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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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The marriage isn't invalid if the bride isn't a virgin.

I clarified above LL :) It would be to ensure she remains married to Tyrion.

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I'm not sure she'll ever run into this Stark cousin, but she is around another important cousin in Sweetrobin. There are hints that Sansa could be successful where Robb failed, liberating the North and reclaiming Winterfell, so perhaps we should focus a bit more on comparing and contrasting Robb's and Sansa's characters(strengths, weaknesses, general parallels)? It would be interesting if the way to helping the North did run through the Vale afterall :)

I like this idea. I need to remember a bit about Robb first. :) I'm working on some questions for everyone too as another follow up to the fervor thread. I'll try to get those posted tonight.

could somebody please share the link to this interview? i'm dying to read it!

by the way, if you haven't watched the latest batman film, don't click on the spoiler:

I think my San/San addiction has just gone a little higher. as i watched the movie i couldn't stop thinking that Bane and Marion Cotillard's character resembled a little bit Sansa and Sandor.. idk but i think i'm going to cry my eyes out if george doesn't give us the next book in at the most a couple of years: need more new san/san in my life

..which leads me to liking the theory of Sansa claiming she slept with sandor before her wedding to tyrion. i can just imagine the shock in sandor and LF and tyrion's faces when they learned that. but if sansa had no longer the protection of being a maid, wouldn't it make it easier for LF to move things further? :ack:

I'm pretty certain it won't happen but I'd love to see Tyrion's reaction to the two of them. It's one of my strongest wishes but I doubt it will happen.

Also, yes, if she was no longer a maid, it would make it easier for him to use her for other things but would make an annulment harder. Yuck I feel dirty just saying that.

Also, I understand how claiming she isn't a virgin would protect her from the marriage to HtH, but claiming she wasn't a virgin BEFORE marrying Tyrion will help how?

The marriage isn't invalid if the bride isn't a virgin.

That's correct. She would use the cloak to stay married to Tyrion, to avoid a HtH/LF plot.

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I saw that. I think the expanded info from him on symbolism even further supports what we've been saying. At least that was my take.

I agree!

I'm pretty certain it won't happen but I'd love to see Tyrion's reaction to the two of them.

Tee-hee, I'd really love to see this too. And from his POV!

Brash, interesting idea about comparing Robb/Sansa, looking forward to this. :)

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I started writing some questions down after seeing some thoughts/reactions to Sansa in other threads. These are based upon comments that I have seen posters make in terms of their perceptions, what would make them like her more and less.

1. I think Martin is playing the long game with Sansa which seems to be missed by some readers. Is he doing this to a greater degree than other characters? Other thoughts on this? Did this decision actually hurt her character? I see many readers who don't seem to see Sansa as much more than an abuse victim until she gets to the Vale. It seems as if her story arc is not apparent to some until she interacts more with LF and begins to learn the game.

2. I see lots of comments that Sansa needs to become more active, seek revenge, take out LF etc. before they can like her. Based upon her story arc, do we foresee people who will still not like her? We've had many discussions on Sansa and the various scenarios that might lead to the downfall of LF, using her tools of compassion and empathy as she had in the past. I wonder if some uses are going to be looking for something more dramatic, a shove LF out the moon door type of scene.

3. What about those posts that I see that want her to remain nice, sweet, and innocent? Is this a form of infantilizing Sansa as a woman? I saw some of these comments in the recent fervor threads and I'm still trying to decide what I think of it. I'd like for Sansa to retain her core sense of self which is very much compassion and empathy. But, I don't agree about the word innocent. I think much of that is gone already and I don't see how she can retain her innocence and still continue to grow as a character. It seems seem fans want to see her grow darker while some seem to want her to remain a sweet child.

4. What would it take in future books for recognition of her sexual awakening to take place? We saw some strong resistance to the idea that Sansa is experiencing a sexual awakening recently so I've wondered what would convince posters to acknowledge it. I think its possible that readers will continue to dismiss this until Sansa take very proactive action, I don't think her passing thoughts about an unkiss will serve.

5.Sansa was written as the “other” Stark. Why? Does this impact how Martin writes her? Martin has said in interviews that he created Sansa as the other Starks got along to well, which seems to reflect how he portrayed her in the first book.

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Great questions Kittykat!

I'd like to begin with no. 3:

What about those posts that I see that want her to remain nice, sweet, and innocent? Is this a form of infantilizing Sansa as a woman? I saw some of these comments in the recent fervor threads and I'm still trying to decide what I think of it. I'd like for Sansa to retain her core sense of self which is very much compassion and empathy. But, I don't agree about the word innocent. I think much of that is gone already and I don't see how she can retain her innocence and still continue to grow as a character. It seems seem fans want to see her grow darker while some seem to want her to remain a sweet child.

Yes. I've seen both the well meaning and what I would consider to be the mean-spirited form of infantilization. The latter group tends to invest their arguments with shallow readings of Sansa's journey - she's just an abused girl trying to make it in a cruel world; let's not expect too much from her past survival because she's the archetypal princess in the tower/damsel in distress. We all appreciate that Sansa had to survive in KL, but when I think of her experiences during that time what emerges is what you noted above: the core compassion and empathy that she uses to effect change, and the strength that she retains not to submit to her captors. Sansa is not an "innocent child" anymore: we've seen that change in her personal fantasies and in the kinds of relationships she develops with others now. Even in early ASOS she can no longer relate to the Tyrell cousins, and in the Vale she's acting as a surrogate mother for Sweetrobin. Indeed, as we've seen in recent readings done by KRBD and Valkyrja, Sansa has been consistently aligned with the mother figure from very early on, and mothers are defined by their compassion and mercy, not by innocence and chastity. If you analyse the call for Sansa to grow darker and the other extreme which wants her to remain a sweet child, the dichotomy is based on the same static appraisal of Sansa's character. Both viewpoints erase the continuing development she's undergoing, with the former marking her starting point in the Vale with LF and the latter never letting her get past the first few chapters in AGOT. In order to fully appreciate Sansa's movement from childhood to womanhood and what she's left behind and what she's kept, we have to look at the full picture presented to us in all of the novels so far. Having an "innocent" vision of the world isn't what will protect Sansa or ensure that she keeps her core qualities. Rather, it's the confrontation with the real world - with its conflicting harshness, sweetness and bittersweetness (heh Martin) - that challenges us to discover how we want to respond, and ends up strengthening and affirming those traits that define who we are as individuals.

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Hey all,

Thank you all for your exploration of the female characters in Westeros, especially Sansa. I think it is rich territory and it is nice to see it discussed thoughtfully.

I'm rooting for Sansa. I think her chance to experience life as Alayne Stone has, as other folks have said before, given her a chance to express a different kind of agency than she could have as Sansa Stark.

But I'm confused. I'm seeing a lot of references to Sansa as kind. I've never experienced her as kind. She calls her sister horseface and picks on her relentlessly. She finds Jeyne's fears and tears tiresome. She makes it clear that Jon is her HALF brother. While I don't hate her for these things, I don't think she is a warm person at all. Not evil, just not extra specially kind. Human. Maybe a little bit on the shallow side. But whatever. She's, like, 11.

Even with SR, I don't see read her behavior as maternal. She knows that she has to keep him under control. She says that the maester is trying to treat the child and she has to think about his role as the young lord. She's calculating.

She has increasing emotional intelligence, and I think will use it as her weapon to great effect, but I've never thought of her as warm or merciful or soft. I think she is actually very much like her father. What appears to motivate her to me is a sense of Order. A Proper Way of Doing Things. She use to get that from children's stories and doesn't have that option any more and is learning. I can respect that.

That said I still consider myself in Sansa's corner and I hope I won't have to choose between her and Dany. Her mother had grit. Her aunt had grit. You can have feminine-flavored grit.

Should I just stay off the Sansa threads if I don't read her as particularly sweet and kind? I don't want to cause trouble.

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Should I just stay off the Sansa threads if I don't read her as particularly sweet and kind? I don't want to cause trouble.

That's ok, we don't bite :) I can't respond in depth now, but I'm sure someone else will soon. And welcome to the Sansa threads.

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I started writing some questions down after seeing some thoughts/reactions to Sansa in other threads. These are based upon comments that I have seen posters make in terms of their perceptions, what would make them like her more and less.

1. I think Martin is playing the long game with Sansa which seems to be missed by some readers. Is he doing this to a greater degree than other characters? Other thoughts on this? Did this decision actually hurt her character? I see many readers who don't seem to see Sansa as much more than an abuse victim until she gets to the Vale. It seems as if her story arc is not apparent to some until she interacts more with LF and begins to learn the game.

The thing with most other characters is that while he may be playing the long game with them too, and to no lesser degree, unlike Sansa they have a lot of action in between, which may or may not be of any relevance in the long run. He shows what they do and think to a greater degree than he does with Sansa. Sansa's arc is much more subtle and I think that's why most readers don't get it. As we know, you have to look very closely at her chapters and you also have to bear in mind what is happening before and after in order to recognise all the symbolism. This may be true for other characters too, but since there's also a lot of action, readers don't need to focus on the symbolism so much in order for them to like the characters or to understand what is going on (at least on the surface) even though they might miss some of the nuances. With Sansa it's almost only nuances, and they are very easy to miss.

Another point could be that her kindness and gentle strength go under in a world like Westeros that is ruled by violence and ruthlessness, especially in war time. Her strengths don't count much in such a world, they are easily ignored or played down, or even when recognised, dismissed as useless in the Game of Thrones. Unjustifiably so, I think, but it's why most readers (and characters!) fail to see how they could be relevant and it's why they keep underestimating her. I think this is also reflected in the way her chapters are written, with so many things being left unsaid and with all the symbolism that is so easily ignored and/or dismissed.

2. I see lots of comments that Sansa needs to become more active, seek revenge, take out LF etc. before they can like her. Based upon her story arc, do we foresee people who will still not like her? We've had many discussions on Sansa and the various scenarios that might lead to the downfall of LF, using her tools of compassion and empathy as she had in the past. I wonder if some uses are going to be looking for something more dramatic, a shove LF out the moon door type of scene.

Considering this is a fantasy series and in most fantasy books the hero/heroine saves the day by using some kind of weapon or magic to defeat their opponent, I'm sure there will always be readers who don't like her because she's not badass enough. Personally, I find the idea of using her compassion and empathy to defeat LF very appealing and also rather refreshing, especially in a fantasy book. So I sure hope that's what will happen :)

3. What about those posts that I see that want her to remain nice, sweet, and innocent? Is this a form of infantilizing Sansa as a woman? I saw some of these comments in the recent fervor threads and I'm still trying to decide what I think of it. I'd like for Sansa to retain her core sense of self which is very much compassion and empathy. But, I don't agree about the word innocent. I think much of that is gone already and I don't see how she can retain her innocence and still continue to grow as a character. It seems seem fans want to see her grow darker while some seem to want her to remain a sweet child.

What brachcandy said. Plus I just want her to remain innocent in the sense that she won't kill anyone :)

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:agree: IMO, Sansa will not become a kind of men-eating woman, she will always keep her kindness and empathy. This is her deepest, inner personality. Her basis character. Alayne might learn how to play the game, but in her heart she will always stay Sansa. In real life I know several woman who are in a certain way lets say naive (Sansa-like), but in their business life they are top smart, decision makers and very successful (as Alayne might become). So the two sides of the medal are a very good mixture to survive.

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Hey all,

Thank you all for your exploration of the female characters in Westeros, especially Sansa. I think it is rich territory and it is nice to see it discussed thoughtfully.

I'm rooting for Sansa. I think her chance to experience life as Alayne Stone has, as other folks have said before, given her a chance to express a different kind of agency than she could have as Sansa Stark.

But I'm confused. I'm seeing a lot of references to Sansa as kind. I've never experienced her as kind. She calls her sister horseface and picks on her relentlessly. She finds Jeyne's fears and tears tiresome. She makes it clear that Jon is her HALF brother. While I don't hate her for these things, I don't think she is a warm person at all. Not evil, just not extra specially kind. Human. Maybe a little bit on the shallow side. But whatever. She's, like, 11.

She didn't call Arya horseface, this was all Jeyne Poole. As for Jeyne's tears, IIRC Sansa comforted her on the first day they were held captive - "Sansa dried her own tears as she struggled to comfort her friend. They went to sleep in the same bed, cradled in each other’s arms like sisters." But Jeyne kept sobbing for three days straight, which even for the most kindest of persons would get tiresome.

Jon was her half brother (as far as she knew), I've never understood why her telling the truth is supposed to be bad or unkind in this case.

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She didn't call Arya horseface, this was all Jeyne Poole. As for Jeyne's tears, IIRC Sansa comforted her on the first day they were held captive - "Sansa dried her own tears as she struggled to comfort her friend. They went to sleep in the same bed, cradled in each other’s arms like sisters." But Jeyne kept sobbing for three days straight, which even for the most kindest of persons would get tiresome.

Jon was her half brother (as far as she knew), I've never understood why her telling the truth is supposed to be bad or unkind in this case.

Yes, the "Arya Horseface" comments were from Jeyne Poole. Ironic since Jeyne became the fake Arya married to Ramsay Bolton. (And even if the comments were nasty Jeyne didn't deserve THAT kind of karmic blowback...)

It is true that Sansa and Arya were not close, but that's not really uncommon in siblings; I've known many people who were actively estranged from their brothers and/or sisters. Arya was jealous of Sansa - feeling like Sansa was the favored sister, and Sansa didn't approve of Arya's tomboyish pursuits or hanging out with commoners. The sisters just had very little in common other than blood ties.

As far as Jon is concerned, they are not close either, but it IS true that Jon is Sansa's half-brother (as far as she knows!). But there is more to this. Sansa identifies with her mother; Catelyn has never liked Jon, and it may be that Sansa doesn't want to betray her mother (as she sees it) by cultivating a close relationship with Jon. Sansa's siding with Catelyn is to be expected in a young girl who is close to her mother and isn't anything petty or bad on Sansa's part. She's still a young girl and doesn't have the mature emotional distance to appreciate Jon on his own terms yet.

Second, Jon is very much closer to Arya in looks (they are the only ones who look like Starks) and temperament. Arya is the favorite sister; the distance between Sansa and Jon is as much on his part as on hers. Jon is an older boy, Robb's age. He is going to share far more interests with Robb and Arya than with Sansa. Jon for his part probably identifies Sansa with Catelyn (if for no other reason than the strong physical resemblance) and that would put even more of a barrier between them. Sansa is not alone to blame for the cool relationship between them.

And same with Arya; it takes two to relate and Arya is rude and contemptuous of some of Sansa's traits. It must have been a vicious circle; Arya feels like she can't measure up to Sansa, so she's bratty to her, which causes Sansa to resent her more...

I noticed in Sansa's reminiscences about her family that while she wants to name her sons after her father and full brothers, she doesn't mention Jon. And while she envisions a girl who looks like Arya, she doesn't think of actually naming a child Arya. These are the two family members she seems to feel most distanced from. (Actually, I can't recall if she wants to name a child after Robb either. I only recall Eddard, Brandon, and Rickon. I note that all three of these are actual Stark family names. Maybe she just doesn't want to name a child "Robert" and who can blame her at this point?)

Despite the fact that GRRM originally created Sansa as a foil for her family, her character is developing such that she has already proven herself as true a Stark as any of them (as Tyrion observes after their wedding). If she were really meant to be that different from the rest of her family, I think she alone would have had the Tully red hair and blue eyes - but Arya is the only one of Catelyn's and Ned's children to have the Stark coloring. Sansa looks like her full brothers. I think that is no accident.

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Sansa and Jeyne's other friends also said it.

"Lommy had called her Lumpyhead, Sansa used Horseface, and her father's men once dubbed her Arya Underfoot..."
To her sister and sister's friends and all the rest, she had just been Arya Horseface. But they were all dead now, even Arya..."

In Sansa's POV she talks about Arya's horsey grin:

"One day she came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of purple and green flowers for Father. "

When upset she calls Arya ugly and says she deserves Hodor who is ugly and stupid like her.

"You ought to marry Hodor, you're just like him, stupid and hairy and ugly!"

Jeyne Poole just came up with the name.

"Arya Underfoot. Your sister used to called you Arya Horseface." "It was me made up that name. Her face was long and horsey. Mine isn't. I was pretty."

So by her non-friend peer group she called Horseface and by her father's men she was called Underfoot.

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Sansa and Jeyne's other friends also said it.

In Sansa's POV she talks about Arya's horsey grin:

When upset she calls Arya ugly and says she deserves Hodor who is ugly and stupid like her.

Jeyne Poole just came up with the name.

So by her non-friend peer group she called Horseface and by her father's men she was called Underfoot.

I stand corrected. :) Poor Arya had her share of derogatory nicknames! Sansa and Jeyne are both very young and probably didn't understand how badly the nickname hurt Arya - and I really doubt that Sansa even knew that Arya had an inferiority complex, given that that was from Arya's POV. The thing I find reprehensible is that Septa Mordane seems to have egged on the rivalry, and she blatantly favors Sansa as the "good" sister and picks apart Arya's efforts at embroidery and her general behavior in a way that is emotionally abusive. I don't expect preteen girls to have adult empathy and social skills, but Mordane is a grown woman and a teacher AND a Stark employee (so to speak). Mordane really, really should have known better.

I don't think either sister was blameless in their estrangement, and again, it's something that happens all too often in real life to real siblings. And Westeros is full of screwed-up families with siblings imprisoning or even killing one another - verbal taunts and squabbling are pretty mild stuff.

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Hey all,

Thank you all for your exploration of the female characters in Westeros, especially Sansa. I think it is rich territory and it is nice to see it discussed thoughtfully.

I'm rooting for Sansa. I think her chance to experience life as Alayne Stone has, as other folks have said before, given her a chance to express a different kind of agency than she could have as Sansa Stark.

But I'm confused. I'm seeing a lot of references to Sansa as kind. I've never experienced her as kind. She calls her sister horseface and picks on her relentlessly. She finds Jeyne's fears and tears tiresome. She makes it clear that Jon is her HALF brother. While I don't hate her for these things, I don't think she is a warm person at all. Not evil, just not extra specially kind. Human. Maybe a little bit on the shallow side. But whatever. She's, like, 11.

Hi HopeForSpring and welcome to the Sansa thread! Lots of great conversation in this thread, it's amazing how much discussion of Sansa we've had and how it has given us insight in to so many characters and plots within ASOIAF. I agree on life as Alayne Stone, Sansa seems to be enjoying the freedom of being bastard brave.

I think the relationship between Arya and Sansa is very typical sibling rivalry. I have a younger sister and the age difference between us is almost exactly the same as that between Arya and Sansa. We called each other names and yelled at each other. I also remember asking my parents if my sister was adopted, it was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with on why such a horrible human being was a member of our family. :) We saw some increase in Sansa's feelings after the death of Lady that were stirred by grief and I don't think it is fair to judge Sansa overall by that period alone. But, if you look what else Sansa does with her sister, there is also evidence that she did kind things for her. In the first chapter, Sansa engages her in conversation and covers for her with Septa Mordane. She does the same thing again while they are on the road to KL. In other words, she's lying to the Septa so her sister doesn't get in trouble. So, I don't think I would agree with the assessment that she picks on her relentlessly.

As for Jeyne, Sansa spent the entire time trying to comfort Jeyne and did worry for her. They were locked in the room for three days and after awhile, the constant tears began to wear on her. I don't think that makes her mean or shallow, I think that makes her human. However, despite her frustration, she continued to try and comfort her friend and made a promise to find out about her father and reunite them. Later, we saw that even though she was being manipulated by Cersei and was scared over that meeting, she came through on her promise. It was very apparent that she was very worried for her friend.

I'm not sure why so many call Sansa out on calling Jon half-brother. Arya, Bran, and Robb have also done so and called him a bastard as well. It's a factually correct statement and all the Stark children do this. I don't know about Rickon because of his age. In fact, at one point Arya even thinks to herself that Jon is not really a wolf. So, I'm not sure that I can agree that she is particularly mean to Jon in this instance.

Even with SR, I don't see read her behavior as maternal. She knows that she has to keep him under control. She says that the maester is trying to treat the child and she has to think about his role as the young lord. She's calculating.

She has increasing emotional intelligence, and I think will use it as her weapon to great effect, but I've never thought of her as warm or merciful or soft. I think she is actually very much like her father. What appears to motivate her to me is a sense of Order. A Proper Way of Doing Things. She use to get that from children's stories and doesn't have that option any more and is learning. I can respect that.

I agree that her thoughts regarding the maester and sweetsleep was a bit disconcerting but I don't think Sansa is quite aware of what the stuff does yet. But, I would say that otherwise, Sansa is doing a great job with being a mother towards him. In the first AFFC chapter, Sansa tells him that she is his mother now but thinks to herself that even though it is a lie, the lie is ok because it is kindly meant. She told him this as a kindness and proceeds to take over being his mother. She handles all his fits, take care of him, takes over raising him, she does the perfect thing to inspire bravery in him to get down the mountain. There were many times that I thought she had the patience of a saint with him really. :)

I'm also a mother and I love, love, love my job. I try to be the perfect mom all the time, never losing my patience, always willing to explain and teach, ready to show constant love and affection. But, there are more days than I care to admit when it is five or six in the evening and I'm tired and stressed and just want bed time to be over with so I can sit in quiet and have a glass of wine. And I do not have a child anywhere close to the temperament that Ser Sweetrobin does. I don't think many people could handle him as well as Sansa does personally. I think she is doing an amazing job with him and would consider any child lucky to have her for a mother.

I think Sansa is very warm and merciful and the books show several examples of this. In the first book, after Ned is injured, she stays by his bedside while he is unconscious, watching over and praying for him. When the Hound tells her his story, she attempts to comfort him. It's quite apparent how strongly he reacts to it as we see his attitude towards her begin to change. The series goes on to show further examples of Sansa being a kind person as well. She encourages Tommen at Joff's name day tourney even though she knows Joff has already gotten upset with him and took a big risk by suggesting Joff should go down to the field to help his brother. She also saved the life of Ser Dontos and would have gotten a beating for it if the Hound had not interceded.

During the riot, she sees the growing tension and talks Joff in to throwing coins at the small folk. I think she recognized the anger and tension at the time and wanted to do something to help. Before this, she comforts Tommen by reminding him of knights that have cried, again taking a risk that Joff would have the KG beat her.

During the BBW, she prays for the safety of all those fighting, Lancel, Tryion, her brothers, Arya, and Sandor. It's important that even though some of these people are keeping her prisoner, she still prays for them anyways. Later that night, she helps Lancel out with his injuries even though he had once laughed while she was being beaten. She also comforts the woman, doing Cersei's job for her. Back in her room, she sings to Sandor and reaches out to cup his cheek and feel his tears. To me, this moment as about more than mere kindness. It's a profound moment that shows her empathy on a very instinctual level. She just does it without needing to think because it is who she is. During the BBW, Sansa also helps out Lollys and shows her a great deal of kindness, making a connection with her that neither her mother or Shae could do.

There are several more examples of similar behavior in the books but I think a regular pattern is apparent. She is very much her father's daughter and Ned also had a strong sense of empathy as well. In fact, it was his mercy and compassion for Cersei that sealed his doom. I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by Order. Is there something you can point me to in the text to help better explain that?

That said I still consider myself in Sansa's corner and I hope I won't have to choose between her and Dany. Her mother had grit. Her aunt had grit. You can have feminine-flavored grit.

Should I just stay off the Sansa threads if I don't read her as particularly sweet and kind? I don't want to cause trouble.

We are all in Sansa's corner! Brienne calls it a woman's courage.

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Not sure if everyone will see this so I'm posting it in here just in case. Ran is thinking of arranging an interview with Martin filled with questions from this board.

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/71468-questions-for-grrm-worldcon/#entry3455411

Should we try and think of some good Sansa (and Sandor!) questions to ask him. I know Lyanna Stark asked whether she would get a replacement direwolf once. I don't know if anyone has ever asked whether we would learn the words to House Clegane or not.

Any good ides for questions?

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Not sure if everyone will see this so I'm posting it in here just in case. Ran is thinking of arranging an interview with Martin filled with questions from this board.

http://asoiaf.wester...n/#entry3455411

Should we try and think of some good Sansa (and Sandor!) questions to ask him. I know Lyanna Stark asked whether she would get a replacement direwolf once. I don't know if anyone has ever asked whether we would learn the words to House Clegane or not.

Any good ides for questions?

I have one - GRRM once stated that all the Stark children are wargs/have warging ability. Since Sansa lost Lady so early on, will she come into her warging ability in another way somehow? Like will she be able to warg into a dog? *g* What will this ability mean for her later on?

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I stand corrected. :) Poor Arya had her share of derogatory nicknames! Sansa and Jeyne are both very young and probably didn't understand how badly the nickname hurt Arya - and I really doubt that Sansa even knew that Arya had an inferiority complex, given that that was from Arya's POV. The thing I find reprehensible is that Septa Mordane seems to have egged on the rivalry, and she blatantly favors Sansa as the "good" sister and picks apart Arya's efforts at embroidery and her general behavior in a way that is emotionally abusive. I don't expect preteen girls to have adult empathy and social skills, but Mordane is a grown woman and a teacher AND a Stark employee (so to speak). Mordane really, really should have known better.

I don't think either sister was blameless in their estrangement, and again, it's something that happens all too often in real life to real siblings. And Westeros is full of screwed-up families with siblings imprisoning or even killing one another - verbal taunts and squabbling are pretty mild stuff.

I don't think they cared because I think bullying is just typical for that age and it can get worse through teenage years. Not every girl is going to be nice and sweet like Myrcella is.

Septa Mordane was allowed to act that way. Catelyn had the tendency to compare them like that as well.

IA that their rivalry isn't that bad in comparison to the rest. The worst thing they've done is Sansa wishing that Arya had died instead of Lady and the Hound seeing something in Arya's face that made him think that she wants to kill Sansa. That's not that bad.

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I have one - GRRM once stated that all the Stark children are wargs/have warging ability. Since Sansa lost Lady so early on, will she come into her warging ability in another way somehow? Like will she be able to warg into a dog? *g* What will this ability mean for her later on?

I think that might be too specific for him to answer :) I was thinking we could have a better chance if we stick to "thematic" questions, perhaps relating to female desire/agency or love....

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@Kittykat - Great response above elucidating Sansa's moments of kindness and compassion. I think what HopeforSpring meant on the proper order of things is that Sansa isn't so much reacting out of kindness but from a desire to see everything return to normal, or "the way it should be." However, based on what we see in the novel, Sansa is quite adept at dealing with chaotic situations which throw her world view into turmoil. If she was focused on "Order" then she would never have been able to develop a relationship like the one she did with Sandor. And we see that most of her compassionate acts are actually instinctive, meaning that she hasn't thought about them at all.

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