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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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Rushed crackpot (since I'll be gone most of the day), Arya kills Littlefinger. Actually killing someone would take away the remainder of Sansa's innocence, which she's managed to keep somewhat intact even after everything that's happened. I can see the hairnet coming into play again, but I just don't want Sansa to kill.

:agree:

Manipulate something to happen to him, but stay away from outright killing him would be best, and burn the hairnet it should never again see the light of day.

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EDIT: Seriously tho, Arya_Nym would be brilliant for an Arya write up is she'd agree to it.

I can't imagine anyone better for this, she knows Arya better than anyone I've seen on these boards.

Arya_Nym has agreed to do the write up on Arya :)

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There is an interesting parallel between

An angle to consider is that The Mad Mouse is sent out by Varys, and Varys has no real interest in doing the Lannisters' bidding now when Aegon is near. I also don't think Varys has any interest in bringing Sansa to Cersei: quite the opposite.

The Mad Mouse is also a hedge knight, and what he is after is money. LF will have no problem matching Varys coin for coin and then some, if it comes to buying allegiances.

If Jon Conn approaches the Vale and LF to make a deal, and LF realises Varys is behind the Aegon/Jon Conn concoction, he may be happy to work with Varys against the Lannister/Tyrell alliance. Especially if it means he gets to keep Harrenhal and his Lord Protector of the Vale. LF is above all an opportunist, so it will be interesting to see if he can leverage the Vale's resources into getting what he wants from f!Aegon/Jon Conn/Varys. Perhaps LF will finally get the annulment he is after and be "free" to marry Sansa....dun dun dun.

There is an interesting parallel between Sansa's prophecy and Dany's prophecy: if Aegon is the Mummer's Dragon, the lie Dany has to slay and LF is the Giant is Sansa's giant to slay, then it is possible their stories converge and Sansa and Dany bring down LF and Varys.

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I'd like to thank everybody who has been contributing to this thread as it is an absolute joy to read all your thoughts on Sansa's arc - her story is one of the parts of the books that becomes more enriching to read by following this thread. The thread moves bloody fast though, so I won't be posting extensively but I'll be lurking around :)

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Although this is thread 8, if you add in the re-read threads it is more like 13!! So at a new thread every two weeks.....it always seems to be moving fast!

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Although this is thread 8, if you add in the re-read threads it is more like 13!! So at a new thread every two weeks.....it always seems to be moving fast!

Yup :) this is now the 14th PtP thread.

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I don't want Sansa to kill Littlefinger (leave it to UnCat, after she learns her daughter is still alive), but I could see her doing it to save SweetRobin. Littlefinger isn't going to let him live much longer.

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I don't want Sansa to kill Littlefinger (leave it to UnCat, after she learns her daughter is still alive), but I could see her doing it to save SweetRobin. Littlefinger isn't going to let him live much longer.

Sansa is my favourite to kill Littlefinger, but indeed, unCat is my second to do that. Fact is that Sansa doesn't want to and isn't going to kill Sweetrobin. Unless she changes into some vile creature in a couple of days.

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Did you guys see Tze's post here: http://asoiaf.wester...97#entry3407397 ?

Cersei in some ways seems to share elements with the Wicked Queen from the story of Snow White.

She's obsessed with the notion of physical beauty. Jaime, her "mirror", tells her that she's beautiful---that she's basically the fairest of them all. She's given a prophecy that says "Queen you shall be... until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.” The Wicked Queen in the story of Snow White ends up destroying herself by going after Snow White because Snow White is deemed younger and more beautiful than her.

So to determine the person who will cast Cersei down and take all that Cersei holds dear . . . well, if Cersei's a deconstruction of the Wicked Queen motif, then who's our Snow White? Margaery fulfills the "wicked queen actively tried to get her murdered out of jealousy" quotient. Mya Stone fulfills several Snow White characteristics---she matches the physical descripion (black of hair), she's the Old King's daughter, and she's associated with menial work in the forest. Sansa Stark is associated with snow (as a Stark of Winterfell) and dwarves (Tyrion).

Just a thought.

I kind of love it. Cersei really is kind of an "evil stepmother" to Sansa, in that she's the "mother figure" that replaces Cat's presence, and she is quite mean to Sansa. There's the snow and dwarfs thing (I lol'd at this). And right now, the "real Sansa" could be seen as being "dormant", hidden underneath the Alayne veneer. We also know that the (un)kiss is one of the things that tie her to "Sansa Stark". Maybe it could be what finally breaks the Alayne façade for good and "wakes up" the "real Sansa Stark", an empowered Sansa that will finally be a player.

ETA: maybe Beauty and the Beast really isn't the fairy tale her story is supposed to be like

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Fact is that Sansa doesn't want to and isn't going to kill Sweetrobin. Unless she changes into some vile creature in a couple of days.

A Sansa who kills Sweetrobin wouldn't be the compassionate, motherly Sansa I know and love. Maybe a pod-person Sansa. I rather think that Sansa will help restore Sweetrobin to health and to his rightful place as lord of the Vale. He IS the rightful lord. He's undeniably Jon Arryn's kid (that we know of; at least we know that Lysa and Edmure weren't getting it on). As I've said before, I don't think Sweetrobin is really that sick. I don't think he has the full knowledge of what it means to "see the bad man fly!" either.

Sansa/Alayne is now Littlefinger's chatelaine, and she is developing a network of friends. I say let Sansa, Mya, and Lothor Brune have full charge of Sweetrobin for a year or so and we'll see a different kid - one that the people of the Vale might want to follow. For all we know, Sweetrobin's rights might be a catalyst to bring Littlefinger down. Already, we see that the lords in the Vale don't like him. But Sweetrobin IS Jon Arryn's son, and the lords had great loyalty to Jon. If SR were healthy, and less peevish, he could inspire loyalty. And even if Sansa weren't a regent, she would be someone that Sweetrobin would trust, respect, and turn to in decision-making.

On another topic, I found this link on Mesopotamian healing goddesses and their dog familiars:

http://www.matrifocus.com/IMB06/spotlight.htm

I have no idea if GRRM ever heard of Bau or Nin-karak or was thinking of this when he wrote about Sansa and Sandor, but I found it tremendously interesting, as Sansa is a healing, maternal archetype...and she has a dog, er, "familiar!" :D

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Did you guys see Tze's post here: http://asoiaf.wester...97#entry3407397 ?

I kind of love it. Cersei really is kind of an "evil stepmother" to Sansa, in that she's the "mother figure" that replaces Cat's presence, and she is quite mean to Sansa. There's the snow and dwarfs thing (I lol'd at this). And right now, the "real Sansa" could be seen as being "dormant", hidden underneath the Alayne veneer. We also know that the (un)kiss is one of the things that tie her to "Sansa Stark". Maybe it could be what finally breaks the Alayne façade for good and "wakes up" the "real Sansa Stark", an empowered Sansa that will finally be a player.

ETA: maybe Beauty and the Beast really isn't the fairy tale her story is supposed to be like

This is a really intriguing spin you've put on it Lady Lea :) So we actually have evidence of multiple fairytales in Sansa's arc: Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and maybe Sleeping beauty.

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Sorry I couldn't be more articulate! I'm doing 24762384 things at the same time right now...

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Hi, I am back from reading (nearly all) Sansas threads – and happy to see the 8th is open now (and just discovered that I can continue reading more character analyses from Westerosi women what I certainly will do. So you can imagine I spent serveral time reading your (Kittykat’s) analyses of the scenes at the serpentine steps, (Brashcandy’s) Red Keep etc.. What could I add – nothing – they are absolutely convincing and comprehensible! KittyKats description of the serpentine steps has been like a slowmotion picture for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and supplying new impressions!

Regarding LF’s downfall, I personally would love to see it happen prepared by Sansa and “executed” by UnCat. Additionally, I would like to learn your opinion about the Mad Mouse and his role (and he is called “mad” because of what reason…? Mouse because he is small, that’s clear to me).

An angle to consider is that The Mad Mouse is sent out by Varys, and Varys has no real interest in doing the Lannisters' bidding now when Aegon is near. I also don't think Varys has any interest in bringing Sansa to Cersei: quite the opposite.

The Mad Mouse is also a hedge knight, and what he is after is money. LF will have no problem matching Varys coin for coin and then some, if it comes to buying allegiances.

I'm glad you liked the serpentine steps writeup Eric. My observations of that scene have led me to start another re-read of the series, paying attention to what the characters are actually doing, facial expressions, that sort of thing. It really adds a whole new layer to the story.

I think the Mad Mouse is going to play a larger role in Sansa's storyline even though I'm not quite sure how. But, I think there is an interesting contrast that can be drawn between him and Luthor. Those are the two knights in the Vale that are in Sansa's storyline and work for LF. One, the Mad Mouse, is a hedge knight who is very much looking for money. We have no sign, so far, that he would switch loyalties based on something else. So, he can be bought using the methods that LF uses. Then, we have another man, Luthor Brune who also works for LF. But, as we've gotten to know him, we realize that he has a sense of loyalty that is more than just money, he loves Mya Stone, and we have seen him opening up to Sansa. I I also think it is possible that he knows her true identity.But, he has motivations beyond just money and a reputation. His loyalty can be "bought" with what Sansa can offer him, flattery, empathy, and love. I have a strong suspicion that both of these men will play a role in her future storyline and that this distinction between the two of them will be important.

I'd like to thank everybody who has been contributing to this thread as it is an absolute joy to read all your thoughts on Sansa's arc - her story is one of the parts of the books that becomes more enriching to read by following this thread. The thread moves bloody fast though, so I won't be posting extensively but I'll be lurking around :)

Feel free to join in and post! I find that I go to bed, thinking I'm completely caught up on posts and then wake up to 30 or 40 new posts so I just jump in with the current topic of conversation. I agree on this thread. There is quite a bit to the Sansa storyline that can be missed, they are incredibly rich.

I don't want Sansa to kill Littlefinger (leave it to UnCat, after she learns her daughter is still alive), but I could see her doing it to save SweetRobin. Littlefinger isn't going to let him live much longer.

I don't think she will kill LF but I do think that Ser Sweetrobin could easily be the key that finally stirs her to action. I would love to see her decision to save her cousin lead to her taking down LF. But, I think there are lots of ways to accomplish this without killing LF directly. For starters, keeping her cousin away from him would help. I think we got some hints at the end of Feast that she may find some needed allies within some of LF's circle too.

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This took a while because I had to compile and organize quotes.

I think this quote is appropriate since Arya was forgotten.

“It was not until later that night, as she was drifting off to sleep, that Sansa realized she had forgotten to ask about her sister.”

1. Looks/Being a Lady-Sansa affected Arya's self-esteem in her looks because Sansa was known as pretty while Sansa, Jeyne Poole, and others called her Arya Horseface. Arya considered her mother to be beautiful and Sansa looked like her. Arya was also the only one who looked like Jon/Ned. Both Arya and Sansa wondered if she was a bastard.

"It wasn't fair. Sansa had everything. Sansa was two years older; maybe by the time Arya had been born, there had been nothing left. Often it felt that way...Worse, she was beautiful. Sansa had gotten their mother's fine high cheekbones and the thick auburn hair of the Tullys. Arya took after their lord father. Her hair was a lusterless brown, and her face was long and solemn. Jeyne used to call her Arya Horseface, and neigh whenever she came near."

She was only better at horseriding and managing a household/sums.

She was annoyed that she was paired with the undesirable Tommen while Sansa got paired with the handsome one.

"Joffrey...The tall, handsome one. Sansa got to sit with him at the feast. Arya had to sit with the little fat one. Naturally."

She was skeptical of believing Ned when he said that she resembled Lyanna because everyone had said that Lyanna was beautiful. Beautiful is something she would attribute to Sansa or her mother not her.

"You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her." "Lyanna was beautiful," Arya said, startled. Everybody said so. It was not a thing that was ever said of Arya."

This isn't about Arya's looks but the Hound said that at least she looked at his face but Arya told him that she didn't like his face.

“At least you look at my face. I’ll give you that, you little she-wolf. How do you like it?” “I don’t. It’s all burned and ugly.

She met Lady Smallwood who called her pretty and dressed her up like a little lady. Arya allowed it. When she was off with the Hound she thought about the lady who called her pretty and wanted to go back to her but didn't know how.

"Lord Smallwood, she knew, remembering Acorn Hall so far away, and the lady who'd said she was pretty....Maybe Lady Smallwood would take her in at Acorn Hall, but maybe she wouldn't. Besides, Arya wasn't even sure she could find Acorn Hall again..."

She reflected on how other women tried to dress her up like one of Sansa's dolls. She only wanted Lady Smallwood to do it. I think it's because Lady Smallwood told her that everyone had their different strengths. Septa Mordane would just tell her what she was doing wrong. At one point she praised Sansa's sewing and said that it was as pretty as she is but attributed Arya to masculinity by saying that she has the hands of a blacksmith.

Arya brought that up to Gendry when listing the reasons why Catelyn would want to pay her ransom to get her back. She also said that her mother wanted her to be more like Sansa and be lady like.

"...Lady Catelyn always wanted her to be like Sansa, to sing and dance and sew and mind her courtesies. Just thinking of it made Arya try to comb her hair with her fingers...I ruined that gown that Lady Smallwood gave me, and I don't sew so good....I don't sew very well, I mean. Septa Mordane used to say I had a blacksmith's hands." Gendry hooted. "Those soft little things?' he called out. "You couldn't even hold a hammer." "I could if I wanted!" she snapped at him."

Catelyn said that Sansa would shine in the south and Arya needed refinement. Sansa was delighted at the prospect of having Margaery as her sister.

"Sister. Sansa had once dreamt of having a sister like Margaery; beautiful and gentle, with all the world's graces at her command. Arya had been entirely unsatisfactory as sisters went. How can I let my sister marry Joffrey?"

It's interesting that Catelyn didn't express worry over Elmar Frey being a good match after Sansa was engaged to Joffrey.

When Gendry says she's Lady Arya Stark she says that she never was and didn't want him mocking her and calling her a lady. She didn't want him to treat her like one.

Septa Mordane wouldn't even know me, I bet. Sansa might, but she'd pretend not to. "My mother's a lady, and my sister, but I never was." “I beg your pardon, m’lady.” “Stop that!” Arya hissed. Was he mocking her?”

“…he was watching her with that pained look on his face that meant he was thinking. He’s probably thinking that he shouldn’t be letting m’lady go stealing fool. Arya just knew he was going to be stupid now.”

Although there is inconsistency here because when Edric Dayne called her my lady she noted how polite he was.

At one point (pre-FM) she thinks about how if she sees Sansa again she'll act like a proper lady for her since she would like it.

"When she thought of seeing Robb's face again Arya had to bite her lip. And I want to see Jon too, and Bran and Rickon, and Mother. Even Sansa... I'll kiss her and beg her pardons like a proper lady, she'll like that."

2. Arya's Nature:

Sansa wanted Ned to discipline her when she went picking flowers for him and wasn't being a proper lady.

"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. Sansa kept hoping he would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only hugged her and thanked her for the flowers. That just made her worse."

She notes how Arya would make friends would anybody. Now Sansa is a bastard herself. She notes how Arya seemed to prefer Mycah's company to hers. She didn't like him.

Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and naked children, rough-spoken freeriders of uncertain birth. Arya would make friends with anybody. This Mycah was the worst, a butcher’s boy, thirteen and wild, Just the sight of him was enough to make Sansa feel sick, but Arya seemed to prefer his company to hers.

She associated Arya with being wicked. When Sansa rebelled she said that she felt as willfull as Arya. Note that she says this about when she goes to Cersei.

When she went into the kitchen and took food.“Sansa went to bed that night feeling almost as wicked as Arya.”

She said that she was the obedient one but she felt like Arya in that moment.

“Why else should you have come to me and told me of your father’s plan to send you away from us, if not for love?” “It was for love,” Sansa said in a rush….She was the good girl, the obedient girl, but she had felt as wicked as Arya that morning, sneaking away from Septa Mordane, defying her lord father. She had never done anything so willful before, and she would never have done it then if she hadn’t loved Joffrey as much as she did.”

Arya seemed to keep secrets from her. She said with Jon:

"Run and ride, make yourself strong. And whatever you do..." Arya knew what was coming next. They said it together. "...don't...tell...Sansa!"

Bran saw Arya holding secrets in her heart so perhaps when they see each other again Arya won't open up to her about what she's been through. She also didn't want Catelyn or Robb to know what she's done. She thought that Jon wouldn't care about who she killed but they would.

3. Sisterhood

In AFFC Sansa hoped for a sister who looked like Arya.

And to hate Lannisters, too. In Sansa's dreams, her children looked just like the brothers she had lost. Sometimes there was even a girl who looked like Arya.

When she's with ladies Lady Bulwer reminded her of Arya but she wasn't as fierce.

At one point she dreamt about how she used to sleep in the bed with Arya when she was little.

She awoke all at once, every nerve atingle. For a moment she did not remember where she was. She had dreamt that she was little, still sharing a bedchamber with her sister Arya.

As Cat of the Canals Arya lives with Bruscoe and his daugthers. They are like sisters to her. They sleep in the bed together like she used to with Sansa.

Talea opened her eyes and called out, “Cat, be a sweet and bring my clothes

for me...Together they pulled her big sister from the bed, as Brea muttered sleepy threats.

Talea tells Arya about a boy that Brea meets which could be something that a girl would discuss with her sister.

I know that Brusco’s daughter Brea meets a boy on the roof when her father is

asleep, she thought. Brea lets him touch her, Talea says, even though he’s just a roof rat and all the roof rats are supposed to be thieves.

In ADWD she says that she preferred being Cat of the Canals more than any of her previous aliases and that she missed Bruscoe's daughters. This likely because it provided stability. However, the KM asked her if she wanted to be Cat forever and she said no. She didn't take the stable home life option which could have reminded her of her time at Winterfell.

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4. Romance/Songs

When she was off with the Hound at one point she thinks about how she'd like to get away from him and go be an outlaw with Gendry like Wenda the White Fawn but then she thinks that is something Sansa would think of.

Beric would find her there. Anguy would teach her to use a bow, and she could ride with Gendry and be an outlaw, like Wenda the White Fawn in the songs. But that was just stupid, like something Sansa might dream.

When Edric Dayne told her the story about Ashara she said that Sansa would have found it romantic but it was stupid to her. She got mad when she learned that her father was the lover. The story was of Ashara killing herself over the man she loved.

However, as Cat of the Canals her cover story is that her father was killed because he fought a bravo over her mother's beauty which has similar romantic notions.

In ACoK she said that knights were supposed to keep a woman safe. They both had to get a reality check on "true knights."

"...the knights would escort her home and keep her safe. That was what knights did; they kept you safe, especially women."

5. Identity

When Sansa thinks of Jon she said:

"Alayne Stone had no brothers, baseborn or otherwise."

In ADWD, Arya does make an offhand comment about Sansa.

It was very tart like biting into a lemon. A thousand years ago, she had known a girl who loved lemon cakes. No, that was not me, that was only Arya.”

They both say separate their pasts from the now. With Arya it goes further.

The KM told her that as a FM she would have to give up all that she is.

“ Stay, and the Many-Faced God will take... your sad grey eyes that have seen so much.your hopes and dreams, your loves and hates. Those who enter His service must give up all that makes them who they are. Can you do that?”

She will be no one's daughter. No one's wife. & her name will be a lie.

"The price is you. The price is all you have and all you ever hope to have...You will be no one's daughter, no one's wife, no one's mother. Your name will be a lie, and the very face you wear will not be your own."

He asks her if she can pay the price and she recalls all her aliases including her nickname at Winterfell and says that she can pay the price.

She almost bit her lip again, but this time she caught herself and stopped…She thought of all the names she had worn: Arry, Weasel, Squab, Cat of the Canals. She thought of that stupid girl from Winterfell called Arya Horseface. Names did not matter. “I can pay the price. Give me a face.”

At one point in ADWD she thinks about how only Jon and Ned called her pretty and how Sansa, Jeyne, etc. called her horseface but then she said that they were probably all dead now and Arya is too.

"She never cared if she was pretty, even when she was stupid Arya Stark. Only her father had ever called her that. Him, and Jon Snow, sometimes. Her mother used to say she could be pretty if she would just wash and brush her hair and take more care with her dress, the way her sister did. 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..."

Arya has expressed a wish to run away from her family several times in the book with the first time was when she in KL with Septa Mordane, Joffrey, and Sansa. . At one point which I believe to be foreshadowing she said that she wouldn't come back unless she wanted to. The Titan of Braavos was mentioned and this was in ACoK. & we know that the dragons and krakens are about to meet in Essos.

"If I had wings...I'd just fly away, fly up past the moon and the shining stars, and see all the things in Old Nan's stories, dragons and seamonsters and the Titan of Braavos, and maybe I wouldn't ever fly back unless I wanted to."

6.Rivalry

GRRM said in an SSM once that Arya and Sansa have things that they need to work out. Of course that's not confirmation that they will. Arya has expressed a desire to be no one and give up her old life which includes her family. Arya named her wolf after Queen Nymeria whose story was one of cutting ties with the past and starting anew. She never returned home.

Ned gave her a pep talk after her dispute with Sansa. He told her to hate those who truly did her harm and not hate Sansa. He said that family disputes was for summer. The lone wolf dies in the winter.

"Let me tell you about wolves, child. When the snows fall and the white winds blow,the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. So if you must hate, Arya, hate those who would truly do us harm."

However, in AFFC Arya abandoned what Ned told her. She first started to do so when Gendry and Hot Pie abandoned her. & the RW made her worse.

"I have a hole where my heart should be, she thought, and nowhere else to go."

She let go of the idea of the pack and became the lone wolf. She calls herself the Night Wolf now.

"A long time ago, she remembered her father saying that when the cold winds blow the lone wolf dies and the pack survives. He had it all backwards. Arya, the lone wolf, still lived, but the wolves of the pack had been taken and slain and skinned."

She also doesn't want the FM to send her away. She would rather be blind.

“How long must I be blind?” she would ask. “Until darkness is as sweet to you as light,” the waif would say,” or until you ask us for your eyes. Ask and you shall see.” And then you will send me away. Better blind than that. They would not make her yield.”

Perhaps Arya and Sansa will see each other again but it will be a fleeting moment.

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Thank you, thank you, Arya_Nym :) I'm amazed that you were able to put together all of that so quickly and as usual your insight into Arya's arc is remarkable. I'll begin at the end and work my way up:

Perhaps Arya and Sansa will see each other again but it will be a fleeting moment.

I do get this sense as well, and it would be incredibly bittersweet, which would suit Martin's stated ending for the series. The thing is, I've always felt that they could be so formidable as a team, but perhaps this would be a little too convenient? What are your thoughts? Another thing that struck me in all the quotes you highlighted was how deep Arya's sense of inferiority runs. She really was made to feel as though she wasn't good enough/pretty enough to fit into this noble environment and I think this deep seated insecurity tends to be overlooked due to a focus on Arya's "badass" qualities.

The KM's words to her about giving up all she has before entering his service also mirrors what LF tells Sansa in the Vale about being Alayne Stone in her heart. Sansa resolves to feed him lies and arbor gold and Arya is still hiding Needle. Both girls have been forced by tragedy to accept these new identities and commitments, but we know they're still keeping secrets that tie them to their old selves.

Her memory of the girl who liked lemoncakes.. ughhh that's really heartbreaking....

We've talked a lot in the thread about how Arya was just as naive as Sansa at the beginning of the story except that it manifested in other ways. Therefore, the point you made above on the creation of that backstory on how her father is killed is really startling :) It's something that one would associate with Sansa, but I think it connects to Arya's unwillingness to believe that her father was in love with another woman. When it comes to love she seems to take a pretty conservative/naive view point, at least with the love between her parents.

Her relationship with Sandor is another interesting topic for me. Sansa is mindful of her courtesy and never critiques the Hound openly to his face about his face, but Arya has no such compunctions. She's frank and honest about his features, and this is something Sandor at least appreciates and respects. However, even though Sansa would never call him ugly outright, she does come to actually romanticise him, and states that his face isn't what she finds truly terrifying. So I think that both Stark sisters do manage to humanize Sandor through their interactions with him.

Finally, just why do you think (and others can chime on this as well) Arya is so easily forgotten as a part of Sansa's narrative? Why did Sansa forget to ask about her sister during the council meeting? I mean, your analysis perfectly highlights the parallels in their experiences we can see that despite their differences in personality and inclinations, they do share fundamental similarities. So why do we as readers often neglect to notice this and instead highlight the discord and conflict? Is this due to how Martin has chosen to present their relationship to readers? And within the narrative is Septa Mordane to blame for creating and sustaining a rivalry between the sisters which results in Sansa literally forgetting to ask what has happened to her sister - the perfect illustration of broken sisterhood?

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Thank you, thank you, Arya_Nym :) I'm amazed that you were able to put together all of that so quickly and as usual your insight into Arya's arc is remarkable. I'll begin at the end and work my way up:

I do get this sense as well, and it would be incredibly bittersweet, which would suit Martin's stated ending for the series. The thing is, I've always felt that they could be so formidable as a team, but perhaps this would be a little too convenient? What are your thoughts? Another thing that struck me in all the quotes you highlighted was how deep Arya's sense of inferiority runs. She really was made to feel as though she wasn't good enough/pretty enough to fit into this noble environment and I think this deep seated insecurity tends to be overlooked due to a focus on Arya's "badass" qualities.

You're welcome. In the women's thread I said that Arya was getting it from all sides so it was very difficult for her. She got it from her peer group, her septa, and her parents. Arya isn't someone who dwells very much on things so I think that allowed her to not let her insecurities impede her very much.

Frankly, I don't think that she wants to be Arya and to be with her family she would have to be Arya. There seems to be a bit of self-loathing of Arya to me. I think she doesn't want to be a victim anymore and thinks that the FM is a way for her not to be. I think it was really exemplified when before she gave Jaqen the name Weese he threatened to beat her again and she was like no you never will do it again.

There's still a slight window there that she would want her family because in AFFC she almost asked Dareon if he could take her to Eastwatch but then she found out that he was deserting. Although in ADWD she said that Arya is dead and only listens to stories about Jon.

We've talked a lot in the thread about how Arya was just as naive as Sansa at the beginning of the story except that it manifested in other ways. Therefore, the point you made above on the creation of that backstory on how her father is killed is really startling :) It's something that one would associate with Sansa, but I think it connects to Arya's unwillingness to believe that her father was in love with another woman. When it comes to love she seems to take a pretty conservative/naive view point, at least with the love between her parents.

In essence there was a similarity but of course she presented it in a way that was very Arya.

If they ask who is the most beautiful woman in the world, say the Nightingale or else they’ll challenge you...My father was the oarmaster on Nymeria. A bravo killed him for saying that my mother was more beautiful than the Nightingale. Not one of those camel cunts you met, a real bravo. Someday I’ll slit his throat."

I think she feels that a man should love only his wife and she should be the most beautiful woman to him. It's very possessive.

Finally, just why do you think (and others can chime on this as well) Arya is so easily forgotten as a part of Sansa's narrative? Why did Sansa forget to ask about her sister during the council meeting? I mean, your analysis perfectly highlights the parallels in their experiences we can see that despite their differences in personality and inclinations, they do share fundamental similarities. So why do we as readers often neglect to notice this and instead highlight the discord and conflict? Is this due to how Martin has chosen to present their relationship to readers? And within the narrative is Septa Mordane to blame for creating and sustaining a rivalry between the sisters which results in Sansa literally forgetting to ask what has happened to her sister - the perfect illustration of broken sisterhood?

He did say that he set it up that way to make it more realistic.

(3) Arya was one of the first characters created. Sansa came about as a total opposite b/c too many of the Stark family members were getting along and familes aren't like that. Thus, Sansa was created; he ended by saying they have deep issues to work out.

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Keplers_and_Codys_Signings_California_November_9_and_11/

I don't think it was just Septa Mordane. She was permitted to talk that way and Catelyn wasn't that much different towards them I think.

Catelyn loved both of them but I think she was obvious with her favorites. She was even worse when it came to Bran.

"Sansa would shine in the south. Catelyn thought to herself, and the gods knew that Arya needed refinement. Reluctantly, she let go of them in her heart. But not Bran. Never Bran."

But it's not to pick on her because I think Ned may have been obvious with Arya. Sansa seemed to be annoyed with how he kept spoiling Arya.

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Perhaps Arya and Sansa will see each other again but it will be a fleeting moment.

Wow, this was amazing. I echo brashcandy here, I can't believe you put this together in only a few hours. Your posts had my heart breaking for Arya and really brings home the point that her character is not meant to be seen as merely a bad-ass warrior princess type, there is much more going on here.

I am also wondering, as brashcandy did, on the potential for a reunion between the two sisters. Their stories are running in parallel and both are picking up similar skills. I see so many ways that their strengths can complement each other that I find myself wondering how they could work together. I think I'll be disappointed if nothing comes of this. My ideal scenario is that the two of them work together to rebuild WF but I realize that may not be realistic. This may not be the case but Arya still has Needle which means she isn't quite willing to walk away from her Stark identity. Perhaps Sansa will take responsibility for the Starks in a more public sphere while Arya will do so in the private? Martin's idea for this series started with the direwolves in the snow so I'll cling to the idea that this story is ultimately about the Starks until Martin proves me wrong. I will also cling to hope, even a futile hope, that Arya will return to WF until the last page of the books.

Your thoughts on Arya not wanting to be Arya sound very much about Sansa's thoughts on not wanting to be Sansa. Sansa is the one that was pushed around, kept a prisoner, and married off. She finds strength in her Alayne persona just as Arya finds that in her roles with the FM. In these threads, we have talked a lot about Sansa's arc being about agency. How can Sansa have control over herself while also reclaiming the Stark name and identity without going back to being that pawn, shackled by her claim and status as a noble maiden. How can she find and exert her own power without a patriarch to potentially usurp it from her? If we look at Arya, what would it take for her to obtain her agency while also being Arya again. We know she does not want the life of a wife and mother, even though her parents had planned that future for her. But, now Arya Stark would not only be without a patriarch, she would not have a mother figure either. There is no Septa telling her how to be a proper life or a Lady Catelyn to arrange a marriage to further family interests. I guess what I am saying is that there seems to be a possibility for Arya to live something closer to the life that she wants without entirely forsaking her name or identity as a Stark. Is the only way for a woman in Westeros to obtain their agency giving up their identity? I hope that is not the message that Martin will send with these two sisters.

I was also struck with how much sibling rivalry stood out for me while reading these quotes. I have a sister who is two years younger than me and I was reminded how much the thoughts of both Arya and Sansa reflect many of my own thoughts as I was growing up. Arya's insecurities seem to come out the most when it came to skills that Sansa most excelled at. In contrast, Sansa feels wicked when going to the kitchen and thinks of her sister again when approaching Cersei. I don't think either statement was meant to be an insult, quite the opposite. We as readers understand the risk in talking to Cersei but Sansa had none of this information. Yet, for Sansa, this was an effort to take charge of her future and go after what she wanted and compares herself to Arya while doing so. I think that is very much a complement. It reminds me a little bit of Sansa's later thought that she wished that Ser Dontos had some of the Hound's ferocity. In some ways, I was struck at just how normal their relationship was.

Finally, to attempt to at least partially answer brashcandy's question, I think a lot of things were going on with Sansa during that council meeting. I just read this chapter a few hours ago so that scene is fresh in my mind. I was really struck just how much Cersei and the Small Council was manipulating Sansa, keeping her off her feet and staying in control of the conversation. Based upon her thoughts, I don't think Sansa fully understood what was happening yet either, she was left thinking that her marriage to Joffrey could still go through and the situation could be worked out. She asked about Jeyne Poole and her father and was obviously dissatisfied with the answer given, wondering why Jeyne was being given over to LF. Sansa doesn't take the extra step and not that if the answer given about Jeyne is dissatisfying that she should also doubt the rest of what she is told. But, the conversation quickly shifted to her engagement with Joffrey and at that point, Cersei was in control the entire time.

One more thought on why readers view these two sisters the way they do. GOT has an Arya chapter first so all of our initial views of Sansa are given through her chapter. Arya's sense of insecurity and feelings come through towards Sansa. They may not be accurate or fair but first impressions matter. I also strongly believe that many readers do not completely take in to account the 3rd person limited nature of these books so often take character opinions as truth more often than they should. In that first chapter, Arya says quite a bit but I think it is much more about her insecurities than it is about Sansa as we see Sansa actually including Arya in conversation and she does not say a single cruel thing to her sister.

Last question: In some previous discussions, we have compared this series to LoTR and have talked about Frodo who was unable to go home again. Are we certain that this is Arya rather than Bran?

Hope this all makes sense. I was listing off my different thoughts and impressions while constantly going back to the original posts.

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@Arya_Nym,

Ah yes! I had forgotten the reasoning behind Sansa's creation. I do think that Martin took it to an unfavorable extreme however, and this influences a lot of the negative perception of Sansa. As we've noted before, he does a great job of showing how Arya comes into conflict with the societal expectations, but not so good in highlighting how Sansa wishes to simply fulfill those duties.

@Kittykatknits - great post. I am crossing my fingers that Arya can one day return home. As you noted, Arya and Sansa are focused now on surviving and there's a lot of pain and fear connected to those past identities. Both girls have been powerless and are anxious not to know such weakness again, so I think we have to take any "commitments" they make with a grain of salt.

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