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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VII

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Regarding Cat and Ned giving Sansa an unrealistic view of marriage-- would that be true if Ned never went South and remained in Winterfell? Without a doubt they left her unprepared for the cards she's dealt, but was she ill prepared for marriage or being prepared for the marriage they intended to provide for her? Small point, but if Cat emphasized trust and faith in Ned providing a good man for her that reinforces the whole true knight protector storybook image she has. Would her notions of marriage have served her well being married to a decent and honorable Northern Lord?

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I loved your analysis, Caro! I especially enjoyed the imagery you pointed out regarding the snow covering the stone. After all, Winter Has Come. :)

Once again, this thread consistently contains some of my favourite discussions on this entire board! :)

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Regarding Cat and Ned giving Sansa an unrealistic view of marriage-- would that be true if Ned never went South and remained in Winterfell? Without a doubt they left her unprepared for the cards she's dealt, but was she ill prepared for marriage or being prepared for the marriage they intended to provide for her? Small point, but if Cat emphasized trust and faith in Ned providing a good man for her that reinforces the whole true knight protector storybook image she has. Would her notions of marriage have served her well being married to a decent and honorable Northern Lord?

Such lords are intensely loyal to the Starks anyway, so being married to one would have been. She might have done quite well with a Manderly - it's south enough for the Faith (which iirc she was closer to than the Old Gods before everything went to hell) and the culture, but still Northern enough for her to actually be at home.

On the other hand, I think once she actually came onto the marriage market Cat would have given her more realistic advice. The betrothal to Joffrey came too suddenly and right on top of Bran's fall for this to happen, unfortunately.

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Cersei Lannister –

Reading through Sansa’s scenes with Cersei made me think of the story of Scrooge for some reason. Listening to Cersei talk, I had an image in my head of the potential horrible fate that might be in front of Sansa if she continues to walk in Cersei’s shoes. I was really struck by just how much Cersei seemed to be projecting herself on to Sansa and I’m not sure she even realized that. This begs the question of how much of this is just Cersei talking and is there anything we can take away that might foreshadow Sansa’s future.

Marriage/Motherhood: Cersei presents a very dismal picture of married life, a sharp contrast to what Sansa has seen with her own mother. According to Cersei, marriage means that you may not love the king, but you’ll love the children. The marriage is a burden to endure. She also highlights the distance between her and Robert, showing Sansa what an arranged marriage without love or affection is like. During the BBW, Cersei paints a very bleak picture of a woman’s role in marriage:

“I was to be sold to some stranger, like a horse to be ridden whenever my new owner liked, beaten whenever he liked, and cast aside in time for a younger filly. Jaime’s lot was to be glory and power, while mine was birth and moonblood.”

Ruling: During the BBW, Cersei shares her views of ruling with Sansa but her advice seems embittered and rather cynical. Sansa’s responses vary from surprise to horror to quiet disagreement. At one point, Cersei says the only way to ensure loyalty is through fear. Yet, Sansa thinks to herself that if she is ever a queen, she would make her people love her. Sansa is still young but is already thinking about a different way to rule than Cersei. She also tells Sansa that her duty is to offer and that she will be remembered for the fact that her “courage inspired them and lifted their spirits”. Yet, we never see Cersei make any effort to do so In fact, it is Sansa that does so. For all of Cersei’s talk, it is Sansa who behaves like a queen that night. The final piece of wisdom that Cersei shares with Sansa is that a queen is still little more than a device to bear heirs.

Women’s weapons: Cersei tells Sansa that the weapons a woman has available are her tears and that which lies between her legs. Cersei also says she would use her woman’s weapons on Stannis willingly if she felt it would work at all. It’s disappointing that Cersei never mentions love, intelligence, kindness, charisma, leadership, or any other skill that would be useful for a woman, especially one that is a queen. It shows just how limited her thinking is, a reflection on just what a queen is for.

“Love is poison. A sweet poison yes, but it will kill you all the same.”

“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 turns out to be the messiest of all.

Overall, Cersei paints a rather bleak picture of what it is to be a woman in Westeros, regardless of whether she holds the title of queen or not. Based upon Sansa’s thought that she would rule through love rather than fear, I’m optimistic that Sansa will understand that Cersei’s approach to being a woman is not the only path open to her.

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Overall, Cersei paints a rather bleak picture of what it is to be a woman in Westeros, regardless of whether she holds the title of queen or not. Based upon Sansa’s thought that she would rule through love rather than fear, I’m optimistic that Sansa will understand that Cersei’s approach to being a woman is not the only path open to her.

Nice post, Kittykatknits. I agree with you here on the very bleak presentation of womanhood that Cersei presents to Sansa; and as I noted earlier, Sansa actually seems to be trying to find the magic from the mess instead of concentrating on how life has been unfair to her. This is not to say that Cersei doesn't have legitimate grounds for complaint, and clearly she's speaking from a place of experience, but there's a very fundamental difference in outlook between these women, both personally and politically. Sansa is distinguished by kindness, compassion and charity, whilst Cersei embodies cruelty, disdain and selfishness. Whilst Sansa is able to foster genuine relationships, Cersei remains dependent on bribes and manipulation. I do think that Cersei's views on womanhood have value, but the overall cynicism that she colours such perceptions with is what is faulty. Women may have limited options and opportunities, but there are still avenues for empowerment even within marriage. Cersei was dealt a rough hand with Robert Baratheon, and at this point she was preparing Sansa for the same fate with Joffrey. Now that she is no longer facing this torment, there's hope for her experience of womanhood to be much more satisfactory.

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I loved your analysis, Caro! I especially enjoyed the imagery you pointed out regarding the snow covering the stone. After all, Winter Has Come. :)

Once again, this thread consistently contains some of my favourite discussions on this entire board! :)

thanks so much Valkrja! i know- mya may be a daughter of the mountains, but sansa is the daughter of winter :)

kitty, your post is really good. it made me think of the days lone gone where cersei was my favorite character (this was before reading the books though). her life has been quite bleak where it matters.. i'll post my thoughts on your analysis tomorrow, but it was really good :)

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Ok guys, we've had three presentations in quick succession, so I'm going to delay posting my analysis of Kella until tomorrow. Please read and give your feedback and/or questions on the ones done by Kittykatknits (Cersei), Caro (Mya Stone) and Lyanna Stark (Catelyn).

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I think that this means that Sansa does care about Winterfell and that just as the snow covers up the stone, Sansa will end up controlling Alayne, not the other way around. So maybe that means LF’s influence won’t pay off in the end and Sansa will still be honorable, good, compassionate... just a bit more wised up? And will rule through love, not fear? And live a happy life where love for her family is first and foremost atop the list?

First of all, I think the whole stone covered by snow comparison is magic and the castle metaphor is a beautiful one, so thanks for pointing that one out Caro! :)

Overall, Cersei paints a rather bleak picture of what it is to be a woman in Westeros, regardless of whether she holds the title of queen or not. Based upon Sansa’s thought that she would rule through love rather than fear, I’m optimistic that Sansa will understand that Cersei’s approach to being a woman is not the only path open to her.

As regards Cersei, I feel increasingly that her and Sansa's arcs are supposed to be direct opposites, starting out at the same point and then diverging so much as to eventually make Sansa into the un-Cersei. This is kind of the way I see it:

1. Both seem to be leaders of their childhood groups or cliques (Sansa with her sewing circle, especially Jeyne Poole and Cersei with Melara and the fat girl, whose name as far as I remember was also Jeyne...?)

2. Both are daughters of prominent houses who were meant to marry princes but didn't end up doing that in the end. Also Cersei's crush on Rhaegar reminds me a lot of Sansa's crush on Loras and yes, Joffrey to some extent too.

3. Both went to court at an early age and ended up being disillusioned by it and feeling helpless. (Sansa through Joffrey's cruelty and being kept as a hostage away from her family - thus feeling helpless, and Cersei through finding out how Tywin wanted to separate her from Jaime - she subsequently manipulates the situation so that Jaime ends up in the KG and then Tywin takes her away from court and separates the twins again and again she feels helpless. I'm thinking she maybe remembers this when Sansa tells her about Ned's plans to take the sisters back to Winterfell and maybe wishes she had done something like that herself to keep her at court that time?)

4. The difference comes in when Carsei marries Robert and Sansa marries Tyrion, since Cersei actually wanted to marry Robert at that point, but I see some small similarity in how Robert calls Cersei 'Lyanna' in the marriage bed - thus not seeing her for what she is but substituting her in his mind for whom he wishes she might be - and Littlefinger substituting Sansa for Cat (although I do hope he never sleeps with her, the emotional substitution is there). Also noteworthy: LF is known to have called Lysa 'Cat' in bed once (again I hope he doesn't make a habit of this with Sansa).

5. When unhappily married Cersei seeks comfort in incest with Jaime and Sansa withdraws into herself and her curtesy armour - this is a huge difference, BUT I can see some small grain of a parallel insomuch as when Sansa withdraws into HERSELF and the armour she has been bought to wear since CHILDHOOD by Septa Mordane, Cersei withdraws into a relationship with Jaime, who is after all her twin and, as both have repeatedly stated, the embodiment of herself only with a different sex and also somebody she has known and trusted since childhood.

6. After that I don't see very much parallel between them but then again Sansa does manage to escape King's Landing thanks to LF and Dontos, whereas Cersei really had no way to escape from her situation apart from into the loving arms of her twin.

Years later, I agree with Kittykatnis, Cersei does project onto Sansa, but I believe that is more from a serious similarity between the early lives of the two and also maybe some kind of pity from knowing what is in store for Sansa. This makes me think of a quote from the show, which I'm not sure was in the books about how Sansa might not love the king but will love his children, which in turn made me think of Sweetrobin, whose mother tried to kill Sansa but whom she still looks after and feels affection for. Okay maybe this was a bit of a far-fetched comparison, haha.

Anyway, generally speaking I belong to the camp that feels sorry for Cersei more than actually hates her, so both the quotes about 'Love is poison...' and 'Nine parts mess to one part magic' seem really tragic to me. I think she genuinely meant to give Sansa some good counsel here, while she was irritated by her innocence and what she thought her stupidity, she could sympathise with her situation and felt sorry for the reflected part of herself she saw within Sansa (because I don't really believe Cersei saw Sansa as a person here, but rather as a mirror of her earlier self. That's why she thinks to advise her about the 'woman's weapons' as well - not because she thinks that might help Sansa, because we know this is not Sansa's style, but because she feels bitter about her own life and wants to disillusion the 'little Cersei' she sees in Sansa -who is not really there at his point anymore- and protect her from a naiveté she knows at some point will be crushed.)

One more thing, before I'm finished - I am of the opinion that the prophecy and the madness resulting from it is one of the main things that made Cersei the horrible person she is today. Between that and a severe case of penis envy I think there is evidence enough that frustration and a desire to change the inevitable plays a huge part in Cersei's character. This is not something I see in Sansa - who will fight for what she believes in in her own way, but doesn't seem in any way obsessed with anything really, neither the things she can influence nor the things she has no influence on, while Cersei is obsessed with EVERYTHING. I think the seed of this obsessiveness in Cersei was planted by Maggy's prophecy and this quality in her has grown to consume everything. The relatively laid back attitude of Sansa in comparison seems to me to be what will save her in the end. We know Sansa contemplated killing Joff once - it she had continued obsessing about this she would have been doomed in KL but the fact that she managed to let go after the Hound stepped in is proof positive right there of how different she is from Cersei who makes up her mind to kill Tyrion and bring down Marg and doesn't stop even when it destroys her.

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Ruling: During the BBW, Cersei shares her views of ruling with Sansa but her advice seems embittered and rather cynical. Sansa’s responses vary from surprise to horror to quiet disagreement. At one point, Cersei says the only way to ensure loyalty is through fear. Yet, Sansa thinks to herself that if she is ever a queen, she would make her people love her. Sansa is still young but is already thinking about a different way to rule than Cersei. She also tells Sansa that her duty is to offer and that she will be remembered for the fact that her “courage inspired them and lifted their spirits”. Yet, we never see Cersei make any effort to do so In fact, it is Sansa that does so. For all of Cersei’s talk, it is Sansa who behaves like a queen that night. The final piece of wisdom that Cersei shares with Sansa is that a queen is still little more than a device to bear heirs.

Women’s weapons: Cersei tells Sansa that the weapons a woman has available are her tears and that which lies between her legs. Cersei also says she would use her woman’s weapons on Stannis willingly if she felt it would work at all. It’s disappointing that Cersei never mentions love, intelligence, kindness, charisma, leadership, or any other skill that would be useful for a woman, especially one that is a queen. It shows just how limited her thinking is, a reflection on just what a queen is for.

OK, first before I take on Cersei, let me just say that this thread has become THE BEST organised thread in entire forum. Our theories and opinions are not crazy and unrealistic, thoughts come from very distinctive reading, without wild imagination and quite constructive opinions. I can`t be more proud on all of us, and these great posts...brash, kitty, caro, lyanna, lady lea, A.., and many others, thank you for giving me such delight in writing my posts...It`s privelege being one of you... :bowdown:

And now, let`s talk about Cersei. I adore how Cersei thinks about women`s weapon. That, for sure, is a powerful weapon, but it`s not enough in Game. Remember how LF said that her power comes from her beauty, wealth and origin, and that only thing she actually has is beauty, and even now it`s fading. One of the main reasons Cersei has become so desperate ruler is that she can`t understand that sex isn`t everything...

About her and Sansa and their different views what ruling should be. Here we can make a wonderful parallel between two of them on one side, and Renly and Stannis on another. Sansa, just like Renly, thought that if people loves you, they`ll follow you(again, I blame her father for this, due to the fact everybody in the North loved Ned). I hope, for her sake (we know what happenned to Renly), that she changed her mind about it, and she knows there are moreto do than just be loveable.

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Regarding Cat and Ned giving Sansa an unrealistic view of marriage-- would that be true if Ned never went South and remained in Winterfell? Without a doubt they left her unprepared for the cards she's dealt, but was she ill prepared for marriage or being prepared for the marriage they intended to provide for her? Small point, but if Cat emphasized trust and faith in Ned providing a good man for her that reinforces the whole true knight protector storybook image she has. Would her notions of marriage have served her well being married to a decent and honorable Northern Lord?

It's completely true that had Ned stayed in the north Sansa's marriage prospects would have been better in general, but they would still have been of the "arranged marriage" type and Sansa's basic misunderstanding here seems to be that she equals marriage with love, while as we see later, this is the exception to the rule. It CAN happen, but it is rare indeed, especially if the parties involved have no say. Cat and Ned had no say, and they are the only ones to have achieved a happy marriage despite this fact. I don't think this can be emphasises enough, that Cat and Ned are extreme exception to the rule, since the other happy matches we see (Tywin/Joanna, Olenna/Luthor, Garlan/Leonette) we can assume that they at least knew eachother somewhat beforehand, and that there was at least a level of personal choice involved. Cat and Ned had no choice, they married out of duty, but the stars aligned and they happened to come to love eachother.

This is an important misconception that Sansa seems to be labouring under at the start of the novels, and it enhances her despair when she realises that nobody will love her for herself. She has learnt the hard way that she cannot assume that marriage means love, and she has learnt that her parents were the exception, not the rule. Yet we can also see that she wants what her parents had.

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About her and Sansa and their different views what ruling should be. Here we can make a wonderful parallel between two of them on one side, and Renly and Stannis on another. Sansa, just like Renly, thought that if people loves you, they`ll follow you(again, I blame her father for this, due to the fact everybody in the North loved Ned). I hope, for her sake (we know what happenned to Renly), that she changed her mind about it, and she knows there are moreto do than just be loveable.

This is a curious comparison, but I love it! Much as I would like to see Sansa ruling through love, I think she needs to see that sometimes a moral compromise has to be made, and I think she could easily be heading towards the point where she might have to make one herself - I'm thinking of protecting Sweetrobin from Littlefinger here - and what she decides at that point will be essential to character development here. As regards Sansa's ruling itself - I'm still not entirely sold on her eventually becoming Queen/Queen in the North - I also don't think she's the more beautiful Queen from Maggy's prophecy, but that's just my personal opinion (I was sure it would be Myrcella until she got scarred but besides that there's that small part about how Cersei will supposedly drown in her own tears after her kids die - but that might be just because she will think them dead, so I'm not giving up hope yet. And if not Myrcella, then I'm pretty sure it's going to be Dany - though she will probably only rule for a short time, since I don't see any future in ruling for her, because she can't have heirs anyway... Which is when I hope Myrcella might take over, but at this point that's just crackpot, so I'll stop while I'm ahead :P ) As regards Sansa's ruling through love, I do believe at some point she will be presiding over Winterfell as Rickon's guardian, so in my view that is where she will show her abilities as a leader.

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@A: I'm surprised that in your analysis of Cersei/Sansa,you don't mention Cersei having done what we have often discussed what Sansa may do in the future: namely carry on with the man she loves outside of an oppressive/unwanted marriage.

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@A: I'm surprised that in your analysis of Cersei/Sansa,you don't mention Cersei having done what we have often discussed what Sansa may do in the future: namely carry on with the man she loves outside of an oppressive/unwanted marriage.

I was trying to analyse past events more than speculate about future ones, but you're right - this might be a similarity in the future, which would break down my theory of Sansa being the un-Cersei and make their arcs more similar than opposite. What I'm hoping for here is that Sansa doesn't end up in an oppressive/unwanted marriage in the future and therefore does not have to resort to an extramarital affair for love.

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@A, I disagree with you about Sansa not being Queen. Why? OK, we have many potential ladies who would be fit for Queen. Dany, Margaery, Sansa and Arianne. If we think that the next Queen shall be younger Queen from maegi`s prophecy, any of these ladies(except of Sansa) has something against her. Dany can`t play Game of thrones, we`ve seen it in Meeren, she isn`t that smart, she can conquer Westeros with dragons, but she can`t be crowned Queen, she doesn`t have what she needs...Margaery isn`t more beautiful than Cersei, smarter perhaps, but more gracious no. Cersei even complements Sansa on her beauty, but not Margaery, she noticed that Margaery was just young, but she said that Sansa was quite gorgeous. As for Arianne, she has the beauty, but she is hot-blooded, she wouln`t be very good Queen (although I think Doran will influence on her). Sansa has the best chance, as heiress of half the kingdom, with power to control Vale...Aegon and Sansa...fire and ice...if they could unite, that would be the only marriage that would actually work...

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@A, I disagree with you about Sansa not being Queen. Why?

Because Sansa herself doesn't want to be Queen particularly. Sansa wants to go back to Winterfell, she wants a family to belong to, she wants to be loved for herself and not for her claim. Dany wants to be queen, on the other hand.

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Because Sansa herself doesn't want to be Queen particularly. Sansa wants to go back to Winterfell, she wants a family to belong to, she wants to be loved for herself and not for her claim. Dany wants to be queen, on the other hand.

True, but I am talking about circumstances, not desire...Of all young women in Westeros(Dany, Margaery, Arianne), Sansa is the only one who doesn`t want to be a Queen. But, people who deny power are usually the best in wielding it. I am talking, if Sansa becomes Queen, it will be either of true love (cheesy, but don`t dismiss it immediately) or the need for it. Sansa imagines her being a Queen same as being female Rhaegar, people adore you, they follow you. That`s her goal, a little bit childish when Game is in question, but who knows? Maybe that is the best approach for the next Queen,

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Because Sansa herself doesn't want to be Queen particularly. Sansa wants to go back to Winterfell, she wants a family to belong to, she wants to be loved for herself and not for her claim. Dany wants to be queen, on the other hand.

I agree with this. Also, being queen Sansa would have to make a political match even more than she would as Lady of Winterfell, which at this point I think would make her unhappy.

As we see her now Sansa is miles away from being anywhere near a position in which she could practically be queen since she is posing as a bastard girl in the Vale, and has neither a valid claim on queenship nor supporters who would be willing to put her on the throne. Not so Margaery, what with her marriage to Tommen and Daenerys who is a Targ and has dragons (btw I agree with Mladen, she wouldn't be a very good queen in the long run).

Personally, though as I stated before, I'm rooting for Myrcella who has Dorne behind her, was born into the royal family and seems at an early age to show more suitability to rule than her mother or either of her brothers, being both kind, intelligent and brave (small hints only so far, but telling like:

1) how she didn't cry when going to Dorne even though she was eight and leaving everything she knew behind

2) how easily she acclimated to Dorne - as evidenced by acceptance of Dornish cuisine which Arys couldn't stand and her taking to Trystane so quickly

3) we know how clever she is since she quickly caught on to the reason she had to dress up as her handmaiden was so that if Stannis caught them she's be safer, and that it was not in fact a game, as her Septa had told her; we also know she managed to learn the rules of Cyvasse really quickly, even though it's a difficult game and her handmaiden had trouble learning. What she says about this is that Trystane always aligns his pieces in the same way with the mountains in front and the elephants in the passes, so she sends her dragon through to eat his elephants - a good sign she could with time learn war strategy.)

All in all I think the above speak in Myrcella's favour in conjunction with the fact that she is much more likely to have children than Dany - and kings and queens MUST have children to continue the royal line and Margaery's luck seems to be down of late.

As for Arianne - I absolutely can't see why she should have any claim on the Iron Throne, so I don't really see her as a serious contender for the younger and more beautiful queen.

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True, but I am talking about circumstances, not desire...Of all young women in Westeros(Dany, Margaery, Arianne), Sansa is the only one who doesn`t want to be a Queen. But, people who deny power are usually the best in wielding it. I am talking, if Sansa becomes Queen, it will be either of true love (cheesy, but don`t dismiss it immediately) or the need for it. Sansa imagines her being a Queen same as being female Rhaegar, people adore you, they follow you. That`s her goal, a little bit childish when Game is in question, but who knows? Maybe that is the best approach for the next Queen,

:bowdown: I absolutely agree with you. And honestly no matter who the younger and more beautiful queen is we can all agree that Sansa being the younger queen would make more sense and be the most beautiful one in story telling then the other candidates of the prophecy. And as for the whole "Queen in the North" deal. I will continue to believe that Sansa can become queen in the north till I am proven otherwise by GRRM himself. Call me delusional, but I don't care :lol:

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:bowdown: I absolutely agree with you. And honestly no matter who the younger and more beautiful queen is we can all agree that Sansa being the younger queen would make more sense and be the most beautiful one in story telling then the other candidates of the prophecy. And as for the whole "Queen in the North" deal. I will continue to believe that Sansa can become queen in the north till I am proven otherwise by GRRM himself. Call me delusional, but I don't care :lol:

I really can see Sansa as Queen in the North. And now I'm thinking of it, does the prophecy of Maggy the Frog automatically mean that the younger and more beautiful queen will be queen in Cersei's place? Like, queen of the whole Kingdom? I mean, Sansa can become the queen in the North somehow, cast Cersei down and take all she holds dear, but it doesn't necessarily mean she has to become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, right?

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I really can see Sansa as Queen in the North. And now I'm thinking of it, does the prophecy of Maggy the Frog automatically mean that the younger and more beautiful queen will be queen in Cersei's place? Like, queen of the whole Kingdom? I mean, Sansa can become the queen in the North somehow, cast Cersei down and take all she holds dear, but it doesn't necessarily mean she has to become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, right?

Sansa as Queen in the North is more probable than Sansa as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms but in such a scenario what happens to Rickon, who should inherit the title as next male in line? I mean I know he's a savage and all that but he's still a kid, maybe there's hope for him yet? I certainly hope he doesn't die. that would be tragic. I think it's more realistic Sansa will be Rickon's regent or his second in command ...

Besides all that how do you see Sansa going from bastard under LF's control to Queen in TWO books - even considering this is a fantasy series, that isn't very much time at all...

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