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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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I completely agree that there is a difference between wanting to dress nicely and appreciating fine clothes to being whiny about it. Sansa clearly feels a bit of regret for having to leave all those lovely clothes behind (and so would I!) but she does it without complaint and doesn't try and smuggle a prettier dress in among what she is brining or anything. Sansa here is pragmatic and only brings what she needs as Alayne. Overall, she seems really focused on doing the right thing to become Alayne, and thinking through every step she takes to make it the correct one. Like how she uses the scented candles during the Lords Declarant meeting, etc.

Yes, Sansa here came off as very mature in this choice of dress, which is why I was so surprised that someone would use this as their example of how Sansa is still shallow and petulant even after 4 books.

Regarding Cersei, I agree that a lot of her beauty was confidence, clothes and that she had a lot of "help". Not saying that she is not a very beautiful woman, but she always seem to dress in ways that compliment her looks and make her look her best, i.e. Cersei plays her strengths, if you will, and she does it well. I actually think LF was partly wrong when he said her beauty will soon desert her. With the dresses and hair help Cersei would get, and with the make up of that time, I am sure she could have presented herself as pretty attractive well into her forties. The Walk of Shame seemed more Cersei's own insecurities surfacing than her being objectively ugly or used, at least it seemed that way to me. Jaime certainly didn't seem to mind her looks last time he saw her.

Yeah I agree with you. This is a really great example of how the POV structure informs what we are reading. Kittykatknits, I understand why you would feel so disgusted about what GRRM wrote here on an *"older" woman's body* (putting older in quotes as I don't know if I should laugh or cry at that label as I passed 40 a while ago and have 4 kids and breastfed them all) after having children but I actually do think it was important because it is about how Cersei sees herself and it is very telling. She is the one who is disgusted by what her body has become. It is consistent with other aspects of Cersei's character especially as KRBD so beautifully pointed out how Cersei wants to be viewed as the beautiful maiden and rejects her mother role, which is what her clothing choice is all about. In contrast, Sansa seems to be embracing a mother role more and more.

ETA Oh I also wanted to say that given this conversation I think it would be a great idea nd very interesting to put together questions for GRRM about the themes he is exploring with some of his characters and female agency and power with Sansa in particular. Based on what I've seen with GRRM's answers in interviews, and I am by no means an expert or as nearly well versed in this area as many others on this board are, he always seems to manage to avoid answering anything specific, saying things like "keep reading" or what have you. This could be an area that he would be willing to answer and we'd get such good insight into his authorial intent.

Regarding the comments that Sansa isn't a typical fantasy character and that's why maybe a lot of people don't get her character or like her, this may be true, but then again, is ASOIAF a typical fantasy novel? I am not a big fantasy reader I'll be honest, but what I love about this series is that there is so much more in it than just the typical fantasy stuff. It's about human nature, relationships, politics, power, what makes a good leader, military battles, faith and family as well as the good vs evil, fantastical super power elements. That's one reason why I think it's been so easy to come up with parallels and similar elements of these books with books like Jane Austen's for ex., when on the surface you would think that they would have nothing in common.

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Love your post KRBD :)

- In the Vale, the first dress leftover of Lysa's that Sansa/Alayne wears is a Tully red-and-blue dress. It is interesting that she picks her mother's house colors just as she first wanted to use "Catelyn" as her disguise name. I think the dress is a way of remembering her mother, and connecting her with the Mother archetype. Petyr makes her change clothes as the dress is "too Tully" and would give the disguise away. I wonder what the significance is of Petyr, who sees Sansa as a replacement for Catelyn Tully, doesn't want her to be too Tully. (Other than the obvious - a Tully dress on someone who so strongly resembles Catelyn would instantly scream "Sansa Stark!" to Bronze Yohn or anyone else who knew what the real Sansa looked like.)

- Then Alayne/Sansa longs for a fancy dress but knows that she has to appear fully Alayne Stone and a bastard daughter of a minor lord can't dress too far above her station. So she picks the brown wool dress embroidered in gold. I see this as symbolic in another way than just Sansa fully taking on her Alayne disguise - that brown and gold dress must have been insanely flattering on her! Even with the brown dye in her hair, she still would have warm coloring, and the brown would bring out her blue eyes. Sansa is a tall, slender, beautiful teenage girl, just the kind of person who doesn't need fancy clothes to look gorgeous. (As a Shorty McShortypants I'm jealous! :D ) Just as she is rejecting the idea of handsome knights (and dreaming instead of someone flawed and scarred, yet genuinely protective of her) she is rejecting the idea that beautiful clothes make the lady.

- Finally, when they leave the Eyrie, Sansa/Alayne leaves behind all her aunt's luxurious dresses and takes a more suitable Alayne wardrobe of simpler clothes. She still loves fine clothes, but she now realizes she doesn't need them. I see this as Sansa growing into the realization that she's beautiful and strong just as she is, without the trappings of "ladyhood" and high birth. She will carve a place for herself as Alayne Stone, bastard brave young woman, on her terms and without the benefits (and drawbacks) of ladyhood.

I am contrasting Cersei and Sansa here because of the way they use clothes to give the image they want the world to see. Cersei is using fine clothes to disguise her inner nature and Alayne/Sansa is using simple clothes to be more true to herself and develop a true nature that doesn't need flash and glitter to shine through.

It's like when she leaves all those fine clothes behind in the Eyrie, she's leaving (yet another) part of her childhood behind too. Small wonder she feels regret.

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Love your post KRBD :)

It's like when she leaves all those fine clothes behind in the Eyrie, she's leaving (yet another) part of her childhood behind too. Small wonder she feels regret.

Indeed. It goes along with the whole 'Sansa Stark went up the mountain, but Alayne Stone came down' as well....

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Regarding the comments that Sansa isn't a typical fantasy character and that's why maybe a lot of people don't get her character or like her, this may be true, but then again, is ASOIAF a typical fantasy novel? I am not a big fantasy reader I'll be honest, but what I love about this series is that there is so much more in it than just the typical fantasy stuff. It's about human nature, relationships, politics, power, what makes a good leader, military battles, faith and family as well as the good vs evil, fantastical super power elements. That's one reason why I think it's been so easy to come up with parallels and similar elements of these books with books like Jane Austen's for ex., when on the surface you would think that they would have nothing in common.

No they're not typical and no Sansa is definitely not a typical fantasy type of character. Even SF tends to have women mostly as love interests***, and in Fantasy women are either magic, warrior women or damsels in distress really, or perhaps The plotting Queen/Princess. Unless they're evil or put in the fridge.

I've read loads of genre since I was about 11 or so (I've a boring taste in books, I read SFF, classics or non-fiction :P ). If you want Fantasy with more "interesting" gender roles, or even anything even looking at female agency, sisterhood, gender issues etc. you won't find a lot. Lynn Flewelling has a bit of cross gender stuff going on and she is perhaps the author coming closest to Epic Fantasy that's got anything remotely good and interesting going on, I think. There's Jaqueline Carey with her "Kushiel's Dart" novel series if you like to drool over how awesome BDSM is and love purple prose a lot (but at least she tries with a different female protagonist and with well, different stuff in it, but unfortunately it is full of Mary Sues and Happy Hookers).

In fact, the derivative nature of a loot of Fantasy literature has made me go off it a lot. Once you've read a couple, you sort of know where it's heading. Stable/kitchen boy is actually the secret prince/magic something who is going on a quest and will end up saving the country/universe/everything by using a McGuffin.

Joe Abercrombie manages to subvert or even completely throw out this with "Best Served Cold". It's a stand alone that has a supremely dark, dark grey heroine who is ok at fighting, ok looking and an axe bigger than is healthy to grind. But oh does she grind it. Unfortunately it is a stand alone, but well worth picking up if you like controversial and different heroines. She's a fighter chick, but she is more Brown Ben Plumm/Bronn than Brienne, if that makes sense.

But a character like Sansa? Don't think I have ever encountered any so far. In light of that, it's probably not so strange that people just don't "get" what she is doing in the story. I mean, considering that she's on the "Most Hated Character" list every single time it's there, and last time she ranked somewhere between Qyburn and Varys.

In fact, I think it may be a good thing to ask GRRM in the question thread, why does he think Sansa is so disliked, and was it the point of his writing that she should be so thoroughly hated.

***Ya, I have read Le Guin, but she is not the norm. :P

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In fact, I think it may be a good thing to ask GRRM in the question thread, why does he think Sansa is so disliked, and was it the point of his writing that she should be so thoroughly hated.

I almost don't want to know the answer..... :stillsick:

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I almost don't want to know the answer..... :stillsick:

Hahaha, well I think he meant for the Starks to be heroes, so perhaps he'd be surprised by the universal hatred for characters like Cat and Sansa? I don't know.

I tried formulating a question, but it's almost midnight here and I've been breathing in paint fumes all day so I am probably not best placed to try it. :P

It does interest me though if GRRM meant for the Starks and Dany to be heroes, because so far only Jon and Arya really seem to meet with fandom approval. Dany and Sansa get shitloads of flak and Bran mostly a meh, on average. If you count Cat as a Stark by proxy, she certainly brings down the average there too. In comparison, the Lannisters are only dragged down by Cersei. So for popularity, the Lannisters are in the win!

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Hmm, good points about the popularity of the Starks/Dany vs Lannisters. It makes me wonder, though, how much of the dislike of characters is directly from reading the books themselves, vs how much is from people reinforcing the hate for certain characters online. Until I came onto these forums, it never would have occurred to me that people thought Ned was stupid, hated Sansa as much as Qyburn (wtf?), and also hated Cat, and Dany with a fiery passion. It would never have occurred to me that people found Bran's chapters to be boring, mainly because I always loved them myself. I'm not saying that the books alone do not shape people's opinion's on characters (see the large amount of people who cannot seem to get past their AGoT view of Sansa), but I do wonder if some character-hate is given more fuel by online discussions.

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Well, I cannot deny that the forum discussions have had a great influence on my understanding of characters in the books, such as Sansa. However, I see the process of 'getting' a characters' motives and personality as different from actually liking a character - it is hard not to see which characters are liked on the forum and which are not, but in the end I think that the majority of the people decides for him- or herself what to make of a character. I think that making your way on online forums such as this one will make you 'street smart' in the long run on how others voice opinions and how you partake in discussions.

That said, I was thinking about Sansa and getting/retrieving her agency in the long run. She and Sandor have both lost their positions of power: Sandor is at the QI, Sansa is in LF's claws. I am absolutely convinced that Sansa's path of (re)gaining her agency is linked to Sandor's quest of shedding the image of the Hound/obtaining a power position on a more positive basis. This made me speculate that it may very well be Sansa that could set things in motion to raise Sandor in knighthood - She may be the key to his redemption by stating out his innocence on the terrors at Saltpans as soon as she has gained a power position in the North.

Whether Sandor likes it or not, his actions towards Sansa are honorable and selfless, traits associated with a knight. If he is being raised to knighthood, why not by the only person that has seen his qualities that make him an excellent candidate for a knight?

If Sandor would be knighted by Sansa or through Sansa's influence, I would consider that an appropriate conclusion for his arc. What are your thoughts on this? Would this be plausible? The whole idea seems quite intriguing in perspective of the whole Pawn to Player debate :)

Edit: Spelling, grammar...resisting the urge to rewrite the whole post.

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Well, I cannot deny that the forum discussions have had a great influence on my understanding of characters in the books, such as Sansa. However, I see the process of 'getting' a characters' motives and personality as different from actually liking a character - it is hard not to see which characters are liked on the forum and which are not, but in the end I think that the majority of the people decides for him- or herself what to make of a character. I think that making your way on online forums such as this one will make you 'street smart' in the long run on how others voice opinions and how you partake in discussions.

truth tea

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Hey everyone--

Quite a while ago we were analyzing how certain characters Sansa had interacted with influenced/ changed her. I was doing Shae, however, I had some trouble locating a quote I wanted, then forgot about it, then remembered, then forgot again...

Anyway, the following is a look at the Shae/ Sansa interactions, and how Shae influenced Sansa's growth and development. It ended up being monstrously long, so feel free to skim or skip it!

Shae and Sansa

Shae is an 18-year-old girl who is working as a prostitute when we first meet her in AGOT. Born into poverty, the exact details of Shae’s background are unclear. She claims at one point to have run away from home to escape frequent rapes at her father’s hands; at another point, it is hinted that Shae is making this story up. At any rate, it is clear that Shae’s background features some form of sexual or economic, exploitation, and that she turned to a life of prostitution to escape this.

Tyrion meets Shae when she is working as a camp follower in AGOT, and hires her to sleep with him and essentially assume the role of fantasy girlfriend. Tyrion then proceeds to bring Shae with him to King’s Landing, despite knowing that doing so will cause a direct threat to her personal safety. He sets her up in a large house, providing her with clothes, jewelry, and other material rewards. However, the controlling nature of the relationship (Tyrion jealously prevents Shae from making friends; grows envious of her platonic friendship with a singer; tells her that he uninterested in her opinions, and only wants her for sex; and slaps her when he believes she’s out of line) makes the situation less than ideal for Shae. Later, Tyrion moves her to work as a maid for Lolys Stokeworth.

Sansa first meets Shae formally in ASOS. After Tyrion has agreed to marry Sansa (rather ironically, mere pages after professing mentally to love Shae with all his heart), he intends to rid himself of Shae somehow. Shae learns of the Sansa/ Tyrion engagement from Varys, yet seems to hold no grudge, maintaining an happy friendly attitude towards Tyrion. Probably eager to keep a lucrative job as the sole mistress of an incredibly wealthy and powerful man rather than return to the life of a prostitute in Westeros (where rape, physical abuse, and diseases are very real occupational hazards), Shae tells Tyrion that Sansa is just a child, and he will soon return to her (Shae) for his sexual needs.

When Sansa honestly informs Tyrion she has no desire for him, Tyrion resumes his sexual relationship with Shae. Later, Tyrion decides to have his mistress Shae start working for his wife for reasons of his own convenience.

Sansa describes Shae as a girl with “short dark hair and bold eyes.” Though she has nothing against her, Sansa seems to feel a subtle discomfort around Shae from the beginning. It seems as though Sansa senses that something is “off” about Shae and feels some degree of discomfort around her. For instance, Sansa seems to notice the resentment burning behind Shae’s “bold eyes,” which occasionally cast “insolent looks,” Sansa’s way.

We later learn that Sansa is correct in this assessment, when Shae comments to Tyrion,

"You should give her dreamwine," Shae said, "like Lady Tanda does with Lollys. A cup before she goes to sleep, and we could fuck in bed beside her without her waking."

revealing a great deal of apparent bitterness and resentment towards Sansa. Surprisingly, Tyrion never once rebukes Shae; in fact, his thoughts regarding the 13 year old child he essentially forced into marriage are arguably resentful as Shae's:

He'd risked his skin to avoid the bedding ritual, hoping to preserve the privacy of his bedchamber, but that hope had been dashed quick enough. EitherSansa had been stupid enough to confide in one of her bedmaids...

At any rate, as Tyrion’s former mistress, Shae sees Sansa as a threat who may well take away the most lucrative job Shae’s ever had. Furthermore, Tyrion’s epic insensitivity does nothing to diffuse the situation (or Shae’s resentment.) At one point he tells Sansa (with Shae standing by in the same room):

"Lady Sansa," he told her, "you shall be the most beautiful woman in the hall tonight."

Tyrion Lannister: Sensitive Male.

Through Shae's and Sansa's later interactions, we also see how Sansa's changed since the first book, WRT to her hopes and dreams for the future. When Sansa sees a cloud formation and points it out to Shae, the latter comments that it looks like a golden castle, noting “A castle all of gold, there’s a sight I’d like to see.” While the wealthy but entrapped and miserable Sansa grows to care less and less about material things, Shae, who has lived most of her life in poverty, at times seem to represent the romanticism and love for pretty dresses and material things Sansa once has. While Shae is implied to be coldly greedy on many occasions (something that Sansa has most certainly never been) she does seem to possess a sense of girlish excitement WRT parties and feasts that characterized the younger, more carefree Sansa of AGOT. For instance:

"My lady," said Shae wistfully. "Couldn't I come serve at table? I so want to see the pigeons fly out of the pie."

This excitement over feasts and shows recalls Sansa’s gayety and girlish hopes at the beginning of AGOT; like Sansa once did, Shae loves pretty things, and feels the giddy hope that a new, wonderful life for her full of romance and beauty is just beginning.

In contrast, it seems that Sansa no longer expects or even dares to dream of romance and beauty.

Later, when the Dornish come into town for Joffrey’s wedding, Shae informs Sansa that Oberyn’s lover, Ellaria Sand “was almost a whore when he found her….and now she’s near a princess.” Nevertheless, when Sansa meets Ellaria, and finds her very kind and dignified, despite the fact that Ellaria’s past leads people like Olenna Tyrell to refer to her as “the vipers whore.” Once consigned to the opinions of most girls of her class and birth, Sansa is now being disposed to all different sorts of people, and is learning to both look past appearances and reputations, and always question the judgments of others.

What Sansa Learns from Shae:

1. Not to judge others by solely by reputation, occupation, or social background. Shae’s comments WRT Ellaria Sand (“She was little better than a whore when he found her, milady”) would, due to the deep seated social prejudices of Westeros alone, lead most (if not all) highborn girls to instantly look upon Elaria with some degree of disapproval.

However, Sansa’s position as hostage allows her a clearer view of Ellaria than most girls of her social class and birth would generally be given. She finds that Ellaria, who started as “little better than a whore” shows more class than any of the legitimate highborn people surrounding Sansa. Ellaria clearly goes out of her way to be friendly towards Sansa, and kindly comforts her when Oberyn teases her. In this act of simple, unpretentious kindness, Ellaria reveals herself to be more kind, decent, and compassionate than highborns like Cersei, Tyrion, even Oberyn. Cersei treats Sansa callously; Oberyn (not cruelly, but somewhat thoughtlessly) mocks her; and Tyrion, so praised for his kindness to Sansa, often seems to make comments that make himself, rather than her feel better, and inevitably is being nice to Sansa with the hopes of receiving something sexual in return. Out of all the highborn people in Kings Landing (who ignored Sansa’s abuse and mistreatment), the kindest and most noble person turns out to be a illegitimately born woman with a shady sexual past.

Sansa also sees that, in addition to being kind and compassionate, Ellaria carries herself with dignity and appears to possess a good deal of self respect.

By not letting herself be put off by Shae’s description of Ellaria’s past, Sansa learns that social background and sexual history do not determine a person’s decency or worth.

2. To not always trust those around you. Sansa, who is often proclaimed naïve, seemed to have noticed the resentment behind Shae’s eyes from the first. While Sansa is lonely and needs a friend, she wisely decides not to confide in Shae.

However, for me, the most relevant information to be gleaned from the Sansa/ Shae interactions (and an overall comparison of their characters) is not what Sansa learns from Shae but how Shae allows we, the readers, to learn more about Sansa.

A few things that we, the readers, learn from the Shae/ Sansa interactions:

1. Sansa is very intuitive, and has sound judgment. Unlike many others in these books, she is able to see people for what they are, not what she wants them to be. Whilst Shae worked for Tyrion, he alternated between seeing her as a perfect dream girl/ Tysha replacement and a dirty whore who was using him for his money. Very little time (or effort) is dedicated to getting to know her as a person; in fact, at numerous points he actually takes effort not to get to know her, due to his own insecurities and shallowness.

However, Sansa can (even after a brief acquaintance) see Shae far better than Tyrion can; unlike Tyrion who sees her as he wants to, Sansa can instantly sense the deep resentment Shae feels.

2. Sansa is learning to keep her psychological distance from those around her as a defense mechanism.

3. Even in her precarious situation, Sansa seems to reject the utter ruthless that females like Shae and Margary Tyrell have shown.

Questions:

--Though on first glance, Shae and Sansa seem to have nothing in common, a closer analysis reveals that in certain ways they are parallel characters. (Both young, beautiful, in a precarious position, must constantly (and carefully) put up a wall and play a prescribed role, must hide their secrets in their hearts, and are in situations that, in one way or another, they find oppressive. Is it fair to say, under the circumstances, that Sansa’s compassion makes her the morally “better” of the two? Or are the situations they started out in (a happy family for Sansa; poverty, exploitation, and possibly paternal rape for Shae) make such comparisons untenable?

--What led Sansa to feel an innate distrust for Shae? Was it her ever-sharpening instincts (as I speculate), or was there some other factor at play?

--Does Sansa show both superior intelligence and judgment in picking up on Shae’s resentment, something Tyrion cannot do in nearly two years acquaintance with her? Is Tyrion self-deluded not to notice Shae’s (In this case, IMO, just) simmering resentment; or is he simply as naive as others criticize Sansa for being about Joffrey? Why does Sansa get so much hatred and distain for her “naivety” with Joffrey; whilst Tyrion almost always gets sympathy for his nearly identical naivety about Shae? Is it an issue of the individual prejudice of readers, or does the way GRRM choses to portray (and sympathize) with his characters come into play?

--Could Sansa ever come to possess Shae’s ruthlessness?

--Is there a distinct moral difference between Shae and Margary Tyrell? Should Sansa look to either of these women as role models?

--Do you see any parallels between Shae’s willingness to sacrifice Tyrion and Sansa and Sansa’s possible future behavior with Sweet Robin?

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Well, I cannot deny that the forum discussions have had a great influence on my understanding of characters in the books, such as Sansa. However, I see the process of 'getting' a characters' motives and personality as different from actually liking a character - it is hard not to see which characters are liked on the forum and which are not, but in the end I think that the majority of the people decides for him- or herself what to make of a character. I think that making your way on online forums such as this one will make you 'street smart' in the long run on how others voice opinions and how you partake in discussions.

That said, I was thinking about Sansa and getting/retrieving her agency in the long run. She and Sandor have both lost their positions of power: Sandor is at the QI, Sansa is in LF's claws. I am absolutely convinced that Sansa's path of (re)gaining her agency is linked to Sandor's quest of shedding the image of the Hound/obtaining a power position on a more positive basis. This made me speculate that it may very well be Sansa that could set things in motion to raise Sandor in knighthood - She may be the key to his redemption by stating out his innocence on the terrors at Saltpans as soon as she has gained a power position in the North.

Whether Sandor likes it or not, his actions towards Sansa are honorable and selfless, traits associated with a knight. If he is being raised to knighthood, why not by the only person that has seen his qualities that make him an excellent candidate for a knight?

If Sandor would be knighted by Sansa or through Sansa's influence, I would consider that an appropriate conclusion for his arc. What are your thoughts on this? Would this be plausible? The whole idea seems quite intriguing in perspective of the whole Pawn to Player debate :)

Edit: Spelling, grammar...resisting the urge to rewrite the whole post.

This is an interesting theory Knight. Theoretically it could happen, and it would be a fitting gesture in memory of the time when Cleganes were actually recognized for their heroic, selfless actions (like Sandor's grandfather) and not like the monstrous Gregor. However, I have to wonder if Sandor and Sansa will ever place much faith in the institution of knighthood and whether or not their relationship isn't stronger due to the absence of this kind of institutional, legitimised power. If we think about the night of the Blackwater, he is in effect making vows to her when he tells her that he'll keep her safe and never let anyone hurt her, a promise that Sansa "rejects" when she closes her eyes. Later, he strips off his cloak and feels ashamed of how he threatened her, and confesses to Arya that he stood there in his white cloak and let them beat her. This of course suggests that Sandor does regret his failure to act properly when he did have some power back in KL, but given that KG are sworn to protect the King, his feelings here evoke a sense of personal responsibility to Sansa. In saving his cloak Sansa appears to be willing to give him a second chance though. To go back to your theory: this could take the form of public redemption - which Sandor desperately needs right now, but also private redemption as well, which Sansa, given the nature of her thoughts since he's left her, seems more able/willing to give at the moment.

:) Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, my thoughts are a bit scattered.

<<snip>>

Great post and lots of interesting questions to consider. I'll respond in depth a little later. And thanks again for contributing!

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Oh, bravo. I often thought it was one of the most ridiculous moves on Tyrion's part to put Shae in Sansa's household. And I like him. I mean really? REALLY? How was that ever going to go well.

Other than referring to the harper as a platonic friend (I suspect that dynamic wasn't so chaste) I totally... well :bowdown:

But as you say, putting them in conjunction makes for some great analysis and reveals that low or high... chattel is chattel in Westeros.

And this is what I make of Ellaria - She comes from a culture in which women have at least more of a sense of agency in their own life and that perhaps gives her latitude to be kinder than the women of Westeros who seem to have to grow talons or thorns to protect themselves.

Edited for clarity/spelling/grammar

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Whoever said that needs to read more carefully and distinguish between "regretful" and "whiny!" :bang: The Sansa-haters will pick on just about anything... Sansa knows she can't take the really fancy dresses with her, and she has a pang of regret, but I don't hear her "whining," sheesh!

Her reaction struck me as quite normal, it was her thinking process while preparing to the leave the Vale. But, I think the reaction from many on a shallow read is frustration that she's thinking of her clothes when she has to worry about her forced marriage, LF, being wanted for regicide, and the loss of her family. The thought process that is going in to her clothing choices is being missed.

Yeah I agree with you. This is a really great example of how the POV structure informs what we are reading. Kittykatknits, I understand why you would feel so disgusted about what GRRM wrote here on an *"older" woman's body* (putting older in quotes as I don't know if I should laugh or cry at that label as I passed 40 a while ago and have 4 kids and breastfed them all) after having children but I actually do think it was important because it is about how Cersei sees herself and it is very telling. She is the one who is disgusted by what her body has become.

Oh, I understand that on an intellectual level and agree that it reflects Cersei's insecurities as well. But, I also think that everyone brings an unconscious bias to the works, both the writer and the readers and a part of me has always wondered if that appears in the WoS. Her body is reflected on in great detail, we hear the comments from the crowd, and in goes on for page after page. It really aggravates me. I admit to my own bias in this interpretation; without going into much detail, I had a very difficult pregnancy and delivery to the point it practically ruined my body and recovery has been a very long process for me. So, Cersei's insecurities are also mine. It's one of the reasons why I feel so much sympathy for her even though I don't like her at all.

No they're not typical and no Sansa is definitely not a typical fantasy type of character. Even SF tends to have women mostly as love interests***, and in Fantasy women are either magic, warrior women or damsels in distress really, or perhaps The plotting Queen/Princess.

<snip>

But a character like Sansa? Don't think I have ever encountered any so far. In light of that, it's probably not so strange that people just don't "get" what she is doing in the story. I mean, considering that she's on the "Most Hated Character" list every single time it's there, and last time she ranked somewhere between Qyburn and Varys. In fact, I think it may be a good thing to ask GRRM in the question thread, why does he think Sansa is so disliked, and was it the point of his writing that she should be so thoroughly hated. ***Ya, I have read Le Guin, but she is not the norm. :P

I used to read a fair amount of fantasy and then dropped it for several years because it seemed like I was reading the same story after awhile. There seemed to be only a few women in each of them: evil queen, damsel in distress, sorceress, and warrior princess. The only thing that seemed to change was their name. Sansa is not any of these things. I agree with Elba, we see many similarities between her and characters from Jane Austen but she's still a very unique creation. A character that we are watching grow up, explore sexual and female agency, develop political, or game playing skills, display the mother archetype, and turning soft or passive skills in to a strength. I can not speak for other countries and places, and I hate to say this, but empathy is not what I would call a trait of American culture. So, in this sense Sansa is an alien creature to some readers I think.

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Lyanna Stark: can you update your post earlier in this thread to include this link: http://asoiaf.wester...s/#entry3454886

It's your post pointing out the parallel sstory ars between Sansa and Arya.

Yes, please.

Ragnorak talked about us doing a "Sansa for Dummies" topic, a "Best of the PtP topics". I think it would be cool, to have like a masterlist of the most important posts and discussions. It would certainly be easier to direct people to the right place. Sometimes we say "you should read the PtP threads, we already discussed this" and someone who has never read them is never going to find the pertinent discussion in the middle of all these posts. What do you think?

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In fact, I think it may be a good thing to ask GRRM in the question thread, why does he think Sansa is so disliked, and was it the point of his writing that she should be so thoroughly hated.

I almost don't want to know the answer..... :stillsick:

I think this would be a really good question actually. I remember his comments that Sansa shares some responsibility on what happened to ed. We might get some insight in to how he created her and why he made some of the decisions regarding her character, especially in the first book. But, the answer kinda makes me nervous too.

Hahaha, well I think he meant for the Starks to be heroes, so perhaps he'd be surprised by the universal hatred for characters like Cat and Sansa? I don't know.

I tried formulating a question, but it's almost midnight here and I've been breathing in paint fumes all day so I am probably not best placed to try it. :P

It does interest me though if GRRM meant for the Starks and Dany to be heroes, because so far only Jon and Arya really seem to meet with fandom approval. Dany and Sansa get shitloads of flak and Bran mostly a meh, on average. If you count Cat as a Stark by proxy, she certainly brings down the average there too. In comparison, the Lannisters are only dragged down by Cersei. So for popularity, the Lannisters are in the win!

Hmm, good points about the popularity of the Starks/Dany vs Lannisters. It makes me wonder, though, how much of the dislike of characters is directly from reading the books themselves, vs how much is from people reinforcing the hate for certain characters online. Until I came onto these forums, it never would have occurred to me that people thought Ned was stupid, hated Sansa as much as Qyburn (wtf?), and also hated Cat, and Dany with a fiery passion. It would never have occurred to me that people found Bran's chapters to be boring, mainly because I always loved them myself. I'm not saying that the books alone do not shape people's opinion's on characters (see the large amount of people who cannot seem to get past their AGoT view of Sansa), but I do wonder if some character-hate is given more fuel by online discussions.

I'm pretty sure that Martin confirmed that the Starks were meant to be heroes. It was in that recent sports related interview, the thread about it was on here a month or two ago. No idea about Dany though. The strange thing is that the Starks tend to be much more liked on the whole but the individual Stark characters not so much. The reverse can be said of the Lannisters as Tyrion and Jaime are both incredibly popular characters yet the Lannisters are not liked very much at all. I wonder why this is.

Someone in the first Fervor thread linked to an article with Martin were he mentioned that certain female characters receive alot of hate in forums and he was certainly aware of the wishes of sexual violence against them. So, he's aware of it but I don't know that he's every said anything on why he thinks that is.

I also think that online forums such as this one can increase the intensity of feelings. I was really surprised that Dany and Cat are such hated characters, never would have suspected until I joined this forum actually. I think the nature of threads can influence the feelings as well. Start of a thread with "I hate Dany and here is why..." sets the tone for the rest of the discussion, a realistic examination of her character isn't really going to be possible at that point. It's like politics to some extent, people on the ends tend to be more vocal while those in the middle ground tend to be silent about it. I think we see some of that here. It's also hard not to respond when you see a character you really like being criticized. I know it really bothers me to see it with either Sansa or Catelyn personally.

<snip>

This is amazing! I've got some thoughts and will be putting together some thoughts on this when I'm less tired.

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Yes, please.

Ragnorak talked about us doing a "Sansa for Dummies" topic, a "Best of the PtP topics". I think it would be cool, to have like a masterlist of the most important posts and discussions. It would certainly be easier to direct people to the right place. Sometimes we say "you should read the PtP threads, we already discussed this" and someone who has never read them is never going to find the pertinent discussion in the middle of all these posts. What do you think?

Well we do have a kind of masterlist of pertinent posts at the beginning of this thread, so I suppose we could provide that as a link whenever a new thread is started. Outside of that, it might be nice to do a kind of top ten things to know about the PtP threads with regard to Sansa and how we view her development. I'll get started on that and PM folks for suggestions.

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Firstly, it's not like Sandor to rescue damsels in distress. He's the non-knight.

Secondly, he points out himself that he didn't do as much for Lollys, so it was clearly a certain target he had in mind

Thirdly, the nickname usage, plus the in the situation rather snarky "put her back in her cage". He hardly seems to endorse the Lannister line here.

Well, aside from this emotional stuff, Sansa was of high importance, Lollys was of next to none. The King's life comes first, then Cersei and Tyrion, them Sansa (the top-level hostage). After all, the Hound is still a loyal bannerman to the Lannisters at that point. In any case, the Hound does save her when he could have just as easily shrugged his shoulders.

It looks like the trend is going to continue in some ways in the Vale too. LF is warning Sansa about Randa because she's someone who might have an agenda of her own and can not be trusted. Yet, LF seems not to spare a thought for Mya the bastard mule girl or Lothor the lowborn retainer.

LF warns her, but because he recognizes that as she's a noblewoman, and one who's a fairly sharp social player, Randa might figure her true identity out and this is a danger to his plan. No doubt Randa does have an agenda, but LF deals with such people all the time. As someone else pointed out, the Royces or Corbrays might be relatives of the Starks, so to speak. LF is not the sort to miss the implications of bloodlines. Perhaps this too figures into LF's calculations - as either a danger to his plans or part of them.

As you say though, he spares hardly a thought for Mya Stone. LF is too adept to overlook someone, and he may even know she's King Robert's bastard, so maybe he's overlooking Mya, or maybe he has one more contingency plan in his head regarding Mya.

It's doubtful they threw her things away. The question is whether or not it went up with Tyrion's stuff in the Tower of the Hand when Cersei burnt it. Strangely, this coincides rather nicely with Cersei sending LF a load of tapestries so my crackpot is that LF got Sansa's stuff wrapped in the tapestries and he's going to bring it to her in the Vale.

Hmm, that's a good point. I was never certain why the tapestries merited a mention at all. This is certainly one possible reason.

I agree on your points about Tyrion too. He rapes her which is what it would have been or he does not. So, then he's a rapist. Or he doesn't and it's because of his feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Either way, I think his behavior point out just how much of a sham the marriage was.

Oh, I don't think anyone disputes the marriage was a sham - but it was the kind of sham that does have an effect. Even the characters acknowledge it, both of them. It's "real" only in the sense of what its political / biological results would have been (a Lannister heir to control the north with).

Even as arranged & unwilling (& unhappy) marriages go, it's well beyond what's normal. Compare to the marriage of Lysa Tully to Jon Arryn - that was unwilling (on her part) and unhappy, but their families were allies. Tyrion might have been trying (in vain, for obvious reasons) to reduce the "unhappy" part, but with Tyrion's and Sansa's families locked in bitter warfare, this marriage was to be a politically-sanctioned rape. Neither wanted it, and both were coerced.

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I also think that online forums such as this one can increase the intensity of feelings. I was really surprised that Dany and Cat are such hated characters, never would have suspected until I joined this forum actually. I think the nature of threads can influence the feelings as well. Start of a thread with "I hate Dany and here is why..." sets the tone for the rest of the discussion, a realistic examination of her character isn't really going to be possible at that point. It's like politics to some extent, people on the ends tend to be more vocal while those in the middle ground tend to be silent about it. I think we see some of that here. It's also hard not to respond when you see a character you really like being criticized. I know it really bothers me to see it with either Sansa or Catelyn personally.

I think you're right about online forums influencing people by making their views more extreme. I remember realizing I went from thinking "OK. That's pretty douche-bagging" to "God, why won't that just kill that fucker off? He's clearly evil. Get out the pitchforks people."

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I think you're right about online forums influencing people by making their views more extreme. I remember realizing I went from thinking "OK. That's pretty douche-bagging" to "God, why won't that just kill that fucker off? He's clearly evil. Get out the pitchforks people."

That's interesting, I have experienced the opposite. I always regarded discussing novels and literature as voicing your personal view, thus I would regard such discussions as quite personal. However, on this forum, and this topic especially, the discussions are more centered around the meta-structure of the novels which allows you to take a step back from the personal reading experience and analysize the novels from a more....academic angle.

I am a Philosophy student and have been studying the works of a few American Analytical philosophers, which is a branch of philosophy that is not too concerned with the discussion of Continental, more literature-orientated philosophy works. So, I was quite amazed to see on this forum that it is possible to hold a fairly objective, academic discussion on fantasy novels as I haven't been in touch with the study of novels before.

I recall that one or two of the regular posters of this topic (Kittykatknits?) have mentioned that they have studied Literature. I think that the ones who are able to voice their personal view through the skills of academic practice seem to really lift the discussions here. If people are able to recognize such an approach, which I think some posters fail to do, the majority of the discussions would really benefit from this.

Apologies for going off-topic :)

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