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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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Also, as a fellow parent, Ned often makes me go WTFBBQ really.

Yes, this so much. Maybe it's not obvious until you become a parent yourself, but a lot of Ned's action, while nice and all, are...not exactly good parenting in so far as he fails his daughters in preparing them for what life at court means. While I can understand that he needs to be nice to Arya after her having been missing for days, he also needed to really tell her what it means to threaten someone like Joffrey, in case she should try it again. It's a bit like you'd tell your kid "Don't play in traffic". "Don't smack a prince of the blood around".

So, what is it about WOT that bothers you? All the women eager to be sister wives? Or the excessive amount of sniffing and smoothing skirts?

\sarcasm

Oh Holy Mother of God, that series is such a failboat of mistakes. This is a recent example of me dishing it out with the fanbois. (Which ended up in me getting a nice load of angry and threatening PMs, I might add). :lol:

Btw, have you tried R Scott Bakker? He is...interesting. For mostly the wrong reasons, too!

Sansa does assume a female gaze in this scene, an event that is still rare in popular culture (reference just about every single movie made nowadays). To me, there are several events that show Sansa making a very strong statement. We learned about Septa Mordane back in GOT to the point that it is obvious she is a mouthpiece for patriarchy and the current system. Sansa then thinks on her advice and realizes that it is not true and decides to reject it. There is nothing about Tyrion she finds beautiful. Her comment about the gods punishing her sounds an awful lot like anger to me. Her body language loudly speaks to a lack of consent despite the fact that she feels she is in a situation where she can not deny consent.

It's also interesting to note that the scene starts with Sansa basically accepting that she has to go through with it but not knowing what to do, and then she comes to reject Tyrion once he asks her to open her eyes (which is another way of saying "Look at me", it would seem.)

Maybe it's because Sansa has been fairly devout throughout, or at least carried through with ceremony, and that she denied Sandor's nihilistic "There are no Gods" previously, but this is the only time she really starts to have a complete religious epiphany. It's an interesting thing to stick into that paragraph, her sudden antipathy towards the Gods, as if she's really questioning the highest order there is whether this is really reasonable or right.

(I'm so glad this thread is back y'all)

,

So am I! It is my favourite thread. :grouphug:

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No offence, but this is a dangerous line of thinking. Sansa "deserves" better, with that we're starting to move into "hero points" territory. It negates what Sansa feels and what she's ok with and moves into the territory where the readers think the object of her desire is not worthy of the heroines love. We have similar scenarios with Brienne and Dany, where people have strong views that they should choose someone more "worthy".

I maintain that as long as the female characters are ok with their own choices, then the objects of their desire are worthy enough. Hero points are optional.

Remains to be seen if GRRM agrees, of course. However, it may be worth to remember as well that we are on the final lap of the race, and a huge amount of new characters, love interests and story lines simply cannot be introduced. If the Sandor/Sansa connection is meant to mean something, then it will. It seems likely since a lot of page time has gone into it, same as I would be extremely surprised if Jaime or Brienne dropped dead before there is some sort of resolution to their story. Too much effort and page time have gone into it for it to just be dropped.

Damn, I need to read this thread faster. Too much catching up to do. :P

Fair enough...Obviously it's all up to Sansa either way. I guess I should just say I don't see her and Sandor ending up together romantically, but their story definitely isn't done either way.

Here's my take on it myths: I think GRRM tries to elicit equal sympathy for Sansa and Tyrion in that scene, which is extremely problematic and leads to some uneven moments. I think that GRRM wanted us to see that Tyrion is decent in this instance, he's not going to force himself on a woman who clearly has an aversion to him (at least not yet). Perhaps GRRM did not intentionally imbue the final moments of that scene with a feminist message, but it's present nevertheless. And yet, thinking of Septa Mordane - whose function is related to patriarchal indoctrination and to have Sansa explicitly reject these teachings all but convinces me that GRRM wanted the scene to be read in this way. (and his subsequent exploration of these themes confirms this IMO)

Tyrion gives Sansa a very small measure of power when he tells her that he won't touch her until she's ready, but when we actually look at that statement, he's still assuming that she will want him eventually. Tyrion's magnanimity can only stretch so far. It is really Sansa who makes the definitive break in that expectation when she replies that it might be never. And let's remember what this is based on: zero attraction to Tyrion. Even if she was to accept the confines of her marriage she's not willing to do the same with her sexuality and this is extremely important because access to your wife's body is central to the continuation of male power and privilege. (Hence why Cersei fucks Robert over so effectively when she bears her brother's children) This is why I will always stress that Sansa is the one who empowers herself in this moment, because she's unwilling to bow to the pressure of what society decrees and what her husband desires.

I think this is on the nose. It's a very problematic scene that's symptomatic of a very problematic pairing of characters. I think George kind of wanted to have his cake and eat it too here- He wanted Tyrion to remain sympathetic through all this and he wanted to get Sansa to a point where she's miserable yet again but doesn't necessarily "hate" Tyrion for it. I think it's a double-empowerment scene so to speak- Tyrion gets some power back by refusing to give in to Tywin's commands (albeit weakly) while the same can probably be said for Sansa. I tend to be of the opinion that neither character comes off looking good in that scene precisely because George was stuck trying to make them both not look bad.

I agree that a flat-out rejection on Sansa's part would have been much nicer but it would have made Tyrion look much worse. I'm still somewhat mystified as to what George was thinking with the whole Tyrion/Sansa marriage, it seemed pretty unnecessary to me besides for George just wanting to put 2 POVs together.

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Sansa does assume a female gaze in this scene, an event that is still rare in popular culture (reference just about every single movie made nowadays). To me, there are several events that show Sansa making a very strong statement. We learned about Septa Mordane back in GOT to the point that it is obvious she is a mouthpiece for patriarchy and the current system. Sansa then thinks on her advice and realizes that it is not true and decides to reject it. There is nothing about Tyrion she finds beautiful. Her comment about the gods punishing her sounds an awful lot like anger to me. Her body language loudly speaks to a lack of consent despite the fact that she feels she is in a situation where she can not deny consent. Tyrion notices and says that he will not attempt to consumate the marriage until she is willing. At this point Sansa, summons her courage and asks him what about if she never wants him. To me, his response is very revealing. Sansa says it looks as if she struck him. In other words, Tyrion did not expect that response. He was expecting relief or thanks, or a request for more time. But he was NOT expecting her to say anything that would imply "never". Then, she follows up her never by shaking her head no. She is confirming that she does not want him. Sansa is doing this to a Lannister after being forced to marry against her will, during a time where her agency is stripped from her. Yet, she still speaks up and rejects him. How is this not a feminist act?

Because she doesn't say it whilst simultaneously reaching for a dagger? :P I don't know, Kittykat, it's as clear as day to me. And you're right about the anger she's feeling when she talks about the gods. And this highlights another important point about how Martin writes Sansa's emotions. If you don't analyse carefully, you can miss when Sansa is feeling anger. She mentions the gods to Sandor back in ACOK, and I think that's another example of her challenging him and feeling quite peeved at his statements.

And yes, Tyrion's response is so revealing, which is why it boggles my mind when it's asserted that he gives her power to reject him.

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I think the death of Lady was written to make Sansa look like she was at fault and is a great example of internalized prejudice. If we look at the entirety of what happens, Arya decides to hit Joff. Yes, he was a jerk but there would be repurcussions. Later, Ned's thoughts reveals that he knows the truth of what happen yet he never intercedes, he never says anything, he never speaks up. Arya attacks Sansa, hitting and screaming at her. Yet, the blame is with Sansa. Later, Ned talks with Arya about the incident and blame Sandor and Cersei. I can see his perspective, I really do. But, at the same time, Ned was expecting Arya to still be spending a long time in KL. Why did he not take a single moment to explain to her the repercussions of her actions or attempt to fix future behavior? He is a parent but Ned essentially condoned her hitting her sister. Yet, the fault for all of this is Sansa in so many reader's minds.

Also, as a fellow parent, Ned often makes me go WTFBBQ really.

So, what is it about WOT that bothers you? All the women eager to be sister wives? Or the excessive amount of sniffing and smoothing skirts?

\sarcasm

Sansa does assume a female gaze in this scene, an event that is still rare in popular culture (reference just about every single movie made nowadays). To me, there are several events that show Sansa making a very strong statement. We learned about Septa Mordane back in GOT to the point that it is obvious she is a mouthpiece for patriarchy and the current system. Sansa then thinks on her advice and realizes that it is not true and decides to reject it. There is nothing about Tyrion she finds beautiful. Her comment about the gods punishing her sounds an awful lot like anger to me. Her body language loudly speaks to a lack of consent despite the fact that she feels she is in a situation where she can not deny consent. Tyrion notices and says that he will not attempt to consumate the marriage until she is willing. At this point Sansa, summons her courage and asks him what about if she never wants him. To me, his response is very revealing. Sansa says it looks as if she struck him. In other words, Tyrion did not expect that response. He was expecting relief or thanks, or a request for more time. But he was NOT expecting her to say anything that would imply "never". Then, she follows up her never by shaking her head no. She is confirming that she does not want him. Sansa is doing this to a Lannister after being forced to marry against her will, during a time where her agency is stripped from her. Yet, she still speaks up and rejects him. How is this not a feminist act?

This is a great post and thanks for pointing this out! We really don't have many examples of positive female friendship in the series, especially outside of the family. I think that is one of the reasons why I like the relationship between my adored Cat and Brienne. Is it perhaps not a coicidence that we see this behavior from the mother and daughter here? I also like that Cat feels sympathy for Mya back in GOT and then Sansa looks to befriend her later.

Thanks a lot :-) Yes, I noticed that Cat shows the same tendency towards women and I love her relationship with Brienne (and of course, Martin destroyed it. Damn you to hell, Mr. Martin!!)

We also learn that Cat tried to make living in the North easier for Lynesse Mormont. Besides, we see Cat having a close relationship with Maege Mormont. The latter touches Cat affectionally and heartening when she learns that Catelyn has released Jaime to save Sansa and Arya. To me this is clearly not representativ for the usual Lady- female bannerman (banner woman?) relationship and shows that these women are indeed very friendly with each other in a way that lessens the impact of social hierarchy and conventions. Catelyn also seems to like Dacey and reacts approvingly when she sees her having fun and dancing at Edmure´s wedding before shit hits the fan.

But I think it is noteworthy that all of these women are linked with the Starks and Catelyn is remaining within her own social and political circle. Brienne is an exception but I´d like to point out that even she is never allied with an outright enemy of the Starks.

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I agree that a flat-out rejection on Sansa's part would have been much nicer but it would have made Tyrion look much worse. I'm still somewhat mystified as to what George was thinking with the whole Tyrion/Sansa marriage, it seemed pretty unnecessary to me besides for George just wanting to put 2 POVs together.

I don't think she could have said "no" though. She already said no multiple times before the wedding and Cersei's response was only that she'd marry even if they had to drag her to the altar. People never remember that when they talk about her being "accepting".

I actually think Tyrion looks worse the way he's written because he definitely was going to go ahead with the bedding until he saw her revulsion. He was still decent enough to stop but he's only gotten worse since then, because he sees the same revulsion on that slave girl's face and goes ahead with the sex. Sansa, like that girl, couldn't have said an outright no, but there was no consent in either situation. This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if he would actually give her an annullment. I think LF's gonna have to pull some strings, maybe in the way Lyanna predicted.

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Here's my take on it myths: I think GRRM tries to elicit equal sympathy for Sansa and Tyrion in that scene, which is extremely problematic and leads to some uneven moments. I think that GRRM wanted us to see that Tyrion is decent in this instance, he's not going to force himself on a woman who clearly has an aversion to him (at least not yet). Perhaps GRRM did not intentionally imbue the final moments of that scene with a feminist message, but it's present nevertheless. And yet, thinking of Septa Mordane - whose function is related to patriarchal indoctrination and to have Sansa explicitly reject these teachings all but convinces me that GRRM wanted the scene to be read in this way. (and his subsequent exploration of these themes confirms this IMO)

Tyrion gives Sansa a very small measure of power when he tells her that he won't touch her until she's ready, but when we actually look at that statement, he's still assuming that she will want him eventually. Tyrion's magnanimity can only stretch so far. It is really Sansa who makes the definitive break in that expectation when she replies that it might be never. And let's remember what this is based on: zero attraction to Tyrion. Even if she was to accept the confines of her marriage she's not willing to do the same with her sexuality and this is extremely important because access to your wife's body is central to the continuation of male power and privilege. (Hence why Cersei fucks Robert over so effectively when she bears her brother's children) This is why I will always stress that Sansa is the one who empowers herself in this moment, because she's unwilling to bow to the pressure of what society decrees and what her husband desires.

I think that reading is pretty spot-on, in terms of the answer to the divide being somewhere in the middle and influenced at least in part by what we bring to the text in terms of understanding of privilege and social structures.

But I also think most of us, if we're in this thread, are interested in at least exploring the idea of giving GRRM credit. But where are the critique threads? Do we need critique threads? Is it even a good idea to reclaim some of the hater arguments and reframe them? How would we even begin to do this, and if we do it, are we going to end up arguing with each other? Does the lack of critique threads mean there's a party line for reading certain characters?

This is what I meant the other day about it being a big question. I'm not prepared to answer any of the questions I posed above. I really have no idea, and I am almost hesitant to ask the questions - they scare me a little. But that's why I think they're important to ask.

I think what I'm getting at is that we always challenge divergent views on the basis of the text, rather than the critique/culture divide, and wondering if it might not sometimes be effective to bring that divide into the challenge - "ok, you say Sansa never does anything - whose fault is that? And why are you blaming a character instead of the author?" - I wonder, on other words, if it might not be productive if we flipped the script every once in a while.

I mean, the discussion moved here because it didn't feel safe out there. I'm glad to have a place to retreat to, but I also want to think about what I can do to make it safer out there.

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It's also interesting to note that the scene starts with Sansa basically accepting that she has to go through with it but not knowing what to do, and then she comes to reject Tyrion once he asks her to open her eyes (which is another way of saying "Look at me", it would seem.)

Maybe it's because Sansa has been fairly devout throughout, or at least carried through with ceremony, and that she denied Sandor's nihilistic "There are no Gods" previously, but this is the only time she really starts to have a complete religious epiphany. It's an interesting thing to stick into that paragraph, her sudden antipathy towards the Gods, as if she's really questioning the highest order there is whether this is really reasonable or right.

,

So am I! It is my favourite thread. :grouphug:

But doesn't she reject him even earlier than that, by closing her eyes in the first place? Much like she did with Sandor when she thought he meant to kiss her after the Blackwater?

Only then she remembers her teachings and gives it another try, but only succeeds in rejecting him even more. If that makes sense.

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(I'm so glad this thread is back y'all)

Oh, me too! Conversations elsewhere were distracting me. Finally realized that I'd rather focus on discussion that furthers my understanding of the books than continue to engage in threads that just left me upset. :) The discussion in here has been absolutely amazing. It hasn't just improved my understanding of Sansa but the entire series! :grouphug:

Also, stay tuned. I've got another set of questions in the works too. I'll probably post them tomorrow, need to develop my thoughts a bit more.

Yes, this so much. Maybe it's not obvious until you become a parent yourself, but a lot of Ned's action, while nice and all, are...not exactly good parenting in so far as he fails his daughters in preparing them for what life at court means. While I can understand that he needs to be nice to Arya after her having been missing for days, he also needed to really tell her what it means to threaten someone like Joffrey, in case she should try it again. It's a bit like you'd tell your kid "Don't play in traffic". "Don't smack a prince of the blood around".

Yes! The first time I read GOT, I was still childless and was amazed at how great a parent Ned was. But, after children, his parenting skills keep going down in my eyes. I could tell he loved his children and he seemed to do a great job of teaching the duties of a lord to Robb. But, when it comes to actual parenting, he has quite a few weaknesses. Some of the fundamental duties of a parent are to teach empathy, correct behavior, and how to best keep children safe. He really fails at correct behavior with Arya. In fact, every interaction between the two of them serves to reinforce what she is doing rather than to change it. With Sansa, we see him spend almost no time with her at all. In fact, we don't see a single conversation between the two of them like we do with Arya. Ned knew their lives could be in danger and was correct that he needed to get them both out of KL. Yet, he explains this to one sister and not the other? The morning before he confronts Joff and Cersei, Ned even thinks of telling Sansa about what is going on and decides not to, opting to wait until they are both back in WF. :bang: He had an obligation as a parent to help her to really understand what is going on yet he chose to keep her ignorant.

Maybe it's because Sansa has been fairly devout throughout, or at least carried through with ceremony, and that she denied Sandor's nihilistic "There are no Gods" previously, but this is the only time she really starts to have a complete religious epiphany. It's an interesting thing to stick into that paragraph, her sudden antipathy towards the Gods, as if she's really questioning the highest order there is whether this is really reasonable or right.

I think that Sansa's faith is a part of her character arc that is often overlooked by many readers. She goes to the sept for comfort during BBW, it's the mother's hymn that she sings to Sandor, and visits the godswood regularly. Yes, she does that to visit with Dontos but I think it is quite clear that Sansa receives a great deal of comfort in her father's faith during this time. She also brings up the gods with Sandor. It's very much a part of who she is and when you put it in that context, her questioning of the gods is not just an idle thought. Sansa is actually challenging some of her basic beliefs that she has always carried with her and the content of her thoughts show that she is considering whether or not to reject what she has been taught.

I think this is on the nose. It's a very problematic scene that's symptomatic of a very problematic pairing of characters. I think George kind of wanted to have his cake and eat it too here- He wanted Tyrion to remain sympathetic through all this and he wanted to get Sansa to a point where she's miserable yet again but doesn't necessarily "hate" Tyrion for it.

Well said. It's not a secret that I think Tyrion is written more sympathetically than he should be overall, not just in this scene but this entire marriage actually. We witness all of it through Tyrion's eyes and I believe this can influence the reader understanding.

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I think what I'm getting at is that we always challenge divergent views on the basis of the text, rather than the critique/culture divide, and wondering if it might not sometimes be effective to bring that divide into the challenge - "ok, you say Sansa never does anything - whose fault is that? And why are you blaming a character instead of the author?" - I wonder, on other words, if it might not be productive if we flipped the script every once in a while.

I mean, the discussion moved here because it didn't feel safe out there. I'm glad to have a place to retreat to, but I also want to think about what I can do to make it safer out there.

Yeah I totally get what you're saying. I try to combat the opinions "out there" but ultimately as you noted, what you're basically coming up against are culturally ingrained ways of reading and seeing which are not ever going to be affected by an appeal to "re-read" or "look at the textual evidence." What this thread has sought to do is to challenge the ways people traditionally read Sansa's arc and I think we've been remarkably successful. I feel as though this thread has not been to look at Sansa, but to see with Sansa's eyes, and this is why we've been able to have 8 rethinking threads and counting. Making the space safer out there is a continual battle and it's one that I take seriously, but it will never be won. I'm happy to settle for small triumphs, just presenting an alternative viewpoint, and then having this space where I am certain there will be intelligent, critical discussions that keep the focus on productive analyses of Sansa's arc.

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But doesn't she reject him even earlier than that, by closing her eyes in the first place? Much like she did with Sandor when she thought he meant to kiss her after the Blackwater?

Only then she remembers her teachings and gives it another try, but only succeeds in rejecting him even more. If that makes sense.

It does :) And you're right, closing her eyes, "refusing to look" is Sansa's way of rejecting Tyrion, in the only way she has power to in that moment (However, as evidenced by the discussions on other threads, many people think that Sansa is "willing" to go through with the bedding).

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There also seems to be a common belief that Sansa does not represent any sort of feminist message. Or, in an even broader take that there is no feminist message put in by GRRM and any effort to look for one is merely a reader reading in to a text. I also see a consistent denial that Sansa is experiencing a sexual awakening and, along with that, a denial of her choices. Finally, there seems to be a common trend that Sansa's actions in GOT influence reader perceptions from that point in the series forward. It is to the point where many feel she needs redemption, or worse, that she can not be redeemed. Is this on purpose or are we just seeing Martin struggle to write a storyline for a 13 year old girl?

Also, brashcandy, Lyanna Stark, Lady Lea, Elba, Caro99, Rapsie, and everyone...do you think this would be a better discussion over in a certain LJ community? If so I'm going to delete this post and take it over there.

so, still haven't read any of the posts that came after your response Kitty, so sorry girls if some of you have already said something similar to this, but i wantedto answer this first before kitty deletes it :) (meaning that yes, i think we would get some very intresting analysisi over at LJ. we already have them here, but the more the merrier ;)

so, about your 2 questions:

*What is it in Sansa's arc that prevents readers from seeing a feminist message? Why do so many persist in believing that all the messages about women do not somehow apply to her?

I guess that maybe this is because the people who don't get Sansa see her as being meek and unwilling to go against the flow? she doesn't activeley take a sword like brienne to defy conventions. she sticks to the courtesy armor she was given (which during her captivity at KL was one of the few things which were actually hers) and so they view her as a sort of medieval girl who would obey her parents when they told her she had to marry someone of their choosing. and when the lannisters had her, they see her as accepting her current situation rather than acting like arya or asha... it was actually very brave of her to risk the meetings with ser dontos, but since this "pales" when in comparison to other actions by other women in ASOIAF in many readers mind, the secret godswood meetings don't seem to be very risky...

*Why does the idea of a sexual awakening for Sansa make so many readers uncomfortable?

i think this is because as you mentioned earlier many readers get "stuck" with the idea of Sansa from the AGoT through the whole series, and since they maybe didn't end up liking her, further reading of her chapters can cause them to overlook many of the wonderful insights we for example have discovered in the FPtP threads... they see her as the silly little spoiled girl who just loved building castles in the air and feel she may not be yet mature enough to reach the stage where mental maturity comes along (or something like that). and so far sansa has had to go through with some very uncommon and untraditional "relationships" with men, so... We have what happened with Joff; the whole Hound business which many dislike; having a crush on a man who preferred other men; married against her will to tyrion (and since many root for tyrion and the imp refused to bed her on the pretext that she was too young, this could be a factor at play too); then the whole creepy LF & marmillion Vale package; and now Harry who looks likely to be a Robert Baratheon 2; i guess even robert arryn can apply here... so since she hasn't been very lucky yet with romance (though maybe they are finally accepting the sexuality that is growing on sansa as she is alayne) i think many readers won't view sansa as old enough for a sexual awakening until George actually writes down a much more explicit reference to this.

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It does :) And you're right, closing her eyes, "refusing to look" is Sansa's way of rejecting Tyrion, in the only way she has power to in that moment (However, as evidenced by the discussions on other threads, many people think that Sansa is "willing" to go through with the bedding).

ok, thanks for clarifying :)

(yeah, I've been reading some of those discussions. Some of it was pretty disturbing, to put it mildly ...)

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Because she doesn't say it whilst simultaneously reaching for a dagger? :P I don't know, Kittykat, it's as clear as day to me. And you're right about the anger she's feeling when she talks about the gods. And this highlights another important point about how Martin writes Sansa's emotions. If you don't analyse carefully, you can miss when Sansa is feeling anger. She mentions the gods to Sandor back in ACOK, and I think that's another example of her challenging him and feeling quite peeved at his statements.

And yes, Tyrion's response is so revealing, which is why it boggles my mind when it's asserted that he gives her power to reject him.

I believe that she needed to not only reach for a dagger but do so while also saying "I do this on behalf of women everywhere, down with patriarchy!" :dunno: I agree on Tyrion's response, he reacted as if she hit him. That makes it quite clear he was not expecting to hear the word "never" from her at all. He was looking for appreciation, gratitute, or perhaps a request to wait a few more weeks. But, he was not expecting that which is very revealing I think.

Thanks a lot :-) Yes, I noticed that Cat shows the same tendency towards women and I love her relationship with Brienne (and of course, Martin destroyed it. Damn you to hell, Mr. Martin!!)

We also learn that Cat tried to make living in the North easier for Lynesse Mormont. Besides, we see Cat having a close relationship with Maege Mormont. The latter touches Cat affectionally and heartening when she learns that Catelyn has released Jaime to save Sansa and Arya. To me this is clearly not representativ for the usual Lady- female bannerman (banner woman?) relationship and shows that these women are indeed very friendly with each other in a way that lessens the impact of social hierarchy and conventions. Catelyn also seems to like Dacey and reacts approvingly when she sees her having fun and dancing at Edmure´s wedding before shit hits the fan.

But I think it is noteworthy that all of these women are linked with the Starks and Catelyn is remaining within her own social and political circle. Brienne is an exception but I´d like to point out that even she is never allied with an outright enemy of the Starks.

Catelyn was also very accepting of Maege as one of Robb's bannerman and also had no concerns about Dacey being one of his honor guards. She seems to be rather accepting of women going outside of accepted gender norms. It's similar to Sansa's story arc as she is meeting a variety of woman who do not quite follow the role she had grown up believing in. Sansa more than once thinks on how she needs to be as strong as her mother and this is a nice little parallel between the two of them. I really love Catelyn.

I don't think she could have said "no" though. She already said no multiple times before the wedding and Cersei's response was only that she'd marry even if they had to drag her to the altar. People never remember that when they talk about her being "accepting".

I actually think Tyrion looks worse the way he's written because he definitely was going to go ahead with the bedding until he saw her revulsion. He was still decent enough to stop but he's only gotten worse since then, because he sees the same revulsion on that slave girl's face and goes ahead with the sex. Sansa, like that girl, couldn't have said an outright no, but there was no consent in either situation. This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if he would actually give her an annullment. I think LF's gonna have to pull some strings, maybe in the way Lyanna predicted.

She was also taken to the wedding under guard too, the very same guards that used to beat her.

I also share your question about an annulment. In Dance, he thinks on how she was false but he never has any thoughts that would indicate that he did anything wrong in the marriage. He also does not once consider whether the marriage should continue. I really, really hope we see this from him but we have not yet.

But doesn't she reject him even earlier than that, by closing her eyes in the first place? Much like she did with Sandor when she thought he meant to kiss her after the Blackwater?

Only then she remembers her teachings and gives it another try, but only succeeds in rejecting him even more. If that makes sense.

Yes, you are correct in your reading! She closes her eyes, in a way she has done in the past as a way of rejecting what she is seeing. Tyrion tells her to open them and she makes another effort to think on her teachings and they fail.

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I just came here to breathe for a moment, but I wanted to add this re: discomfort with Sansa's sexual awakening:

I have pictures of myself posing, at age four, in my Wonder Woman underoos, in a pose that makes me wonder why the hell my parents ever took the picture. It's kind of gross, but I don't remember ever feeling like those underoos were anything but empowering at the time. I felt like a badass in them, but if the wrong person had been behind the camera, or seen those pictures, I now realize, I would have been in a very, very vulnerable position.

This is to say: I think the fact that Sansa is often surrounded by the wrong people, and often in vulnerable positions, sometimes makes us see this awakening not as empowering (which I think is how she sees it, at least in part), but in terms of the threats that surround her.

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I think that reading is pretty spot-on, in terms of the answer to the divide being somewhere in the middle and influenced at least in part by what we bring to the text in terms of understanding of privilege and social structures.

But I also think most of us, if we're in this thread, are interested in at least exploring the idea of giving GRRM credit. But where are the critique threads? Do we need critique threads? Is it even a good idea to reclaim some of the hater arguments and reframe them? How would we even begin to do this, and if we do it, are we going to end up arguing with each other? Does the lack of critique threads mean there's a party line for reading certain characters?

This is what I meant the other day about it being a big question. I'm not prepared to answer any of the questions I posed above. I really have no idea, and I am almost hesitant to ask the questions - they scare me a little. But that's why I think they're important to ask.

I think what I'm getting at is that we always challenge divergent views on the basis of the text, rather than the critique/culture divide, and wondering if it might not sometimes be effective to bring that divide into the challenge - "ok, you say Sansa never does anything - whose fault is that? And why are you blaming a character instead of the author?" - I wonder, on other words, if it might not be productive if we flipped the script every once in a while.

I mean, the discussion moved here because it didn't feel safe out there. I'm glad to have a place to retreat to, but I also want to think about what I can do to make it safer out there.

I totally hear what you are saying and think you are spot-on with lots of the questions you are raising. Unfortunately, I largely agree with brashcandy. I also try to combat opinions and thoughts where I can but it only goes so far. Earlier this morning, I was having some thoughts very similar to you, on how to engage or reframe the conversation to better address some of the hater arguments. Truthfully, I really don't know how and I am not certain that I have the mental energy to do so. :) I saw your opening post in that other thread and I thought you raised some really good points, I'm just not sure that the type of discussion you or I or others want to have can do so in that thread. Or maybe I'm just burnt out and being overly pessimistic? I see discussions like that thread over and over and I take the small victories, as brashcandy says too. The only threads that I've seen that allow for the type of discussion we are looking for, to my knowledge, are this one and the Reading Women thread. Either way, I really like what you are saying and think you brought up some great points and bring some much needed perspective when it comes to reading the text.

*Why does the idea of a sexual awakening for Sansa make so many readers uncomfortable?

i think this is because as you mentioned earlier many readers get "stuck" with the idea of Sansa from the AGoT through the whole series, and since they maybe didn't end up liking her, further reading of her chapters can cause them to overlook many of the wonderful insights we for example have discovered in the FPtP threads... they see her as the silly little spoiled girl who just loved building castles in the air and feel she may not be yet mature enough to reach the stage where mental maturity comes along (or something like that). and so far sansa has had to go through with some very uncommon and untraditional "relationships" with men, so... We have what happened with Joff; the whole Hound business which many dislike; having a crush on a man who preferred other men; married against her will to tyrion (and since many root for tyrion and the imp refused to bed her on the pretext that she was too young, this could be a factor at play too); then the whole creepy LF & marmillion Vale package; and now Harry who looks likely to be a Robert Baratheon 2; i guess even robert arryn can apply here... so since she hasn't been very lucky yet with romance (though maybe they are finally accepting the sexuality that is growing on sansa as she is alayne) i think many readers won't view sansa as old enough for a sexual awakening until George actually writes down a much more explicit reference to this.

Maybe this should go over at LJ too? After some of the discussion that has been on here lately,, it seemed there were some points we needed to bring up and discuss on this this thread. So, I love your thought's on Sansa's sexual awakening. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't Sansa the only character that we see going through this process the way she is? Dany went through something similar I think with Drogo but I'd say that situation was forced on her. I completely agree, her framing back in GOT prevents readers from seeing her changes later in the series, especially when it comes to sex. I wonder what it would take for readers to see this?

I would just like to say that Sansa is now my second most favorite character.

Welcome to this thread!!! She's my favorite character with a few others very close behind it. Feel free to post, there have been some threads so far and we've all learned so much about ASOIAF through looking at her story arc.

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I just came here to breathe for a moment, but I wanted to add this re: discomfort with Sansa's sexual awakening:

I have pictures of myself posing, at age four, in my Wonder Woman underoos, in a pose that makes me wonder why the hell my parents ever took the picture. It's kind of gross, but I don't remember ever feeling like those underoos were anything but empowering at the time. I felt like a badass in them, but if the wrong person had been behind the camera, or seen those pictures, I now realize, I would have been in a very, very vulnerable position.

This is to say: I think the fact that Sansa is often surrounded by the wrong people, and often in vulnerable positions, sometimes makes us see this awakening not as empowering (which I think is how she sees it, at least in part), but in terms of the threats that surround her.

I can understand your need for a breather. And I saw your one of your posts BTW, and it was spectacular. I would like it twice if I could.

Also, I had the exact same set of Wonder Woman underoos, I refused to take them off for the longest time and remember feeling very empowered in them. By taking on the identity of a female super hero, it was as if I could also be her and have that broader sense of power. Sounds a little like Sansa and her Alayne persona now that I think of it.

Finally, I like your perspective on Sansa's sexuality. I do agree she sees it as empowering too, it's taking control of it versus what has happened in the past which is men seeking to control it. Now, she has LF and perhaps HtH wanting to continue doing the same.

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So, a few questions for everyone:

2. What is it in Sansa's arc that prevents readers from seeing a feminist message? Why do so many persist in believing that all the messages about women do not somehow apply to her?

Long story short: Feminism as envisioned in the popular imagination features placard bearing women (the more "butch" looking the better), marching along a street demanding everything from equal pay to the right to breast feed in public. Very little appreciation is given to how a woman becomes a feminist, and this I think is in play here. I like to think that feminism comes to a woman, not the other way around, and that's because most often times we experience inequality in very personal, private ways, which conflicts with our sense of identity and self worth. This is what happens to Sansa, through her imprisonment, abuse and forced marriage/betrothals. Readers are looking for big/bold/brash acts, when really and truly the path to equality and independence is started in moments like the bedding scene where Sansa rejects Tyrion. This is why I love Audre Lorde's essay on erotic power, because she makes that case for an inner enlightenment and satisfaction which necessitates political change and progress. How could Sansa ever be able to defeat LF if she has no concept of what freedom means for herself?

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Summerqueen's post - taken from the Fervor thread. Reposting here because it's fabulous :)

I'm sort of ambivalent about putting a dog in this fight. Maybe this will seem a bit like a non sequitur, but I think it may shed some light on the argument that Sansa is sending a message. Yes, she's in the kitchen. Yes, she's making her man's dinner. ... She also burns it.

What's That Smell in the Kitchen?

by Marge Piercy

All over America women are burning dinners.

It's lambchops in Peoria; it's haddock

in Providence; it's steak in Chicago

tofu delight in Big Sur; red

rice and beans in Dallas.

All over America women are burning

food they're supposed to bring with calico

smile on platters glittering like wax.

Anger sputters in her brainpan, confined

but spewing out missiles of hot fat.

Carbonized despair presses like a clinker

from a barbecue against the back of her eyes.

If she wants to grill anything, it's

her husband spitted over a slow fire.

If she wants to serve him anything

it's a dead rat with a bomb in its belly

ticking like the heart of an insomniac.

Her life is cooked and digested,

nothing but leftovers in Tupperware.

Look, she says, once I was roast duck

on your platter with parsley but now I am Spam.

Burning dinner is not incompetence but war.

Sansa serves herself up because she's locked into it. But she manages to get her point across, even still. She could have and was supposed to look on her husband kindly and accept the duty. She doesn't. And she makes it clear that he does not have her approval. She rejects him by closing her eyes and giving him nothing else but what society tells her she must: access. Whether this fits someone's idea of defiance (a bold response or action is somewhat relative) or not, it seems clear to me that she's ruining the feast, and for that, I have to applaud her. She isn't imploring or asking him for one darn thing. Not "treat me gently" (which would imply acquiescence) or "please, don't" (which would put her in his debt). It's "get it over with, since my feelings don't matter to you."

Of course, they do matter to Tyrion (better late than never) for a little while (he's clearly put out by her not having reconciled herself to him by the PW, and it seems like his patience is almost at an end).

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