Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

Recommended Posts

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.

As I said I didn't want to hijack the thread. I appreciate the views and have a much better idea of how debate thru these PtoP threads. Thanks :bowdown:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how many of you are on tumblr but corseque just posted a wonderful analysis of the unkiss and how it ties to the "desire for agency" theme.

http://corseque.tumb...ost/27615984884

This was a great read, thank you. I bookmarked it for future reference.

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.

This statement reminded me of Sansa's thoughts during the PW. Tyrion tells her of CR and mentions his love for Jaime. She thinks to herself that he looks at her as if he wants something but she has no bread, wondering why he will not leave her alone. It serves as a great contrasting example of her connection to Sandor. With him there is a legitimate intimacy which allows her to reach out to Sandor and create such an intense connection. But, she lacks erotic desire with Tyrion and is unable to do the same with him. This is one of the very few times in the series, in fact, where Sansa is unable to respond with empathy or create any sense of connection. She can see that he wants something but as she does not want anything back, there is nothing for her to do.

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.

<snip>

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:

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

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:

I like the way Martin framed Sansa's thoughts in this paragraph. It begins with her thinking on Septa Mordane's teaching and then closes with her questioning the gods. She wants to know what sin she commited that would lead to this. We have patriarchial teaching and then these thoughts which are very close to a crisis of faith. In this moment, it is not her knowledge of how to be a dutiful wife or her religion that saves her, it is Sansa's erotic power. In the end, that is her strongest weapon in this scene with him.

Septa Mordane is a woman who has made a life in denying the power of erotic agency in women(She's a septa after all!) and has reinforced that message to Sansa. If women exercise erotic power, by denying the idea that all men are beautiful, they do indeed threaten the patriarchy. Men's power in this society largely rests on subjugating women's desires as beneath their own. To acknowledge a women's desire is to also acknowledge its power.

Sansa's question to Tyrion is not just telling him she is not yet ready for sex. She's telling him that she does not feel any desire for him and asserting that her desire is just as important as his. So, when it comes to erotic power, Sansa is effectively putting herself on an equal footing as him. She has a right to feel desire for her sexual partners and a right to refuse any man that she does not. Even though Sansa is not saying these words, she is rejecting the advice of her Septa, Cersei's teachings back in Clash, and the very image of what a wife should do in Westeros. That's a very strong statement indeed.

@Lyanna Stark: Can you add a link to this post in your listings that you put together. I've refereed some people to it and I think this one goes on the list of posts that should be easily available. I bookmarked that post for easy reference for myself too. :)

Sigh. Time for another Mrs Sansa Lannister thread?

I think I lack the mental strength for one. I think any thread that has these two characters turns in to a Mrs. Sansa Lannister thread.

As I said I didn't want to hijack the thread. I appreciate the views and have a much better idea of how debate thru these PtoP threads. Thanks :bowdown:

Have you looked through the re-read threads? I can not recomend them enough. The level of analysis and discussion I've seen in them is amongst the best I have ever seen on this forum. They have spawned numerous other threads here on this board and set the standard on what a re-read should look like. I can tell you personally that they have all caused me to look at many scenes a different way and dramatically increased my understanding of the books as whole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slightly OT, but in honor of recent discussions on this thread, I've been watching Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty tonight. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slightly OT, but in honor of recent discussions on this thread, I've been watching Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty tonight. :)

Sounds like fun. :D I think in Sansa's story, a parallel from each of these fairy tales (and more!) can be found. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like fun. :D I think in Sansa's story, a parallel from each of these fairy tales (and more!) can be found. :)

Yeah, I'll call it research to better help me understand her character. :) But, really it is was a needed counterbalance from some of the threads and posts that I saw on here tonight. I saw some stuff today that left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. Disney songs seemed like a nice balance to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'll call it research to better help me understand her character. :) But, really it is was a needed counterbalance from some of the threads and posts that I saw on here tonight. I saw some stuff today that left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. Disney songs seemed like a nice balance to that.

So true. One of the reasons I am currently ignoring almost every thread except this one. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

That's a very good question and I hope not, too. Hiding the parts of themselves they don't want to lose:

I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she’d been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she’d kept it.
Needle was Jon Snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me "little sister," she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes... "You’ll be safe here," she told Needle. "No one will know where you are but me." She pushed the sword and sheath behind the step, then shoved the stone back into place, so it looked like all the other stones.

At the same time, a huge portion of the fandom is totally ok with Dany/Drogo which DID happen when she was, what, 13? So I can't really see why Sansa couldn't choose Sandor in the future, like it's been hinted over and over again in the books.

I wish they'd aged both Sansa and Arya up a few years on the show. It's what I do when I read the story, also Dany and the other Stark kids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

I loved this scene exactly for that reason. This is what the Daario story was all about. And the way he came around to showing us this was beautiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Added brashcandy's essay into the link collection on the first page. :)

Slightly OT, but in honor of recent discussions on this thread, I've been watching Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty tonight. :)

That's great! There seems to be a lot of inspiration from the old fairy tales knocking around, whether played straight or inverted.

I had a similar moment when I was putting together a Cd for my dad with old folk songs and ballads, and I realised how utterly violent and tragic most of them are. They're all about "murder most foul", love gone wrong, family betrayals, etc. I'm going to hunt down a book on Scandinavian medieval ballads since I always figure the North, Bael the Bard etc were sort of loosely based on those themes, and see what I can get out of it. Judging by Sansa's reaction to Marillion's songs in AFFC, I can't help but wonder if the Westeros equivalent of the medieval ballad don't have similar themes as the real world examples.

I loved this scene exactly for that reason. This is what the Daario story was all about. And the way he came around to showing us this was beautiful.

I completely agree. :) People focus so much on why they hate Daario instead of what he means for Dany and what he symbolises in her story arc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a very good question and I hope not, too. Hiding the parts of themselves they don't want to lose:

I wish they'd aged both Sansa and Arya up a few years on the show. It's what I do when I read the story, also Dany and the other Stark kids.

The cloak was left behind in KL but I agree about Sandor being a link to her past in the same way that Needle is the link for Arya.

I wish they had all been aged up to. It's not quite realistic within the story and at times rather problematic to me.

ETA: Except for Tommen who seems spot on. And Ser Sweetrobin, the only kid who seem younger than his age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kittykatknits:

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?

Off the top of my head I can think of an exception - Meera Reed. She came to Winterfell accompanied by only her younger brother, who is dreamy and withdrawn and, if he's supposed to act as the "family head" is in name only, IF that. Meera is also the one responsible for keeping herself, Bran, Jojen, and Hodor alive on the trek north. Meera is 16, a grown woman by Westeros standards, and in contrast to the restricted lives lead by "maids" most everywhere else, she hunts, travels, and acts as a grown woman without a male protector. I do not know how much that is unique to Crannogmen culture, though. There was also Ygritte, Val, and some of the other Wildling women.

I wonder if we are being shown Meera, Val, etc. - not to mention Dany (a legitimate heir to the throne) and her dragons - as part of a story arc where the old patriarchal conventions of Westeros might start to break down. (And let's not forget Dorne, a much more egalitarian culture than the rest of Westeros.) Not entirely, but enough to leave more women in more positions of power than there were at the beginning of AGOT. I see Cersei's bitterness and cruelty and Sansa's powerlessness as critiques of the patriarchal order.

I do not know if Sansa and Meera will ever meet. But I like to think that there will be more room for Sansa to be her own person - maybe not by 21st Century western standards, but much more room than she had at her beginning. And I see her learning how to carve out this agency, and this space for herself just to be, and also learning how to handle it in a wise and mature way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree. :) People focus so much on why they hate Daario instead of what he means for Dany and what he symbolises in her story arc.

*coughsandorcough* :) Although it seems that Sandor still has a very important role to play in Sansa's life, whilst Daario and Dany may be over. She's already reaped the benefits from their interaction and I can't see him playing a major role going forward.

This was a great read, thank you. I bookmarked it for future reference.

This statement reminded me of Sansa's thoughts during the PW. Tyrion tells her of CR and mentions his love for Jaime. She thinks to herself that he looks at her as if he wants something but she has no bread, wondering why he will not leave her alone. It serves as a great contrasting example of her connection to Sandor. With him there is a legitimate intimacy which allows her to reach out to Sandor and create such an intense connection. But, she lacks erotic desire with Tyrion and is unable to do the same with him. This is one of the very few times in the series, in fact, where Sansa is unable to respond with empathy or create any sense of connection. She can see that he wants something but as she does not want anything back, there is nothing for her to do.

I like the way Martin framed Sansa's thoughts in this paragraph. It begins with her thinking on Septa Mordane's teaching and then closes with her questioning the gods. She wants to know what sin she commited that would lead to this. We have patriarchial teaching and then these thoughts which are very close to a crisis of faith. In this moment, it is not her knowledge of how to be a dutiful wife or her religion that saves her, it is Sansa's erotic power. In the end, that is her strongest weapon in this scene with him.

Septa Mordane is a woman who has made a life in denying the power of erotic agency in women(She's a septa after all!) and has reinforced that message to Sansa. If women exercise erotic power, by denying the idea that all men are beautiful, they do indeed threaten the patriarchy. Men's power in this society largely rests on subjugating women's desires as beneath their own. To acknowledge a women's desire is to also acknowledge its power.

Sansa's question to Tyrion is not just telling him she is not yet ready for sex. She's telling him that she does not feel any desire for him and asserting that her desire is just as important as his. So, when it comes to erotic power, Sansa is effectively putting herself on an equal footing as him. She has a right to feel desire for her sexual partners and a right to refuse any man that she does not. Even though Sansa is not saying these words, she is rejecting the advice of her Septa, Cersei's teachings back in Clash, and the very image of what a wife should do in Westeros. That's a very strong statement indeed.

Perfect post is perfect :) And it comes back to the point we've been arguing throughout these threads: the women who are actually making inroads into patriarchal dominance are not the ones fighting with sword and shield. Erotic power and the knowledge and confidence it produces, is a more formidable method of combating the oppressive restrictions in women's lives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cloak was left behind in KL but I agree about Sandor being a link to her past in the same way that Needle is the link for Arya.

Another important point I think we have to consider with these "links" to the past is that they're not going to remain the same, untarnished in the case of Needle (thinking here of Errant Bard's point), and formidable like the Hound (Sandor's thigh injury). I think both Sansa and Arya are being challenged not only to hold on to these links, but to "grow" past them in a sense and be empowered in new ways. Therefore, if/when they do have decide to recover these connections, the tarnishing is not going to matter, because now it's not so much needing the item or person, but wanting them and the fulfilment offered.

[/jumbled thoughts]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the tarnished Needle though, I imagine a tarnished sword can still be polished back to its original shine with some work?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the tarnished Needle though, I imagine a tarnished sword can still be polished back to its original shine with some work?

Yes, Needle could be polished back in to shape and fixed. May take some work but possible.

KRBD - I have thoughts on your post but I'll follow up tonight. Good stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the tarnished Needle though, I imagine a tarnished sword can still be polished back to its original shine with some work?

Love and commitment helps, yes :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cloak was left behind in KL but I agree about Sandor being a link to her past in the same way that Needle is the link for Arya.

I wish they had all been aged up to. It's not quite realistic within the story and at times rather problematic to me.

Right, and it doesn't matter that Sansa had to leave the cloak behind or if Arya never goes back for Needle (although I hope she does, because in truth, if I ever saw Needle, I'd talk to it, too :)), but that Martin chose these things for them to hide, and that he made it clear what they meant to them.

Aging up, maybe the producers would have given us a proper Blackwater scene, with the almost kiss, and Arya's dark journey in Harrenhal. So there wouldn't be comments like he's too old for her (Sansa) or she's too young to do that (Arya). IRL, the actors are just the right ages.

I think both Sansa and Arya are being challenged not only to hold on to these links, but to "grow" past them in a sense and be empowered in new ways. Therefore, if/when they do have decide to recover these connections, the tarnishing is not going to matter, because now it's not so much needing the item or person, but wanting them and the fulfilment offered.

That's very true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if we are being shown Meera, Val, etc. - not to mention Dany (a legitimate heir to the throne) and her dragons - as part of a story arc where the old patriarchal conventions of Westeros might start to break down. (And let's not forget Dorne, a much more egalitarian culture than the rest of Westeros.) Not entirely, but enough to leave more women in more positions of power than there were at the beginning of AGOT. I see Cersei's bitterness and cruelty and Sansa's powerlessness as critiques of the patriarchal order.

This was a really good post KRBD, and Meera Reed often gets lost in the shuffle when we're considering empowered women in the narrative. Considering that Bran has been around this type of woman, and can appreciate her competence and skills, it might mean that if he does return as heir to Winterfell, he would value Sansa's presence as regent and respect her wanting to lead an independent life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a very good question and I hope not, too. Hiding the parts of themselves they don't want to lose:

I wish they'd aged both Sansa and Arya up a few years on the show. It's what I do when I read the story, also Dany and the other Stark kids.

Actually, they aged up all of the Stark kids.

Robb and Jon are 14 when the books begin. In AGOT Season 1, I think they're supposed to be 18, but they look at least 20.

Sansa is 11 when she is first seen in the books. In AGOT Season 1, she is supposed to be 13, and the actress was 14-15 and often looks older than 13. (in Season 2, she definitely has a more mature figure and looks older than 14)

Arya is 9 when she is first seen in the books. In AGOT Season 1, I believe she is supposed to be 11; and looks it, though the actress was about 14 I think. In Season 2, she definitely looked closer to 14 than 12, her body is more curvy and they have to give her more baggy clothes to disguise it; since the actress was about 15 I think.

Bran was what, 7 when AGOT began? I don't know how old he is supposed to be in the TV series, but he looks 10 in the first season, and 12-13 in the second.

Little Rickon is three years old when AGOT begins; and is played by a five-or-six-year-old the first year; I think he is supposed to be five.

By the time they get around to filming the first part of AFFC, they might well be able to film the scuzzy scenes of Littlefinger pulling Sansa onto his lap, since Sophie Turner will probably be 18 by then.

Personally, I don't approve of aging up at least Sansa; because her conduct, mistakes and all, is very age-appropriate in the books, in my opinion. Make her 13, and her refusal to blame anyone but Arya in the death of Lady (such as Joffrey, Cersei) seems more a character flaw and less a childish exercise in poor judgment. I think the aging of the kids in the TV series benefitted Bran and Arya most of all, Robb and Jon and Sansa less so...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I don't approve of aging up at least Sansa; because her conduct, mistakes and all, is very age-appropriate in the books, in my opinion. Make her 13, and her refusal to blame anyone but Arya in the death of Lady (such as Joffrey, Cersei) seems more a character flaw and less a childish exercise in poor judgment. I think the aging of the kids in the TV series benefitted Bran and Arya most of all, Robb and Jon and Sansa less so...

Personally I find it harder to take with Arya, not only older, but also less of a killer than in the books. It's counter-intuitive to see the darkness of the character toned-down, since one can imagine an aged-up Arya doing those things more readily than a child going from roughly 8 or 9 at her first kill to roughly 11 joining the FM in Braavos.

With Sansa, I would find it believable for a girl of 11 to 13 act as she did, but even up to 15 is possible depending on the nature of the girl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×