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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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Claiming Agency through Erotic Power

This analysis is based on the concept of erotic power as defined by feminist theorist Audre Lorde in her essay, ‘Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power.’ My aim is to use Lorde’s theory to explore how the erotic functions in Sansa’s arc throughout the series, and how tapping into this erotic power will ultimately lead to fulfilment and empowerment.

Some quotes from Lorde’s essay help to establish just what erotic power is and how it operates:

There are many kinds of power, used and unused, acknowledged or otherwise. The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered source of power and information within our lives.

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves.

The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women; of that creative energy empowered…

We talked a lot of the tremendous compassion and empathy that Sansa demonstrates in her interaction with others, particularly Sandor Clegane. My contention is that these attributes provide evidence of Sansa’s utilising of her erotic power – an ability to feel deeply and experience an almost heightened sense of connection with another person, one that provides genuine intimacy and fulfilment, and underscores legitimate desire.

In the patriarchal society of Westeros, the erotic becomes a threat to male power and their restrictions on female agency and sexuality. As Lorde notes above, “the erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings,” and such power, the power to recognize what it is we want and do not want and to make such a declaration is ultimately dangerous to patriarchal authority. This is why I think that Sansa will be able to defeat LF, not through political machinations as many others seem to believe, but precisely through the power of the erotic which is defined by female desire and authority.

It is Sansa’s relationship with Sandor where we see the true potential of the erotic being revealed. Erotic experiences are not limited to the sexual, but encompass all areas of life, from the psychic and emotional to the physical and intellectual according to Lorde. From the very beginning, there is a bond of trust and openness established between Sansa and Sandor which facilitates their gradual intimacy. Their final interaction during the Blackwater battle is significant:

It was not the song of Florian and Jonquil, but it was a song. Her voice sounded small and thin and tremulous in her ears…

She had forgotten the other verses. When her voice trailed off, she feared he might kill her, but after a moment the Hound took the blade from her throat, never speaking. Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood and the wetness that was not blood. “Little bird,” he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed. Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps.

Sansa and Sandor achieve in that brief moment of her touching his face a true erotic connection of compassion and understanding. It is such a powerful moment, and I want to posit the unkiss as evidence of the creative power of the erotic. The deep experience of feeling that occurs between them results in the creation of a sensual memory that marks Sansa’s first real expression of sexual agency.

Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion is revealing in comparison. Instead of bowing to the pressure of the moment and giving in to her husband’s desires, Sansa instead relies on the truth of the erotic – her own recognition of the lack of desire for Tyrion, and in so doing exposes the lie of patriarchal conditioning which states that all men are beautiful:

Look at him, Sansa told herself, look at your husband, at all of him. Septa Mordane said all men are beautiful, find his beauty, try. She stared at the stunted legs, the swollen brutish brow, the green eye and the black one, the raw stump of his nose and crooked pink scar, the coarse tangle of black and gold hair that passed for his beard. Even his manhood was ugly, thick and veined, with a bulbous purple head. This is not right, this is not fair, how have I sinned that the gods would do this to me, how?

“On my honour as a Lannister,” the Imp said. “I will not touch you until you want me to.”

“It took all the courage that was in her to look in those mismatched eyes and say, “And if I never want you to, my lord?”

Lorde explains just why Sansa’s denial of Tyrion was so important:

When we live outside ourselves, and by that I mean on external directives only rather than from our internal knowledge and need, when we live away from those erotic guides from within ourselves, then our lives are limited by external and alien forms, and we conform to the needs of a structure that is not based on human need, let alone an individual’s. But when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to our selves in the deepest sense. For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness which so often seems like their only alternative in our society. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within.

In refusing to sleep with her husband, Sansa is privileging her own desires and needs above those that originate from the “external directives” of her patriarchal society, of which Septa Mordane was the mouthpiece. Marriage represents an oppressive institution for Sansa, and the collective weight of all her betrothals which seek to use her claim - the impersonal mercenary objective - acts to further strengthen her appreciation for erotic agency which does not submit to the exploitation or abuse. Is it any wonder then that when she’s in the Vale, and hears the cries of Lysa’s pleasure in the marriage bed, that she eventually dreams of the possibility of having her own erotic encounter? Lorde writes that:

Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within out lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected nor the merely safe.

I think there’s a lot of value in this statement to understanding how Martin is portraying the growth of Sansa’s agency. It’s through the erotic lens that she is beginning to question social structures of her society which contribute to women’s oppression. It’s not a coincidence that most of the women she comes into contact with are those who have taken control of their sexuality, and have found love and fulfilment outside of marriage.

This is why I think LF’s attempts to corrupt Sansa and involve her in the game will be destined to fail. Although Sansa is posing as Alayne Stone, the power associated with her real identity of Sansa Stark is still present and making itself felt:

As the boy’s lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt, when his cruel mouth pressed down on her own. He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.

It made no matter. That day was done, and so was Sansa.

She had not thought of Jon in ages. He was only her half-brother, but still… with Robb and Bran and Rickon dead, Jon Snow was the only brother that remained to her. I am a bastard too now, just like him. Oh it would be so sweet, to see him once again. But of course that could never be. Alayne Stone had no brothers, baseborn or otherwise.

“Lord Nestor will have no singers at the feast, only flutes and fiddles for the dancing.” What would she do when the music began to play? It was a vexing question to which her heart and head gave different answers. Sansa loved to dance, but Alayne…

Notice that all of these feelings are particularly powerful as they relate to Sansa’s desire for love, family and excitement. Added to this, during Alayne’s conversation with Randa Royce, she is much more interested in pursuing discussion about Lothor’s feelings for Mya. Whilst LF asked Sansa to become Alayne in her heart, she’s managed to actually keep that domain for Sansa, and this is where we see the true strength of her feelings and concerns remain. This is the “heart” of Sansa’s erotic power so to speak, and although she tries to deny these feelings, I think these deeply felt connections and passions will ultimately be responsible for liberating her, not the cold, calculating politics of LF’s world.

To end with Lorde:

In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.

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<great stuff>

:bowdown:

Amazing analysis brashcandy. And a wonderful strong piece arguing for agency as well. I found myself nodding in agreement several times.

Regarding corseque's analysis, it's really interesting and I agree with a lot of it.

Sorry, but Sandor could never, ever in a million years win a fight with Sansa’s strange world-bending mind powers. She is too strong - remember, he’s the one who fled, ashamed and in tears, from her compassion. His nihilistic rants held up like wet tissue paper against Sansa offering him an unselfish, comforting gesture. He spends the whole next book wandering and lost, his world collapsed.

Sansa, meanwhile, continues on, perfectly intact and still dreaming, albeit a step more realistically. (There must be true knights somewhere, just not in King’s Landing. Perhaps Highgarden is the place…)

World-bending mind powers is an awesome concept! :lol:

I don't quite agree that Sansa remains perfectly intact. She's certainly more suspicious of people's motives and less trusting, and she even thinks that she agrees that there are no knights. So he may have infected her back with the cynicism virus. She does seem to strongly have rejected the whole dog-eat-dog (pun intended) nihilistic world view though. People may occasionally be bad, but they can be good too. You just need to find the right ones, and to be realistic about their limitations.

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Wonderful Brash!! :thumbsup: It’s really well written and it left me with a lot of musings…

It made me question if the UnKiss moment hadn’t happened (and thus Sansa would never had had so far when her marriage to Tyrion occurred ever experienced such a powerful and deep connection with a man) Sansa would have “given in” into Tyrion? After some thought I still think she wouldn’t have because there where many other issued that would still have been present to stop this from happening, but I had never considered that Sansa refused to succumb to Tyrion because deep down she had already experienced an erotic moment (one that had been with a man she preferred however subconsciously at the moment) but The deep experience of feeling that occurs between them results in the creation of a sensual memory that marks Sansa’s first real expression of sexual agency.”

So if things didn’t work out with Tyrion in part it had to be because they were not equals and never would be. She would have remained the pawn and even if feelings had developed, Tywin was still there, as his ambition (and even Tyrion’s) of having Winterfell after Roose & Rasmay got tired of ruling it in winter, and so no real connection ever occurred between the Imp and Sansa.

Yet with Sandor it’s a whole different thing. She was the one who “mastered” the situation in the end. Sandor’s final breakdown the night of the Blackwater was caused by the tears Sansa’s hymn brought. I am not saying Sansa would like to have Sandor as her pawn, but she can understand that he would not care if she had the power. Here the “no one will ever love me for myself” issue can be applied. Cersei uses her body to try and gain power, but I think Sansa would be quite content in just being with one man if he is the right one even if doesn’t bring her that much political benefits.

It’s wonderful that Sansa has not broken up after her ordeal in KL, and even after being bargained more than once to a marriage alliance that only came to be because of Winterfell or her name, she doesn’t give up hope where love is concerned. Sure, she thinks that no one shall ever love her for herself, but as Brash expressed,

Is it any wonder then that when she’s in the Vale, and hears the cries of Lysa’s pleasure in the marriage bed, that she eventually dreams of the possibility of having her own erotic encounter?

& I agree with bringing Sansa down LF with her erotic agency. Some strong players have succumbed to Petyr where the game is concerned, but feelings may very well be what finishes him off. And by saying that when LF wants Sansa to be Alayne even in her heart, yet Sansa doesn’t allow that, it’s a very good observation since we all think Sansa regards human heart of something of value. If she was a queen she would rule with love, and the thought of being married off yet again for her claim is too much for her.

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Regarding Lysa and the wedding night in particular, I read somewhere that a lot of people seem to think Lysa was faking it! That never struck me as necessary, but then I've lived next door to some impressive screamers.'

Is it any wonder then that when she’s in the Vale, and hears the cries of Lysa’s pleasure in the marriage bed, that she eventually dreams of the possibility of having her own erotic encounter?

It must also be a rather stark contrast to Sansa's own wedding night with Tyrion. :uhoh:

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Wow, another great post again, Brashcandy!! I already enjoyed reading your Red Keep analysis.

Exactly this is what I highly like in these books: you can re-read them x-times and you will always discover new information or feel more depths in the characters involved.

And above all reading all your amazing thoughts is the chocolate topping.

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<100% pure amazingness>

This was a great read. Thank you for putting it together. I have some thoughts on this as well as Lady Lea's post too but it will have to wait until I can sit in front of a computer for more than a couple minutes of time. But, I didn't want to wait until then to say how much I enjoyed reading your post, thank you so much for putting this together.

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Just a quick interruption, I keep seeing that Sansa has been betrothed five time, but I can only remember four: Joffrey, Willas, Tyrion, and now Harry. Who's the fifth betrothal?

I know I was thoughly castigated in VII, however question: How do you come up with 5 betrothals? By my count there was one Joffrey,

Willas. A manipulation by the QoT. Did he even have a clue of his gm's behind the scenes dealings?

That led to a rushed marriage to Tyrion

Sweet Robin The ravings of a mad woman, Lysa, that no one took seriously including Snasa.

HtH: Another plot by LF. There is no public knowledge of it in Vale. Only LF's machinations and his flights of fancy of a Vale/ Nothern alliance.

Am I wrong in this analysis?

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I know I was thoughly castigated in VII, however question: How do you come up with 5 betrothals? By my count there was one Joffrey,

Willas. A manipulation by the QoT. Did he even have a clue of his gm's behind the scenes dealings?

That led to a rushed marriage to Tyrion

Sweet Robin The ravings of a mad woman, Lysa, that no one took seriously including Snasa.

HtH: Another plot by LF. There is no public knowledge of it in Vale. Only LF's machinations and his flights of fancy of a Vale/ Nothern alliance.

Am I wrong in this analysis?

Just because you as the reader do not take these betrothals seriously, does not mean they weren't serious to Sansa. She truly believed the Willas engagement would go through at the time, and eventually agreed to it, even though it was not her own choice really. She also believed the Sweetrobin betrothal was real enough, at least to her aunt, which is why she got up the courage to confront Lysa about it and actively protest against it. With HtH, I'm not sure that she is taking LF completely at his word, but she is being told to treat the engagement as if it were real, at least, and so must act accordingly once she meets HtH. I think these all 'count' as betrothals she has had to at least process mentally in some way, and each has had its own effect upon Sansa's views of marriage, especially in relation to her lament about no one loving her for herself, only for her claim. After each of these 'sham' engagements (and obviously the 'sham' marriage to Tyrion) she is 'smelling the lie' that so often is marriage amongst the highborn folks of Westeros.

ETA: Popped in to say how much I enjoyed brashcandy's essay -- as usual, I greatly benefit from your Sansa insights. Thank you! :)

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I don't mean to hijack this thread, please bear wih me, however another question: How is Sansa's marriage to Tyrion a sham? From what I precieve on his part Tyrion has nothing but respect and observes limits which are in fact set by Sansa. He is (excuse the word) the consumate husband protecting her from all the manipulation and innuendo around them. Shucks in the end he even protects at trial after she flew the coop (couldn't resist a little bird infrence)

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Hey everyone! :) I'm really glad you all liked the essay. I do think Lorde's insights work quite well with shedding light on Sansa's arc, and how important it is not to subjugate one's true desires for another person's pleasure. Whenever Sansa has gone on instinct, and followed her heart so to speak, she's been able to effect change. By involving her in more of his plots and getting her to take the approach of "having larger concerns," LF is slowly moving Sansa away from the erotic which has guided her to up to this point.

Another one of Lorde's points is particularly instructive on this:

The dichotomy between the spiritual and the political is also false, resulting from an incomplete attention to our erotic knowledge. For the bridge which connects them is formed by the erotic - the sensual - those physical, emotional, and pyschic expressions of what is deepest and strongest and richest within each of us, being shared, the passions of love in its deepest meanings.

Beyond the superficial, the considered phrase, "It feels right to me," acknowledges the strength of the erotic into a true knowledge, for what that means is the first and most powerful guiding light toward any understanding. And understanding is a handmaiden which can only wait upon, or clarify, that knowledge, deeply horn. The erotic is the nurturer or nursemaid of all our deepest knowledge.

I also noted earlier how I think notion of erotic power applies to Dany's arc as well. Dany's actions throughout ADWD are so frustrating for her personally because she's constantly being pulled in separate directions by different advisors, and is forced into reacting to the daily outrages by the Harpies. Her sexual frustration is symbolic of this disharmony, and when she's fulfilled in bed with Daario, her political life is still in shambles and she is forced to marry Hizdahr. It's not until she reconnects with her essential self - Drogon/the dragon - and experiences a kind of spiritual epiphany in the wilderness, that we see her appearing to have a confident approach to her struggles ahead. Enjoying the horsemeat with Drogon at the end is a powerful erotic moment for Dany, and it's not surprising that Daario, the man who's challenged her to embrace her fullness, and has satisfied her sexually is the one she thinks of positively:

Dany, starved, slid off his back and ate with him, ripping chunks of smoking meat from the dead horse with bare, burned hands,. In Meereen I was a queen in silk, nibbling on stuffed dates and honeyed lamb, she remembered. What would my noble husband think if he could see me now? Hizdahr would be horrified, no doubt. But Daario... Daario wold laugh, carve off a hunk of horsemeat with his arakh,and squat down to eat beside her.

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I don't mean to hijack this thread, please bear wih me, however another question: How is Sansa's marriage to Tyrion a sham? From what I precieve on his part Tyrion has nothing but respect and observes limits which are in fact set by Sansa. He is (excuse the word) the consumate husband protecting her from all the manipulation and innuendo around them. Shucks in the end he even protects at trial after she flew the coop (couldn't resist a little bird infrence)

It is seen as a sham because the marriage was set up to fuck her over and steal her claim and inheritance through a Lannister using her body to have his children and usurp her own agreed choice of husband. She knew nothing of the Wedding until a few minutes before it happened.

Had Tyrion agreed to the marriage because he wanted to protect her from being married off to someone awful then I would give him some credit. However it is clear in the text that he wants Winterfell and also very very nearly rapes her, before he finally realises how wrong his actions are. By marrying her he has forced her to become a Lannister prisoner for the rest of her life and ensured that she could never return to Winterfell ever. He could not have protected her from anyone as he cannot even protect himself from his family. By marrying her he also was aware that her brother had to die or that her brother would have no children.

By forcing her to marry him, he was not respecting her choices at all. He does nothing to comfort or help her, even when her brother and mother have been murdered. Just because he uses kindly language towards her, doesn't mean that he is respecting her. Also the marriage only lasts about a month or possibly two, before the PW and although he hasn't consummated it, at the PW it can be argued that he is warming up to the idea of demanding it. Deciding what she needs to know and doesn't need to know is not protecting her, it is infantilsing her. If you read his chapters, they are all about him and what he wants out of the marriage: he never actually truly considers what she maybe wanting or feeling.

Also while he has lofty thoughts about making her smile etc when you look at how he talks about her and thinks of her, he often refers to her in a very derogatory fashion.

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Wonderful Brash!! :thumbsup: It’s really well written and it left me with a lot of musings…

It made me question if the UnKiss moment hadn’t happened (and thus Sansa would never had had so far when her marriage to Tyrion occurred ever experienced such a powerful and deep connection with a man) Sansa would have “given in” into Tyrion? After some thought I still think she wouldn’t have because there where many other issued that would still have been present to stop this from happening, but I had never considered that Sansa refused to succumb to Tyrion because deep down she had already experienced an erotic moment (one that had been with a man she preferred however subconsciously at the moment) but The deep experience of feeling that occurs between them results in the creation of a sensual memory that marks Sansa’s first real expression of sexual agency.”

Yup Caro :) This is one of the points I was going to make in the essay actually. As you noted, she may have still always rejected Tyrion because she finds his looks so repulsive, but I do find it interesting to consider that her erotic connection with Sandor helps her to subconsciously appreciate just why bedding Tyrion would be so wrong. All she can do is pity Tyrion in that moment and as Martin notes, that's death to desire.

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Awesome essays from Arya_Nym and Brashcandy! And also thanks for the link to the Tumblr post (not on Tumblr yet because I need more social media like a hole in my head right now...).

I have much to say on both as well as my own essay on what Sansa heard before Littlefinger made Lysa fly - when I have time to post this weekend.

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Raspie, It is odd I look at the Tyrion chapter that pretains to T+S marriage and see a man gallant and chivalrous to risk his father's & uncle's ire in argument against the marriage before finally succumbing to the fact he really has no choice . I see a man again chivalrous in the Sansa chapter who first calms Sansa after she has a confrontation with Cersei & Joffrey after the sudden announcment of the marriage to her I see after dinner Tyrion risks everything threatening Joffrey with gelding because Joff makes lewd commentary regarding the "bedding" of Sansa. To top it all of at the end of the chapter paraphrasing here Tyrion "Whenever your ready today, tommorrow, a month, a year"

Sansa "What if I'm never ready" Tyrion "That what whores are for". Where is a rape sentiment in that?

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Raspie, It is odd I look at the Tyrion chapter that pretains to T+S marriage and see a man gallant and chivalrous to risk his father's &amp; uncle's ire in argument against the marriage before finally succumbing to the fact he really has no choice . I see a man again chivalrous in the Sansa chapter who first calms Sansa after she has a confrontation with Cersei &amp; Joffrey after the sudden announcment of the marriage to her I see after dinner Tyrion risks everything threatening Joffrey with gelding because Joff makes lewd commentary regarding the "bedding" of Sansa. To top it all of at the end of the chapter paraphrasing here Tyrion "Whenever your ready today, tommorrow, a month, a year"

Sansa "What if I'm never ready" Tyrion "That what whores are for". Where is a rape sentiment in that?

I thought your gripe was against the term "sham"? The marriage is a sham on a number of fronts.

1. Joff is not the legitimate son of Robert, so he is not the legal king, and Sansa and her family would not grant that he has the right to take her as his ward and marry her off. To anyone. Not just to Tyrion.

2. The idea that Tyrion can protect her from his family is also a lie. Tyrion admits this himself. He cannot even protect himself from them, and when it comes to standing against his father, he always , always toes the line. He may bluster, but in the end, he cannot protect her. It is Tywin reigning in Joffrey, not Tyrion.

3. Further, for all that people like to claim that Tyrion kept Sansa from being used by others in the Game, it is Sansa who transports the poison to the QoT, and Sansa is still LF's pawn, despite any of Tyrion's intentions.

4. Her marriage to Tyrion causes an unreparable rift between her and Robb. By the time he dies, he has completely turned his back on her as a suspected Lannister pawn.

She has no attachment to Tyrion, she never consented to it (despite Tyrion's intentions, Cersei has already threatened her in such a way that she knows she can't refuse), and her marriage to him would not be approved by her family, so how can she see it as anything other than a sham? It is false at not only the emotional level, but also political and economic levels.

Whatever the reader thinks of Tyrion, there is no true component to any aspect of this match. It is against her own wishes, her family's wishes, her own interest, the interest of her family. It gives her no social or political advantage to marry him. Where's the solid foundation? Because Tyrion is more decent to her than required doesn't mean that he lives up to the expectation or responsibility of a real husband.

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Legal or not Joff has the Iron Throne at the time. All this takes in KL a Lannister/Tyrell power base no one there is openly disputing Joff's kingship. The Stark's have been attained as traitors thereby losing any right to dictate who Sansa may or may not marry.

I don't disagree it is Tywin reigning by proxy. Tyrion cannot openly be to defiant in public there are consequences. At least until the crossbow incident, then who walks away?

What does the hairnet have to do with anything at this point? It has nothing to do with Tyrion or their marriage. It was given to Sansa long before that Dontos.

There was nothing either Sansa nor Tyrion could do about that. It wouldn't have made difference if Tyrion didn't relent to the marriage Tywin and Kevan would have a more willing dupe and Sansa would have been worse off. There would still be a rift between Sansa and Robb.

Her family's wishes & interest are moot as noted above as are her wishes. Looking at it in a prudential light it is in Sansa's interest at least she knows what she is getting and what is expected of her. If she refused (which I think would not be possible) she could of ended up whatever dreg Tywin could come up with.

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Sigh. Time for another Mrs Sansa Lannister thread?

Raspie, It is odd I look at the Tyrion chapter that pretains to T+S marriage and see a man gallant and chivalrous to risk his father's & uncle's ire in argument against the marriage before finally succumbing to the fact he really has no choice . I see a man again chivalrous in the Sansa chapter who first calms Sansa after she has a confrontation with Cersei & Joffrey after the sudden announcment of the marriage to her I see after dinner Tyrion risks everything threatening Joffrey with gelding because Joff makes lewd commentary regarding the "bedding" of Sansa. To top it all of at the end of the chapter paraphrasing here Tyrion "Whenever your ready today, tommorrow, a month, a year"

Sansa "What if I'm never ready" Tyrion "That what whores are for". Where is a rape sentiment in that?

1. When Tywin presented the idea for Tyrion, he told him that he wanted a Lannister marriage for Sansa, because she was the heir to Winterfell (that is, once he finished killing her family). And then Tywin started telling stories that no one would want to marry Tyrion (even though he's immensely rich? yeah right), but he could go for Lollys if he wanted (Tyrion refused because she was sooo disgusting). And then Tywin talked up Sansa. Tyrion was like, yeah, "sweet smelling Sansa". He thought about everything that would come along with that banging body of hers. And so he agreed. Again, he could have refused. But why refuse a chance of getting a pretty wife AND a castle, eh? I don't really see the chilvary there. Also, yeah, Sansa could have been given to another Lannister who would have consummated the marriage, but Tyrion not consummating was only a freak incident, It never even crossed his mind until he saw the revulsion in Sansa's eyes (after he had fondled her naked breasts).

2. Where does he calm her before the wedding? Cersei had already made plain that it was the king's order that Sansa would be married to Tyrion and that she'd go dragged, kicking and screaming to the altar if necessary. So Tyrion shows up 5 minutes before the wedding and says "oh not, not really, we don't really have to do this if you don't want to". Cersei had already TOLD her what Sansa had to do. Tyrion was only trying to convince himself that this was something that Sansa was ok with.

3. The rape sentiment in the wedding night was that he had every intention of consummating the marriage, he got naked and so did she, he said "we should do our duty", and then fondled her breasts, and he was very much aroused so we know he was into it. It's only when he notices that she looks completely revulsed by the whole thing that he realises what he's doing and stops. And then when she tells him she'll never want him he gets all bitter. At the PW we already see him toying with the idea of "demanding a bedding" from her.

4. As to the gelding threat, it makes it clear that Tyrion didn't really have that much power over Joffrey, not enough to stop him when he eventually did want Sansa in his bed. But, yes, it's always nice to hear someone put Joff in his place.

Basically the whole marriage was a big shit sandwich to Sansa. Not to mention it made her a Lannister (that is, part of the family that destroyed hers), ended her dreams of having a good husband and kids, and was also a really perverse notion that turned her body into the symbol of Lannister victory over the Starks. By giving Sansa to Tyrion, who was considered a "vile dwarf" by most of the realm, Tywin was effecting another of his sexualised punishments, it was the ultimate humiliation for the Starks. Even Cat and Robb thought they'd probably kill Sansa after they had an heir out of her.

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Legal or not Joff has the Iron Throne at the time. All this takes in KL a Lannister/Tyrell power base no one there is openly disputing Joff's kingship. The Stark's have been attained as traitors thereby losing any right to dictate who Sansa may or may not marry.

I don't disagree it is Tywin reigning by proxy. Tyrion cannot openly be to defiant in public there are consequences. At least until the crossbow incident, then who walks away?

What does the hairnet have to do with anything at this point? It has nothing to do with Tyrion or their marriage. It was given to Sansa long before that Dontos.

There was nothing either Sansa nor Tyrion could do about that. It wouldn't have made difference if Tyrion didn't relent to the marriage Tywin and Kevan would have a more willing dupe and Sansa would have been worse off. There would still be a rift between Sansa and Robb.

Her family's wishes &amp; interest are moot as noted above as are her wishes. Looking at it in a prudential light it is in Sansa's interest at least she knows what she is getting and what is expected of her. If she refused (which I think would not be possible) she could of ended up whatever dreg Tywin could come up with.

Regardless of these opinions (realpolitik does not determine legality or truth), there is ample evidence of why anyone would view the marriage as a sham. What makes a marriage a sham? There are number of factors, depending on who you ask. Personally, does one of the people involved lack the feelings necessary to keep a marriage going? Yes. Does one of the people involves forsake the vows taken? Yes. Is the marriage legal? Her family would argue that it is not legal. Has it been consummated? No. Has there been coercion? Yes.

Fact: Whatever the reality, Joffrey is not a Baratheon, and Lannisters have not legitimately won the war contesting their right to the throne. This factors into the question of legality of the marriage. When/if the Lannisters are deposed, few will agree that this marriage was legal.

Fact: Sansa was not protected by the marriage from the Lannisters. They used her, and LF was not prevented from doing so by her change of status. This idea of protection was your argument for why the marriage was not a sham, but it ignores the facts.

Argue until you are blue in the face about the reality of Westerosi politics, people are right to call the marriage a sham because it is based on falsity of every sort.

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The arguments over Tyrion and Sansa will be neverending it seems :) However, weaselontherun, I hope the responses by Summerqueen and Lady Lea will suffice, since this thread is not designed to hash out arguments over Tyrion's culpability.

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