should normally have been a momentous, exciting part of a girl's development becomes a terrifying and fearful rite of passage that Sansa tries to conceal at all costs. Her later conversation with Cersei does little to reassure her about what this event will mean for her life. According to Cersei:

"A woman's life is nine parts mess to one part magic, you'll learn that soon enough ... and the parts that look like magic often turn out to be the messiest of all."

Essentially, Sansa's first experience of conventional womanhood is a mess. Her comment to Cersei about expecting less mess and more magic is what prompts the Queen's advice above. I'm wondering therefore if another theory on the unkiss might be that it is Sansa's attempt to create for herself a more fulfilling experience which marks her becoming a maiden flowered and leaving childhood behind.

Also, there would be interesting irony in that the unkiss develops out of a very messy, not incredibly magical confrontation between her and Sandor. He is covered in blood and vomit with the stench of stale wine on his breath. Yet, when Sansa looks back on that night in AFFC, her description of it takes on very magical qualities:

He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.

Is this evidence then of Sansa coming to a realisation of what Cersei told her long ago? Those "magical" moments ending with the woman holding the messy bloody cloak?

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On the unkiss again:

I was thinking of how Sansa's first period was such a traumatic experience: she has a terrible dream of being stabbed in the stomach during the riots, wakes to blind panic at the sight of so much blood and what it means for her relationship with Joffrey, and proceeds to try burn the evidence before it can be discovered. What should normally have been a momentous, exciting part of a girl's development becomes a terrifying and fearful rite of passage that Sansa tries to conceal at all costs. Her later conversation with Cersei does little to reassure her about what this event will mean for her life. According to Cersei:

Essentially, Sansa's first experience of conventional womanhood is a mess. Her comment to Cersei about expecting less mess and more magic is what prompts the Queen's advice above. I'm wondering therefore if another theory on the unkiss might be that it is Sansa's attempt to create for herself a more fulfilling experience which marks her becoming a maiden flowered and leaving childhood behind.

Also, there would be interesting irony in that the unkiss develops out of a very messy, not incredibly magical confrontation between her and Sandor. He is covered in blood and vomit with the stench of stale wine on his breath. Yet, when Sansa looks back on that night in AFFC, her description of it takes on very magical qualities:

Is this evidence then of Sansa coming to a realisation of what Cersei told her long ago? Those "magical" moments ending with the woman holding the messy bloody cloak?

This could be a very good explanation of the unKiss, yes. I thought GRRM said that he would bring it up again and that her false memory of the kiss and Arya's false memory of the name of the sword of Joffrey (Lion's Tooth versus Lion's Paw IIRC) will mean something later in the books. I have absolutely no idea what this could mean though. I can't come up with something in which those false memories will come up again.

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Women have very little power in this setting unless their men die. This after all is how Cersei derived much of her power. Others have some power through their power to sway their husbands or relatives such as we have seen through Catelyn persuading Ned of his need to go to Kings Landing and her ability to sway Robb so some extent, it was also said that Joanna ruled Tywin at home. This may be at the heart of the friendship between Miranda and Sansa. Just as I believe Cersei was being used by Taena Merryweather as a means to her own ends (Orton being named the Kings hand and a friednship between Tommen and her son would have many advantages) I believe Sansa is being used in such a way. Miranda is likely using Sansa as a way to get closer to Little Finger possibly to wed such as Lyanna Stark suggested or maybe for some other purpose, maybe for a reason she doesn't yet know, simply because being friends with a person in a rich or powerful family has multiple benefits that reveal themselves over time as the need arises. That's not to say that a real friendship won't come out of this.

Welcome to the Sansa threads Honor is a Horse!

Good point about Myranda perhaps cultivating a friendship with Alayne mainly for the LF marriage possibility, but also because it could be useful in other ways. I think it's generally known that Littlefinger is very rich, which means even his bastard daughter could get a hefty dowry and end up married to an important lord somewhere, making her a good social networking contact.

Joanna Lannister is of interest here perhaps since she and Elia's mother were apparently friends at court and decided that their children would be good matches for eachother, which was only stopped due to Joanna's death.

Is this evidence then of Sansa coming to a realisation of what Cersei told her long ago? Those "magical" moments ending with the woman holding the messy bloody cloak?

That is a fascinating way of looking at it, and probably true in quite a few cases. :) In general, all sorts of bodily functions are less glorious than what can be found in poetry and most fiction.

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Joanna Lannister is of interest here perhaps since she and Elia's mother were apparently friends at court and decided that their children would be good matches for eachother, which was only stopped due to Joanna's death.

Quite ironic then that Joanna's husband was (directly or indirectly, you name it) responsible for the deaths of Elia and her children.

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That is a fascinating way of looking at it, and probably true in quite a few cases. :) In general, all sorts of bodily functions are less glorious than what can be found in poetry and most fiction.

:) yes, and it has to be noted as well that Sansa's red flower is still blooming at the time of the encounter. Cersei taunts her a bit by telling her she'll be bleeding inside whilst men are bleeding outside, connecting Sansa's moonblood to death and violence once again. Hmmm... perhaps by embracing the mess of that night, particularly in touching the Hound's face and feeling the blood and tears, Sansa achieves her magic, aka, the unkiss. Life/desire is spawned from death/destruction.

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Now comes the second part of Olenna and Margaery essay

Ok, the first part was finished with party at Margaery`s chambers, when Sansa was asked if she would like to marry Willas Tyrell.

Margaery’s kindness had been unfailing, and her presence changed everything. Her ladies welcomed Sansa as well. It had been so long since she had enjoyed the company of other women, she had almost forgotten how pleasant it could be.

Sansa was finally given kindness she craved for so long. She wasn`t happy, but she was indeed relaxed. Margaery and her entourage, orchestrated by Olenna, perfectly did this. They were polite, shared gossips with her, talked freely with her. Burden she carried was almost gone. But Sansa was well aware that all those pleasantries and gossiping couldn`t make her forget everything she had lived.

They are children, Sansa thought. They are silly little girls, even Elinor. They’ve never seen a battle, they’ve never seen a man die, and they know nothing. Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father’s head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them.

Sister. Sansa had once dreamt of having a sister like Margaery; beautiful and gentle, with all the world’s graces at her command. Arya had been entirely unsatisfactory as sisters went. How can I let my sister marry Joffrey? she thought, and suddenly her eyes were full of tears. “Margaery, please,” she said, “you mustn’t.” It was hard to get the words out. “You mustn’t marry him. He’s not like he seems, he’s not. He’ll hurt you.”

“I shouldn’t think so.” Margaery smiled confidently. “It’s brave of you to warn me, but you need not fear. Joff’s spoiled and vain and I don’t doubt that he’s as cruel as you say, but Father forced him to name Loras to his Kingsguard before he would agree to the match. I shall have the finest knight in the Seven Kingdoms protecting me night and day, as Prince Aemon protected Naerys. So our little lion had best behave, hadn’t he?” She laughed.

Can we say that in this point everything was settled? For sure, Dontos already gave Sansa a hairnet, and Margaery`s confidence and certainty is just a proof that Joffrey`s days were numbered. Poor Sansa. She loved Margaery, she enjoyed her company, she was happy to marry her brother. I don`t believe that Tyrells wanted to blame her for Joffrey`s death, I think they meant that Tyrion would suffice. After all, Sansa would have been part of family. What Sansa have learnt here? She learnt what she already knew, but she was taught another way. Sweet words, kind gestures, it s all like hidden knife pointed in someone`s back. Sansa all of this used in Eyrie, false kindness meant to buy devotion from suffered girl. Sweetrobin became her, and she became Margaery. Did Margaery love Sansa? The answer would be: as same as Sansa loves Sweetrobin. Margaery taught her that love is also weapon in your arsenal, and it is all right to use it.

Margaery gave her such a sad look, and when the Queen of Thorns tottered in between Left and Right, she never looked at her at all. Elinor, Alla, and Megga seemed determined not to know her. My friends, Sansa thought bitterly.

This of course changed everything. I believe Queen of Thorns meant to blame Tyrion for Joffrey`s murder, but Sansa got involved, so they threw her under the bus. Here, Sansa lost everything. And right there, she revealed how fragile those friendships were. No one cared about her, it was just her claim they all wanted. And when they stopped needing her, they despised her. What a wonderful parallel can be made with situation with Cersei. She learnt all over again, trust no one…

Tyrion led Sansa around the yard, to perform the necessary courtesies. She is good at this, he thought, as he watched her tell Lord Gyles that his cough was sounding better, compliment Elinor Tyrell on her gown, and question Jalabhar Xho about wedding customs in the Summer Isles… She would have made Joffrey a good queen and a better wife if he’d had the sense to love her.

Courtesy is lady`s armor…But, no, it also can be a powerful weapon. I actually think Sansa finally understand that she can be as same as deadly talking courtesies as shouting and telling what she thinks. Or even more. That armor line was supposed to teach young ladies to be polite and well-mannered, but in Game, they take completely another form.

“Your brother was a terrible traitor, I know, but if we start killing men at weddings they’ll be even more frightened of marriage than they are presently. There, that’s better.” Lady Olenna smiled. “I am pleased to say I shall be leaving for Highgarden the day after next. I have had quite enough of this smelly city, thank you. Perhaps you would like to accompany me for a little visit, whilst the men are off having their war? I shall miss my Margaery so dreadfully, and all her lovely ladies. Your company would be such sweet solace.”

This is very peculiar. People on forums talk that one day we`ll have Red Wedding 2.0, I actually think Purple wedding is some sort of that, in honor of very simple truth “Lannister always pays his debts.” And second, can we interpret on two ways? Maybe, I`ll give you both options, and you pick one you like. First, Olenna inviting Sansa is another proof that she hasn`t given up of marrying Sansa to Willas, and now without Robb, North would be free for Tyrells. And second, it was just polite conversation. I believe in first, I don`t think Sansa was meant to be blamed here, she could have been more useful to Tyrells, and that`s maybe the main reasons why Sansa don`t hold grudges against two of them.

The end. Was it exhausting for you, I don`t know, it has been privilege for me. What Sansa learnt from Tyrells is simply truth she already knew. Rose is beautiful, it can smell nice, it can look divine, but beneath all those leafs and that beauty, there are thorns, that can be deadly as same as lion`s roar and wolf`s howling. Tyrells gave Sansa ultimate lesson, and she have learnt when she come at Eyrie…If you want to survive, play the Game of thrones (or even more appropriately Game of THORNS, J). I hope I wasn`t disappointment, and that you enjoy reading this.

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I still don't understand something - perhaps one of you could explain. Was Sansa really meant to be blamed for the poisoning along with Tyrion, or did the Tyrells just want to implicate Tyrion, thus freeing Sansa for a new marriage?

The sad look Margaery gives her, the way the other ladies ignore her, make me think they decided to pin it on her as well, but then the QoT talks about getting her to Highgarden yet again, so I'm not sure what to think.

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I still don't understand something - perhaps one of you could explain. Was Sansa really meant to be blamed for the poisoning along with Tyrion, or did the Tyrells just want to implicate Tyrion, thus freeing Sansa for a new marriage?

The sad look Margaery gives her, the way the other ladies ignore her, make me think they decided to pin it on her as well, but then the QoT talks about getting her to Highgarden yet again, so I'm not sure what to think.

I am convinced that when Sansa got the hairnet, the Tyrells were totally ok with her being thrown under the bus. There is just no other explanation for it, especially since the QoT is picking the poison amethyst out of Sansa's hair, so yes I think the Tyrells were just as false. However, I think they meant for the blame primarily to fall on the Dornish, and to extricate Sansa and marry her to Willas while holding the poisoning over her head to make her pliant.

Littlefinger does just this, first with Joffrey's regicide and then later with Marillion's murder: he makes Sansa complicit, just like the Tyrells do. We saw how carefully the QoT and Margaery check mated Sansa earlier when they got the Joffrey info and made her agree to marry Willas, so I doubt any of this is by chance.

Besides, we saw before that the QoT thinks Sansa pretty daft, so I doubt that she'd ever think of Sansa's company as "sweet solace", those are just empty words.

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I am convinced that when Sansa got the hairnet, the Tyrells were totally ok with her being thrown under the bus. There is just no other explanation for it, especially since the QoT is picking the poison amethyst out of Sansa's hair, so yes I think the Tyrells were just as false. However, I think they meant for the blame primarily to fall on the Dornish, and to extricate Sansa and marry her to Willas while holding the poisoning over her head to make her pliant.

Littlefinger does just this, first with Joffrey's regicide and then later with Marillion's murder: he makes Sansa complicit, just like the Tyrells do. We saw how carefully the QoT and Margaery check mated Sansa earlier when they got the Joffrey info and made her agree to marry Willas, so I doubt any of this is by chance.

Besides, we saw before that the QoT thinks Sansa pretty daft, so I doubt that she'd ever think of Sansa's company as "sweet solace", those are just empty words.

It must be remembered that she was given the hairnet BEFORE the plot to marry her to Tyrion had become known. As for the sad looks that they gave her I think it is because they know what it means for her to have to marry a Lannister. So no I don't think the Tyrells planned for her to be seen as being involved with the regicide but once the marriage happened they probably knew that Sansa would share in the blame and probably did not care.

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It must be remembered that she was given the hairnet BEFORE the plot to marry her to Tyrion had become known. As for the sad looks that they gave her I think it is because they know what it means for her to have to marry a Lannister. So no I don't think the Tyrells planned for her to be seen as being involved with the regicide but once the marriage happened they probably knew that Sansa would share in the blame and probably did not care.

It just took one person to link the poison to Sansa's hairnet though and her life would have been forfeit. It was a huge, huge risk if they assumed she would not be framed and in any case, she was implicated. And Sansa HAD motive to kill Joffrey too, and she was already a traitor's daughter and sister. If the Tyrells didn't want to implicate her, why didn't one of them carry the hairnet? They clearly wanted to offload the risk onto someone else who didn't have any ties to them.

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It just took one person to link the poison to Sansa's hairnet though and her life would have been forfeit. It was a huge, huge risk if they assumed she would not be framed and in any case, she was implicated. And Sansa HAD motive to kill Joffrey too, and she was already a traitor's daughter and sister. If the Tyrells didn't want to implicate her, why didn't one of them carry the hairnet? They clearly wanted to offload the risk onto someone else who didn't have any ties to them.

I think this is because Petyr had a hand in it. It was his intention that she be blamed so that she need rely on him for protection.

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I think this is because Petyr had a hand in it. It was his intention that she be blamed so that she need rely on him for protection.

Not really I think. Sansa would be blamed anyway, regardless of the hairnet and regardless of anything Petyr would've done.. Sansa had the motive and opportunity and was standing next to Joffrey when he choked. Cersei doesn't know anything about a hairnet, but she still accuses Sansa immediately after Joffreys death. So it really wasn't necessary that Sansa would wear the hairnet. Elinor or someone else could've easily wore that hairnet without someone getting suspicious about it. Maybe it was some sort of condition of the Queen of Thorns who was maybe afraid of someone finding it out, but then again, she wanted Sansa to come to Highgarden after the Wedding so that wouldn't still make any sense..

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